Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Breastfeeding. Crossing The Line Between Legal And Appropriate.

Let's get something straight right out of the gate. I am of the "Feed Your Baby However You Deem Best" school of mothering. My first baby was formula fed from months four to eleven and my second is still attached to my boob three to four times a day at fifteen months old. 

I don't believe that I shortchanged my first nor do I believe that my second is smarter, healthier or more well adjusted because of the decisions I made in regards to feeding them. 

I am a major proponent of breastfeeding if and when applicable. I've nursed my babies on a boat, on a plane, on a train and in no less than ten states. You need a boobie cheerleader? I will more than gladly be your girl but this post isn't about all that. 

This post is about how Lucy Eades embarrassed me as a breastfeeding mother.  

I find myself feeling a little (okay, a lot) frustrated and embarrassed by the recent actions of Lucy Eades, the Texas breastfeeding mother who "put a woman who asked her to cover up in her place." 

If you're unfamiliar with Mrs. Eades, and how she was granted this esteemed title, you can watch the viral video here

The long and short of that video is that Mrs. Eades was breastfeeding her relatively new baby in a public recreation area while in attendance of her older daughter's dance class . An employee of the rec area asked Mrs. Eades to cover up on not one but two separate occasions to which Mrs. Eades launched into what can certainly be considered a semi-tirade professing her legal right to breastfeed wherever and whenever. I shouldn't even have to mention that the employee also offered her a more "accommodating" place to nurse her baby to which she declined but for what it's worth, that occurred as well.

The behavior and tone of Mrs. Eades during this encounter screams nothing but lactation activism to me, the kind that makes me cringe a little. As does the fact that her husband whipped out his cell phone to record the encounter saying, "this is going to be fun!" and immediately posting it to the family YouTube Channel as if to say, "look how poorly and unfairly my breastfeeding wife was treated!" 

This video, a flagrant "rah rah for breastfeeding mothers everywhere" sadly leaves a sour taste in my mouth, much like that of of curdled milk. Ironic, no?

Here's why.

I believe there is a fine line between what is legal and what is appropriate.

Lucy Eades was in attendance of her young daughter's dance class. In the video she is present before a reception desk with her uncovered breast in her baby's mouth, her husband at the ready with his camera.

This action alone screams, "Go ahead. Try and tell me I'm offending you. I dare you."

Mrs. Eades had every legal right to breastfeed in the public space of that recreational facility. She had every legal right to decline the use of another more "accommodating space" in which to feed her baby. Her husband had every legal right to video that encounter and post it to their highly popular family YouTube channel. 

I believe, however, what Mrs. Eades was doing, although legal, was very inappropriate given the situation and surroundings.

Comments have poured since the video's posting regarding how it was Eades' legal right to breastfeed in that building and how "society overly sexualizes breasts" and "breasts are for feeding babies!" 

Furthermore, many commentators feel that "maybe if more young children saw women breastfeeding, they wouldn't grow up so narrow-minded."

Where do I even start. 

It is not my responsibility as a breastfeeding mother to serve as a lesson to educate your child on the purpose of women's breasts. If you want your children to grow up believing that breasts are first and foremost not sexual objects but rather vehicles designed to feed and nourish offspring that is your responsibility as his or her parent. Not mine. This isn't National Geographic.

I will raise my sons to know and understand that breasts have dual purposes and I do not expect him to learn this from watching other mothers breastfeed their children.

Yes, some women's breasts can feed and nourish babies. That is an absolute black and white truth but that is not simply their sole functionality. Breasts are also objects of sexuality to quite a number of men and women of the human race and whether or not that is the fault of society, media or evolution is a whole other argument that I am not prepared for nor remotely interested in. The functionality of breasts is two-fold. There is no getting around that and I'm not sorry but I don't see that's changing anytime soon. That proverbial horse is dead. Beat another.

Mrs. Eades didn't need to be walking up to a reception-type desk at that very moment with her baby exposed quite publicly at her breast. Her husband didn't need to be stage right with his camera at the ready.

This isn't a Mommy War. This isn't about breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding versus formula feeding. That employee, from what I can gather from the video, wasn't shaming Mrs. Eades, telling her she shouldn't be breastfeeding her baby, but rather, the employee was simply asking that she show a bit of discretion about doing so in a public forum. The facility, declared proponents of breastfeeding, even offered her a more private space to do so.

This video is progressive sensationalism at its finest, a sucker punch to the boob of even myself, a breastfeeding advocate and mother who is so proud of her success in nursing her child for fifteen months.

Lucy Eades plays "victim" while she is "harassed" and "bullied" regarding the manner in which she is choosing to feed her baby. 

In reality, I feel worse for the facility employee who was on the receiving end of Lucy's tirade, a pawn in what can best be described as a publicity stunt. Popular YouTube Channel, say what? This attention-seeking video is a distasteful portrayal of what it's like to be a breastfeeding mother. 

I promise, we're all not that intense.

Just because I breastfeed my baby doesn't mean I need to display said action in all of its glory  and wait for someone to approach me and question my actions. Just because it is my legal right to do so anywhere and everywhere and without a cover, doesn't mean I should, need to or have to do so. 

If Mrs. Eades wants to make it her personal mission to #normalizebreastfeeding and educate the public, young children and men and women everywhere that it is her legal right to breastfeed  without a cover anywhere and everywhere, so be it. 

However, I believe there are other appropriate ways of going about doing so. 

Perhaps if she wants the public to respect her decisions, then maybe she ought to show a little discretion and respect theirs. This doesn't mean she needs to dress in a canvas poncho and feed her baby in a dingy bathroom stall, because I know that's exactly what some of you may interpret me as saying. 

She could have just as easily nursed her baby in a corner of that very same room without a cover and I'm 97% certain the public would have been none the wiser. I won't even mention how I'm sure she could have just as easily nursed her baby in her air conditioned car in the parking lot, too, because then you'll tell me that she probably doesn't even have a car. She probably walked there. 

Let me let you in on a little secret. You can be discreet while nursing your baby in public without using a cover. You can be discreet while nursing your baby in public without showing skin that may be confused as "sexual" in nature. 

I've been shamed for breastfeeding in public while using a cover. I've had men change their seats at a Panera because they felt uncomfortable while I nursed my infant son beneath a cover. Shaming a breastfeeding mother is uncalled for but shaming one who is showing discretion worse. It's undoubtedly a contributing factor to the growing percentage of new mothers who abandon nursing their babies during the first six months of life. 

Just as it's not my responsibility as a nursing mother to educate your children on the primary purpose of a woman's breasts, it's also not my responsibility to make you feel comfortable with my actions. 

I am not any less of a breastfeeding mother because I choose to do so discreetly.  However, I can certainly show a little extra respect and discretion if it means we can all coexist happily in a public space, something that I think Mrs. Eades can work on. 

But nobody wants to see a YouTube video of that, now do they?

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  1. I'm damn liberal and very pro-breastfeeding.

    But I couldn't agree more.

    It's kind of like the people screaming the loudest about tolerance are often the most intolerant.

    Demanding respect for your body and your baby means you need to give it to yourself and others too.

    Great post.

  2. Well said. Walking around (or sitting at the entrance to a public facility) topless with a child attached to your breast makes me cringe and I am with you on the breastfeeding a 15 month old, I am going to have to forcibly wean mine since I dont think she will EVER be ready!

    1. Just to clarify ... I have not seen the YouTube video nor will I ever see this YouTube video in question. I feel no need to watch something of this nature and choose not to draw further attention. I was being facetious in my topless comment. I apologize for attempting humor:) I am off now to nurse my toddler to sleep! (Ps this is not directed at AP rather all those others that felt the need to comment on this comment).

  3. Wow, AP. I'm very disappointed. I've been a "loyal" for years and today I will be removing you from my blog reader, Facebookand Instagram feed...I imagine I am not the only one. The legal right to breastfeed in a public space is the legal right to breastfeed PERIOD. Would you suggest to someone with a disability "well, you do technically have the legal right to share space with me and my child, but you make me uncomfortable so you should cover up/leave/cater to my issues in some other manner"? That video may very well help another nursing mom feel that she, too, can advocate for her baby even in a busy public place.

    As for the comments that breastfeeding moms are "walking around topless" -- all I can guess is that those commenters have never breastfed/seen a breastfeeding mom. More skin is shown in the average cover of US Weekly than when breastfeeding.

    Your blogging contemporary "From Mrs. to Mama" wrote a fantastic post about this very YouTube video, I would encourage you to read and consider.

