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Because Mother Nature made bottles for a <i>reason.</i>

Because Mother Nature made bottles for a reason.

By Alice Bradley

Thank you, Delta Airlines. Thank you for finally taking a stand against the #1 scourge of the skies: nursing women.

Last month a woman nursing her child was asked to leave the plane after she refused to hide under a blanket. She claims she was in the “next to last row” in the “window seat.” That her husband was next to her, and none of her breast was showing. As if it matters, that none of the passengers could actually see her. If they can’t see her, they could surely hear all that contented suckling. And what about Jesus, ma’am? As we know, he’s watching us all, especially those of us at an increased altitude. Do you think he wants to look at that?

Now Little Miss My Child Needs to Eat is suing, and no one, not even Barbara Walters, has supported the two airlines as they struggle to help everyone forget what breasts are for. Oh, Barbara. I’ll never forget that moment last year, when she pursed her lips and told the world what they could do with Breasts on a Plane. I can still remember that look in her eyes: so haunted, so judgmental.The only thing I ever got out of my breasts was some wood shavings, she seemed to say. And that was when I was interviewing Anwar Sadat.

Now more than ever, someone’s got to take a stand. Every day, the International League of Breast Fetishists continue their breast-forcing campaign. The World Health Organization claims that breastfeeding is the most important thing you can do for a baby’s health. The American Academy of Pediatrics insists that there are “health, nutrional, immunologic, developmental, psychologic, social, economic, and environmental benefits” to breastfeeding. The CDC is committed to promoting breastfeeding around the world.


Even the companies Target, Starbucks, and Toys ‘R’ Us, for instance, who frequently attempt to save us from breasts, trot out their “official policies,” which are filled with a bunch of hippy-dippy, women-have-rights nonsense, the moment they come under fire. Thank goodness their employees don’t actually know about these policies and can cast out the nursing women, or at least humiliate them. Can you imagine what our shopping excursions would be without these brave souls? We’d have to look really closely at some woman sitting in a corner with her child, and when we did, we’d maybe see parts of boobs.

Some parts of the breasts are okay–the cleavage, for instance–but the utilitarian parts are, objectively speaking, abhorrent. Victoria’s Secret employees understand this. They spend their days supporting and lifting the objects in question, so they know. And when a nursing woman was asked to feed her child in the employee bathroom, that’s what they were trying to teach her– that those circles in the middle of the breasts are the dirty bathroom parts. And yet she failed to understand. Her response? “I don’t eat in the bathroom and my daughter doesn’t eat in the bathroom.”

You don’t? But then where do you eat your nightly set of Twix Bars? Where do you stuff the wrappers, if not in the tank? This world doesn’t make sense anymore.

Another important issue surrounding public breastfeeding is safety. A local parks director finally made this clear, after a woman at a community pool wanted to stay and breastfeed her baby while her five year old was swimming. “When you see something like that, it draws people’s attention from the pool. You kind of take a double take, triple take, then you sink to the bottom of the pool.”


Breasts cause people to sink. In fact, women’s breasts are killing people all across the country. How many headlines do we need to see before we take action? “Nursing Mother Kills Twelve at Water Park.” “Local Man Views Nip, Drowns in Slurpee.” “Raised Eyebrows Caused By Breast Feeding Increase Chance of Headaches, Bad Moods, Brain Cancer.”

Nursing women are killers, and they must be stopped.

If, like me, you want nothing more than for these nursing women to stop turning you on, you can take action. I urge you to stand and fight, before a breastmilk tsunami sweeps us all away. Thank you.

Alice Bradley
About the Author

Alice Bradley

Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.


Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.

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  • bob

    November 17, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    I’m with you, sister. I mean, these mothers act as if a person has rights. first they want to breast-feed in public, next they’ll want decent heath care for their kids, and then they’ll want a good education for their kids. where do they think they are – a free country?

  • angela

    November 17, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    I think one of the most wonderful things about nursing a baby would be to do it in public as much as possible. People need to calm down and worry about something important. Oh my gosh! A woman is feeding her baby! They need to get a life.
    Thanks for sending the petition link.

  • Kristen

    November 17, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    I’m spewing my pregnancy hormone induced rants about this all over the interweb today. I think what gets me more are folks who are “pro-breastfeeding” but then say
    “But she should be discrete about it…”
    Um, I’m sorry. But what mother do you know just doesn’t give A crap about whipping out her boob in public? For the most part, they (we, me, I included) do our best to keep things underwraps.
    And that’s way more than I can say with all the ridiculous clothing — not just on the beach (are they kicking off certain folks for letting it ALLLLL hang out?), that I see being ever so proudly displayed at the mall.
    Apparently boobs are only for show. Push ’em up, let them pop out a little so long as a baby is NOT attached.
    And if so, then please use a nasty old airplane blanket that 14 people have probably farted on in the last 2 days.

  • kate

    November 17, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I’m lucky enough to live in a place where people don’t seem to be particularly bothered if I nurse, but I’m dreading my trip to France to see the in-laws. Breastfeeding beyond a couple of months is pretty rare over there (come to think of it, breastfeeding at all is rare) so I can’t even imagine the looks I’ll get with my one year old. I know, I’m a dirty, dirty pervert.

  • Erin

    November 17, 2006 at 3:17 pm

    I keep thinking I want to wean my 15-month-old, but this kind of thing makes me want to rush to the nearest public place every time she wants to eat and feed her there! Maybe flash a strip of breast above her fuzzy head. Then everyone can be appalled because she’s walking! Nearly talking! Waving one hand and both feet in the air while nursing! Yuck!
    I have six children and have breastfed in lots of public places. I’ve never been asked to leave, though certainly there have been some people who kept their eyes averted not just from my baby-feeding area but from my whole person. (“Don’t talk to that lady! Just act like she’s not there.”) I’d probably cry if I were ever negatively confronted. I’m grateful for the women who stand up for themselves.

  • Her Bad Mother

    November 17, 2006 at 3:21 pm

    God hates boobs, that why he didn’t give Jesus any.
    So, for the love of God, put your titties away, ladies. The sight offends HIM, and Delta Airlines.

  • raine

    November 17, 2006 at 3:36 pm

    Vive la revolution!

  • InterstellarLass

    November 17, 2006 at 3:55 pm

    Bravo! Well written! Applause!

  • Nini

    November 17, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    I am sad to say that these attitudes kept me at home alot back in my breastfeeding days.

  • Abigail

    November 17, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    You made me laugh out loud. I needed that today.
    Thanks, Alice!

  • Alice


    November 17, 2006 at 6:18 pm

    Well, obviously, Ruth. I mean, imagine the mess you could possibly make.
    I’m trying to remember who, but I believe some congressman was trying to make the same argument for not allowing breastfeeding in public, because of the risk of “spillage.” As if your milk would simply flood the room, if you allowed it to.

  • Sam

    November 17, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    Boobs are for selling beer dammit!
    I was in the LAs VEgas airport nursing my then 18 mo son and someone from the desk (Southwest I think) came up to me and asked me to please cover myself- I looked at her and laughed, then she said it again with emphasis,again LAUGHING and with my mother sitting next to me goggle eyed waiting with her breath held…(will my daughter rip this woman limb from limb or better yet a bloody verbal assault…) I looked at her and said (calmly- because hey, I was getting my nurse on and those calming hormones were flowin) “Ma’am, when you drape a blanket over that billboard (pointing to six showgirl ASSES on a sign not 20 ft away from my face) then MAYBE I will consider it but for now please excuse yourself before I have to raise my voice.”
    She left.

