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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » "Not your Grandpa's family values" (Page 1)

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Author Topic: "Not your Grandpa's family values"
romanylass
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http://www.laalternative.com/index.php/2006/09/15/not-your-grandpas-family-values/

quote:
. Imagine the Campaign: Democrats fight for families! Fair wages! Birth choices! People over corporations! The right to choose your education! Freedom from government tyranny! The integrity of our bodies is sacrosanct! Our choices are our own! Families of all kinds have the right to be! And really, if women are able to publicly breastfeed their babies in peace, then they finally have the right to be topless. Really, how could we lose?
This article touches on a lot of issues that matter to me as a parent and I find myself frustrated that Democrats ( and other liberal parties- I mostly identify as Green) either don't touch on or hold an opposing viewpoint. Another which the article doesn't tackle, but which I think is highly important, is that most liberal activism for mothers takes the route of universally funded child care, maternity leave, etc. I think these are important, very important. every parent needs to be able to choose not work or not work and to have adequate care, leave and wages.But what if a mother does not wish to work? Some feminists will treat this almost as treachery. Why is it that my political philosophies should effect how I feel about being home with my children?
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ketchupqueen
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On the same note, I believe in the right to birth choices and the right of a woman to have a birth, home or otherwise, attended by a midwife if she so wishes, but I, as a woman who has chosen two inductions with epidurals in the hospital, resent being classed as evil or stupid or mindless for this choice. I had a hard time reading that, it had some good points but couched them in very intensely provocative and often offensive terms.
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MightyCow
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I support any initiative to have more topless women.
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Storm Saxon
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quote:

Caesarean sections are on the rise (in Brazil the rate is up to 80 percent, here in the U.S. its hitting 30 percent and climbing); did you ever wonder why?

Holy carp! 80% ceasarean in Brazil?!?

As to why, well, at heart the argument seems to be that the unborn child is under the purview of the state, which is to say that the state has final say.

quote:

And if you do breastfeed, just try to do it in public. People sneer, managers ask you to move along, police officers write tickets. Heres what Democrats need to back: a curb on the ceaseless marketing of infant formula, as if profit were more important than health. And for the babieswe should repeal the nudity laws too.

I would be curious to see someone argue that the sensitivities of ___________ trumps breast-feeding.

quote:

So really, its time for Democrats to embrace the idea of school choice and allow for a free market of ideas.

I agree. A fair and equitable voucher system is workable, though it has its own problem.

[quote]

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Tresopax
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quote:
Really, how could we lose?
Because some of those values may be wrong and dangerous - especially if taken to an extreme. In particular "our choices are our own" is a short-sighted way of looking at individual choice, and is likely to lead to all sorts of unethical behavior. In reality, our choices influence other people in all sorts of ways, and thus they aren't simply our own choices to make. That's why you aren't allowed to choose to kill someone, or steal from someone, or do all sorts of other unlawful and/or unethical things.
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Artemisia Tridentata
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quote:
Really, how could we lose?
You, evidently, are too far removed by time or location to remember "Freedom Academies" in the South during the 60's and early 70's. The generation that lost their chance for a decent education will provide good argument aganst your voucher schemes.
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Will B
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Please clarify. The government funded private education for the poor in the 60's and 70's? I was in a private school during this period (GA), and it's the first I've heard of it.
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mr_porteiro_head
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The reason why cesarian births are so popular in Brazil is because of class perceptions. It is considred low and base for a woman to give birth vaginally, and more refined and upper-class to give birth by cesarian.
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Storm Saxon
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Interesting.
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Artemisia Tridentata
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This was the attempt to bypass the segregation of public schools by setting up private schools for everyone who could afford it. (which meant white students) The "Freedom Academies" (or "Segregation Academies") were never adequately funded, staffed or supervised and, all but a very few were sub-standard. At the same time, the support for public education fell to zero. White Voters had their children in the private schools and had no interest in supporting the public schools. So the conditions and standards of the public schools were "third world" at best.

