What the HAYnes? On babies and breastfeeding in public

HUMOR – For those who are in the market for a new issue to advocate, the following is an issue that has recently become trendy and controversial: Public breastfeeding. I am not sure if there is a hazing ritual or an official inauguration onto this bandwagon, but all are welcome.

The controversy surrounding public breastfeeding may seem strange to those who realize that human females have been bearing children almost since the dawn of time and that baby formula has only been manufactured for a few decades or so. But there should be no controversy surrounding public breastfeeding. Besides the fact that it is cost-free and nutritionally perfect, Utah state law prevents the counties from prohibiting breastfeeding in public.

I suspect that the controversy over public breastfeeding was most likely brought about by people who do not understand how infants function. My purpose today is to spread awareness of how babies work, because I am a generous person and I also have 500 words to use up.

I only have four children, but I have almost figured out how babies work. Your average baby has two needs: milk, and to be held by a person who is not sitting down. If you sit down while holding a baby, the baby knows and will loudly protest. Babies do not tolerate any sitting during the process of being held, which lasts an average of 24 hours per day. The only acceptable time for a baby-holder to be seated is when the baby is receiving milk.

When infants realize that they are hungry, they do not know whether they are alone in their parents’ living room or in the middle of an airport security screening area surrounded by hundreds of weirdos. That is because they are babies. Babies have not been conditioned by society to think of breasts as sexual objects. All that they care about is drinking milk. You would, too, if your body doubled in size every three months.

Some babies do not like to be covered with blankets in the interest of breastfeeding modesty. I never understood this preference until the time I tried to eat a hot steak from inside a tent at Lake Powell in midsummer. It was unpleasant. It felt like what I imagine it would feel like to eat a steak while being digested by an anaconda.

In addition, babies have no respect for the concept of modesty. Babies prefer nudity wherever possible.

As a rule, babies are self-absorbed creatures. They do not think twice about screaming their faces purple at 2 a.m. in order to have their needs met. They get away with this behavior because they are innocent, helpless babies.

They are not adults who should know better than to shame a mother for nourishing her child – especially when there are so many more worthy things to shame strangers for, like eating at McDonald’s or engaging in prostitution.

If you are one who finds public breastfeeding embarrassing or indecent, instead of shaming the mother, consult the baby. They are the unreasonable party in this situation.

Elise Haynes chronicles family life in her blog Haynes Family Yard Sale. Any opinions stated in this column are her own and not necessarily those of St. George News.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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21 Comments

  • Stephanie August 18, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Well said…..Breast feeding is the most natural and nourishing way to take care of our babies. Some narrow minded people think it’s bad or wrong? What’s wrong with people now days? I just don’t get it. A lot of young girls now days, don’t want to breast feed, because -“it just doesn’t feel right,” according to them. I never could afford all that expensive formula and breast fed all four of my children. They were way healthier, they didn’t spit-up as much, they rarely got sick and I felt better, after starting it. My uterus shrunk back to size quicker, my body self cleansed itself better (meaning-causing my uterus to cramp back down to a small size) I lost weight, plus, I bonded more with my baby. To me it’s less stressful, especially at 2 a.m. in the morning, when you don’t have to fix and warm up a bottle and it’s better for the environment. I realize it’s a little more inconvenient if you work, but I had to work after all my babies were born, and so I pumped. It wasn’t that bad and my baby was happy and healthy. If I breast fed in public, I was very modest and careful, concerning other people or the public around me. I always tossed a receiving blanket over my shoulder, even though my baby didn’t like it either. Some people felt I should step out of the room, so I would,either to go nurse in a yucky public bathroom, (which I hated) or outside, or even in the car. I felt terrible, when asked to leave, (usually by younger individuals) but I did, just to try and get along with people. I realize some woman in the past probably haven’t been as modest or considerate, while feeding in public, and they should! But in most cases, it’s not that way. Mothers are considerate and thoughtful of the public while breast feeding.
    It’s such a healthy, natural and beautiful way of life and I can’t believe they are doing this. : (

  • Boring Utah Women August 18, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Utah women are boring. So many of them know so little about life outside of nursing babies and baby poop. They seem to follow the hypothesis of Dr. Hertzler who in the early 1900’s stated, “‘The only way to keep a woman happy is to keep her barefoot and pregnant.”

