Monday, August 27, 2007

Breastfeeding - Don't like it? Suck it.

For the last few weeks I have been following the stories (this is an excellent summary) about breastfeeding mothers and some of the challenges they have faced. From a local woman being asked to cover up at a YMCA pool deck to a Canadian being kicked off Facebook for showing a picture of her baby nursing to a woman in the States being asked to cover up at Appleby's and finally Bill Maher's opinion of it all - it seems that breastfeeding has been in the news a lot.

Personally breastfeeding was a funny stage for me. I found it very personal. Some of my friends would show me pictures of their babies at the breast and though I thought the pictures were lovely I never took those pictures myself. Of course I was comfortable taking my top off when I was home with just my baby or my husband and baby. But if anyone was there I was covered.

Still I was not hesitant to breastfeed in public. Give me a nursing blanket and I was good. I got to the point where I would nurse in malls and restaurants. I liked the freedom. Matt ate a lot. If I only breastfed in the privacy of my home, I would never have left. The child ate on the hour.

Bottom line - I think that the protection of breastfeeding mothers is extremely important. And, I can honestly say that I was never asked to leave a location or not attend any event due to having a nursing child.

So when all of this latest controversy came up I was sympathetic but I couldn't exactly relate.

That is until a couple days ago when I received an e-mail. Someone I know is getting married and wanted to know if I would still be breastfeeding at her wedding (when my future child is about 8 weeks old). I had an honest answer - I don't know. I'm not sure if I will nurse baby #2 or if I do for how long. But, I assured her, it's not like I would whip out a boob while she was walking down the aisle. I wasn't sure how else to respond. She's never seen me in the role of mother, so I guess she felt justified in asking me about my breastfeeding habits.

But apparently, my understanding was a little off - her response was that the infant is not welcome - so unless he or she can go without nursing (for close to 10 hours when you add in travel time and the length of the wedding) I have been asked to uninvite myself.

I am shocked. I am outraged. And quite honestly I am surprised at the utter tackiness of the request.

Sorry - if you are too shackled to your infant don't bother attending. Not welcome.

The bigger message to me - breastfeeding will ruin "my day" and you must be kidding if you think you would bring a newborn with you. So, do me a favour and wean - or bottle feed - or pump ... but don't bring that appendage that you may be sustaining with your breasts. That would be uncouth, and "other guests wouldn't understand".

The more I think about it the angrier I get. A wedding is a one-day event. Am I supposed to wean my child - and possibly affect this child's health (not to mention my budget and let's be honest my post-partum weight loss) so that I don't potentially ruin some bride's day? And does this person really think that I would ruin her day by doing something she deems inappropriate (breastfeeding) or letting my child scream?

Her response - that obviously this is any issue so she has to talk to her fiance about it. Why - to ask his opinion on whether or not i should wean my child???? To see if her words were offensive. So that he can give a verdict on whether or not someone you just effectively uninvited is now welcome?

Her issue, really is that she doesn't want any children there. As I said to her, there is a huge difference between a child that needs to be near its mother to survive and a family that isn't willing to shell out for a babysitter.

Truthfully, I understand that she doesn't want children there. And, perhaps my assuming that it was understood that a newborn who is exclusively nursing was inappropriate. But, to bring breastfeeding into it - and to ask me not to come if I am???? Disgusting. Inappropriate and downright tacky. And yes, I did reply. In a lengthy e-mail. And, as far as I know she is no longer talking to me. And, as much as I care, I kind of don't. Because there are some things I'm willing to stand up for - such as the right to breastfeed - and the fact that if you have a problem with it, or with me, say it nicely. Don't send me an e-mail implying that my thought of bringing an infant to a wedding is a joke.

Welcome to 2007, friends.

I get it - I truly understand she doesn't want my child there. And believe me I have already let her know that we will not be there. But as for me and my breasts - that is my business and no one else's.


saddened said...

i know you'll delete this comment - but my "talking to my fiance about it" was to see if he'd be open to us inviting all kids so you can be there. but - apparently that's not neccessary now.

LoriD said...

This is something obviously very personal between you and your friend. I am assuming that "saddened" above is the friend, and all I can say is that you (saddened) obviously speak from the perspective of someone who knows absolutely nothing about children. Opening your wedding to a an 8-week-old child who is nursing is nothing like opening it up to "all the kids". I've been to plenty of adults-only weddings where infants were in attendance. I can almost guarantee that those with older kids will not bat an eyelash at Laural with her infant at no-kids wedding. Someday when/if you have children of your own you'll get it and you'll feel bad for your behaviour.

saddened said...

LoriD - thank you for commenting on a situation that you know nothing about. Of course all of you will be on Laural's side, I get that - however, it is unfair to judge me/comment about me - based on one-sided and misconstrued comments, but unfortunately I have no other way of defending myself other than posting here do I? However, I'm sure this too will soon be deleted. I know what I meant with what I said (which is not at all what has been said) and I've done my best to communicate that with Laural.

AndreAnna said...