I was playing in a Military band, based in Montgomery AL at the time. We spent most days in the schools of the Southern states. They were truly pitiful.

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dkw
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Pretty much everyone I talked to about it while I was pregnant was surprised or even shocked that I wanted to try natural childbirth. Several people told me that I'd never be able to go through with it.

There were two nursing students present in the hospital when I went in, and the supervisor asked if they could observe, because they never seen a vaginal delivery at all and when they came in she told them this was a very rare event because very few people do natural childbirth anymore.

In our discharge group I was the only one who hadn't had a cesarean.

And I see about the same level of community support (none) for the fact that I'm breastfeeding and we're using cloth diapers. One of my aunts even gave us a large package of pampers for when we "give up." And the "breastfeeding support bag" that the hospital gives out has formula samples in it!

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Storm Saxon
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I'm amazed, considering the well-known problems with formula.
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mr_porteiro_head
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DKW -- I wonder if it's a regional thing. Natural childbirth and breastfeeding are very much supported out here.
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dkw
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When I asked other pregnant women if they were planning on breastfeeding, the most common reaction was "that's just not my style."

And with the standard disclaimer that there are good and valid reasons for some women not to breastfeed -- style is, IMO, not one of them.

edit: mph, I suspect that you're right about the regional differences.

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Stephan
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I personally could care less if a woman wants to breast feed in public. But why would they want to with all the pervert gawkers out there?
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
But why would they want to with all the pervert gawkers out there?
To feed their baby?
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KarlEd
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"Perver gawkers" seems a bit strong, to me. Breast feeding in public in our culture is relatively unusual and although I would consider it rude to "gawk", I can't say that it would be in any way unnatural or perverted to take note that it was happening. I'm also relatively certain the majority of that kind of thing would lessen if the act itself was more prevalent (and therefore less unusual).
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Theaca
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There's really nothing to gawk AT except a blanket if it's done carefully...

I was at a baby shower last Sunday and a woman there breastfed during the shower. I thought that was pretty neat. Appropriate, somehow.

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ketchupqueen
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I never use a blanket, and there's still nothing to gawk at.

And even if there was, the appropriate social response to breastfeeding where I live is glance over, see baby is eating, smile and make eye contact with mama, then turn away and give her some privacy until she's done (unless you're a friend or family member, then you may approach, sit down, and talk, looking only at mama's face.) That's what everyone here does, and it makes breastfeeding a very comfortable and natural experience.

DKW, it's gotta be regional differences, because even the women I know who hate breastfeeding do it until a year out here, unless they really can't, and then they still do it as long as possible before giving up. About 25% of my friends use cloth diapers, too. And c-sections are seen by most women I know as a "last resort" kind of thing, even if they've had a previous c-section or are pregnant with twins, unless they have a condition that makes it impossible to deliver vaginally. Doctors advertise how low their c-section rates are and hospitals advertise that they offer doulas.

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Scott R
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quote:
I never use a blanket, and there's still nothing to gawk at.
Oh, come on. In our culture, a woman baring her breast in public for any reason, is out of the ordinary. That is a reason to gawk.

quote:
the appropriate social response to breastfeeding where I live is glance over, see baby is eating, smile and make eye contact with mama, then turn away and give her some privacy until she's done
You know, if the Mom wanted privacy, she should find a private place to nurse the child. Or a blanket. You undo your whole argument by forcing society (which is conditioned to gawk) to kneel to a private indisposition to use a blanket.

It simply doesn't work that way, nor should it.

I agree about the C-sections...in our hospital in Virginia, they discourage having a c-section unless it's a medical necessity.

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Artemisia Tridentata
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Scott, absent an invisible baby, there is little to see anyway. But, the blanket is more comfortable for some moms in a non-familar setting.
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rivka
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Scott, I think she was saying that there was nothing visible to gawk at. It is perfectly possible to breastfeed a baby with virtually no exposed skin. I personally prefer to insure that with a blanket or cloth diaper, but I have no problem with women who nurse publicly without an additional cover-up.