    • Shawn August 19, 2013 at 7:41 am

      @ Boring Utah Women. How many times have you been shut down b a Utah Woman. That had to be one of the most idiotic, and actually moronic statements I have read. To say something like about any woman means that you have to be one of the most self centered and unrealistic people ever born. I am from Canada and have had the pleasure of knowing a number of Utah women, and have found them all to be the most loving, caring, nurturing, fun loving people. So I question if you have ever known anyone from, or ever been to Utah? Heck, have you ever been outside you house?? With comments like that, you seem to be the type of person who is over 30 years old, lazy, and only happy when sitting in front of you computer playing World Of WarCraft in your underwear with a 2 little coke, and an over abundance of chips and chocolate angry at the world because you failed in society. Get a life, better yet, get a Utah girl and enjoy how much she bring into your life!

      • Young Dude August 19, 2013 at 8:34 am

        I worked in St George. There are a lot of divorced young women in St George with a lot of kids! People would try hooking me up with them. They are boring! All they talked about were their kids this, their kids that and what a jerk the kids’ fathers were. These are women who seriously need to take up some interest aside from just making babies, changing diapers and nursing. At least none of them nursed their babies in front of me. No matter how normal they might find it, nursing babies in front of the whole world to see, that would have been very weird.

        • Shawn August 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm

          Again, another person that just does not get it…. For anyone that is a father or a mother, their WHOLE, life AND hobby is their kids. It is not cool that they would vent on you about their previous relationships, but you should have enough common scents enough to know that their whole world revolves around their kids.

    • Sweet Jude August 19, 2013 at 9:32 am

      This moron has no clue what happiness is or where it comes from. I have been a single dad for 7 years and nothing is more rewarding than learning to sacrifice your needs for the sake of another. I am happy to live in the midst of so many great women here that know what giving is all about. They have great instincts and know how to follow them very well.

  • Chingy August 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you!

  • Michelle August 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with asking people to be modest while breastfeeding in public. It’s a pain, and I know I probably flashed a whole lot of people when my baby would suddenly flip my cover up, but the world is not our bedroom where we can dress or undress as we please. I was teaching at a public school and walked out into the hallway with my third graders to find a mother nursing without a cover. A whole group of children that are not yours don’t need to see that. It’s good for them to learn about those things from their own parents in their own homes, not walking around the school or through Target.

    Also, breastfeeding is natural and wonderful, but let’s not get down on formula fed babies. For the most part they are just as healthy and smart as breastfed babies and we don’t know the circumstances that led to choosing formula over breast milk. Moms are just doing their best.

    And “Boring Utah Women” commenter, how ridiculous and offensive. Not to mention shallow and judgmental. I’m sure we all feel so fortunate to have such a wise and well rounded person in our midst as you.

  • My Evil Twin August 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Oh for heaven sakes, if somebody is offended or embarrassed by a mother breast feeding her baby, they are the ones with the problems. Not mom, and certainly not baby.

    Some people make a life’s work out of finding things to be offended about.

  • Dr. Andrew White August 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I had to work to myself through 8 years college. I waited on tables at a national pizza chain. Our manager was very clear on the subject: we were not to interfere with a mother breastfeeding. I learned to show deference to nursing mothers.

    I extended that deference to my working environment after graduation. There have been times when nursing moms needed to occupy a treatment room at my clinics. Even though my schedule might be booked up and the demand for the treatment room be strong, I left the moms in the rooms as they requested.

    I recognize that your article is on the subject of breast-feeding in a public place, I have not had a mother need or request to feed her baby in the reception room. If one did, I would certainly allow it, and not think twice about it.

