Saturday, February 25, 2012

Must we really have these people on our screens?

I read a blog this week which bought to my attention the video below. It's a discussion on Loose Women about breastfeeding pictures not being allowed on Facebook and they generally discuss whether breastfeeding should be done in public at all. It's awful and totally one-sided.



I know it's tabloid television and by it's nature it is designed to push my buttons and so I should just leave well alone. There are plenty of other great blog posts pointing how awful these women are, but, BUT every time I think of it I just cannot get the nervous breastfeeding mother, who already feels uncomfortable feeding in public, or even the potential mother who is weighing up how to feed her baby and may have been watching this, out of my mind. This is certainly not going to help them feel more able or more confident and for that they should be ashamed, as should ITV.

The opinions they express consider boobs to be purely sexual things. Lisa Maxwell compares showing anything while breastfeeding to a man flashing his genitals and feels that a woman's husband my be offended by her putting pictures of breastfeeding onto Facebook. Whatever else breasts can be used for, they are for FEEDING INFANTS. We are mammals, the clue is in the name.

She also suggests as a breastfeeding mother herself that we should all follow her example and feed in the car or worse in the toilet. Good grief! Where do I begin? Well, for starters I would like Lisa Maxwell to not be allowed to eat or drink in public and instead be banished to the toilet, as I find her rather offensive.

People should feel comfortable feeding their children in public, no matter how they choose to do it. I did not see her suggesting that those who choose to bottle feed should be shut away and of course they shouldn't. We need to normalise breastfeeding and until we get used to seeing people doing it and seeing images of it, this will not happen. We see enough images of women's breasts in our mainstream media that no-one bats an eye at and yet as a society we do not seem able to get away from schoolboy sniggering and nudging when it comes to a perfectly natural thing.

Some women have real, actual problems when breastfeeding. Sore nipples, difficulty with latching their baby on, problems with milk supply, mastitis, blocked milk ducts to name just a few. These are the things that we should be concentrating on helping them with and debating how best to do this. Worries about where they are feeding or if they are offending people should not even come into their minds.

Unfortunately with people like this in the mainstream media being allowed to spout their offensive views many women will feel uncomfortable and to those I say this. I have fed my children in coffee shops, restaurants, on trains, in pubs and libraries and I have never received a negative comment or even a look that made me feel uncomfortable. Most people ignore it completely and those that don't have only ever given me a smile. It is just a shame that Loose Women chooses not to have those type of people on their show.

So, finally I leave you with this. A picture of me feeding my baby, when we were still in the delivery suite, because I am not ashamed and it's is a more pleasant image to leave you with than those over-made up harridans in the video.


For a much more positive and sensible discussion about Facebook's new rules please read this article from the Guardian, which first bought my attention to the issue. 


24 comments:

  1. That show seems to be a way of bullying women from what I've seen. Far from being about interesting debate it is all horribly judgemental. Whatever their opinions it is the legal right of the child and mother to b/feed where they choose. Don't you wish someone would organise a milk-in in their audience?

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    1. Yes, I totally do!

      They also referred to lactivist yummy mummies staging a flash mob feeding in coffee shops. Grrrrrrr. Ironically the only time I ever watch any of it is if MM asleep and I'm feeding NM. I never manage more than 5 mins.

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  2. I completely agree with you. These wretched women are broadcast at a time of day that is most likely to be watched by mothers or mothers-to-be and they should think more carefully about how their words can impact on those watching.

    I am not breastfeeding as I have triplets, but I think I really would have been nervous about breastfeeding in public. It is such a shame some mothers have been pressured into going into a toilet just to breastfeed their babies.

    My friends have been tutted at whilst breastfeeding by passers by and I would love to know why they think that it is acceptable to broadcast their rude and ignorant opinions in this manner.

    I on the other hand am made to feel guilty for not breastfeeding! We can't win!

    Being a mum is tough enough, give us a break!

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    1. Your last comment sums it up. It shocks me that people feel they are entitled to an opinion either way. Just let us feed our children!

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  3. It's horrendous viewing.The only woman on the panel to have actually NOT agreed with them was Carol who has never had children.I'll share this post about (.)(.)

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  4. It was horrendous viewing and the only woman on the panel was Carol who hasn't had children.I'll share you post about (.)(.)

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    1. Bugger.Meant to of read the only woman on the panel who didn't agree was Carol

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    2. She was the best of a bad bunch, but even she referred to 'lactivist yummy mummies.' Grrrrr

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  5. Great blog. I totally agree with everything you've said. I can just never understand why breast feeding is made into such a big deal by the media?! It truly baffles me that anyone could be offended by pictures of a woman feeding her baby - the most natural thing on earth. I have breast fed all 3 of my girls and am still feeding my youngest and have found it such a wonderful, positive experience. I have never encountered any negative comments or stares when feeding in public and if anyone were to say anything I really wouldn't care less. To my mind you REALLY have to be looking hard to see anything anyway!! Comments like those on Loose Women fill me with dismay.