  • Ruth

    November 17, 2006 at 5:29 pm

    When my eldest was a nursling I was told that I could not breastfeed in a seating area at the Field Museum in Chicago on the grounds that there was “no eating in the museum”.

  • Cate Ross

    November 17, 2006 at 6:37 pm

    Well, I don’t know about you, but I had a LOT more trouble with, you know, “spillage” when I needed to feed my baby and couldn’t.
    Let’s face it. Breasts are for fetishizing for men’s entertainment, and anything else is just grotty–it implies that women might not just exist for show!

  • Brandi

    November 17, 2006 at 11:49 pm

    Thank you.
    My son is three months old and subsisting solely on breast milk (horrors). I have yet to encounter a hostile or ignorant reaction to my feeding him in public but I do get the classic shocked double-take when I don’t use a cover. We live in Florida and my son gets too hot under that damn wrap, me too for that matter.
    Even though I have not had any problems, I am always tense because I know a lot of public opinion leans toward “pop ’em out if their stripper boobs” rather than “they were made to feed another human boobs”. I’m a stress-monster anyway so while he nurses I’m constantly scanning to see who might be looking.
    On a positive note. Disney has an extremely friendly breast feeding policy. We were there a few weeks ago and I asked where I could go to feed my son. Anywhere I needed to was their answer. I could breast feed in a changing stall holding up the line of those wanting to try on princess dresses, or I could feed him on the middle of Main Street with a brass band and fanfare and no Disney employee would say a thing or have a problem. It was not only comforting, it was empowering. I had no problem nursing my son the next day at the breakfast table while my 2yo got all googly-eyed over Piglet and Pooh coming to visit, no drape either!
    Long first time comment, sorry. Great topic!

  • Joanna

    November 18, 2006 at 12:27 am

    Apparently, there was a “nurse-in” in protest

  • Kim

    November 17, 2006 at 8:55 pm

    Thank you. I have spent the last four months afraid of going places because what if some moron gives me a dirty look while I am feeding my baby because she had been screaming her head off??? Something tells me one is a lot more distracting than the other. Who knew it would be the hidden breast with the baby attached to it…
    Really, thanks for posting this. It gave me a boost of confidence that not everyone will scum me off for feeding my baby in public. Maybe I’ll learn to leave the house more willingly someday!

  • Mrs. Why

    November 17, 2006 at 9:15 pm

    I hope that Mom gets a fat settlement check so she can whip her breast out in First Class from now on.

  • Melanie

    November 17, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    I remember well the shame of breastfeeding my son – those days of taking my breasts away from their god-given right as toys for men and using them to nourish a child. Every day I struggled with it – “But will I ever be able to wear a teeny bikini in public and get ogled again if I breastfeed? Will men stop staring at me? Will I be doing something *gasp* healthy and nurturing for my child if I nurse him?” And yet I soldiered on. Now my husband won’t talk to me and people cross the street when they see me and my ill-used breasts.
    Thanks for the great post, it totally cracked me up!!

  • politicallyincorrectmom

    November 18, 2006 at 1:34 am

    Perfectly hilarious!
    I was forced to remove my soundly sleeping (halfway suckling) baby from the sling I was holding him in (to keep him warm and keep my arms from falling off during the 3 hour flight)… Because it was apparently completely outrageous for him to be attached to me in any manner…

  • pnutsmama

    November 18, 2006 at 11:27 am

    as I often do in times of maternal indecision, I ask myself the question WWJMD? (what would Jesus’ mama do?) and I turn to my handy-dandy book of scripture, and there I find, in Luke 11:27: It came to pass, as he said these things, a certain woman out of the multitude lifted up her voice, and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts which nursed you!” (
    seriously, that was my favorite thing to say to anyone who ever gave me a hard time about nursing my child (in public or in general). “It was good enough for jesus christ, and who am I to argue with god’s mama?” i know, quoting scripture out of context is poor theology, but really, sometimes you have to speak in language that people understand.

  • Cait

    November 18, 2006 at 2:00 pm

    Rock on, Alice.

  • Leslie

    November 18, 2006 at 10:29 am

    Excellent post! Thanks for the petition links.

  • Nicole

    November 18, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    So excellent. Alice, I love you. And your boobs.
    You want to try shocking passersby, nurse your baby and your toddler at the same time. I don’t do that very often, as I am more concerned with people seeing my belly roll over my jeans than I am with them potentially seeing some areola.
    I am a shit-disturber from way back–I keep hoping some stupid ass will ask me to cover up so I can edumacate ’em. Perhaps the “I dare you” glint in my eye keeps them at bay.

  • PJJ

    November 18, 2006 at 7:34 pm

    Thank you so much. Your article is improving the health of mommies and babies and saving us taxpayers money on health care for fewer baby sick visits to the doctor.
    You are AWESOME!

  • Anne

    November 18, 2006 at 2:55 pm

    Worst of all, you didn’t mention that this happened in VERMONT. Tut, tut, what is the world coming to?

  • Lisa C

    November 18, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    Desperate to get the little guy to shut up so I could pick out fabric at Joann’s, I ended up nursing him between the bolts of fleece and quilting cotton.
    “Would you like to go to the restroom?” the female employee asked me a bit nervously.
    “Thanks, but no. It’s so gross in there. I wouldn’t want to eat in the bathroom. I’ll be as discrete as possible,” I assured her.
    And that was that. I didn’t feel offended or anything. I think she was just uneducated about such things.

  • Sally

    November 18, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    Oh for heaven’s sake. I live in South Carolina for heaven’s sake, not exactly cutting-edge, and I’ve (discreetly, yes, but that’s not the point) breastfed publically countless times. No one’s ever said a word to me. I haven’t even ever gotten THE LOOK.
    It’s sad, being reminded that I should consider myself lucky in this regard.
    I know the right to breastfeed anywhere the woman and child have a right to be is a law in our state.
    It should be on a plane too.
    Friendly skies my butt.
    I am the most anti-litigious person on the planet generally, but I hope Delta gets their already precarious financial ass handed to them on this one. I hope they have to pay for that precious-baby-who-dared-to-be-hungry’s Harvard education, and said baby grow up to be a formidable civil and women’s rights attorney.

  • Ann Marie

    November 18, 2006 at 10:21 pm

    Wonderful satire!

  • alice

    November 18, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    YES. My blog saves lives and money. Thank you for noticing!

  • chasmyn

    November 18, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    Oh my Goddess, you are my new hero. If I weren’t already married, I’d propose. Instead I’ll just have to add you to my sidebar and become a regular reader.

  • Renee

    November 19, 2006 at 2:42 am

    Sheesh! Snakes on a plane is ok, but breasts on a plane aren’t? What is this world coming to?

  • heather

    November 18, 2006 at 11:39 pm

    Well, Target wasn’t my favorite place to nurse, but the cafe was fine in a pinch.
    Really, the thing they ought to watch out for are us working mamas who sometimes go to meetings away from our nice discreet offices, and have to go out to our cars and pump. A baby at least only uses one side at a time, and generally covers up the side in use. I kinda gave some city workers an eyeful one day… but they didn’t wreck their truck. Something tells me they weren’t permanently blinded by the sight.

  • Stacie

    November 19, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    What else can I say that hasn’t already been said?
    I’ll be a regular visitor from now on!