  • Lisa August 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I always found private places to breastfeed my child and felt it was a rather personal, special time to connect with her. Feeding in public did not seem to allow that type of experience, but that’s me. I do appreciate that people are not comfortable with having women breastfeed openly and don’t really see where it’s necessary to do so. It’s interesting that breasts are considered sexual objects generally in our society but apparently not when women are nursing – at least by some. Oh, well, that’s life, I guess.

  • melinda August 18, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Really?! You must have never taken the time to.throughly get to know a most Utah women (there are THOUSANDS of us btw)
    Lol i love the article, i think its good women are finally standing up, even nursing in a car sucks in many ways (and being covered in my car i STILL got looks of disgust and comments)
    As proven by the poster above me, too many people are close minded these days. Breastfeeding is a natural, beautiful thing and im so glad i breastfed my children and didnt listen to all the uneducated people out there that say not to.

  • Sgnative August 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    It’s sad that some people might think motherhood is a boring profession for women. I can’t think of a more selfless and joyous job to have. I’m not saying all mothers are wonderful , or find motherhood joyful, but perhaps if more people took this attitude for raising their children there would be much less anger and unhappiness in homes. Mothers are the ones that for the most part, make the early choices in their children’s lives that will affect their growth and learning and development. Most mothers I know have their children’s best Interests in mind and try to make choices accordingly. Whether that means breast feeding in public or not is up to the mother. As the author of this column stated, babies have to eat and have no concept of social mores or taboos. It basically comes down to personal choices. Perhaps if our society as a whole showed more respect for motherhood and women’s roles in the home and in families and what they can do to shape children’s lives, then we would have a happier more loving society and not one full of judgement and sadness. It’s not about breast feeding in public. I think the issues are much broader and all I would hope if any one reads this comment is that next time you see a mother breast feeding tell her she’s doing a good job with her kids or think to yourself that she is doing what she believes is best for her child and is serving someone doing something selfless.

  • Tug August 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Awesome! I have breastfed two babies for a total of 19 months so far. I plan to continue doing so. Sometimes I have to break down and feed the kid in a park or a restaurant. I cover up, but that’s because I’m a private sort of person. I’ve seen women in many different settings nurse the baby with no cover. That tells me I shouldn’t just stare at her bare teat. It should tells others to do likewise. Sometimes a glimpse is unavoidable, but that’s life. To the troll who said Utah women are boring: You were not breastfed, obviously. Do a little research on the subject, and you may come to the conclusion that 98% of trolls were not breastfed as babies.

  • Pam August 18, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    I LOVE this article. By pinpointing the problem and exposing it, you have helped make my day, and several of my friends! Thank you for taking a candid tour of breastfeeding from an infant’s perspective. May the infants suckseed in continuing to breastfeed wherever they happen to be when they’re hungry. After all, the rest of us do!