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    1. I totally agree and you are quite right, the way they were talking you would think women had both boobs hanging out in restaurants. It is all a bit baffling

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  6. What a beautiful photograph. And such wise words. Like you, I was surprised at the one-sided nature of the discussion on Loose Women. Fine, share those views about breastfeeding in public - but then balance it with another more positive view. Great post. x

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    1. I kept expecting one of them to air a sensible view, but they didn't. Even Carol who's view was a little more sympathetic referred to Yummy Mummy lactivists.

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  7. Well said. I just can't believe they could be so narrow minded and to not think of the fact that there main audience is women at home, many of then new mums was so stupid of them. I saw some great photos of all of them today either wearing next to nothing or exposing their whole bum! I mean how can they think it's okay to do that and not show women breastfeeding. I have never even shown an inch of flesh whilst feeding in public. Makes me so angry! Beautiful photo x

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    1. They are an absolute disgrace aren't they. Never mind how my partner feels about bf photos, how do their kids feel about photos of them dressed like teenagers falling out of clubs

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  8. really good post and beautiful image.

    I think my smallest would punch me if I tried to feed her in the toilet, not to mention since half of her is in a body cast she really wouldn't fit in a cubicle.....

    jane x

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    1. Quite, although as I read some of these comments last night my 9mo was messing about at the boob. If we'd have been out I would have been on full view!

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  9. I can't watch those bitter old harpies, would put me right off my lunch.

    There was a similarly negative piece on bf a while back on Daybreak or Lorraine (can't recall now). Funny how a number of formula companies have a lot of advertising on ITV isn't it? Obviously not advertising to newborns but still getting their brand names out there.

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    1. Don't get me started on formula advertising. The toddler follow on milk drives me mad. The assumption that we need to buy their crap to give our kids the nutrients they need, when they can get it from food and drink. Grrrrrr

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  10. I'm still glad that breastfeeding is on the rise - despite horrible things like this on TV and all the adverts for formula milk on tv. I'm lucky to get to see births at work, and assist surgeons by being their scrub nurses in the operating theatre for c sections and forceps deliveries. After birth the mums are asked how they plan to feed baby. I've noticed myself, the increase in those saying they intend to breast feed. Good for them!!

    I only wish I could have successfully completed breastfeeding with my boy. He had issues in utero then after birth was in Special Care for a week. I expressed milk using horrendous ancient METAL machines on trollies with metal cogs and wheels... He was tube fed it as had no sucking reflexes and then he was fed by syringing it into him. He was then able to try on the breast. He struggled so bad, and he was so teeny (4lbs 4oz) that he would end up screaming in hunger. He wanted to eat so much. I was expressing in the hospital every 2-3 hours as much as that ancient machine could squeeze out my boobs and he would still need suplimented with special milk from the hospitals SCBU. In the end a week or two later when we were home, I struggled bad. He still didn't know whether he was meant to lay there to get the milk (like the tube and syringe) or whether he was to chomp up and down (like the bottle he got in SCBU) or to massage with his mouth (on the breast). In the end for both our sanities I got my Dad to take me to Tesco in the middle of the night one night (Thank goodness for their 24hour stores!!) and bought a steriliser and milk. I never got the chance to breastfeed in public... but I would have and done so proud!!

    It's the way we thrived years ago before formula existed! We'd not BE HERE LIVING AND SURVIVING if it wasn't for our BREASTS being used to feed our children. These types of chat shows, and other negative things towards breastfeeding NEED STAMPED OUT. It's disgusting. It's so natural to breastfeed... it's how we are here today living!

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    1. Thank you so much for you comment and for sharing your experience. It gladdens me to hear that you think more people are at least choosing to give bf a go. It's keeping them going that is the next hurdle.

      I'm sorry that you couldn't feed your baby, it sounds awful and I know that many people who have babies in special care struggle. So confusing for baby. Expressing milk is horrible. I hate doing it. A healthy, happy baby is the most important thing though.

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  11. I definitely believe in breastfeeding, but didn't want to be seen in all my un'glory' - I'd rather keep my boobs to myself , my husband and my baby). For me, a breastfeeding cover by Bebe au lait (there are other companies who do similar) was the answer. It has been interesting, however, to witness the reactions of the men in my life (my husband, Dad, Bro-in-law). I don't wish to offend them, but even when I'm covered up, my Dad and Bro-in-law find it uncomfortable and would rather leave the room. Doesn't stop me, but I do find it interesting.

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  12. Fantastic Post Emily. I find Loose Woman a really bitchy show, which is very tabloid, but as you say anything that is made to discourage breastfeeding is not helpful at all. Plus really they should be forward a balanced opinion, which they seen unable to do so

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  13. *applauds loudly*
    I find it bizarre in this day and age that we're still even having this discussion. The photo of you is absolutely lovely.

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  14. Big cheer from this house! That picture is beautiful and because I was always worried about offending people I never took a photo of me feeding my son and it is my biggest regret! x

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