"Society" is conditioned to view a woman's breasts as purely sexual. That, IMO, is unfortunate in the extreme.

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ketchupqueen
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Um... That is the way it works in my area. I didn't choose the way it is, it just is.

My kids don't like blankets over them, throw them off. Plus its uncomfortable as heck, it stays pretty warm around here most of the year. And I don't "bare my breast in public"; I doubt most people see any skin at all when I nurse my babies, if they're being rowdy maybe a square centimeter or two, and it's a lot less than most girls and women show of their breasts around here in the summer time.

And as for a "private indisposition to use a blanket", I'd say that only 1/4 or less of women I see nursing around here actually use blankets or any kind of "cover-up". Nursing tops or oversized t-shirts or layers to allow for more modesty are the norm, and I do use them.

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mr_porteiro_head
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For somebody who is accustomed to it, there is nothing sexy or titilating about a mother breastfeeding her baby.
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ketchupqueen
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*nods* I agree.

And to clarify, the reason you don't bother a breastfeeding mother isn't for modesty; like I said, usually nothing shows. The reason is because that's bonding time for baby and mama. The same privacy is given to people bottle-feeding babies.

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Storm Saxon
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quote:

Oh, come on. In our culture, a woman baring her breast in public for any reason, is out of the ordinary. That is a reason to gawk.

Only for ignoramuses. For ignoramuses, anything out of the ordinary is reason to gawk.

"Look, a Muslim woman in one a them sheets! Heh, heh!"

"Look, that kid has a ****ed up face!"

"Look, a crip!"


Cultured people will, of course, not stare at a woman breastfeeding any more than they will (overtly) stare at any other person out of the ordinary because staring is rude.

As more women breastfeed, it will become more normalized and fewer people will stare.

quote:

You know, if the Mom wanted privacy, she should find a private place to nurse the child. Or a blanket. You undo your whole argument by forcing society (which is conditioned to gawk) to kneel to a private indisposition to use a blanket.

No one is society in forced to stare.

I'm not sure what the next sentence is saying.

quote:

It simply doesn't work that way, nor should it.

Wrong again, liberal media. [Razz]
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Scott R
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To clarify:

1) People in our society are conditioned to gawk at mothers breastfeeding in public. Don't be suprised by gawkers. You're doing something out of the ordinary.

2) Don't scream at people who look at you twice. You are doing something out of the ordinary. If you choose to breast-feed in public, people will probably look at you a little funny. This is because you are choosing to do something that is not normally considered something that people do in public.

3) It is great that you want to bond with your child through breast-feeding. Recognize that if you choose to breast-feed in public, most people won't recognize that as a mitigating factor in their impulse to gawk.

quote:
No one is society is forced to stare.
Conditioned.
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Storm Saxon
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But the question is, *should* they gawk, Scott? Surely people, society, can recognize that their prejudice (because that's what it is) is wrong?
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ketchupqueen
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quote:
1) People in our society are conditioned to gawk at mothers breastfeeding in public. Don't be suprised by gawkers. You're doing something out of the ordinary.

Not where I live.

quote:
2) Don't scream at people who look at you twice. You are doing something out of the ordinary. If you choose to breast-feed in public, people will probably look at you a little funny. This is because you are choosing to do something that is not normally considered something that people do in public.

I wouldn't-- not that it's come up-- although once at Disneyland a woman who is not from my part of the country came and yelled at me for feeding my baby. I thought that was pretty rude. [Roll Eyes]

quote:
3) It is great that you want to bond with your child through breast-feeding. Recognize that if you choose to breast-feed in public, most people won't recognize that as a mitigating factor in their impulse to gawk.

I've never been gawked at while breastfeeding. Ever. Like I said, glared and yelled at once, but that was once, and she wasn't from around here. Nor have I seen anyone else be gawked at for breastfeeding.

