Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Breastfeeding 'creepy'? No, but ignorant comment from woman is

A couple weeks ago I tuned in to NPR (90.1 FM) and stumbled upon the BBC program “World, Have Your Say.” What drew me in this day, besides the accents and the turns of phrases that I find so lovely, was the topic. Kathryn Blundell, the deputy editor of a UK parenting magazine, had referred to breastfeeding as being “creepy,” and listeners were weighing in.

Oh, great, I sighed. Here’s another woman not only dismissing, but demoralizing another woman’s choice to breastfeed. Demoting breastfeeding, which is a natural and beautiful way to nurture a baby, as “wrong” and “gross” and “creepy” is—to use some UK slang—absolute bollocks.

Is this why many women debate whether or not to even try breastfeeding? Is this why women are made to feel ashamed when nursing in public, or maybe even in private too, even though they aren’t doing anything wrong? And to get these comments from other women is really baffling. I wouldn’t be able to understand it from men, either, but hearing and reading that some women have bought into the lies of the culture that breasts are only for pleasure and have no practical purpose whatsoever is sad.

There’s a taboo against breastfeeding, it seems to me, and I find it mind-boggling that anyone would take issue with a mother feeding her child the way nature intended. I also wonder why other people care about me or any other woman who has nursed her children. Really? Aren’t there real problems in the world to address and spend energy on?

What I’d like to see is a culture where breastfeeding mothers are embraced and not undermined, where they can nurse anywhere and everywhere without fear or embarrassment, and where ignorant comments such as these are never even thought, much less spoken.


  1. I think it all started when formula companies began marketing their products as what "klassy" ladies use. Even before that in older history the "klassy" ladies used wet nurses and were above nursing their own children. I think the roots of this ignorance is found in this general direction, classism.

  2. Krista,

    I would like to thank you for your recent article promoting breastfeeding. Unfortunately, the public is often ignorant of the many benefits that breastfeeding provides to the baby, mother, and even society at large.

    Research has proven that breastfeeding significantly reduces the short term risks of ear infections, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome while lowering the long term risks of leukemia, obesity, diabetes, asthma, and high cholesterol. Breastfeeding has been shown to improve the child's visual acuity, motor skills, and IQ.

    For the mother, breastfeading lowers her risks of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and osteoperosis, all while buring 500 calories a day!

    Amazingly, studies estimate that breast feeding instead of bottlefeeding would save our healthcare system $13 billion annually in the U.S. alone.

    As you can see putting the health of the baby (and mother, and our nation) first is anything but "creepy."

    --see www.indianaperinatal.org and www.babyfriendlyusa.org for more info.

    Kara Strother
    OB RN

    (this comment was emailed to me. --krista)