  • Jan

    November 19, 2006 at 8:21 am

    My 22 year old son has seen a lot of women breastfeeding in public, but much to his sorrow, he’s never seen a breast during one of those times…much less anyone just “whip it out.” But he keeps waiting…hoping….
    As far as he is concerned, breastfeeding moms are just way too discrete.

  • Amy

    November 19, 2006 at 3:18 pm

    Bwahahaha…that made me spew my coffee! Oh, the horror of seeing a baby nursing on a plane or anywhere in public. Guess we’d better shove a nasty ol’ bottle in their mouth from now on. @@
    :::makes mental note not to plan any trips until my 26 month old daughter is done nursing:::

  • Matt

    November 19, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    FAA policy requires passenger compliance with instructions on all posted placards, lighted signs, and the flight crew.
    Obviously, some part of something hinted to the other passengers and/or crew that brought it to their attention. It probably wasn’t Jesus.
    It’s a simple matter of a passenger disobeying the crew. Is the request to cover with a blanket all that unreasonable? Is someone else going to sue the next time the crew tries to shut them off from in-flight alcohol?
    If you don’t like the societal standards of the country, then move.

  • Wouldn't you like to know

    November 19, 2006 at 5:21 pm

    “Nursing women are killers, and they must be stopped.” -What are you a psycho person.. Come on!! Grow up and get a life!! Women have had breasts ever since they were created and what the hell do you think they have been used for all these years.. yeah!!… that is right, BREASTFEEDING.. geesh maybe someone should have breastfed your dumb ass!! I don’t care if you post this or not.. I don’t give a shit what you do but you seriously neeeeeeeed to GROW UP!

  • Matt

    November 19, 2006 at 6:41 pm

    Again, the heart of the issue is that it’s against federal law to disobey a flight attendant, regardless of the righteousness of the disagreement.
    The proper way to handle it would have been to cover up and then file the appropriate complaints after the flight. But, of course, that’s far less sensational.
    Regarding the blankets, they’re (sadly) probably the most clean part of the cabin when you’re on board. Depending on the flight, many airline blankets are washed everyday. The seats, walls, plastic, etc., hardly receive a cleaning once a month; and, most likely, your child is going to touch one of those surfaces far more directly than a blanket.

  • Jenny

    November 19, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    Geez, I wish I could remember which airline it was that did this to me about a year ago. Well, they didn’t boot me, but on one of the FOUR legs of my trip on the same airline, a particular flight attendant was adamant that I not allow my then 16-month-old daughter to sit on my lap during take-off or landing, because “she’s a ticketed passenger, and FAA regulations require she be in her seat.” Um, yeah. Whatever. This, after absconding with my carry-on baggage (complete with all the goodies that keep a young ‘un semi-content during a flight) because the flight was too full for everyone’s carry-ons. “Tell you what,” I told her. “You give her something better to suck on so that her ears don’t hurt and cause her to shriek and blow everyone else’s eardrums out.” She had nothing, and tried to expand her body mass around our row like a big flying squirrel as she continued to insist I put my daughter in her seat. “If my child were about nine months younger, and you were about nine months wiser, you wouldn’t be doing this,” I told her. I refused to put my daughter back in her seat until the attendant produced either my carry-on or something sensible for my daughter to suckle, and finally, one lovely mother a few rows ahead of me stood up and shouted at the attendant, “Oh, please! This is RIDICULOUS!” Then she handed me a bottle. Not that my daughter ever agreed to drink from a bottle or suck on a pacifier, but it was the gesture that counted. I wrote a letter to the airlines, and got no reply. I should have made a bigger stink about it. Sorry, fellow nursing moms: I really should have.

  • Heather

    November 19, 2006 at 2:19 pm

    Hey folks, just to remind you:
    Discrete is a mathetmatics term.
    Discreet is when you’re being modest.
    I’m a proud mama of a 1 year old baby girl. I’ve nursed her everywhere. And NEVER have I used a blanket.

  • rachel

    November 19, 2006 at 2:31 pm

    I’ve been nursing constantly for 8 1/2 years now (3 kids) and lived in 3 different states, and have only gotten 1 negative comment. I feel very grateful to have been so lucky. And I’m sure I have accidentally flashed people on airplanes and elsewhere.
    I saw a wonderful presentation a few years ago by Kathy Dettweiler about the use of breasts in advertisements around the world. It was really amazing.
    Thanks for the petition link – off to sign it now!

  • amy

    November 19, 2006 at 10:06 pm

    boob whipper here!! i nursed 4 kids a total of 9 years, often in public!! i cannot imagine where this flight attendant got her stones to interfere with ms gillette, but i am following the story quite closely as i am the “lactivist” on a particular forum that seems to be all over the place in its level of understanding and acceptance of the true nature of nursing… talk about b00bs!
    at any rate… if there is an interest… this is the press release from emily gillette’s lawyer… which can be found at this link…html#interview
    Charge Filed with Vermont

  • Cynthia

    November 19, 2006 at 10:14 pm

    I’m still nursing my daughter who is over 2 at this point. She doesn’t nurse as much in public, but when she wants it, I give it to her. No one has ever said anything to me and I’ve never noticed any obvious disgust or stares. I’d love to see someone try to say something to me.
    The people who have things to say are completely ignorant and uneducated. Just because it offends you doesn’t mean it’s wrong and it also doesn’t mean that the world has to change around you because you’re so offended. People really need to wake up to that fact.

  • Kim

    November 19, 2006 at 10:25 pm

    OMG, Bran. I have tried to get people to see that exact point. A bottle nipple is a replica of a human nipple (well, it’s fashioned after it, anyway), just as a dildo is a replica of a penis. So yeah–they must be of equal caliber when done in public (of course, then they pull the lame excuse of “well, I guess my husband is allowed to yank out his penis and urinate anywhere he wants to!). Yuck. As if he’d do so in her mouth to offer nourishment or something?
    I too am a nursing mom, and because of negativity, I have had to adopt an “I don’t give a damn,” attitude. I have had to abandon all inhibitions that I had when bf’ing my older children (I used to be afraid to NIP). We can’t ever normalize breastfeeding as long as we are forced to ‘hide’ as long as we’re nursing, so we just can’t give into that pressure anymore! What could be more natural than this?
    I will not feed my child in the nasty bathroom. I will not cover my child’s head as though we are doing something shameful. I will, however, loan her blankie to anyone who is uncomfortable with the fact that my daughter is receiving the best possible nutrition… or point THEM to the nearest bathroom for to eat their lunch–since we’ll not take ours there.

  • alice

    November 19, 2006 at 5:42 pm

    This shows the depth of your profound ignorance. It’s been scientifically proven that breasts are for ogling. Oh, wait–and fondling. No more, no less.
    This is fun!

  • alice


    November 19, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    And Matt: it was Delta who didn’t conform to the “societal standards of the country.” In 37 states (including Vermont), it’s legal to breastfeed “in any place of public accommodation in which the mother and child would otherwise have a legal right to be.”
    Delta does not have the right to circumvent those laws. So maybe they should leave the country?
    And as for it being unreasonable to cover up with a blanket: an airline blanket? Yeah, unreasonable. Babies have delicate immune systems and those blankets are not the cleanest. No mother is going to put that over her baby’s head.