Obviously our experiences in different parts of the country are very different. Remind me never to move to Virginia. [Wink]

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Tresopax
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quote:
Surely people, society, can recognize that their prejudice (because that's what it is) is wrong?
Why is it wrong?
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Storm Saxon
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Because the end result achieves no good end in the case of breastfeeding women, and in fact might very well embarass them.

We can argue about the broader issue of staring at 'scantily' clad women, but I'm not sure it's germane to this thread.

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Belle
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My experience was the opposite of dkw's. Not only was I encouraged to breastfeed I was looked down upon and vilified because I did not. Note to La Leche League - you don't futher your cause by making a new mother cry in the hospital. [Mad]

By the time my twins were born, my 3rd hospital birth, I was confident enough to assert myself - I told the nurses that LLL was forbidden to enter my hospital room and the nurse simply laughed and said "Oh, you've had run-ins with the breast nazis before, I can tell." That statement assured me that I was not an isolated case. My best friend tried breast feeding, it wasn't working out her baby was losing weight and up all night screaming, she called LLL for advice and they made her cry - she then called me for support and I came over and helped her and we got the baby drinking out of a bottle and both mom and baby were happy. LLL didn't care about mom or baby, they only wanted to tell mom she was failure because she wanted to try a bottle. I see people breastfeed in public quite a bit and it doesn't cause a stir. Yet, when I bottle fed my second daughter in public I was approached by a stranger who told me if I really cared about my baby I'd be breastfeeding her!

I fully support people's right to breastfeed when and where they wish, but some reciprocal respect for those of us who either cannot or who simply choose not to breastfeed would be appreciated. The article talks about choice being desirable - how about the right to choose how to feed your child? There are millions of people alive today who wouldn't be if we didn't have infant formula. What about mothers who adopt, or who've had medical problems that make it impossible to breastfeed? I didn't choose to bottle feed out of ignorance, my choice was made with the advice of my doctor - bottle feeding was the best choice for me. My husband actually appreciated it, that way he was able to bond with our children during feedings as well.

The article complains about formula advertising - I've never seen a formula ad that didn't explicitly state breast feeding is better for the baby. The hospitals push breastfeeding, the nurses push it, the pediatricians push it, and people who don't do it like me are treated badly. I'm curious, what else should be done? Do the breastfeeding advocates want formula outlawed or something? I mean Good gracious, I fail to see what other pressures could have been put on me besides out and out holding me down and forcing the baby to my breast.

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Scott R
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quote:
But the question is, *should* they gawk, Scott?
Nope. Like you said, it's rude.
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ketchupqueen
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That's what I meant about parts of the article being stated strongly to the point of offensive.

I think you've got it exactly right, Belle-- babies should be breastfed if it works for both mother and baby, and if it doesn't, for whatever reason, no one should care; whether the baby gets breastmilk or formula, the important thing is that they are fed and loved. [Smile] I think it's awful that you were so villified, I would hate that to happen to me. I also had a bad experience with LLL in the hospital-- in my case, I refused their literature in the hospital because I have so much junk around my house and was yelled at. I know there are many wonderful LLL groups and I wish that the ones that aren't wouldn't give them a bad name.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Not only was I encouraged to breastfeed I was looked down upon and vilified because I did not. Note to La Leche League - you don't futher your cause by making a new mother cry in the hospital. [Mad]
I've heard of this happening out here as well.
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maui babe
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:

You know, if the Mom wanted privacy, she should find a private place to nurse the child. Or a blanket. You undo your whole argument by forcing society (which is conditioned to gawk) to kneel to a private indisposition to use a blanket.


Most women will look for as private a place as they can. I know I always did. But some public places just don't have lounges available. Are you suggesting that a nursing mother never go to a restaurant? Or a mall? Even some churches don't have lounges for nursing mothers, and unless you're willing to eat your lunch in the bathroom, don't even suggest she should go sit in a toilet stall.