    As for you arguing for "appropriateness" and "decency" -- your Instagram feed in particular makes this particularly ironic!

    1. I have to say, I also agree with this commenter. The point about people with disabilities is a good comparison, and honestly I side with Mrs. Eades on this one. That said, everyone is also entitled to their own opinion! You have the right to share yours on your own blog, AP, even if I don't agree with you ;)

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    1. AP- After some deeper thought and consideration I felt the need to clarify my response.

      I am a huge breastfeeding proponent, and the biggest cheerleader for my breastfeeding mama friends. I breastfed my first daughter for 17 months and would have longer if I didn't have to start up on fertility meds. I'm due any day with #2 and cannot wait to hopefully have the same success at breastfeeding.

      While conservative, I breastfed my daughter anywhere and everywhere. Pottery barn? Check. The grocery store? Check. Parties? Check. Most of the time I did use a cover or blanket but not in any way shape or form to protect the greater good of the public from having to see my (barely) exposed breast. More so out of my own modesty. Would I ever relegate myself to a bathroom stall or corner to feed my child to save others from having to see it? Hell no.

      I am a far cry from liberal but the law is the law. I think people (not you!) are so ignorant about NIP. Until your post I hadn't taken the time to read any of the comments on her video. People equating breastfeeding to prostitution and public urination? Well, that's when I had to return to my words to clarify- That my choice to be modest doesnt make me less of an advocate. And while I will generally try to be as discreet as possible- it is the right of every mom to nurse wherever and whenever because its a law. Whether or not its how I would do it or not. Does that even make sense?

      The beauty of this country is that we can all have our own opinions and agree to disagree.

      I love reading your blog. I love watching you capture moments with your children on IG. Your honesty and sharing it is what keeps me coming back. Exactly like this post. Agree or not.

  5. BeantownPolarBear,

    I am sorry we can't agree to disagree and that you feel you need to remove me from all forms of your social media. I certain didn't feel that way when I read Becky's post written from an entire different angle. In fact, she and I can still be great blog friends despite our differing opinions.

    I would absolutely not suggest to a person with a disability to remove themselves from a public space or cover up or whatnot to appease me (these comparisons are SILLY. the same can be said for those people who are comparing this to urinating and sex in public).

    and not once did I say that Lucy Eades or all breastfeeding mothers should remove themselves from a public space.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with considering others around you while you're breastfeeding. Like I said- you can absolutely NIP and be discreet.

    I do not agree with how Lucy Eades went about garnering all of this attention.

    What is indecent and inappropriate about my Instagram feed?

    1. Thanks for the reply, AP. I knew that many would have a knee-jerk reaction to the analogy to disability law, but it is on point -- the rights of the disabled to public spaces is regulated by statute, just like the right to breastfeed in public is in Texas. Sadly, there are plenty of folks who would assert that people with certain types of mental or physical disabilities/handicaps could scare children or otherwise make them uncomfortable and would restrict public access if they could. Those laws are made for a reason: to ensure access to public spaces for all individuals. There simply is no “line between legal and appropriate” – if it’s a legal right, it’s a legal right, regardless of whether someone’s delicate sensibilities might be offended. The recreation center in Texas was not complying with the law and Ms. Eades and her husband documented that noncompliance with their cell phones. People post photos of their cats and their breakfasts on the internet – why is it considered so outrageous to publicize the fact that a state-funded recreation center was not complying with the law? Worth noting too that this happened during World Breastfeeding Week, a week that is specifically meant to encourage and promote breastfeeding.

      I am always puzzled and saddened by all the “she didn’t NEED to feed her baby” and “Ugh, the lactivists!” responses that inevitably follow an incident like this one. Regarding the former, a 16 day old baby really does NEED to nurse, around the clock; it’s how the baby grows, begins to gain some immunities and builds mom’s supply. As to the latter: reading some of the commenters here you would think that their inboxes are flooded with breastfeeding videos and they are being chased down the street by LLL members demanding to know whether they breastfeed! Yes, Lucy Eades has a blog and a YouTube channel. But she could have been any mom, 16 days postpartum, at a rec center with her family on a 100+ degree summer day in Texas with a hungry newborn. And even if she is a “lactivist” – why the hate? Her “activism” is promoting breastfeeding – a practice that has a myriad of amazing emotional and physical benefits for mom and baby, including reducing allergies, improving gross motor abilities, reducing the risks of certain types of cancer and, by at least one study, neutralizing HIV. As a nurse and a mom, I was surprised that you labeled this as “sensationalism”, a “publicity stunt” and “distasteful”.

      As for why I chose to unfollow your blog, Instagram, etc.: your blog/brand is a business, and a very successful one at that. The number of page hits, subscribers, FB followers, etc. translate to compensation and sponsorship opportunities for you. I choose not to patronize restaurants or retailers who are unsupportive of public breastfeeding and, by extension, I choose not to follow blogs who are similarly unsupportive. For me, breastfeeding support is a really important issue that goes beyond “let’s just agree to disagree”. (I do follow a lot of bloggers whose lifestyles I wouldn’t necessarily “agree” with, but to my knowledge I do not follow any who are unsupportive of breastfeeding or public breastfeeding rights.) I’ve read you for years, so this isn’t something I am take lightly and, honestly, it makes me a little sad. My decision to follow (and therefore increase readership, page hits and, ultimately, compensation of) “pro-breastfeeding” blogs doesn’t make me “silly” or a “schmuck” (??), it makes me a consumer who is trying to make educated choices about the businesses I support with my ‘real’ and online presence.

      This is my first (now second) ever comment on your blog and probably only my fourth blog comment ever. It’s also probably way too long so I’ll end it here. You’ve certainly gotten quite a response to your post and I will try to read all the comments over the coming days.

    2. Thank you for reminding me of all the benefits of breastfeeding and how often a 16 day old baby requires feeding. Somehow, during the first sixteen days of each of my sons' lives I managed to feed them around the clock and never once did I do so while making someone else feel uncomfortable. You want to know why? Because I care about what other people think. I want them to respect my decision and in doing so, I want to respect any feelings they might have on the matter.

      I wore a nursing cover during my early weeks because I didn't want to offend people. I didn't want to make them uncomfortable while they were out dining. While sitting through the homily at church. I cared enough to think not only about my baby first and foremost, but also about the people around me. Fifteen months later and this morning while I was at the park with other mothers, some who have nursed their babies well into toddlerhood, I still removed myself from the group to nurse off on a park bench, rather than amidst the large group of mingling mothers and their young children. Why? BECAUSE I CARE.

      Since when should someone be at fault for that?

      Not once while writing this post nor once while reading it over for the 500 times I must've done so before publishing it, did I ever think that this could be misconstrued as a frank non-supportive breastfeeding post. How can I be against breastfeeding when I'm currently nursing my fifteen month old? Did you miss the post I wrote earlier this month in regards to World Breastfeeding Week? You must've if that is your true opinion of me- that I am against nursing in public.

      But because I'm voicing a differing and vastly less popular opinion and suggesting a modicum of discretion while doing so, that is what makes me anti-nursing in public? I never looked at it that way- but perception must be reality then.

      I do not expect this woman (or any breastfeeding woman) to be relegated to a bathroom stall to nurse. I do not expect this woman to be denied her legal right to breastfeed. I'm a human being, a mother, a nurse and a wife, for goodness sake! I have a bit of human decency and compassion in me. Shocking, I know.

      I appreciate your honesty and your sharing of your opinion and I appreciate you explaining to me why you no longer feel you can follow me and all of the thought that went into your decision. It is sad and it disappoints me that my words can be misconstrued and losing loyal readers, such as yourself, is not something I take lightly.

      Thank you for your readership over the last couple of years.

    3. Hi AP,

      Some great discussion going on here. I did see your post about breastfeeding earlier this month, I really enjoyed it. I also remember seeing a post about a year ago where you posted a beautiful picture of you nursing Mac and I felt privileged to be a reader. Where you lose me as a reader/follower is the assertion (in the post and then in the comment above) that breastfeeding in public without a cover (or in close proximity to others) is "uncaring", "offensive" or somehow disrespectful of their feelings -- that doesn't read as being fully supportive of the right to breastfeed in public. I've read your post and comment several times and I don't think I'm misconstruing that point. As I said, breastfeeding support for all women is one of those "non-negotiables" for me and that is why I choose to follow blogs/brands that support breastfeeding by all women, any way and any where they choose.

      Thanks for the many years of fun and thoughtful posts.