  • Kassia

    November 19, 2006 at 11:02 pm

    I must say you blog made me laugh. Made me think about how we are so screwed up when it’s okay to see a rap star on national TV wear nothing but tassles over her nipples and have them jiggled by another performer. No one is outragged by this. Yet, to see a picture of a child being breastfed on a parenting magazine is just the ulimate perversion and the editor should be put to death. We can watch commercials with Victoria Secrets women in underwear and bras, but oh no!!! A breastfeeding mother is coming and she’s being obscene.
    When I started breastfeeding my 13 month old (self-weaned at 12 months) I was worried in restaurants that I would be told to feed him in a bathroom where we as women hardly ever go to pee (and even if we do we sit high off the seat because of germs). Now I could careless.
    Anyhow, great blog!!! BRAVO TO YOU!!!

  • Jen

    November 19, 2006 at 11:20 pm

    All I can say is ROFLOL.
    This was awesome. Such a great point. Too bad so many people are brainless and can’t understand it themselves.

  • Lisa C.

    November 19, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    You rock, Alice! I nursed my baby everywhere, even on the lumber aisle of a Home Depot! I never had a problem, but I do feel bad that there are mothers out there who are harrassed for feeding their children. What is this world coming to?

  • Tori Mize

    November 19, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    “But what mother do you know just doesn’t give A crap about whipping out her boob in public?”
    I don’t. I nurse my son, I’m feeding him, that is it and that is all. True, for the most part, you don’t see much of anything, but if someone wants to get their knickers in a twist over seeing a flash’o’nipple to feed a baby, when across the resteraunt there’s some 13 year old in hotpants- well, I tend to not give much of a crap what that someone thinks. πŸ˜‰

  • alice

    November 19, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    Hi Matt! I’m not saying that federal law doesn’t trump state. Your original comment read, “If you don’t like the societal standards of the country, then move.” And I was pointing out that the societal standards in the vast majority of the country support a mother’s right to breastfeed in public.
    And flight attendants have the legal right to ask someone to remove their pants and put them on their head, but does that make it okay? And it seems extreme, when a person politely declines the Mystery Blanket (and I’m sorry, saying it’s cleaner than other things doesn’t make me feel better about the blanket), to immediately send a ticket agent in to throw the entire family out. Who’s being sensational when they take that kind of action? Why couldn’t the flight attendant and the passenger reach a compromise?
    Of course, I wasn’t there, so for all I know the passenger was belligerent. The stories characterized the encounter as brief, so that’s what I’m going on.
    I know that airplane interactions tend to be, well, fraught these days, and that this complicates the matter. But I still think it’s intolerable that a mother is publicly shamed for feeding her child.

  • michelle

    November 19, 2006 at 8:50 pm

    first off BRAVA!
    second off, FLY CONTINENTAL PEOPLE! my husband is ad army and i had to fly ten times this summer to see him. i nursed my daughter on every single flight. not only were the stewardess’s wonderful but they even offered me my own row (i only paid for 1 seat) because the cabin was narrow and i didnt have enough room to cradle feed my daughter. she was between 6-8 months of age.
    im still nursing her and she is almost 11 months old. she will be self weaned.

  • Bran

    November 19, 2006 at 9:09 pm

    If breastfeeding in public is sexual, then bottle feeding must be like whipping out a dildo!

  • alice

    November 19, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    Well, a nipple isn’t a sexual organ, so that analogy kind of falls flat for me.
    And as someone who was unable to breastfeed after months of trying, I chafe when breastfeeders get judgmental of bottle-feeding.

  • Nursing Mom

    November 20, 2006 at 8:06 am

    For all of you who bring Jesus into this, claiming ‘He is watching’, and such, how exactly do you think Mary fed him?
    If God didn’t want women to breastfeed, then why would he have given our breats the capability to do so?

  • Nicole

    November 20, 2006 at 9:05 am

    Bravo Alice. You are being linked all over the internet for this one! I applaud you for your PInCness; you have made many laugh, cry… be moved! And, you have gotten to the heart of the real troubling issue here.
    I have a new link to put in my favorites. Thanks! And my son, who is nursing on my breast at this moment in a public library, thanks you too!

  • kimmieindallas

    November 20, 2006 at 10:44 am

    I’ve never been a troublemaker. Wish I could have been but my self-esteem was always too low. But, but, but, when I had a BABY to nuture, watch out. It gave me balls of steel (and nipples of steel after a while). Perhaps that is why, through 66+ months of bf my two babies I never once got a look or a comment. Perhaps I gave off a vibe that said “this is what I do and just try and stop me.” I don’t know. I live in Dallas where boobs are for showing off. Mine now hide somewhere down by my bellybutton but I’ll be able to find a surgeon on just about any corner who’d be happy to move them back up!!
    you rock, Alice. Glad to see you writing a bit more. I’ve been reading you for I don’t know how long now. Love you!!

  • Brianna

    November 20, 2006 at 10:49 am

    I know what you mean about “breastfeeders-vs-bottle feeders.” I was unable to nurse my first child nearly as much as I wanted to, and had to substitute formula. Now, with my second child, I’ve been able to successfully BF for over four months now. He’s quite the sucker!
    Anywho, having been on both sides, I have more compassion for both mothers. I think that we need to be able to have the freedom to feed our children however we choose. That being said, I know a lot of women (sadly) are ignorant of all the benefits of breastfeeding, both to them and their child. As a matter of fact, my SIL had her little girl a week after my boy was born. He was hungry, so I fed him in a chair in her hospital room. She wrinkled her nose and said “Oh, your breastfeed?” To which I replied “Um, yeah, you don’t?” “No. These boobs are just for my man.”
    I blinked. Oh goodness. Um, okay.. Yeah.. if you say so.
    Um… there was a point to all this, but now I’ve forgotten.. oh yeah! I say if you can’t nurse for whatever reason (be it physical or ignorance) then you’ve gotta feed your baby somehow! It’s the people (like my SIL) that irk me, who KNOW better, but choose to not even TRY. Now THAT is stupidity in its worst form.
    Anyways, thanks for posting this! Very amusing.

  • Anissa

    November 20, 2006 at 11:04 am

    Hmmm. I’ve been reading all these comment about nursing in public, and i wonder how people can bitch about the beautiful sight of a mother caring for her child, when there are so many ugly things you see on the news…LIke the War in Iraq and 9/11 how about seeing al those dead people in mass graves in the time of Hitler??? If you are gonna complain make it about something worthwhile like the low minimum wage some people have to live on these days… A woman nursing her child pails by far in comparison..
    Dd you know breastmilk is cheaper than formula that millions of low income familys get from WIC??? Just think I receive WIC but instead of spending your TAX money on formula for my son I breastfeed him Saving you aproximately $80 a month,aproximatwly $1000 dollars this year…
    BY THE WAY i have nursed in public many times and no-one knew until my son burped that he had even been eating…and last i knew airplane egines are VERY loud and not much can be heard over them …I would do the same if a stewardess did that to me!! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PURSUE HAPPINESS AND SO DOES MY INFANTSON!! those who disagree can go in the bathrroom with thier dinner he– with you!!!

  • Shay

    November 20, 2006 at 11:30 am

    As a mother who just made it through the first month of breastfeeding her first child, thank you.