When you have a new baby, s/he needs to eat very frequently - sometimes as often as every 2 hours. And it takes 20-30 minutes at a pop. So that leaves very little time for much else.

FWIW, I nursed all six of my children for at least a year. By the time my last one came, I was very experienced and could nurse just about anywhere. But it takes a while to get to that level of comfort - and when the baby is brand new, even an experienced breast-feeder will have issues and adjustments. Back in my mother's day, new mothers were "confined" for several weeks after they gave birth. I was scolded many times by older ladies for bringing my brand new babies out in public (even when they were 6-8 weeks old!). Most women today don't have that luxury. I know I didn't (I was a Navy wife and my husband left on an extended deployment when my 3rd child was 11 days old ... if I didn't take him out to the grocery store, we would have starved).

New moms have a hard enough time without putting unrealistic expectations on them - like insisting that if they "want privacy" they should "find a private place". [Roll Eyes]

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TheGrimace
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
To clarify:

1) People in our society are conditioned to gawk at mothers breastfeeding in public. Don't be suprised by gawkers. You're doing something out of the ordinary.

2) Don't scream at people who look at you twice. You are doing something out of the ordinary. If you choose to breast-feed in public, people will probably look at you a little funny. This is because you are choosing to do something that is not normally considered something that people do in public.

3) It is great that you want to bond with your child through breast-feeding. Recognize that if you choose to breast-feed in public, most people won't recognize that as a mitigating factor in their impulse to gawk.

quote:
No one is society is forced to stare.
Conditioned.
Scott,
I gotta agree with ketchupqueen and others here... there can be some regional conditioning to think this is odd and therefore act as you describe. However, this is by no means universal, nor is it an excuse for rude behavior by onlookers.

Breastfeeding in public may be out of the ordinary where you live, but that doesn't mean that someone choosing to do it should be the willing subject of ridicule. Nor should they "scream at people who look at them twice" which I don't think anyone here had even mentioned. The basic argument is that no matter what the social conditioning, common politeness dictate certain actions.

1) on the part of the breastfeeder it is expected that she not flaunt her breasts (i.e. do her best to cover the majority of her breast from the public eye) nowadays this basically just means that she can't expose her nipples to public view, anything other than that seems to be fair game with "acceptable" if not appropriate attire.

2) on the part of the bystandards it is expected that they not stop and gawk (as would be expected in any situation out of the norm). A second glance or two wouldn't be too rude, but anything other than that probably would be inappropriate. Just as it would be for someone to stop and stare when they saw someone with lionitis, unusual tatoos and/or body piercings, unusual ethnic cloathing, a black eye etc...

you may be able to argue that we are conditioned to want to look at oddities like this, but I would argue that we are also conditioned to resist this temptation in favor of common decency (and if we aren't then we need to address that).

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I fully support people's right to breastfeed when and where they wish, but some reciprocal respect for those of us who either cannot or who simply choose not to breastfeed would be appreciated. The article talks about choice being desirable - how about the right to choose how to feed your child?
While I think everybody should have the right to choose whether or not to breastfeed, I don't think it is reasonable to expect people to not have an opinion about that choice.
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Belle
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Did I say they shouldn't have an opinion? All I ask for is some respect and decency. You can disagree with me and think I should breastfeed all you want, that's your right. But have enough respect and human decency not to call me a bad mother for it. There are so many things that make someone a bad mother, I think how she chooses to feed her infant needs to be pretty far down on the list of criteria.
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ElJay
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quote:
I don't think it is reasonable to expect people to not have an opinion about that choice.
And I don't think it's unreasonable to expect them to keep that opinion to themselves. It's not considered polite to walk up to a parent and give them your opinion about any other aspect of their parenting. Yeah, I know people do it anyway. . . and if told about it here, our reaction would probably be "How rude!" I don't see this as any different.
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katharina
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I think choosing to breastfeed in public is like choosing to kiss in public. Sometimes when there is no other place it might be okay, but the request to give mothers privacy shows that it is a semi-private act being done in public.

