A breastfeeding campaign created by two college juniors at University of North Texas is stirring up quite the controversy for its images of young women nursing in public places. The models are sitting on toilet lids behind closed stalls nursing their babies with the tag lines: "Private Dining: Would You Eat Here?" and "Table for Two: Would You Eat Here?"
NO I WOULD NOT. My standard memo to my son, Jack, 6, when he enters a stall: "Don't touch anything." Then he washes his hands and I douse them in Purell.
The idea behind the campaign, is of course, to shed light on society's views on public nursing and oh boy did it. After the ad appeared on Facebook, the peanut gallery quickly called the mums featured "trashy" and regarded their breasts as mere "sex objects." Just this weekend, I found myself in my own little controversy.
I took Jack to a local park and I was excited to relax in the sun on a bench while he ran around and got sweaty with his friends. Two minutes into my R&R session, a mum in cute yoga clothes sat down next to me with her baby in a cloth sling.
"Do you mind if I nurse?" she asked.
"Oh my God! Please go right ahead," I said, giving it no thought.
As she sat next to me, covered up and nursing, I couldn't believe this poor woman felt the need to seek my approval before feeding her baby. Seconds later, Jack ran over for his water bottle and apple slices—and I happily handed them over. He sat criss-cross applesauce in the grass and munched away.
Look, I get that he's six and my breast wasn't providing him the nutrition, but the bottom line is he needed to hydrate on a hot day and was hungry. The infant nursing next to me, needed to eat! She needed to eat while her mum scanned the park for her other young child who was playing on the swings.
When Jack resumed playing and the mum finished up nursing, I complimented her on how cute the baby was! Then I told her I couldn't believe she asked me about nursing. Her response was interesting. It seems her husband gets mad when she nurses in public. Her own husband. The dad, you guys!
"He says, put them away!" the mum laughed it off. Obviously, the husband is talking about her breasts. Whether the husband see his wife's breasts as, er, sex objects is not up for my opinion. But, he clearly sees them as private and not a form of his baby's nutrition plan. If he did, he wouldn't be so bothered by his wife nursing in public, while completely covered. And even if she wasn't using a trendy nursing cloth, that should be her decision. Not her husband's or some strangers. Nursing and feeding our babies should be the last thing us mums need to agonize about.