  • Tmat August 19, 2013 at 10:04 am

    101 Benefits of Breastfeeding

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding
    The American Dietetic Association promotes breastfeeding
    Breast milk is easier to digest than formula
    Breast cancer risks increase when mothers don’t breastfeed
    Baby’s sucking helps shrink mother’s uterus after birth
    Formula feeding increases the risk that a baby girl will develop breast cancer later in life
    Formula feeding is associated with lower I.Q.
    Breast milk is always ready and comes in a nicer package than formula does
    Breast milk help pass meconium
    Breast milk contains immunities to diseases and aids in the development of baby’s immune system
    Breastfeeding satisfied baby’s emotional needs and increases bonding between mother and baby
    Breast milk provides perfect infant nutrition
    The risks of developing ovarian cancer increase when Mom’s don’t breastfeed
    Nursing helps Mom lose weight after baby is born
    Pre-term milk is specially designed for premature infants
    The World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend it
    Breastfeeding protects against Crohn’s disease
    Formula feeding increases the risks of that child developing diabetes
    Breastfeeding helps decrease the insulin requirements in diabetic mothers
    Breastfeeding may help stabilize the progress of maternal endometriosis
    Baby’s suckling helps prevent post-partum hemorrhage in mother
    The risks of developing endometrial cancer increase when Mom’s don’t breastfeed
    Formula feeding increases the risks of baby developing allergies
    Breastfeeding lowers the risks of baby developing asthma
    Formula feeding increases the risks of baby developing otitis media (ear infections)
    Formula feeding may increase the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
    Breast milk protects baby from diarrheal infections
    Breastfeeding protects baby against bacterial meningitis
    Breastfeeding protects baby against respiratory infections
    Formula fed babies have a higher risk of developing certain childhood cancers
    Breastfeeding decreases chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis
    Breastfeeding decreases child’s chances of contracting Hodgkins disease
    Breastfeeding protects baby against some vision defects
    Breastfeeding decreases the chances of osteoporosis
    Breast milk aids in proper intestinal development
    Cow’s milk is an intestinal irritant
    Formula fed babies are more at risk for obesity in later life
    Breastfed babies have less chance of cardiopulmonary distress while feeding
    Breastfed babies have less chance of developing ulcerative colitis
    Breast milk protects against hemophilus b. bacteria
    Breastfed babies require shorter pre- and post-surgical fasting
    Breastfeeding results in less sick days for parents
    Breastfeeding enhances vaccine effectiveness
    Breastfed babies have less chance of developing necrotizing enterocolitis
    Breastfeeding contributes to optimal child spacing
    Breastfeeding is easier than using formula
    Breast milk is FREE
    Formula is EXPENSIVE
    Formula costs the government (and taxpayers) MILLIONS of dollars
    Breastfed babies require fewer doctor visits
    Breast milk always has the right proportions of fat, carbohydrates and protein
    Breast milk acts like a natural tranquilizer for baby
    Breastfeeding acts like a natural tranquilizer for Mom
    Breast milk tastes better than formula
    Breastfed babies are healthier overall
    Breastfed babies are less likely to die before their third birthday
    Breast milk is always the right temperature
    Breastfeeding mothers spend less time and money on doctor visits
    Breastfeeding provides fewer waste packaging products
    NO bottles to tote
    Breastfeeding may lower the risks of developing high cholesterol
    NO need to refrigerate
    Cow’s milk is designed for baby cows, whereas human milk is designed for human babies
    Breast milk aids in the proper development of baby’s gastrointestinal tract
    Breast milk provides natural pain relief for baby
    human milk is the perfect food for a sick infant
    A breastfeeding Mom gets more sleep
    Babies that nurse are happier at night
    More sleep for Dad
    Less equipment to maintain and store
    Less equipment to buy
    Breast milk has NEVER been recalled due to manufacturing problems
    Fresh breast milk is NEVER contaminated with bacteria
    No need to worry about which brand is better
    No need to worry about adding contaminated water
    Breastfed babies get fewer stomach infections
    Facilitates proper dental and jaw development
    Breastfed babies have less tooth decay
    Less money spent on corrective orthodontia
    Better speech development
    Less chance of baby getting eczema
    Breastfed babies have great skin
    Less spit-up
    Breastfeeding is better for premature infants
    Breast milk conatains no genetically engineered materials
    Breast milk contains no synthetic growth hormones
    Lack of breastfeeding associated with multiple sclerosis in later life
    Less chance of inguinal hernia
    Better cognitive development for low birth weight babies
    Better social development
    Decreased risk of baby developing urinary tract infections
    Suckling optimizes hand-to-eye coordination
    Breastfeeding protects mothers against anemia
    Breastfeeding mothers spend less on menstrual supplies
    Breastfeeding is a self-confidence booster for Mom
    Breast milk may help combat eye infections
    Breastfeeding may lower blood pressure in childhood
    No worry about latest ingredient discovered to be missing from formula
    Much nicer diaper changes
    Breastfed babies smell fantastic
    It’s what breasts were designed for