Of course I don't agree with offering advice to strangers - I'd no more pass on my opinion about breastfeeding that I would pass on a negative opinion about someone's outfit to them.

Still, if in order to keep things civil people have to pretend nothing is happening, maybe it's better if it isn't done in the spotlight.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
There are so many things that make someone a bad mother, I think how she chooses to feed her infant needs to be pretty far down on the list of criteria.
I don't know. If the mother believes what people say about the health benefits of breast feeding and chose not to do it because she didn't want to be looked at funny, I'd say that's pretty bad mothering.

Of course, this is somthing that a stranger would have no way of knowing. Bottle-feeding, by itself, means nothing. Making judgments about such a situation when you don't know the facts is in extremely bad taste.

And it's in even worse taste to share those judgments. Well, if they're bad that is.

[ September 26, 2006, 02:37 PM: Message edited by: mr_porteiro_head ]

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Scott R
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quote:
New moms have a hard enough time without putting unrealistic expectations on them - like insisting that if they "want privacy" they should "find a private place"
I think that finding a private place, or using a blanket *is* a realistic expectation.

I have four children, so it's not like I'm a n00b at this. We knew when we were out and about town when our kids would need to eat-- we made arrangements to accomodate that schedule. And we were also prepared for emergencies when the child wanted to eat before he or she was 'supposed' to.

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
Still, if in order to keep things civil people have to pretend nothing is happening, maybe it's better if it isn't done in the spotlight.
I don't think anyone has to pretend that it's not happening-- just not stare. Part of the socially accepted "normal" response here is to smile or nod at the mother (and/or give a standing breastfeeding mother your seat), which is an acknowledgement of her and that she has a baby and is feeding it. For what it's worth, bottle-fed babies and their parents are given the same consideration. I think that most people in our area have gotten to the point where breastfeeding a baby is just feeding a baby-- so whether it's with a bottle or by breast the standard of conduct is pretty much the same.
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maui babe
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Define "private place".

Is a quiet corner in a busy mall or museum acceptable? How about a church pew against the wall? A restaurant booth?

I have known literally hundreds of women who have nursed babies in my life and I can remember only one who walked around with an open dress and her breast exposed (on a pier in San Diego when my husband's ship returned from an 8 month deployment).

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mr_porteiro_head
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In Brazil, they're very open about breastfeeding. I remember that while I was talking to one mother, she lifted up her shirt, completely exposing her breast. She then reached down, picked up her kid, and attched it.
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Storm Saxon
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And you're still able to see? Wow.

[Razz]

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katharina
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quote:
Is a quiet corner in a busy mall or museum acceptable? How about a church pew against the wall? A restaurant booth?

All of those I think would be fine if children are generally part of the crowd there.

Front row at anything? No. On the bus? I don't think so. In line for something? Wandering through an amusement park? Up and down the aisles at a grocery store? I think all of those are too public to expect other people to pretend they don't see anything.

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Dagonee
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I'm very confused here. Scott hasn't said that breastfeeding mothers should only do so in private. He's said that if one expects privacy, one should be in a private place, and that a social expectation that one provide you with privacy when in public is not appropriate.

I'm surprised that's at all controversial. It seems like a self-evident statement, no matter what the reason is for wanting privacy.

Or else I'm missing entirely what Scott's been saying.

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ketchupqueen
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I think we have different definitions of "privacy" going on. "Privacy" in this case, to me, means "people are not staring, perhaps back is turned to others if baby is overstimulated, a foot or so of space between you and other people if possible." Privacy necessary when feeding a baby (by bottle or breast) or trying to soothe a newborn to sleep is different, to me, from the level of privacy required in, say, going to the bathroom. (And I know places where there is less of a cultural expectation of strict privacy when going to the bathroom, and privacy means "not looking", too. In fact, I would say men using urinals may be a similar situation, although I can't say for sure since I'm not and haven't.)
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