Recently at a Houston mall some moms got into trouble with the mall cops for breastfeeding their babies at a Hollister store. If you're not familiar with the Hollister chain, it's where anorexic teenagers with too much money go to have their hearing damaged--oh, and to buy clothes. When you walk into the store you will notice two things: it is too dark to see the clothes and too loud to hear what the sales clerk is saying. "I think she just welcomed me to the store. Or did she say I was too fat and old to shop here?" Just smile and nod...
Which makes me wonder why anyone would want to feed their baby there. It is loud and dark and full of sulky teenagers. How can this be healthy? They may be well fed, but you will probably have to teach them sign language.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am all for breastfeeding. I successfully breastfed three babies past the age of twelve months. I often fed my babies in public and was never once asked to leave or given a dirty look.
Why, Kristin, how is it you managed to give your baby the best choice in nutrition, at any time of day, without having to stage a militant rally?
Umm...I didn't flash my boobs?
Before you had children, did you walk though public places with your breasts hanging out or did you keep them in your shirt? (Spring Break freshman year doesn't count) Why is that once you reproduced the rules changed? The pictures these women posted on Facebook of their Nurse-In shows several side-boob shots (okay, also seen at every major awards show) and several full boobie shots with baby attached to the end (kind of like a baby pastie).
I understand the argument these women make. Breastfeeding is not dirty--they should be allowed to feed their babies any place and not have to huddle in a smelly public restroom. When my children were newborns, they ate so often it sometimes seemed that I should just leave the darn things out. And I know some babies resist being covered with a blanket, but if you can't be discreet perhaps it's time to rethink the breastfeeding-in-public thing. Or move somewhere that's a little more comfortable with bare breasts, like Rio De Janeiro, or some place featured in the old National Geographic magazines. (And honestly, Honey, the girls don't look quite as good as they did freshman year.)
The thing that bothers me the most about these stories is it makes breastfeeding mothers look like some sort of weird, new-age hippie freaks. (You know, like Alicia Silverstone or Mayim Bialikok.) I never chewed my children's food for them, nor did I carry then around twenty-four hours a day until they were bigger than me (and I had developed a herniated disc). And I say once a child can sit up at the table and order for themselves off the menu, it's definitely time to wean them.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience for both mother and child. But not for the others shoppers at the mall.
The funniest thing about this story would have been the reaction of the Hollister employees to a nursing woman. ("OMG! That lady has her boob out! Eww, totally gross!") The store manager asked the woman to leave, telling her she couldn't do that on Hollister property. She told him
"It’s Texas. I can breastfeed anywhere I like." Apparently hungry teenagers in over-priced clothes are outside the jurisdiction of the state of Texas, as the manager informed the woman "Not at Hollister."
Ah yes, Hollister does know breast.
(Spell check didn't like how I spelled "boobie." Too bad, spell check. Boobie, boobie, boobie.)