  6. I nursed both of my children a little past a year. I nursed in the car or with a cover for the first few months until it got hot outside and I got more confident in my role as a breastfeeder. After that I never hid in the car to nurse or sat in a corner. "Hiding" at all is almost as bad as being asked to go to another spot or cover up. I will and did breastfeed where ever I happened to be. I tried to not put a big show on. I tried not to have my whole breast out of my shirt while feeding. I would wear 2 shirts so I could lift the top one up and the bottom one down and feed without giving everyone a peep show.

    That being said I'm sure there were times when I showed more than I intended. Shit happens. When I have a crying baby who needs to eat my first thought isn't run hide then feed. It's pull the boob out and feed. I personally like to keep it PG for my own comfort. Also my husband isn't a big supporter of the world seeing everything. But that's my choice. It's also your choice how you choose to feed and its Mrs. Edes choice to do it how she wants. I would never in a million years judge you or anyone else for how they decide to do it. If I don't like it I don't have to look.

    Also it's a parents job to explain this to children. If my kid sees you breastfeeding and asks me a question I'm fine wih that. All kids ask questions and all kids are going to see something, okay many things, that I wish they didn't or that doesn't happen in our house. I can't run around yelling at people for doing things I don't want my child to see. I can't stop smokers, or people swearing, or moms walking around in mini skirts and tube tops, or teenagers walking around with their pants around their ankles and their butts hanging out. You get the picture.

    I do think this incident may have been for show. I think she was looking to yell and make a scene and it was blown out of proportion. I feel like the establishment can ask you to be more descreet. No shoes no shirt no service. I get it. But where do they draw the line? Half a boob? A quarter? A nipple? It's a sticky situation.

  7. I can tell you, that if this had happened to me, I would have absolutely felt shamed and embarrassed and the fact that people think it's okay to shame a mother breastfeeding in public because in their opinion that the woman isn't being "discrete enough" (a definition that surely varies with the individual) makes me feel sick.

    Also, stating that this woman was walking around "topless" is such an exaggeration it's ridiculous. The problem with this idea that breastfeeding is offensive if someone doesn't do it in a corner covered up is that it represents a giant hypocrisy that exists within our culture. Women in lacy bras are plastered on billboards for all to see and girls and women walk around showing off both breasts in clothing designed to sexualize that part of their body but somehow showing any small part of your breast while FEEDING YOUR BABY is wrong and "offensive"!

    There are any number of physical habits that people might do in public that offend me but I certainly don't think it's my right to go up to someone and say ..."Hey, I can see you picking your nose right there and it offends me. You need to stop or go into a bathroom." This is not to say that I think these two acts are similar (I hate when people compare breastfeeding in public to urinating in public) but I don't think being "offended" gives you some special right to police people's behavior.

  8. I couldn't agree with you more. I nursed my daughter in public only a couple of times but did so discreetly. I did not feel the need to wave it in people's faces. I know I certainly could have, legally, but didnt for the sake of everyone. While it wasn't my job to make people feel comfortable, I also didn't feel the need to make people feel uncomfortable either since I could help it and use a cover. I suppose it was as much for my sake as the people around me.

  9. Breastfeeding my daughter for 17m now and I'm currently 8m pregnant. I couldn't agree more with you AP. I thought the same thing when I saw the video. Why is he videoing this? And why in the hell is she walking around for all to see? Hey look at me? Look what I can do? I have breastfed my daughter in public several times. Granted yes I was always covered, but not because Im ashamed or not a gung-ho advocate. Two reasons actually; one being that my daughter loves to expose me to the world at any moment, and two, there are so many things people do in public that I'd love to flip out about that I want to give them one less thing to say to me. For instance, people that discipline their children in public by spanking or yelling loudly; drawing attention. I'd love to tell them to take their business elsewhere, or read a book on proper etiquette, but here I am with my boob out? They're likely to lash out at me for that, so I cover. I wouldn't worry about ignorant readers either that don't seem to get the gist of what you were trying to stated your opinion perfectly.

  10. Well said AP. I was having a conversation with my sister (not yet a mother) and I was trying to explain to her how it feels to breastfeed in public while remaining decent and not exposing myself to the world. I sent her this link and she simply wrote "I get it now" -- again I'll say: well said.

  11. Loyal reader (and would continue to be even if I did disagree with your opinion.) But the fact is I do agree with everything you said above.

    I think that every woman has the right to breast feed where and when they want with appropriate behavior.

  12. you took the thoughts out of my head and expressed them better than i ever could.
    great post.

  13. Ashley, this was a fantastic post. I'm also a huge supporter of breastfeeding and nursed my daughter until she was almost a year, frequently in public. I never had anyone approach me and say something and I never even saw someone whisper to another - and in the later months I didn't use a cover. The reason is because I could still be discreet even without a cover. The fact that this was videoed shows her family's lack of discretion. The whole thing reeks attention stunt to me - I'd love to know how she was first approached. If she was quietly sitting next to her baby with her husband watching the older child's class while holding the nursing baby I SERIOUSLY doubt there would have been an issue. It just seems like some lactivists are looking for fights these days when there doesn't need to be one.

    For me, nursing was a special bonding moment with my daughter. I loved being physically close to her and the knowledge that my body could feed her, and the little noises and snuggles. It was incredibly emotional...I just can't imagine doing that while standing at the check out counter. I support her right to nurse wherever and whenever a woman wants - I don't support anyone just using the law to be self-righteous about it.

  14. Thank you for this Ashley! I have almost identical story. My first was formula fed from months 4-12 and my second is exclusively breastfed still at 6 months.

    I share your opinion completely and have nursed my son in numerous public places and always chose to cover. When it comes down to it, we are simply feeding our babies-- why does it have to be such a show down? Keep up the good work!!

  15. Couldnt agree more. I am not a BF mother but quite happily support all my friends who do. I will happily stick up for them when they are breastfeeding in public places and especially those who choose to extend their breastfeeding past 6 months. HOWEVER I do believe that where possible it should be done discreetly. I dont like seeing exposed breasts whether its for feeding a child or topless sunbathing on the beach. At least if someone makes me uncomfortable on the beach I can ask them to cover up or at least move somewhere else. However if I ask a Breast feeding mum to be more discreet or move away from them I am subjected to abuse. One of my friends used to breastfeed her child who would just pull up her top and expose everything and it didn't bother her, but I admit it bothered me but we really fell out with each other when I asked if there was anything that could be done to try and save me from having to see her (HUGE) breasts hanging out. Anyway I think you are very brave writing this and I am sure you will have your share of hating comments but don't let them bother you. Just some small minded people!

  16. So who's the discretion police here? If you acknowledge some people are made upset even by a woman nursing beneath a cover, just how far is a mom obligated to go to make sure other people don't feel bad? Although I personally am more comfortable a bit more covered than Mrs. Eades was, I am of the "it's never inappropriate to feed and nourish your infant, end of story" camp. And the way that staffer talked to her was beyond rude and condescending. I love your blog, but I find this post very disappointing.

  17. I also don't understand this idea what whatever is within our own comfort zone is what should be appropriate for others. I often see mothers talk about in what situations they were and weren't comfortable breastfeeding as an example of a sort of "standard" of appropriateness. "...well I wasn't comfortable breastfeeding in ______". I personally have breastfed in a bathroom because I didn't want to expose my giant engorged breasts to onlookers. On the other hand, I don't think it's my right to tell someone who who is less shy than I am that because they are comfortable with it they are wrong.

    It's not unlike what I wear to the pool during the summer. I cover up a lot because I"m still losing pregnancy weight but sometimes I see women who are the same size or larger than me in bikinis showing it all off. I think that's very brave of them and just because it's not my way and not within my comfort zone doesn't make it wrong.

    You had a problem with the way this woman went about drawing attention to this cause but I would argue that she acted courageously for those of us who are less courageous. If this had happened to me I would have probably felt embarrassed and left and cried at home and not said anything to anyone. She is a voice for people like me and her "tactics" helped draw necessary attention to this issue and I would hope that they would make people think twice before asking a breastfeeding mother (who is breastfeeding in a perfectly appropriate way in my opinion) to "cover up" or "go in the bathroom". She had her husband video the SECOND time this woman came over to bug her about covering up and in another situation, if you felt your legal rights were being violated and you were being harassed, you might want to have it on video to.

    I've read your blog for 2 years and this is the first time I've commented and it's twice in one day. Funny.