  • Lindsay

    November 20, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    As a mother whose been pregnant or nursing (and often both) for the past 4 years, thank you. I’ve never had more than one comment made to me for nursing in public (and it was the offer of another space, which I declined). It was amusing to me after my first son was born, for my husband and I to eat at our favorite restaurant, and watch the waiter practically run away when I nursed. Now, we can go in with our 3.5 year old, our nursing 19 month old, and my currently pregnant self, and no one bats an eye when the toddler latches on. I hope nursing is normalized in the country at large, and soon.
    On another note, I wish the flight attendant could have been like the lovely one I had 2 years ago on a Northwest flight. Her name was Kimberly, and as we were getting ready to take off, she suggested I nurse my then-13 month old son to help him with pressurizing. That lead to a wonderful conversation about how she was pumping for her 1 year old daughter. I regret not having written to Northwest, praising not only her service, but her encouragement of my son’s in-flight happiness via his favorite pastime.

  • halloweenlover

    November 20, 2006 at 12:48 pm

    This made me laugh lots and lots and lots. Seriously, I think I love you. This is too much!

  • Jaq

    November 20, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    I just wanted to mention that I have breastfed on planes a number of times without any hassles at all … never in the US, admittedly, but here in Australia, no one has ever been anything but helpful. I got special pillows without asking for them and no one ever so much suggested that I might need a blanket. So, hopefully, this is just a Delta Airlines thing, and anyone who objects will choose NEVER to fly them again.

  • Debbie

    November 20, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    Am I a bad person for laughing at “Wouldn’t you like to know?” Am I a “psycho person” for finding it funny that they jumped in to leave comments without managing to read enough to catch the sarcasm?
    I loved it, even as a non-mom, I say BRAVO, ALICE!

  • Kate

    November 20, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    Discrete is not just for mathematicians anymore! see ” apart or detached from others; separate; distinct:” πŸ˜›
    oh the arguments trying to say who can and who cannot breastfeed and
    how someone has to be “discrete” (can’t be discrete very well as a
    person (consisting of or characterized by distinct or individual
    parts; discontinuous) Maybe that’s part of the problem in our society-
    a nursing dyad is NOT detached, different, disconnected,
    discontinuous, distinct, diverse, separate, several, unattached, etc,
    but very well attached and connected (emotionally, etc) with her
    Of course, what many of you are trying to say is “be discreet”, but I
    argue that most moms are discreet, as in ” judicious in one’s conduct
    or speech, esp. with regard to respecting privacy or maintaining
    silence about something of a delicate nature; prudent; circumspect”.
    After all, they aren’t going around *advertising* that they are
    nursing- they are merely doing it and they are being alert, attentive,
    awake, careful, chary, circumspect, civil, , conservative,
    considerate, controlled, diplomatic, discerning, discriminating,
    having foresight, heedful, intelligent, judicious, moderate, not rash,
    prudent, reasonable, reserved, restrained, safe, sagacious, tactful,
    temperate, thoughtful, unexcessive, unextremel, wise, etc.
    No, I suspect what many people would prefer is a mom who is prudish,
    Victorian, affected, artificial, demure, fastidious, mincing, narrow,
    narrow-minded, offish, old-maid, old-maidish, overexact, overmodest,
    pretentious, priggish, prim, prissy, puritanical, rigid, severe,
    simpering, square, squeamish, starchy, stern, stiff, stilted,
    strait-laced, strict, stuffy or uptight.
    Really, though, none of that matters. A woman has a baby, the baby is
    born, the baby nurses, the baby grows, the child nurses, the mom and
    child travel and the baby nurses wherever s/he needs to- hungry or no,
    needing comfort or no- it’s just none of your business, is it? Leave
    the mommas alone if your plan is to harrass them. Help them instead-
    it’s pretty darned tough raising children, especially in the light of
    misguided negative comments.”

  • One-Sixteenth

    November 20, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    The Dangers of Breastfeeding

    Because Mother Nature made bottles for a reason. Now you know. Won’t somebody, please, think of the children?…

  • Linda Magid

    November 21, 2006 at 12:10 pm

    Re: Matt’s comments
    Why do people who do not support breastfeeding in public or long term use drinking alcohol as an anology to nursing? My sister-in-law did it, attempting to tell me that I was making my daughter “addicted” to breastmilk and now Matt uses it regarding flight attendant authority.
    What is the connection for these people? I mean, are they going to start Nursing Annonymous for us and our addicted babies? I can see it now. “Hi. I Lilly. I two year old. I like BeeBee!”

  • Jenny Coiner

    November 21, 2006 at 12:18 pm

    Well I happen to work in a car dealership with a group of men who can be quite harsh. I hate to cook and they are always telling me that if my family were a pioneer they would starve for lack of my cooking skills. Well here something to think about – if all of these women who are against breastfeeding were pioneer women — your babies would starve!!!!!!! I breastfed both of my boys and I breast fed in public all of the time. I wasn’t shy but I didn’t broadcast it either. I you saw me you could probably tell that I was nursing a baby but I wasn’t saying Hey – look at my boobs! Besides the all of the wonderful health benefits, I truly feel that the women who don’t breastfeed their babies have not clue what they are missing. Your body made that baby and your body has the ability to nourish that baby completely and that in itself is a miracle. You can something for you child that no one else could do and nursing is something to be cherished.

  • cagey

    November 21, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    Those articles make me seethe. SEETHE.
    Fortunately, I can report that I have had only positive experiences in the breastfeeding arena for the past 13+ months. I have nursed my kid from coast to coast on 7 different airplane trips in over 16 airports with nary a problem. I do attempt to cover up with a blanket if possible, but I don’t give a rat’s butt if I am nursing near a baggage carousel in McCarren airport or in the middle of Fanueil Hall marketplace. If my kid is hungry, I’m not slinking off to a restroom.

  • Monster Mama

    November 22, 2006 at 9:10 am

    Well….you know-I am surprised that they even let her on the plane with those things, “loaded” and all-she coulda shot down a few people!
    Those suckers can shoot-hard and far! Come on now-what is wrong with people….and my father! He is of the same belief and it amazes me…..I have seen him twice this past year and on both occasions he saw fit to point out that I should be feeding my daughter where people take a crap! He even thought that some men at a deli were oggling me because I had my daughter attached! Sorry pops….maybe you’re the one with the problem! I have bigger fish to fry……like why do they show erectile enhancement drug commercials on my kids cartoon channel? You want something to bitch about???? It’s not like we whip them out and shake them around for all to see before placing them in our critters mouths…..although, come to think of it-maybe THEN it would be acceptable!!!!

  • Peggy

    November 22, 2006 at 11:17 am

    I noticed that the woman with the three month old nursing hasn’t encountered any problems… yet. But watch out if you dare to nurse a two, three or (gasp) four year old in public. Perhaps we should be lobbying Congress to pass an appropriate nursing age cut off date (a.k.a. the Weaning Bill). Then people could bring their over sexualization of our children fetishes out into the public debate. For I don’t think it’s the nipple that bugs people, it’s the idea of a child getting it on with their mother that’s lurking around deep in the recesses of the offended person’s subconscious.