  • Christy Grigg August 19, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I was enjoying the humor of your article very much…and then I got to the prostitution comment. I volunteer with women who are arrested for prostitution and many of them are doing this work because they were sexually abused or sold for sex by their parents at tender ages not much older than breastfeeding babies. They are trapped in a lifestyle that will statistically get them raped, beaten, or murdered. They are also very strong women, who have survived much, and when they receive the love and support that we all need, they make changes that would astound you. You seem like a family-centered, Christian woman (from a quick look over your blog) and I would encourage you to learn more about women who live along the outskirts of society, like women engaged in prostitution, and perhaps their circumstances will touch your heart. They need advocates, not humor directed at their expense. I love these women, or I wouldn’t have spent precious time during my toddler’s nap to share this with you. Here is a link to a video that was done by BYU Turning Point that talks about an organization that I volunteer with that serves women leaving lives on the street and starting new through the support of a loving community: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_y4BniKBso It’s a short, but powerful clip that may change the way you look at everything.

  • Dani August 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Your article had me laughing out loud & resulted in a brief & welcomed stomach ache! Thanks for your rant being SO hilarious! :o)

  • Breastfeeding Mama August 22, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Christy, I’m sure the author of this article didn’t mean to judge the types of women who are forced into prostitution. Sex trafficking is a huge, scary, and sad topic, and I’m sure she didn’t mean to downplay that. However, I’m sure she is talking about the women who go into prostitution at will. I have often thought about how I could help prevent somehow this growing global phenomenon which even happens right here in the U.S. I keep an eye on my kids when we’re out in public even more because I know how prevalent kidnapping and sex trafficking is. Its an atrocity. Thank you for your comment and link. I would love to help out in the organization you mentioned. Hopefully there is info there.

    As far as the breastfeeding topic, I can’t say how many times I was harassed by my own sisters for breastfeeding in a living room or other common living space. I made sure to cover up and maybe a sliver of skin was showing, but NEVER nipple. Please. My sister came to me in tears that she was so horrified now that her husband has seen my breast. REALLY?! She was an older sister who hadn’t had babies yet. I was astounded at the ignorance. I assured her I was not trying to seduce her husband, trying as hard as I could not to laugh my head off as I said it. It’s such a shame that breasts have been sexualized in our society, because they aren’t a sex organ and have nothing to do with conception. Women without breasts can conceive, so they’re not a sex organ. Such a shame. And the babies pay for this horrible misconception and misnomer. Breasts aren’t sexual! How do I know this? Because you can have sex without them. If we called things sexual that were used in sex, then ears, throats, mouths, etc. would all have to be labele sexual as well. Mouths are made primarily for eating, ears for listening, and breast for…. feeding babies. And its a shame that third graders already associate breasts with sex and something that is secret and embarressing. Our culture is sick, sick, sick. Mothers and fathers can reverse much of this cultural education through education in the home and not treating breasts like they are sexual. But they’re certainly not meant to be as private as our sex organs. They’re meant to be whipped out to feed babies several times a day. Sure, we’re as discreet as we can be, but that’s what they’re for. And the guys that get all jealous because their wives breasts are occuppied by their babies are sick and need a serious psychological adjustment. Breastfeeding is in NO WAY sexual, and sadly, in our culture, that’s what its made out to be: something so private you have to hide it. I’m sorry, but that would just be exhausting to have to go into hiding every time you wanted to eat. Can you imagine going to Subway, but having to go out to your hot car to eat your sandwich, or into the bathroom? Or everyone going to their separate rooms to eat dinner? That’s what people are asking women in our culture to do on a regular basis. We need some serious re-education on this subject, and it should start at home, because our movies and media aren’t going to help us out anytime soon with this. Breasts are special because they provide amazing, essential nourishment for babies that’s not found or can be synthesized anywhere else on our planet. They are gifts of nature that bless a baby, a mother, and their health (see health benefits to both in above posts). And that’s how they should be taught about at home in my opinion. Covering up as much as possible is obviously fine, but to go to the extents that women in our culture have to go to sends the wrong message to kids and society in general and we are just reinforcing wrong information when we go along with it or let ourselves be coerced by uneducated people.

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