  18. I haven't seen the video so I can't speak to that - though Lactivism for the sake of publicity and playing the victim is extremely frustrating to me. Also, I can't knock your point of view, because I felt the same way before Asher (my third) was born. I would nurse in public most of the time, but always covered up, or found a dressing room to nurse in. I think what changed things for me was meeting women who were less discreet nursers and reading about the breastfeeding culture in other countries (Cambodia is an especially interesting case). I guess all that exposure helped me to realize that it wasn't something that I needed to hide or cover up and that the same exposure would help other people get over their hang-ups. My in-laws, at first, seemed a little put off by it, but I just spent a week sitting on the beach next to adults, teens, and children while proudly feeding my baby and not one of them blinked an eye or moved their chair away. I nurse my baby at his daycare in front of children of all ages and now they too "nurse" their baby dolls. I feel like I've done something positive for them. I'm not one to be totally exposed while nursing. I prefer to lift my shirt rather than pop my breast out of the neckhole, but I no longer poopoo women who do. I know that my husband isn't going to see the top of a nursing mother's breast and think "hubba hubba". :) My point is just that my view on the issues has evolved and maybe yours will too, maybe not, and that's ok. I just don't think it's fair to shame mothers who maybe aren't so discreet just because it's not for you, but go ahead and shame the nuts who do it just to get a rise out of people, that's totally different and makes all of us look bad. ;)

  19. I have to say I disagree with you on this one. You (and I, btw) feel most comfortable being discreet and using a cover, but you can't push that idea on another nursing mom anymore than you can push the idea of breast feeding in the first place. I agree the video is a bit sensationalized, but I can't say that I wouldn't get worked up if asked to feed my child in a different way (ANY differently) than I was. Don't you think your mama bear instinct would kick in? You can't get around the fact that her being asked to move/cover/whatever carries the implication that what she was doing was inappropriate, and that's what would have made me react angrily as well.

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  21. Couldn't agree more and good for you for giving your honest opinion. For those that unfollow because they don't agree with that opinion are ridiculous.

    When will we all just learn to agree to disagree on some matters. Everyone wants to be so quick to judge others that don't feel the same as they do.

    This is matter of general etiquette and appropriateness in a public place.

    Great post sister!

    Write on!!!!

  22. I totally agree with you on this...and of course can't believe people are already deleting you from their reader and forms of social media just b/c of this post. This is always such a hot topic. I breastfed my first child until he was 14 months and still my second son that just turned one. I think as you said Lucy was doing it for sensationalism and not for the actual sake of breastfeeding. I'm not saying she had to cover up but she didn't have to put it in everyone's face like she did just daring for someone to say something like she was a time bomb or something. Anyhow I totally get you on this, and I hope if people do disagree with you that they can be mature enough to agree to disagree. I don't always agree with every blog I read out there, but I respect their opinion.

  23. Who videos that and says "this is going to be fun!" ?! I hadn't seen the video yet and couldn't watch the whole thing without cringing.

    I'm in agreement with you!! Yes you should be able to feed your baby where ever you need too but I don't want to see your whole boob, it can be done tastefully and discretely.

    Or maybe I'm just too conservative?

    Now to finishing nursing my 12 day old :)

    1. Congratulations! :) I can't wait to get off of work to go home and nurse my 5 month old. It FLIES by!

    2. Congratulations! I can't wait to get home from work and nurse my 5 month old. Enjoy it - it FLIES by! :)

  24. You always keep it real! Couldn't agree with you more on this entire post. While I'm not yet a mother myself, the majority of my friends are mothers, and breast-feeding mothers at that. We had a discussion about this just the other day, and some of your exact points were made. Although I share your opinion and am obviously biased, I think you show the perfect balance. It's possible to be both a proud mother committed to breast-feeding AND a considerate, respectful public citizen.

  25. I just hit the one-year breastfeeding milestone with my son, my first child.

    Truthfully, I couldn't care less if anyone ever saw my boob while breastfeeding. I use a cover in public strictly for the benefit of those around me. Is it easier to nurse without a cover? Yes, and when I am at home--even with my girlfriends over who also have babies--we all just nurse freely & coverless because we know it doesn't offend any of us. It's natural for us.

    That being said, I have NO problem covering up in public because not everyone sees my breasts the way I do. They are here to feed my son. When I am feeding my son, they are serving a very strict, non-sexual purpose. Not everyone's on board with that, so I attempt to (within reason), show discretion so as not to bother those around me. It's a simple and straightforward way I can show respect to the people around me.

    Now, if someone gives me flack for breastfeeding whilst covered, you better believe I'll speak my mind and the receiving end will NOT appreciate what I have to say.

  26. I'm pretty sure you took the words right out of my head. I agree with every single thing you said on here. Love your honesty and strength for putting this out there!!

  27. Well said, I completely agree! I chose to bf both my babies in the car when needed, I am not comfortable doing it in public, however I have never mastered the art of not showing everything. I did buy a cover with the hope that it would allow me to do it in public but I was just never comfortable enough to do that plus my kids always want to take the cover off so then we are back to me flashing the world lol! I have absolutely no issues with anyone who does NIP kudos to them for being so confident and comfortable however I also agree that it should be done tastefully and not in a manner that abuses that right and makes others feel uncomfortable, I feel that the woman who is NIP is owed a sense of respect but also that she needs to be respectful and courteous to the others around her, walking around in view of everyone with no attempt at being modest is just asking for trouble. I guess what I am saying is there is a proper/respectful way to NIP and theres not, you cant expect to be respected when you are not respecting the opinions of the others around you. Had she had a cover on or as you said done so in a corner there would have been no issue and most likely either no one would have noticed and those that did would allow her some privacy while she nursed her baby but walking around as if to make sure everyone sees whats going on is inappropriate and asking for trouble, in my opinion.

  28. Preach. It.

    I didn't breastfeed my son, but I think breastfeeding is gorgeous & natural & just lovely all around. I find NOTHING sexual about it.

    On the other hand, there is a difference between nursing your baby in public because he needs to eat, & nursing your baby to make a statement. I've seen both.

    I've seen a woman nurse her baby in a restaurant without disturbing anyone. I've seen a woman lift her entire shirt so both breasts were exposed when only one was being used, then sitting back with a smirk as if she dared someone to say something. Both legal, both feeding their babes, but the former being..well...inappropriate.

  29. what a ridiculous woman! her, not you! Anyways, I breastfed in public, all 3 of my babies. I used my titty tent or a receiving blanket. I did not use a bathroom stall and I didn't make it obvious to people what I was doing either. I think it is just more about modesty and class on how woman go about it. I don't want everyone seeing my ladies. Those were for my babies and my baby daddy (after breastfeeding, obviously!). LOL!

    My favorite story is when Colton, my now 3 year old, was about 6 months old and we were at my older sons football practice and he was wanting to nurse so I sat in my chair and put my tent on and started to nurse him, one of the coaches came over to me and about moved the blanket so he could see him and I said "whoa whoa you might just want to wait a few more minutes" lol and he had no earthly idea that I was breastfeeding.

  30. I'm a formula mom for both personal preference and medical necessity. The guilt brought on by formula feeding a child is unreal, absurd in fact. However, the breastfeeding community received their own scrutiny. I get it. Sort of. Because again formula mom and extremely uncomfortable with boobs in public. I for one appreciate this view of a breastfeeding mom. One who knows how discreetly breastfeeding can be done in public even without a cover. One who realizes its not a show every time you feed, it's a feeding. No need to have your husband ready for your tirade on an employee trying to make the best of a situation in the middle of a state owned and child-filled facility. Wonderful post AP. We need more breastfeeding proponents like you.

  31. I agree! For me it's a modesty issue, I wouldn't go around in shorts with my rear end hanging out nor would I fly off at the mouth in front of elderly people, it's respect and modesty. At 11mos into this breastfeeding adventure, I've NIP it's unavoidable but I haven't been flagrant with my actions.

  32. PREACH SISTER! Preach!

    I really don't think I can add anything to this. I do believe you covered it all (literally) well...and respectfully.

    I am NOT one for pitty parties and that does appear that's what Mrs. Eades was looking for. I say she WOMAN UP and let HER CHILD be her #1 prioirity, not making sure that she was SEEEN and HEARD while breastfeeding.



  33. I called her ridiculous in my first comment but wanted to clarify that was after going to her youtube page and watching her video about the "discrimination". She said she had 4 kids and was too busy to cover up. Again, I am a huge advocate. I breastfed all 3 of my babies in public. But I always used a cover or made sure I was doing it without exposing myself due to my comfort level and not wanting others to be uncomfortable because of seeing my breasts. Grabbing a cover or lightweight receiving blanket or burp cloth, etc to cover up with would have been easier than continuing to argue with the woman. And her husband just made the video worse by saying "this is going to be fun". Whatever. To each their own. LOL!

