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Angry Little Man

The blogosphere has been a-buzz lately regarding comments Bill Maher made about breastfeeding in public. Angry, mean, ugly, negative, derogatory comments.

If you haven’t heard about his cable TV tirade, Suburban Oblivion gives a good overview with a video link, and ChickyChickyBaby offers a fine rebuttal from her own personal experiences.

At 30 weeks pregnant now (wow, the 30s!), I’m looking down a very short road to nursing bras, nursing shirts, nursing gear. The fact that there is more STUFF to buy is one whole rant. At this point, having acquired a fair amount of baby management supplies, with little or no idea whether we’ll actually use any of it, I am starting to burn out. I suppose as far as nursing goes, I could just plan to hang around the house naked with a baby attached to one nipple or the other at all times. But that won’t work for going out in the world, and then those nice strollers we got would not see the light of day.

No, I’ll have to buy nursing clothes. And from what I hear, I’ll really want those softy-soft nursing bras because even just lounging around all engorged with milk, not to mention sleeping, is going to be painful. I’ll need support.

The addition of the Bill-Maher-Backlash against public nursing made me think about my own attitudes towards this upcoming event. If I am lucky and all goes well and I am nursing, what will I do in the presence of strangers, or even friends?

Early on in my pregnancy, as I was reading the various magazines, I noticed ads for clever cover-up devices, baby-hiders in a multitude of fabrics, patterns, shapes, and colors. Didn’t think on it. Just noticed.

After reading the recent BMB posts, I realized that I will have to fight my own internalized fear and shame if I am going to nurse in public. And where did that come from anyway? As my friends have had kids over the years, I found it odd, at first, that so many insisted on throwing a blanket over the baby to nurse. I thought their behavior quirky. I didn’t GET their seemingly extreme need for privacy. And then I started to take it for granted. You cover up; that’s what you do.

Maybe it’s an outgrowth of the previous generation’s prevailing anti-breastfeeding stance? My mother fed us with bottles and formula. That’s just what was done.

Call me late to the party, but it’s only with the recent brouhaha that I’ve gotten how political an act public breastfeeding is.

That’s a party I’m looking forward to joining.

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