START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
922,750 people care about Women's Rights

Parental Consent Required To View Breastfeeding?

Parental Consent Required To View Breastfeeding?

Underscoring “lactivist” claims that breastfeeding still requires greater public support, consider a recent requirement that 7th and 8th graders receive parental permission in order to witness a mother feeding her baby in school.

Recently, a high school in Melbourne, Australia had second thoughts about allowing 7th and 8th graders to view a breastfeeding volunteer as part of a lesson on the life cycle and caring for babies. They asked her at the last minute to bathe her 4-month-old naked baby, but refrain from feeding him in the classroom.

If the infant got hungry during the class, one wonders where she was supposed to feed it, or if perhaps the school expected that she’d offer a bottle for the occasion?

I’ve read articles claiming that the breastfeeding “militia” is forcing nursing on everyone – unwilling mothers included. It’s true that increasingly, we’re provided with more information about the benefits of breastfeeding. And it’s certainly the case that bottle-feeding mothers can even feel shunned because they’re failing to feed their babies the best possible food. Yet, experiences like this demonstrate just how far from “normal” breastfeeding really is, and perhaps more alarmingly, how society’s attitude makes it that much harder for women to succeed doing it.

Wouldn’t a class on life cycles teach that young babies need to eat regularly, and breastfed babies are even less predictable in their hunger cycles than formula-fed babies? Would they not explain that it’s actually extremely important to the breastfeeding relationship that babies eat when they are hungry, directly from the breast? If the baby needed to eat during this demo, one would think that the natural thing to do, especially in a class such as this, would be to breastfeed the baby. Yet, because breastfeeding is still NOT the norm, facts like this can be overlooked. Breastfeeding becomes mixed with sexual associations of the breast, and censored from view.

In fact, I need only look to my own breastfed daughters to see how entrenched bottle-feeding has become in our society. With virtually no personal exposure to a baby bottle, upon receiving a baby doll with one, both my girls delightedly began to feed their babies with it. They went from breastfeeding “mothers” to bottle-feeders in a heartbeat.

Incidences like censoring breastfeeding in school show that we still have much further to go before we truly “normalize” breastfeeding – if it’s even possible in this age of fast-paced disposable lifestyles.

But this is just my perspective – what do you think?

Read more: , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

73 comments

+ add your own
6:39AM PDT on Aug 26, 2009

megan c says "You are simply perpetuating the idea that an exposed female body is something to find shame in because it equates to nothing more than sexual arousal."


No, an exposed female body is something private. Isn't THAT what they are supposed to learn? Isn't THAT what we teach our kids? Certain body parts are not to be seen or touched by anyone else? Otherwise, if exposed boobs are "natural", then we could all go around topless, and tell the young boys that THOSE breasts TOO, are meant to feed babies or HAVE fed babies. While your at it, tell our young girls its ok to sit in the classroom with them exposed, if its so natural.

And when boys hit puberty they ARE, as you say, "a helpless sack of uncontrollable hormones."

12:12PM PDT on Aug 20, 2009

Benjamin U. said "I am not at all uncomfortable with nursing mothers who cover themselves while nursing in public - not at all. And if there should be a slip or a shift and the breast is uncovered - well, a gentleman just pretends not to see such a thing."

First sentence: sounds an awful lot like the mindset they've got over there in the Middle East... "We're not bothered by the female body, so long as its under a bee-keeper suit...'

Second sentence: Why must a gentleman look away? Why can't he just see a breast and be mature enough to not think anything of it?

And that last part Ben, just astounds me... "In keeping with my paradigm of respect for women and their bodies, I do not want them to see a naked breast: a woman's body is not something for them to gawk at."

What?! You don't want them to see it?? It is censored and tabooed?
If this is the way you teach your boys, you are certainly doing neither them nor the female body any justice. You are simply perpetuating the idea that an exposed female body is something to find shame in because it equates to nothing more than sexual arousal. Maybe those boys wouldn't be 'gawking' at that breast if they were taught to disassociate the female body with purely sexual pleasure.