  34. Fantastic post Ashely! I am very proud of you for posting something I am sure you knew would garner backlash.

    I also find it kind of funny that for a woman who wants to normalize breastfeeding she's putting a sensationalized video out for the world to see. So, did you want to normalize it or did you want to sensationalize it because I'm kind of confused here.

  35. Just watched the video for the first time and all I have to say is - "ugh." The husband especially makes me cringe. I just don't like aggressive confrontation like that. I breastfed both my babies, both times with a cover while in public, and never felt shamed or embarrassed. I wasn't shamed to be breastfeeding, and I *never* felt like a breastfeeding sell out for using a cover. It was my own personal comfort level. Those boobies are for my babies, no doubt, but other than them the only person who needs to see them is my husband. That's my OWN privacy I'm guarding, here. Not because I don't want others to feel uncomfortable, it's because I am not comfortable with other people seeing..alla that. I don't need to broadcast them out like "YOU SEE THESE PUPPIES, THEY'RE MAKIN MILK PEOPLE!". People are smart. They know what they do without a demonstration.

    That said, I'm definitely of the camp that a woman should never be forced to move from any location while nursing, if they are using a cover or otherwise being discreet about it (and if they're in a highly public/trafficked/visible location, I don't understand why a person wouldn't want a cover.) I just silently chuckled at the red-faced teenage waiter when he had to take my order at a restaurant while Annabelle was nursing (under a cover, but he knew what was going on. haha.) She was hungry, and so was I, and so there we were at a restaurant. I don't ever think someone should *have* to be resigned to a bathroom or a car when they could simply throw on a cover. That said, if their car is where *they* feel most comfortable, than by all means - go to your car. I would never, ever criticize a mom for not being more in-your-public-face about breastfeeding if doing so would make her uncomfortable. I would never want someone who is doing something as wonderful as breastfeeding to feel like a "sell-out" because they were more comfortable in their car or under a cover. Speaking of the covers, I'm not saying throw a blanket over your baby's face. Both times I used the kind of cover that looped around my neck and had the rigid, semi-circular piece in the top that held it open, so that when I looked down (and my baby looked up) we could see each other the whole time, and there was definitely enough air circulation.

    Anyways, my point is - "ugh". I'm with you, AP, the way they went about it, the attitudes, and the tones of voice made me cringe.

  36. I think it comes down to modesty. I don't know anything about Lucy Eades, but I did find out she has maybe 2 or 3 other children. Wouldn't one want their daughters to learn about being modest? That even though you CAN dress a little racy doesn't mean you SHOULD. And just because you CAN breastfeed uncovered so others can see your naked breast doesn't mean you SHOULD. And berating others for not agreeing is not ok. AND so what if I feel uncomfortable around a nursing mother (I don't). But a man moving seats away from you in Panera because you're nursing and he feels uncomfortable is OK!

    But it does seem a little hyprocritical of you because I have seen at least one picture on your instagram of you nursing you son and you can clearly see your breast. But it is your right.

  37. exactly. thank you for being so brave and posting this!

  38. Two things:

    1) Several articles that I read indicated that another mother who was breastfeeding outside the recreation center on a bench was also asked to cover up or leave minutes before the Eades family arrived by the same employee. So, I'm not totally sure the theory of 'Lucy could have breastfed discreetly in a corner even without a cover' holds true in this instance.

    2) The accounts the news articles I read seemed pretty clear to me that Eades was breastfeeding her daughter while walking up to the rec center, and the employee stopped her on her way in to tell her that she needed to cover up. Again, at that point, the employee had no idea where Eades would sit, or any of the other variables involved. And yeah, while the family has a popular YouTube channel, Eades and her husband have said in interviews that they had several encounters with the employee asking Lucy to leave or cover up which were not recorded before the dad whipped out the phone.

    This clearly wasn't the first time that someone had been asked to leave or cease breastfeeding by this employee, and that's an issue. The city of Burleson's response is an issue. Yes, I think that the Eades family intended to make a statement by video taping the third encounter with the employee...I just think that in this case, the statement that they were making was needed.

  39. YES! I just saw this video yesterday and your thoughts are EXACTLY what was going through my head. Thank you for being bold and sharing!

  40. Thank you AP!!! I am ALL FOR BREASTFEEDING. 100%. But I think there is something to be said for a little discretion, I always used a nursing cover. Yes, people need to be more accepting and comfortable with breastfeeding, absolutely. But there is definitely a line there, which you stated wonderfully. I am so happy you took a stand on this.

  41. I haven't seen the video, in truth I hadn't even heard of it. I haven't watched it, nor do I want to now.

    BUT having read what you just posted...

    I have to respectfully disagree. Yeah, according to your review it sounds like she could have handled the situation with more tact and making a video to post on YouTube seems a bit over-the-top and something I certainly wouldn't do, but I do disagree with most of what you said. If any mom wants to expose her whole breast to feed her baby - she can. (I'm just going off of what you wrote in this post). If I'm at the beach and I'm wearing a bikini top and I pull one side down to expose my whole breast to feed Ethan - I'm going to. His head ends up blocking my boob anyway unless you're hovering over me and want a sneak at the goods. I've never used a cover with him and in the heat of the summer with an almost 19 lb baby sweating against me...I'm not about to start to be respectful for other people's possible feelings. I don't go flaunting myself, like it sounds like this woman did, but if I need to/want to expose my whole breast so my son can eat, I'm going to.

    I would have done the same as her, in the fact that I would not move to feed Ethan even if there was a "more appropriate" place to do so. I'm sitting there with my husband so I can watch my older child do his thing. If I move, I can't see that. Other people can move if they are uncomfortable with me feeding my child. Sometimes it takes a grand gesture like this to wake people up to the fact that NIP needs to be supported and encouraged. After all, you yourself said this has gone viral and you and other bloggers have blogged about it bringing more attention to it.

    As far as as educating other people's children, I don't sit my friend's kids and my nieces and nephews down and teach them about breastfeeding, make them look at my boobs, etc... I just do it. I just feed Ethan, I don't cover up, they don't think twice - they know it's normal. I wrote a post about it:

    I, myself, am a discreet NIPer. I don't use a cover, but when it's not blazing hot I use a nursing tank to cover my tummy...otherwise, I'm fair game. I do it for me and Ethan - not for anyone else's comfort level.

    I love ya, I love your blog, but I disagree with you on this one! :)

  42. It is outrageously inappropriate to compare a breastfeeding mother with a person with a handicap. It's also wildly inappropriate that the man was video-taping the altercation KNOWING that "this was going to get good". They obviously wanted a show which is why this was so sad.

    I was only able to breastfeed until 5 months (for lack of supply) and in my OPINION (I feel like you need to WAY over-emphasize that this here is an opinion), I would want to be at least a little discreet. I always used a cover and I tried my darnedest to ensure I wasn't OVER-exposed at any point, but that's because I am a very modest person. It's my personal style, so to speak.

    There are so many things I want to say about the behavior of the lady in the video but I know that saying these things would lead to crazy confrontation and I simply have no time or desire to deal with that. All I have to say is I am very pro breastfeeding and I am sure that this altercation was for show and she went way overboard.

    I appreciate your honesty and the fact that you were willing to post your OPINION out here, knowing there will be schmucks who will shame you for your OPINION. Again, emphasizing that it was your opinion.

    Wow... there were a lot of words to this comment and not much was said. Sorry about that... HA! Happy Humpday!

  43. AP this is a well written post. I don't feel you are shaming anyone rather reminding people to be aware of their surroundings. I have breast fed my son for almost a year and prefer to be covered in public (although he doesn't...). But there is a big difference (as a previous poster said) between feeding your child and nursing uncovered intentionally to make your point. These "nurse-ins" I see really bug me because I think it gives breast feeders just as much of a bad reputation as good. The majority of people probably don't care if you are covered or not as long as you aren't flaunting the fact that you are doing it because its your right.

  44. I come from a bit of a different perspective because I wasn't able to nurse, but I exclusively pumped for 7 months. Just because I'm feeding my baby, does that mean I should be able to whip out my boobies and hook them up to the pump in front of everyone? Even if it was acceptable, I wouldn't do it. I want a more private space to "feed my baby." So that's why I'm all for lactation rooms as a place for nursing/pumping moms to go to feed their children instead. Though if you have the luxury to nurse anywhere, then by all means, do it!

    But even as a mom who is pro-breastfeeding, if I see another mom nursing her baby at a restaurant, I'm still going to try to sit further away. Not because I'm uncomfortable, but because if I was her, I would want some space from other patrons. I hope that doesn't come off as shaming, because it's not. It's just being respectful of someone who probably wants to nurse their baby in a quiet, undisturbed environment without prying eyes.

