Re: “Etiquette Lesson for Breastfeeding Moms: Cover Up” (January 14, 2011)
I strongly disagree with Shelley Fralic’s version of “common etiquette”. It may be true that there are those who are unfortunate enough to be “embarrassed about” breastfeeding, or ignorant enough to think it’s “vulgar”, “sexual” or “culturally inappropriate”. But those people and their attitudes ought never be catered to at the expense of babies’ and mothers’ breastfeeding rights. Babies have a right to have their nursing needs responded to wherever they are, and women have a right to respond to their babies’ needs without shame. Not all babies will nurse with a blanket over their heads, and it’s a lot easier for those who have a problem with seeing a glimpse of a breast to simply look away than it is for a mother and baby to have to hide from sight. What is really shameful is the way Fralic is perpetuating negative attitudes towards a natural, healthy and child-positive process by choosing to describe it in the most disgusting of terms, ie: “slurping and burping”. Attitudes like Fralic’s truly are damaging because they negatively impact breastfeeding rates. Mothers and babies have special needs, and as far as I’m concerned, common etiquette dictates that those needs be honoured and respected.
See also Kids First update: “Vancouver Sun publishes article falsely claiming “mom to file complaint after she was asked to stop breastfeeding”