I almost feel like it's inappropriate for me to comment on this since the comment section seems to have taken on a very personal swing.

However, I think nursing infants and "children" at a wedding are two separate species altogether.

And without getting too inflammatory, your child's eating habits should have no bearing on your invite to a wedding.

I am sorry you were put in a bad situation with your friend and maybe lost a good friendship, but I am proud you stood up for your beliefs.

saddened said...

I will just say this once here - Laural was never ever ever univited. Ever. That is what I am so upset about - those words. If bringing her infant and breastfeeding or whatever she wanted to do meant she could be at my wedding - then that's the way it would be. I never once univited her and that is what is so sad about this whole post and completely unfair to me. I have absolutely nothing against breastfeeding. If I have a child one day, he/she will most definately be breastfed. This has been blown way out of proportion. Why am I even responding? I don't know. Being trashed on a blog is one thing - but being trashed on a blog for something you did not do is another.

saddened said...

sorry - one more thing I have to say before all my comments get deleted. it is untrue that "i did not want her child there". there are over 17 "kids" that we were contemplating on inviting, but because our venue is small and the "kids" are mostly 2nd cousins, we were thinking of doing an adults only wedding. I was of the understanding that if one child attends, then we were obligated to invite them all. I'm sorry - marriage is new to me. I have never been to a wedding with infants/kids. I did not realize that if I request 'adults only' that means people will understand if an infant is there. Laural's nursing had nothing to do with the matter. I asked her if she'd be b-feeding so I knew whether or not she'd be able to be away from her child. that's it. granted, i joked with her and said she couldn't bring the baby. It had nothing to do with her breastfeeding - it had to do with me being worried other guests would be upset with me for letting her child (and not theirs) come. but if she was b-feeding, then i would talk to my fiance and let him know she'd be bringing the baby and in turn, should we be inviting the rest of the kids. I don't know that there's anything more I can say to defend/explain myself. And I don't know that I should have to. But it's very hard to read something about yourself that you know is untrue and just let it go.

bubandpie said...

I was involved in a nasty argument over a similar situation, only I was a bridesmaid and Bub was seven months old at the time of the wedding. A few months beforehand, the bride mentioned that I'd better start making sure he could take a bottle (we were EBF at that point) so that bfing wouldn't interfere with the wedding. It was an off-hand remark, but one that made me angry enough to send what turned out to be very close to a friendship-ending email explaining that my decision about whether or not to bottle-feed was none of her business.

Anyway, I'd like to join others in reassuring "saddened" that it's very normal for newborn infants to be present at what is otherwise an adults-only wedding.

saddened said...

Laural - i want you to be there. You and the baby.

Anonymous said...


Obviously you don't think before you speak (or write in this case), or you just have no idea that the words you used were very hurtful. If the table were turned, can you honestly say that you wouldn't feel the same way. I suggest next time you choose to let someone know how you feel, that you either talk to the person face to face, because an email stating your feelings about this specific topic in particular was completely inappropriate, or if you feel the need to express your feelings or concerns, please read the email after you have written it. You may see that your words can be hurtful and hopefully you will decide not to send that email and suck up (no pun intended folks) whatever issue you have. Maybe this experience will help you realize that the world doesn't revolve around you.

I'm Done said...

Anonymous - thank you. I did actually think that the world revolved around me. But now, thru' your words of wisdom, I know that's not the case. thank you for clearing that up for me.

Anonymous said...

A bit of a different take on things here. You know the saying there are two sides to every story? I think "Saddened/I'm Done" is trying to tell hers. Obviously she cares enough about this friendship to try to clear things up. I think we should cut her some slack. As mommy bloggers, we can be biased when it comes to children/breastfeeding, but there is still something to be said for kindness and not being judgemental towards someone we know nothing about.

Laural Dawn said...

Saddened - we can talk about it in person. You ended the conversation which is why I wrote about it on my blog. I did it respectfully without using your name or otherwise identifying you.

As far as deleting comments the only ones I have ever deleted were spam.

I stand by what I said though, I was really hurt by such an insinuation.

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

I am posting this comment without reading any of the other comments first!
First of all, I want to say, you go girl and good for you!
I had a similar situation where I was expected to be at my cousin's wedding and my aunt just didn't get that I couldn't bottle feed my daughter at the time. She was 5 months old, but still VERY dependent on the breast and my breasts felt it. I wasn't going to be able to attend the wedding without expressing the milk and so, my amazing husband brought the baby to me--twice--so that I could be there. My aunt didn't get it and I didn't care! I wasn't going to wean my daughter just so that I could go to a wedding. I was disappointed and down right pissed that my aunt had the nerve to tell me how I should feed or not feed my daughter or wean her for that matter! She didn't get it that a full-time breastfeeding Mom couldn't leave her baby for many hours on end without eventually bursting!
I feel for you!
And I totally respect (I don't get it, but I respect it) that some people don't want children at their wedding, but then they need to respect parents if they cannot attend the wedding due to the needs of their children.