    1. Great comment and comparison to pumping! Couldn't agree more.

  45. amen and amen. i nursed all five of my children. at last count my grand total was like 84 months of accumulated breastfeeding. and i'm like most commenters here: not an exhibitionist, not a prude.
    in all that time and all those hungry mouths i've nursed virtually everywhere, public, private, planes, restaurants, home, hospital, stores. and in all that time i had one--ONE--man give me the creepy stare. and i stared right back. i have nursed in so many places and no one ever even knew--not because i was so secretive about it, but because if done nonchalantly and respectfully (of your own privacy, that is) it's not a huge showstopping thing.
    i don't need anyone but my husband and my ob-gyn getting the full monty, but a bit of a nip slip when feeding a babe is NBD. it's life, it happens.
    oh, and for the record--i'm no lightweight tiny boobed woman. i've gone anywhere from DDD to H when nursing. and still had no trouble keeping the girls contained.
    awesome post.

  46. I am pro "get your baby fed whichever way possible and keep him happy" kinda Momma. I am also pro NIP however way you intend. Hey, to each their own, right? NOW, would that have been ME wanting to "teach a lesson" or show that it's my legal right to NIP where ever I choose? Most likely not. I definitely see your point b/c I'm sure I'd do the same when it came to feeding my child in a decent manner. Of course,this is MY opinion as a former nursing mother (20 months strong) b/c *I* am a bit more conservative? have respect for my Husband? just don't want the general public viewing my size DD breasts while feeding my child? Whatever the reason...I would happily NIP when needed and would be as discreet as possible for MY own comfort. But I would never get offended or even tell another Mother who NIP (quite proudly and open) to cover up, etc. More power to her for feeling confident in herself to do so. I am a believer in the don't like, don't look way of thinking. I get her point as well (though the Husband recording and posting was weird. Why couldn't he just hover near his wife and defend her feeding his baby, get it done, and move on? Attention seeker, much?) Anyway, the reason why I "get" her is b/c I WAS that Mother who would dread when Jackson would cry to be fed while I was in public b/c I just didn't KNOW how to be discreet and/or didn't want to offend anyone by "exposing" my breast to people. I would get so flushed, heart racing, and sweaty b/c I feared what someone would tell me. Yes, even at the pedi office. I was the Mother who would feed her baby in the car before getting down at Wal-Mart, Target, or the grocery store so I didn't have to worry about NIP. I have fed my child in a bathroom (in a hospital, mind you) b/c someone told me to do so. I would even cover up while at home b/c I was/am the only family member to nurse and it wasn't something that other family members were "used" to. I was the nursing Mother who would have never stood up for my rights if someone would have told me to cover up or to go to another room to feed my baby. Breastfeeding is not the norm where I live and SO MANY people, esp women, get offended at just the mere thought of nursing a baby. It would have been easier to NIP if I would have known about baby-wearing as well, but that isn't the norm either. It wasn't until Jackson was older (and not really nursing that much in public b/c he was eating more solid food) that I gained the confidence and the knowledge that I can and will nurse my child where ever and whenever need be....of course, in my own discreet way. Even though, I would choose something different w/ my NIP situation that doesn't mean that every Mother has to do the same be her an attention seeking lactivist or otherwise. All I can do is just eyeroll and walk away, right? Ha.

    PS: I the "make milk, not war" comment. And I would NEVER unfollow you just b/c we all have a right to our opinion and you're the brave one to actually WRITE about it! So I say, write on, Momma. ya! xx

  47. I loved this post! I don't have kids (yet) and definitely plan on breastfeeding! However, I agree with you 100% and I appreciate you have the guts and strength to say exactly what is on your mind. You are favorite of mine and I promise, you won't lose a follower in me!

  48. I've been reading your blog awhile but never comment. I also read Becky's blog and read her post regarding the same issue. I couldn't agree with you more and shame on the parents for taking this video. They knew exactly what they were doing and the response that would follow after posting on their utube channel. It appears staged and I too feel sorry for the employee. I could see many different public facilities reacting the same way to mrs. Eades. I too breast fed my child for almost a year and in all sorts of public places, but chose to cover up for my own modesty. These people simply want attention and now they're getting it. I'm actually quite pissed after watching the video and now as I write my response. The husband sure seems quite pleased with himself after the employee gives up and walks away. The entire thing is ridiculous and now I have writers block from the frustration I have for people like this. I don't know how you banged out an entire post, but WELL DONE mama.

  49. I am so torn on this one, AP. In one instance, I really feel like there was nothing wrong with the mother feeding her baby at the reception desk. Would I do it? Probably not. But that's because of how I feel about MY body. That's my problem, ya know? I'm just not confident with it. I do hope to be on this third go-round. But I have a lot of issues nursing and so NIP hasn't always been easy peasy for me. There's a lot of "situating" to be done, if you know what I mean.

    But on the other hand - I would we PISSED OFF if my husband filmed something of this nature. Now, obviously, since they have a youtube channel, this was something the wife was okay with. But I do believe that the husband who was filming was probably thinking "Hey! I can put this on youtube and it will go viral!"

    Am I glad that this is bringing more attention to NIP? Absolutely. I cringe when I hear about moms being shamed for NIP. It's their right and their baby is hungry!

    But I definitely feel like this was a deliberate publicity stunt to possibly make the family internet famous, get tv interviews, etc.

  50. I'd be more upset with my husband for taping an encounter like this and broadcasting it on YouTube than I would be for someone asking me to cover myself. Loved your perspective and 100% agree with everything you said. I NIP and am always sensitive to my surroundings. I actually prefer to nurse in the comforts of my car than sit in a hard chair in a restaurant. To each their own I suppose.

  51. I agree 110%! I am all for breastfeeding in public and I'm so glad it's legal. But the government can't (and shouldn't) spell out every detail for every law. In order to all live together happily everyone needs to be willing to give and take a little.

    Also, I'm sorry but the whole way it was filmed and done makes me think she is acting like a toddler or teenager testing their boundaries and throwing a fit about it. Yeah, legally (and obviously for other reasons like, love) we are required to provide for our children but when my 3 year old throws a fit about wanting something, I don't feel like I "legally" need to give into him. She seems to be acting a little immature about how she went about expressing her view.

  52. Well done!! There is always going to be someone just trying to stir things up to get a rise out of people!

  53. The fact that people are deleting you from all forms of social media makes me realize they are being JUST as close minded as they are accusing you of being. Go on with your bad self.

  54. Totally agree. I nursed my son for 20 months, often in public, very often without a cover, but very discreetly. Half the time, my husband wouldn't even notice what I was doing.

    Do I feel like I have a right to feed my child when he's hungry? Absolutely. Do I think that everyone is comfortable seeing an exposed breast in public? No. So, I tried to be considerate of that.

  55. Spot on! I am thankful that I was able to breastfeed my three little ones when and where needed; however, I could not shake the impression that this video and circumstances were contrived and so deliberately provocative. This woman has not done breastfeeding mothers any favors.

  56. Fantastic post, beautifully written. I couldn't agree more.

  57. Fantastic post. Thoughtfully, respectfully, and beautifully written. Couldn't agree more. xo

  58. I'm sorry, but this line of reasoning is fallacious...simply because "appropriateness" is relative. When did Ms. Eades' behavior become "inappropriate" for you, personally? When she was nursing without a cover in her daughter's dance class (not shown on the video)? When she approached the reception desk while nursing? When she chose to pull her tank top to one side to nurse instead of employing the "two tops" method? (BTW, whoever is characterizing Eades as "walking around topless" needs an optometry appointment, STAT - I can't see even a hint of cleavage in that video.) Or was it the aggressive manner in which she chose to respond to the rec center's requests?

    It's clear that you, had you been in Eades' position, would have been more comfortable nursing in a more discrete manner - excellent! That is your choice and your right. Just as it is your choice and your right to post professional photos of yourselve breastfeeding your son to your blog or breastfeeding candids on your IG account. But "appropriate" behavior to you is not the same for everyone. If you asked 50 breastfeeding mothers how they'd react in a specific, NIP situation, you'd probably get at least 15 different answers (cover, blanket, no cover whatsoever, nursing tank, two-tops, find a bathroom, find a less crowded place, sit on the public park bench, get in my car, etc, etc, etc), the details of which would probably depend on several different variables. This is why I don't feel we can say "breastfeed in public all you want, just be APPROPRIATE about it"... what does that even mean? To me, that's like someone who isn't so sure how they feel about homosexuality saying "It's fine if you're gay, just don't flaunt it." Um. Okay.