  • karen

    November 22, 2006 at 1:02 pm

    I was married 10 years to an airline pilot. From what I understand the Captain is in complete charge of the airplane and makes decisions as to who gets to stay and who might be kicked off the plane for “bad” behavior. The flight attendants do not have that power, but the Captain will defer to a flight attendant in many cases since it is the flight attendant who is dealing for the most part with the unruly passenger. It’s rather a big deal to have someone kicked off a flight; paperwork has to be filed, etc., and the Captain had better be sure about the situation.
    That said, I nursed my daughter for 3.5 years and then my son for 2.5 years under all kinds of circumstances and in many countries, in restaurants, on park benches, standing in lines, while on tours, and on many, many airplanes. I never ever covered them (why draw more attention to it? “What IS she doing under that blanket?”) Once on the way to Ireland, an older woman leaned across the aisle toward me after I got settled nursing my then 3 year old. I cringed inwardly since I thought she was going to adminish me somehow, but her eyes crinkled at the corners as she told me she wished she’d see more mothers doing what I was doing.
    Good for you, Alice. Thanks for drawing the public’s attention to this wanton misuse of nipples.

  • Amie

    November 22, 2006 at 7:02 pm

    I think part of the reason why we get up in arms over this type of anti-nursing behavior is because we aren’t used to it. And for that, I am thankful.
    If most women were asked to cover up, we wouldn’t even have heard about this.
    I am upset about this happening, but at the same time realize how rare it really is.
    Now, if only Delta would realize it, too.

  • Summer

    November 22, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    I’m pretty sure I just experienced “let down.” And I haven’t breastfed in ten years.
    Brava, Alice.

  • ArmsOfLove

    November 24, 2006 at 12:10 am

    I’m currently nursing numbers 4 and 5 (yes, sometimes at the same time πŸ˜‰ ) and so wanted to be at the nurse-in. I firmly believe when someone is offered a blanket to cover up the blanket should be offered back to the person as something to put over their heads so they don’t have to watch *rolleyes*
    The one time someone dared come to me in a stadium and say they had received a complaint about me breastfeeding and that I needed to stop I laughed and said, “Well I want to complain about the person who complained about me. I’m offended by their ignorance and rudeness and they need to stop or leave.” Yep, they walked away πŸ˜€

  • Heidi Koslo

    November 24, 2006 at 12:30 pm

    Re: Matt’s comments …
    Matt, you must comply with a flight attendant’s directives, this is true. Of course, they must also be legal; and a woman has a right to breastfeed her child in any location which she also has a right to be. So, in this case, the flight attendant needs to learn both her own airline’s policy (which does not require blanket cover-up of BF mothers) and also the law. Thank you for your opinion.
    Re: Alice’s comments … Alice, I am so sorry you struggled and ultimately felt unsuccesful with breastfeeding; whether you had professional assistance or not, this is such a loss and must have been devestating for you. Rest assured, I try not to make derogatory comments about bottle-feeding in general. I know many women who have, for many reasons. Stop for a moment, and also think about how I feel … I nursed without ever using a bottle for a total of 4 1/2 years; yet the first and only symbol of infant feeding that I see everywhere I go is a bottle. That’s harsh. (Note, a new public breastfeeding symbol has just been released … this should be fun and interesting … I wonder if it will be used by personnel to tell mothers they must go to that special place to nurse!)
    Everyone’s comments are so much fun, and the article was a hoot! Thanks for the early morning laugh!

  • Nancy

    November 25, 2006 at 8:16 am

    Alice, you rock, as always. Thanks for the best laugh I’ve had all week.

  • Flydaddy

    November 26, 2006 at 8:13 pm

    Attacking Delta at large for this is a bit unfair. Yes, the FA was acting as a representative of Delta, but in a manner CONTRARY to Delta’s policies. Yes, blame the errant employee, but the entire corporation? All they can do is place their policies, and train their employees. If a rogue employee behaves bizarrely, they can be disciplined, but corporate America hasn’t perfected mind control over its minions yet, so give them a break!

  • Sunny

    November 27, 2006 at 3:10 pm

    I was lucky enough to live in Florida — one of the first states to enact a law that says, in effect, “sit down and shut up, because that child has a right to be breastfed, and you are not going to get your puritanical knickers in a knot about, because we said it’s okay.”
    I kept waiting for someone to make a big whoop out of nursing for the whole 11 months I nursed, but in 11 months, not one single soul ever said a peep to me.
    For once, hurray for Florida.

  • Raymond

    November 27, 2006 at 3:36 pm

    You go girls. There were times I wished some nitwit would have confronted my wife while nursing our sons. I was ready to do damage. Both verabally and, well, the other kind.
    What kind of demented world is ours where people can go around in public showing it all but God forbid a woman should feed her child.
    It makes me crazy to realize that there a so many who think a breast is just a plaything and (excuse my yelling) NOT THE FIRST A BABY FEEDS ON MINUTES AFTER THEY ARE BORN!!!.

  • Beth

    November 27, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    Terrific satire. Brava!
    Is there a reputable source for the public breastfeeding laws for all the states? This would be useful to have when traveling. Even for locally, it’s probably good to have copies of the local law on hand to silently give to anyone who begins to harass.
    The museum regulation against any food consumption is interesting. We often call to attention that this is simply how a baby eats when making a case against nursing in the bathroom by pointing out that adults don’t eat their meals in the bathroom. A regulation against any eating does not focus unevenly on breastfeeding. Are regulations like that taken into account by or trumped by public breastfeeding laws?
    If a woman chooses to use a blanket, that’s her choice. No one, however, should feel pressured to or be forced to do so.
    Most women are indeed discreet, to varying degrees. Some take extra care to arrange logistics for extra privacy, and only end up flashing rarely and purely by accident. Some simply get down to business and end up flashing for a split-second. Some show more and others less of the non-nipple breast area, but it is silly to comment on that at a pool or a lingerie store.
    While most women do not want to put on a show, and are naturally discreet, I do know one woman who will standing speaking in front of a group of people, hike up her shirt and undershirt, stand there with breast and sometimes breasts fully exposed for at least a couple of seconds, and then attempt to latch on her child. I really don’t know what to make of that.
    I don’t know what the issue with the sling was. For safety, it is actually true that a baby, like anyone else, should be buckled in during takeoff and landing, which are the two most dangerous points of a flight, as well as during turbulence. This is difficult, however, to combine with the very helpful nursing during the change of pressure. Still, it surprises me that so many who wouldn’t dream of driving with a baby on the lap don’t give taking off and landing this way a second thought.
    But many if not most airlines do not mandate that children under the age of two need their own seats. I don’t think that is safe, but, if the airline does not mandate this, then at least having the baby in a sling is better than having the baby on a lap. I wonder whether when a baby does have a seat assigned the rule to follow is that every ticketed passenger must be in the assigned seat buckled in, and this trumps arguing that even though the baby has a seat a baby can be on the lap because assigned children under two do not have to be in seats; that is, does the mandate about children under two being allowed to fly on that lap of the adult apply even if a seat is provided for the baby, or does having a seat for the baby indeed turn the baby into a ticketed passenger who must be buckled in?
    The swimming pool thing is another interesting situation. If the lifeguards are mostly teen-aged boys, it is true that this could be distracting. This is not the fault of breastfeeding mothers, but it might be a consideration for the sake of safety. If an adult is supposed to accompany a child under a certain age for reasons of safety, then multitasking by breastfeeding at the same time, even if legal, doesn’t seem very smart, any more than simply holding an infant at the same time would be.
    Thank you again for the satire as well as for all the intriguing situations of what to do.

  • Beth

    November 27, 2006 at 5:54 pm

    Oh, I also meant to note that if a flight attendant tries to prohibit or impede something that one is legally allowed to do in the manner in which it is being done, then one should first ask for the head flight attendant and then if necessary for the captain. I do wonder, had the captain in Vermont been alerted, whether the nursing mother would have been asked to leave.