Its time for our boys and men to develop a more intellectual understanding with female anatomy and stop pretending to be a helpless sack of uncontrollable hormones.

peace.




7:03AM PDT on Aug 20, 2009

"What do YOU think a young boy thinks about when he sees boobs?"

Depends on the context. And the age of the "Young boy." My young boy thought, "Food," when he saw babies nursing, because he himself was breastfed for two years per his pediatrician's recommendation. And even now, at 12, he can tell the difference between an erotic presentation of a breast, and a mother feeding her baby, and is not titillated by the latter even if *gasp* he spots a nipple.

4:19AM PDT on Aug 20, 2009

Helen T, yes it is a shame, but that is reality. What do YOU think a young boy thinks about when he sees boobs?

And I think Benjamin is right here...Sorry ladies.

"Breastfeeding is natural, normal and totally acceptable, it just happens to be one of those private endeavors. Sex, urination, defecation, masturbation, tooth-brushing, flossing...all of these are normal, healthy things - but we do them privately. Why make such a big fuss over covering the breast while breast-feeding?"

7:15AM PDT on Aug 14, 2009

What a pity that our society has so highly sexualized the female breast that the natural act of feeding a baby is deemed unfit for childrens' eyes.

4:50PM PDT on Aug 13, 2009

Some of you have got me all wrong: I do not require women to cover their breasts, leave the room to breast-feed, or do anything else for that matter. I am very much for women's rights - including the right to breast-feed.

Also, I am not at all uncomfortable with nursing mothers who cover themselves while nursing in public - not at all. And if there should be a slip or a shift and the breast is uncovered - well, a gentleman just pretends not to see such a thing.

My understanding is that the individuals mentioned in this article are against a breast-feeding demonstration because their children (read: their pre-teen boys) are going to see a naked breast. My point is, I understand that point of view.

I am bringing up my male students to value and respect the female human body: they are not to watch smut or anything that would tend to objectify the female body. My male students hear directly from me that the female body is not to be objectified, neither is a Playboy centerfold to be snickered at under the covers.

In keeping with my paradigm of respect for women and their bodies, I do not want them to see a naked breast: a woman's body is not something for them to gawk at.

Benjamin

3:29PM PDT on Aug 5, 2009

This discussion is a surprise to me. I breastfed my children so many years ago (38 to 41 years ago) that I was dumfounded to see that people are still concerned about the natural exposure of the female breast while feeding an infant and considerate a cause for comment. It seems to me more than time that everyone acknowledged that how a woman feeds her child is her choice or that human milk is the best food for a human infant. Let me also, right away, that if a woman's choice is to bottlefeed her baby, for whatever reason, she is open to no criticism from anyone for that choice.

Please lets all get over ourselves and let the rest make our own choices. if someone is offended by the female breast being used for its real purpose, I suggest a simple strategy, look away. If you don't how to explain to a child of any age that a breast is for breastfeeding, not titillation, well, now you do.

6:30AM PDT on Aug 5, 2009

That should have been Laura M.

Ben U: Of course women would cover their breast while nursing in public, but if for some reason the baby moves and pushes the blanket, or because you're doing an awkward thing, not every single piece of your breast is covered, or if you're invited to school to be a show and tell, THEN people shouldn't get bent out of shape.

And any spontaneous stuff is gonna happen regardless of what is seen. Another natural thing that people need to over look.

6:25AM PDT on Aug 5, 2009

OMG, Laura G did you just reduce Our MEN to DICKS?

10:26PM PDT on Aug 2, 2009

To Benjamin: We should encourage the covering of breasts because, as you so kidnly stated, they become objects of sexual desire to developing men. I still find the male gender a very sad one, desiring such things 24/7. It is very rare that men are born with "feelings" as women are.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

Awww. Poor baby. Sometimes the bigger the dog, the harder it is for them to truly grow into their bodies.…

Knowledge is power. Those who want the power for themselves keep knowledge and education from others. In…

ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.