    On a completely different note, there's been a lot of talk about the Eades being media and fame hungry. Their YouTube Channel does contain, in my opinion, a lot of TMI over-share. However, whatever their motivation, I'm thankful that videos like the Eades' public breastfeeding experience in Burleson are getting media coverage... if only to remind businesses that women do have the right to breastfeed openly in their establishments.

    1. Oof, just to clarify, I also prefer a more discrete approach to NIP (although I never use a cover), and I don't feel any of the photos you've posted are distasteful (felt the need to point that out afte reading the comment about your IG feed)... I really just feel we can't put any qualifiers on our assertions that we support breastfeeding moms...doing so lends ammunition to those who would rather breastfeeding moms just stay at home.

    2. Love this response. Eloquently put as always, Kate.

  59. {part one--SORRY!! HAHA}

    Oh girl, where do I begin. First off, I think discussion and differing opinions are important as they bring a variety of perspectives to the table. As a society, there is not one topic out there that every single person can agree on. Not one. That includes public breastfeeding. And before I begin, you already know that I love your blog and I hope I need not say that.

    However, I have to say that many people have lost sight of what is important here. What many people have forgotten is the main problem in America and that being that "no one wants to see that, so cover it up." PUBLIC BREASTFEEDING, discretion, cover, or not, should NEVER be a shameful thing. Ever. Breastfeeding. Instead, everyone is focusing on the video, what was said in the video, the way the husband acted, and how this was all just an activist trying to make a point. And in the midst of all that, we have completely forgot about that baby that is eating. Receiving it's nourishment, from what we say is the best source out there, while the whole rest of the country goes about fighting back and forth as to how much discretion this mom used.

    The reason why I did not even address the video in my blog post is because it is not my place to say what was or wasn't done for attention. It wasn't my place to say what I would have or wouldn't have done. It's not my place to say what did or didn't happen because neither one of us were there. We were not there before the filming started, nor were we there after. We do not know what is true or what isn't. Nor do I care.

    What I did care about was the comments that I read by others. The viewpoints of all these women {and men} about how women should use a cover, should go sit in a quiet corner, stay home, pump a bottle, or be aware of others so not to make them uncomfortable. The thing is, none of those things matter under the law. Not one of them. What we want or don't want to see doesn't matter. Being uncomfortable or being forced to teach our children something new while out in public is not a right or a law.

    The thing is we can all fight over what the definition of "discretion" is all day. Some say you must use a cover. Some say that some boob is okay. Others say none at all. Some say it should be in a corner. Others say in the bathroom or car. What do I say? DO IT WHEREVER AND WHENEVER. It's only shameful because of the public that makes it shameful. We aren't ashamed by breasts on women who aren't feeding a child, why are we so ashamed by then once a baby is attached?

    Do I hold my breast out waiting for my child to latch on? No. Do I walk around while breastfeeding in public? No. Do I use a cover more often than not? Yes. But if other women show more breast than I do, are able to do it more publicly then me? Then I don't even bat an eyelash. If nothing else, I admire it and it pushes me to be more comfortable with

    My question to you, AP, is had you not seen the video, would your blog post still been the same? We only saw a glimpse of what went on, and we, women, BREASTFEEDING moms, are jumping all over her and shaming her. That's what kind of hurts me. That instead of sticking up for her, regardless of whether or not we would have done that in her place, we are ridiculing her for the way she went about feeding her baby.


    She's breastfeeding. I love that. Lets celebrate breastfeeding and the rights that we have. We need to stand together, and man it saddens me to see so many people stand apart on this issue. There should be no high fives or amens on this, simply put. We quickly lost focus of the major problem on this issue {women being shamed because breasts are sexualized the way that they are in this country} and instead are saying..."I would NEVER have done that, how dare she, and she is making us look bad," we should be sticking up for her and the rights that she has.

    I hope that you understand where my heart is on this. IThis is such an important topic and it saddens me to see the wrong focus being about the video instead of the rights that breastfeeding women. I wish no video was ever even attached. I wish we didn't have to sit today and question the motives of the mother, how the father acted, and whether she is an "Activist" or not. Can't we focus on the fact that she is a breastfeeding mother {YES!} and she is doing it in public {AS HER RIGHT} and that maybe, just maybe, it is wrong to ask her to stop, to go to the restroom, or to cover up. Whether WE would do it so publicly or not,`simply put, doesn't matter. Just as whether the public would be embarrassed or not, does not matter. Just like having to be forced to teach children {who should already know} what breasts are made for, should not matter.

    What should matter is that we are humiliating a breastfeeding mother. Shaming her for something she has every right to do. Comparing her to us, to other breastfeeding mothers, to what we would or wouldn't do. Video tape or not. I just wish I saw more support on the issue versus fight over "how much breast is too much." If it means feeding a child? Then it's never too much.

    I know where your heart was on this one, and I hope you understand where my heart is as well. xox

    1. Becky, I think your comments are actually better than your own blog post! I read both yours and Ashley's posts and I find it fascinating how everyone is responding. You both have presented complete reasonable claims and now I'm in the middle, whereas before I was 100% on Ashely's side. Thank you for presenting a thoughtful and clear rebuttal.

    2. I wasn't planning on commenting at all because I see so many great points and so many people thinking and expressing their opinions, and I didn't know how to word mine, but it, Becky. Black and white, plain as day, it's her right

  61. Totally agree momma! I'm not going to go into a diatribe here because I am supportive of whichever way is best for baby! I supplemented and used a breast shield with baby girl #1 and had supply issues. I breasted exclusively with baby girl #2 until I returned to work and my supply plummeted. I successfully nourished both girls with RTF formula until they turned a year old.

    Thank you for writing this!

  62. Putting on my lawyer hat (and setting aside my bitter nursing-didn't-work-out-very-well-for-us-and-I-had-to-exclusively-pump hat) but I'm struggling with this post. You cannot say that an action is lawful, but when executed in a "tacky" should be discouraged or prohibited. That isn't how laws work, and while you might wish society adopted your view (or the popular view...or your family's view or your church's view or any other variety of views that find their way out there being proclaimed as the "right" way) of how to do things, that is a slippery slope I'm not willing to go down.

    Do I think that people can behave in a manner that I don't agree with? Yes. Do I think people show more of themselves in public than I feel comfortable? Yes. Do I think it is fair to tell nursing mothers that they need to be They are first and foremost feeding another human and trying to analogize what they are doing to someone wearing too low cut of a shirt, too short of a shirt or shorts, too tight of a dress, or a handicap (?!) isn't analagous or worthwhile. It simply isn't the same and shouldn't be discussed as though it is.

    1. Oh man, I'm missing a few key words here or there. Apologies! (I'm clearly used to editing my writing...)

    2. I'm not saying that nursing in public should be prohibited or discouraged. Absolutely not! I'm a big proponent of feeding your baby when he is hungry, whenever wherever with whatever you want. But I, personally, don't see anything wrong with being considerate of others around you when you are doing so in a public forum. Why is that such a terrible thing?

      Yes, you have every legal right to be there nursing your baby. Just as every other person in attendance has their own legal right to be there. Why is it too much to ask to be considerate if your actions are making someone feel uncomfortable? Just like the public has made NIP a shameful action, the public has apparently made thoughtful consideration of others shameful too.

      Can't we all just hold hands and sing Kumbaya?

      And I agree- it's just not something that can be compared to sex in public, the disabled, other "acts" that some many not wish to see in public, etc.

    3. Common courtesy. THAT's the phrase I was searching for. Is that a lost art? Do we as mothers need not be courteous when it comes to matters of motherhood? Again. I get the lawful aspect of this. She had every legal right to be there. But does she have a legal right to disregard the feelings of others in a PUBLIC setting who have a right to feel the way they do?

      I don't care if this isn't an Amendment or a Commandment or any thing else than be "defined" in a book. I just think that sometimes, we as nursing mothers, need to be considerate about how the public may feel. And then maybe they'll be more considerate and tolerant of us- rather then being all intense and in their faces over it. Go ahead, revoke my breastfeeding card.....

    4. AP, I think where you lose me on this...."I am pro a mom feeding when he is hungry whenever, wherever with whatever, BUT, I personally don't see anything wrong with being considerate of others around you in public."

      Some public doesn't even want to see a cover. Some public doesn't even want to see partial boob, with you sitting in the corner at all. Some public are embarrassed and uncomfortable and feel they are placed in an awkward situation just knowing what you are doing, regardless of how discreet you are. So how do you know when you are being courteous or not? How do you know where that fine line is on making someone else uncomfortable?