  • homer

    November 27, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    I’ve never understood the breast-freak out stuff (e.g., Janet Jackson). If males can show their nipples everywhere, why can’t women?

  • HipHotMama

    November 27, 2006 at 7:15 pm

    It totally sucks this mom was treated rudely by the airline. I myself have breastfed my baby on Delta at least a dozen times in less than desirable seating/privacy. No one has ever given me or my baby a hard time. I just think companies in the service industry should teach their employees their breastfeeding policy during orientation.
    And all you moms who don’t go out in public, get out and have a life!

  • Nicole

    November 27, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    Here’s one more for Matt:
    I’m guessing you’re a man. I mean, maybe Matt could be short for Matteline or Mattison, but it’s probably not. So it’s really a rhetorical device for me to ask the following question, and I’m just admitting that upfront.
    Have you ever tried to nurse a baby whose head is covered up?
    I didn’t think so.
    Having established that, I’d like to offer the following comparison, stolen shamelessly from Jennifer Weiner: Nursing for some women–especially those with Much Boobage, like myself–is something akin to trying to get a cantaloupe into a Cheerio. It takes coordination of a kind difficult to achieve when one cannot lay eyes on both Cheerio and cantaloupe.
    God knows I wanted to breastfeed discreetly (and discretely), but the size of my boobs combined with the reflux of my baby did not allow that in all cases. I did my level best, but I absolutely had to be able to see both baby and breast to make everything work.
    I also had to nurse on a plane (Delta) several times and had no issue. As luck would have it, they seated me next to a blind person. Charmed life, I know.

  • Angela

    November 27, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    Okay, so much really great stuff has been said in response, but I just want to ask, are you not getting the BIGGEST KICK out of people who don’t realize this is SATIRE. That’s gotta make it all worth it, right?

  • Oregon transplant

    November 28, 2006 at 1:09 am

    Alice, thank you–I enjoyed this so much!
    As a long-time Vermonter, and knowing well the marked “do as you like, we’ll leave you alone” culture of Burlington-ness, I was horrified to see that this occurred in good ol’ Burlington Int’l Airport. I realized immediately that it HAD to be a non’Burlington based flight crew! Also, the fact that it was a weeny little Delta contract partner, not Delta, made it more understandable, too. The flight attendant staff on those little short’hauler flights are not those with the most experience, training, or pay.
    I BF my little guy until he was 2.5. Although after 2, it was just bedtime nursing, up until then we nursed everywhere and anywhere we wanted. I have never nursed in a bathroom, and would never consider it. Hell, I was lucky enough to never be forced into pumping milk in a bathroom. I wouldn’t have been able to stand it. I would have had to dump the milk due to germphobia.
    I feel very lucky to live in Portland, Oregon, where no one so much as blinked at me while I nursed my son in the middle of the farmer’s market, on the train, in the bookstore, etc. And I flew roundtrip across the country with him 6 times in his 1st 18 months on Delta and Continental, often on jam’packed flights, with never a problem. Although I secretly always wished that someone would give me grief, so that I could lambast them.

  • Leslie Ann

    November 27, 2006 at 10:08 pm

    Dear Wouldn’t You Like To Know-
    It’s called satire for a reason. Duh.
    Dear Alice-

  • alice

    November 28, 2006 at 1:09 pm

    Here’s a thought, CB–you could look away.

  • cb

    November 28, 2006 at 9:20 am

    Um, last time I checked, another person’s rights ended where mine begin. And I have the right not to witness a woman nursing her baby.
    I know all the mothers out there think that breatfeeding is natural and beautiful and part of the circle of life and we who don’t want to witness said act in public are merely philistines. I don’t care. I don’t like babies. And I don’t like having their feeding time thrust in my face.
    She was only asked to cover up, and she refused. To me this deliberately infringed upon the other passenger’s rights NOT to witness the feeding frenzy.
    I’m right with the airlines on this one- she should have been asked to leave. And I hope that no woman tries breastfeeding next to me on a plane.

  • Chaos

    November 28, 2006 at 10:59 am

    Beth asked: Is there a reputable source for the public breastfeeding laws for all the states?
    Yes, there is πŸ™‚
    A Current Summary of Breastfeeding Legislation in the U.S.
    That said – Alice, wonderful job. Thank you!

  • Mom to 5 boys

    November 28, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    OMG, Alice you are wonderful! As a BFing mother with 5 sons, I have both bottle fed and BF and the only one who ever said anything was my mom. She can’t understand how I can still BF when they have teeth! My husband says “I dare anyone to say anything to you. They don’t know you!LOL!” My teenage sons have probably seen more boob than most, and feel that this is completely “normal”, so I guess that I am raising the “new” men that don’t really think that boobs are just for them. Here’s to hopeing!

  • Josie

    November 28, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    Matt and CB – what she was doing was LEGAL, and what the flight attendant asked was ILLEGAL. The argument that you must submit to any flight attendant’s illegal, prejudiced whim while on a plane (and then file charges later) is ridiculous and fortunately completely untrue. CB, klansman have to look past their prejudices when seated near anyone they hate on planes, and you do too. It’s a GOOD thing that any random person’s prejudices don’t determine who is allowed to stay on a plane and who isn’t!

  • Chaos

    November 28, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    CB — Where is it written that you have a right not to witness a baby being fed? Last time I checked, there’s no law protecting such a thing. There ARE laws protecting breastfeeding in public though.

  • Katy

    November 28, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    Love the article. I whip out my Evil Boobies to feed my twins, anywhere, anytime (except the the car.) I have fed them on several flights and the flight attendants have always been very helpful and kind. (Yay Qantas and Air New Zealand!)We give the babies pacifiers at take off and landing and usually have one in a carseat and the other on a lap, in the provided belt.
    I nursed under a blanket one time in an airport lounge but it was because I was learning to nurse and not comfortable with it myself. Now I wouldn’t dream of it, and the babies would pull the blanket in two seconds anyway.

  • Scout's Honor

    November 28, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    Rabid breast feeding advocates suck big time. They are everywhere and their suckle-ins for Barbara Walters and stupid airlines are so old.
    Let me back up. I breast fed all my children. My daughter was 14 months when I weaned her. Another son was 12 months. I do believe breastfeeding is best, and Jim boy, it’s a great diet plan. It’s like having constant liposuction, so you can eat what you want. So, in the end, I am a big supporter of breast feeding.
    However, I get annoyed with people who whip out their boobs in public like we all want to see your over-engorged nasty nipples. It’s pretty simple, really. Put a blanket over your shoulder.
    I breastfed everywhere: movie theaters, airlines, fancy dinners, restaurants, cafes, while walking, in grocery stores. I never would use a restroom to feed my baby though. However, I was never called on this because I was … SUBTLE! I was able to hold child in one hand, lift shirt, unhook bra, and plant kid all in one smooth movement while under the cover of a light blanket. Did it take practice? Yes. However, it seems all my 5 sisters have the same skill.
    Back on topic, using a cover, or at least subtlety, ensured that never did I feel uncomfortable NOR did I make anyone else feel uncomfortable. My brother, brother-in-laws and father at family gatherings never knew what I was doing. The Lieutenant Colonel who called me up on stage ( I tried to refuse politely which he took as being shy) during a speech was clueless then a bit red-faced (his wife explained my reluctance) when he did realize what I was doing, but hey, he was from the south. The end result was people thought I simply had a sleeping baby that I was shielding from noise and light. No harm no foul. I also felt this made breastfeeding a more intimate and bonding experience between me and my baby.
    So the first time I was walking in the zoo when my kids were very little, I did a double take when a woman opened her shirt with no bra and fully exposed both breasts while nursing on a bench in full view. Gah! Are we gorillas? My kids were also very curious. If I guy whipped out his very natural penis to pee (a natural function) and kids saw, he would be a pervert and probably prosecuted for indecent exposure or lewd and lascivious conduct. Why is this any different? Why was the crunchy coot at the zoo able to expose my kids to her nasty, again gi-gantor nipples? Exposing breasts to feed is not a requirement.
    So my message is this: Stop being so entitled and lazy. Yes, breastfeeding is natural and best, but so is masturbating and yet so many people would feel uncomfortable with a toddler (or anyone really) getting his shag on and would tell that child to go to the bathroom, their bedroom, or to stop altogether. Come on, it’s only natural!
    Let’s respect our babies right to feed balanced with other’s feelings of discomfort on being exposed to a highly sexualized body part. Why assert your rights and views over someone else’s rights? Get some tact!