      That's the problem. I asked the wrong question earlier. Let me rephrase this...

      If you were sitting in the corner, breastfeeding your child quietly {without a cover, barely showing anything, discreetly as you have stated is most important to be courteous to others} and someone came up to you and said you should cover up... how would you feel? I bet you would feel angry, embarrassed, and probably bring up the fact that you have that right and no one should violate such right.

      Are we now saying that one's rights were more important than the others? That one was doing something better than the other? That because you were a little more covered up and went about it more quietly then someone else then you should not be glared at or asked to stop? But that other mom... that one across from you that sits cheering her daughter on during gymnastics, sitting amongst a group of people, with a baby who now begins to cry.. and she... she wants to continue watching her older daughter proudly, so she decides to feed her baby right there... next to a mom with a child, who maybe happens to see because he happens to be looking that direction. Tell me, was she wrong to do so? Should we be shaming her for not walking away and going to do it privately?

      Man, I'm sorry for commenting again...I so badly don't want you to think that I am trying to fight you on this... just trying to bring a different perspective to the table. One that shows that we are all equal, public breastfeeding shouldn't be ripped apart based on what is "appropriate versus not", and no breastfeeding mother or situation should be viewed as shameful when it comes down to the fact that we are feeding our children... AND LIVING LIFE at the same time.

      This whole public breastfeeding shaming deal is just so saddening as it is no different than any other mommy war out there.

      How are we pro breastfeeding BUT only if done a certain way....

    5. I'm not discussing the situation that you are talking about, the one where a nursing mother showed courtesy to those around her and continued to be "shamed." Whereas you weren't talking about the video in your post, that is the primary subject of my post. I'm discussing and calling into question Mrs. Eades actions, the sensationalism of her actions. How she went about supporting her cause.

      I'm not talking about the mother who was off in the corner, showing discretion, trying her best not to ruffle any "public feathers" who was approached multiple times and publicly shamed.

      So to be honest, I'd like to stick to what I wrote about. You're calling into question a whole other scenario which I am not prepared to discuss at this moment. That wasn't the design of my post.

      I'm not saying that one nursing mother's right is greater than the next. I never said that. I never implied that, at least I don't think I did. And a nursing mother who exposes her breasts without thinking twice, isn't a better breastfeeding mother than the one who chooses to do so discreetly on a park bench.

      I don't think I am any less pro-breastfeeding if I think a nursing mother could (should?) show a little consideration to the public around her, if that is where she is choosing to nurse. That's what is bothering me. Just because I think it doesn't hurt anyone to show consideration, doesn't mean I should have my breastfeeding card revoked. It doesn't mean I'm less anything.

      I just think that sometimes, we as nursing mothers, need to be considerate about how the public may feel. And then maybe they'll be more considerate and tolerant of us- rather then being all intense and in their faces over it.

      The sexualization of breasts isn't going to change any time soon. It just isnt. And no number of nurse-ins or other protests is going to speed up the public's change of heart. They're going to feel uncomfortable. They're going to feel awkward. Is it right? NO. But can we, as nursing mothers, be the "bigger people" and perhaps show them some consideration first? And maybe they'll eventually follow suit?

  63. I personally do use a nursing cover when I breastfeed in public (which is rare because my daughter doesn't do well under a cover), but I definitely don't think that all women should be required to use one or sit in a corner. Yes, the video is a little "in your face," but that is most likely because it wasn't the first time that she was approached about covering up. And their continued response of "we offered a private place" really isn't a helpful solution at all and it's certainly not okay. Basically they are saying, we support breastfeeding but only in a private place. Would I personally be walking around breastfeeding? No. I am all about some modesty and I definitely would never just plop my boob out there. But I do have to say that I don't think it's fair to say that other women who are comfortable with doing it more "freely" should have to be "appropriate" for others in the setting. That's like saying that homosexuals shouldn't hold hands/kiss/hug in case there are others who aren't comfortable with that. I know there are some women out there who may intentionally show stuff while breastfeeding to make a statement and I'm not supporting that at all. I'm just saying if you don't want to use a cover or sit in a corner, you shouldn't have to when your intention is truly to just feed your child. And I love Becky's comments and must agree!

  64. PS: I posted about this today, too! : )

  65. Oh, and another ps (sorry!), I was thinking, what if someone asked me not to pray in a restaurant because it was making other customers who weren't Christians uncomfortable? That wouldn't be acceptable. Seems a little similar to me? Anyway, I think that one commenter was a little crazy to say she's unfollowing you. I don't read blogs much anymore, but I do love your Instagram and plan to still follow. : )

  66. While I don't agree with everything you wrote, I certainly respect it. I think that is what is missing here: respect. I don't think breastfeeding is offensive whatsoever, but I certainly wouldn't want to disrespect anyone by making them feel uncomfortable if they feel it's offensive. It does, however, bother me when a woman is asked to cover up or go somewhere more discreet. If you're comfortable enough to speak to her about it, you should be comfortable enough to coexist with it. Also, I understand not wanting to expose unknowing children to it, although I think they SHOULD know. Like you said, it's not our job to decide what, when, or how to teach others' children. I, on the other hand, cannot wait until my 5 month old baby girl grows up and (hopefully) sees a brave, smart, loving mother NIP and asks me what she's doing; I'll proudly tell her that mama is feeding her sweet little baby just like I used to feed you.

    As for the video of the obnoxious sounding woman? I'm not watching that nonsense. Ain't nobody got time for that.

  67. Non-nursing, non-pregnant-lady here, but food for thought: I live in Queens, one of the most diverse areas of New York City, itself already a very diverse place. There are so many different cultures and languages and ethnicities represented here - it's really unique. Something that I think about is how different cultural norms are for different folks. In some cultures, close talking is appropriate; in others, it isn't. For folks of other cultures, hugging, kissing, and holding hands affectionally is appropriate; for others it isn't. And as for breastfeeding - what may be considered "indecent" or "in your face" to some cultures is totally appropriate for others. I'm not trying to land on one side or the other of this argument - I see what people on either side of the fence are saying and understand both perspectives - but I just wanted to throw it out there that we can't always assume people will have the same comforts/discomforts we will, simply because we don't know their background/ cultural context. My $0.02. Keep on keeping on, AP.

  68. Wow...I'm late to reading this post and I actually just read through all your comments. I haven't watched the video, but I have to say I agree with you. Before having a baby, I was one of those people who was uncomfortable with women breastfeeding in public...I KNOW it's a natural thing and I'm a woman, but it still made me a little sqeemish. Now that I have an 11 month old and I still breastfeed, I totally get it. Like today, I was at Ikea, I had a hungry baby and I didn't have my nursing cover, and there wasn't a convenient, discreet place to nurse, so I had to whip my boob out because my child was hungry. I'm all for NIP, you're baby is your priority, but until I had a baby, I was ignorant to it all.

  69. Wow. This post got blown way out of proportion! I really think all you were saying was that Mrs. Eades was a little dramatic in the way she went about this and we should all be considerate in life (even breast feeding aspects) with, obviously, your first priority being the well being of your children. And, that, sometimes, when championing a cause, being intense/in your face/exaggerated/overly dramatic/etc. can turn more people away than bring supporters. At least that's what I got out of it. Never once did I think you were against NIP. Which seems crazy that anyone would think that given you actually do it! I applaud you for being honest (I mean it is your blog haha).

  70. I love your voice, I love your cajones, I love the gripping honesty and humor you emanate in your posts. Being a woman who is not a mother, I haven't experienced all of the conditions, first-hand, that you're speaking of... however, I did have dozens of people post that video in my newsfeed and thought it was ridiculously distasteful, and not at all what it was portrayed as. I am a proponent of mommies feeding their babies, hands down--but her husband acted like a total smart ass, camera at the ready the whole time, and the staff member was hardly condescending. I thought the employee was completely appropriate and accommodating in handling what was obviously a sensitive situation. I think breastfeeding has become such a hot topic, that mothers tend to embrace it as this super liberating public act, while arguing that they're just nourishing the child. Fabulous--so let it be about that--not exposing every passerby to your activity. There tend to be few voices who speak up about supporting BF/NIP who aren't overtly Just to round out my point, I think the bulk of the inappropriateness of this situation was its apparent reflection of a publicity stunt. Well written, well thought out. Thank you for another post that keeps this single girl enamored with your Mommy Blogger nature. :*

  71. i just have to say amen. agreed. you rock. 100%. love this. love you.


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