  • Christina McCarron

    November 28, 2006 at 6:22 pm

    Wow, this is all so interesting. I nursed my three children 2+ years each, often in public and I never covered up. I would dare anyone to ever make a derogatory comment and they never did. When a baby nurses they want to stare into your eyes and touch your face. I’m sure if I ever tried to put a blanket between us my baby would quickly grab it and throw it away. Only someone who has never tried to nurse would suggest such a thing.
    Keep up the good work, I really enjoyed the article.

  • lomagirl

    November 28, 2006 at 1:41 pm

    Nicole, I love your apt description of the cantaloupe and the cheerio. Breastfeeding in public was always difficult for me. I think the only person who ever commented to me was my sister, who is much more concerned about what strangers think than I am.
    I’ve flown many times and nursed my kids. Usually I’ve been lucky enough to be seated alone or with a woman, but sometimes I’m next to a man. I just try to turn my body so that I’m being discreet (discrete?) Anyway, it’s very hard to see anything on a plane since you are seated in rows. The people behind you can’t see you, the people in front of you can’t see unless they look, so only the people next to you can really see you, and then they’d have to be turning sideways. I guess the people in the aisle could see you, but that shouldn’t be a problem during take off and landing. Hmmm. Some people are too officious. It sounds more like the FA’s problem than the airline’s.
    The only time I had a problem was when the man sitting next to me was worried that my infant daughter would somehow make him sick for his wedding two weeks away. Then he assured me that he was totally ready for fatherhood. The woman in front of us heard his idiocy and offered to change places so we had a lovely flight.

  • Heather

    November 29, 2006 at 11:54 am

    Oh goodness I snorted! This is making rounds on message boards all over the net. Thank you so much for the laugh.

  • c_ray

    November 29, 2006 at 3:24 pm

    CB and Matt

  • Nikaia

    November 29, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    Scout’s Honor, may I suggest the same thing to you that was suggested to CB earlier – look away. Just because you don’t feel that a breastfeeding woman’s nipples are “attractive” doesn’t mean you get the right to tell us to put them away. I may think someone’s face looks “nasty”, but that doesn’t give me the right to tell them to use a mask.
    I’m happy for you that you perfected the art of under-blanket feeding. And if that’s what makes you comfy, great. However. By insisting that all women go undercover to nurse their children, you’re buying into and supporting a culture in which breasts are only to be displayed for a man’s viewing pleasure.
    Your “analogies” to a man whipping out his penis in public, or someone masturbating in public, are pathetically irrelevant. Neither of those examples is a necessary action. But breastfeeding…well, as a woman who’s had children yourself, you know that when they need fed, they need fed. You can’t just say “I’d like to, but I’ll do it later where it’s more appropriate.”
    I really fail to see what is so offensive about using one’s breasts the way they were intended to be used, and not being ashamed of it. Please, Scout’s Honor: if you want to be ashamed of your breasts, that’s fine, but don’t try to force your puritanical prejudices on the rest of us.

  • Jeannie

    November 29, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    Great article! I have seen many, many nipples out in public — every one of them on the end of a bottle! Nobody got bent out of shape about that, even in church.
    The problem with breastfeeding is not that it is or isn’t natural, is or isn’t discreet (or discrete!), is or isn’t sexual. The problem is that breastfeeding is for children. It isn’t for men. We live in a society which believes that women’s bodies are made for men.
    The Victoria Secret incident is a case in point. It is the absolute epitome of hypocrisy. Just shows that feminism has so very, very far still to do.

  • Amy

    November 30, 2006 at 10:27 am

    My little nursling is almost 5 years old, and we haven’t nursed on a plane since she was… 4 1/2. I think the people around us were just pleased that she wasn’t fussing, screaming, or kicking the seat in front of us. I’m not sure that anyone even realized we were nursing, not just cuddling. (For the record, I do expect her to self wean sometime before she goes off to college.)
    I have been seated on planes near babies who were waiting for formula: too much turbulance for the flight crew to warm up a bottle for the baby. Personally I’m not annoyed by the crying, I’m distressed for the baby who just wants a full tummy, and I feel bad for the mom… it’s hard when circumstances don’t allow you to care for your baby, and even more so when you have a plane full of judgemental people watching you.

  • Grannie to seven nurslings

    November 30, 2006 at 11:11 am

    I loved the article. My oldest daughter sent it to me; she has nursed all four of her children. My youngest daughter has nursed all three and is still nursing the baby. They have been confronted for nursing in public many times. My youngest will dare the person to call the police and at times has even handed them a card stateing her right to feed her baby in public. I breastfed them in the seventies when not that many other moms were out there nursing in public. I never had anyone approach me about it back then; not that it would have mattered. I would have gone on nursing my child and not in the bathroom either. I’m like the other mom that was with her daughter when her daughter was nursing at the airport and was confronted; I wait with held breath to see what my youngest daughter will say and do to the person that is confronting her; rip there head off or take her shirt off! By the way Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, TX has been the worst place on earth for my two daughters being confronted by rude and insistant employees that they feed the babies in the bathroom! My daughters continue to sit and feed their babies and do not move; the employee has finally given up and moved on to be rude to someone else.

  • Dave Vogt

    November 30, 2006 at 10:52 am

    This reminded me of when I was young (3rd grade or so) my mom was breastfeeding my youngest brother in the little customer service/layaway area at Wal-Mart. It was the only convenient place to sit. She made me stand there as sort of a human shield so as not to embarrass anyone, but I assure you I was more embarrassed than any onlooker would have been when a classmate walked by.
    The idea of someone objecting to a woman breastfeeding in public is ludicrous. People who make these requests are only concerned with their own insecurities. If a woman is comfortable with exposing herself the extra little bit necessary for feeding, I think the rest of the world could manage to get the hell over it.

  • Nicole

    November 30, 2006 at 11:43 am

    Scout’s Honor… Hooray and bully for you! I am so glad that you perfected the art of discreet breastfeeding. It sounds like you had a great system that worked for you and your kids. However, please don’t think that just because you could do this that anyone can. It took me at least one hand just to keep my giant boob under control, leaving me but one free hand to put everything else in place. Moreover, I could BF successfully in only one hold, and it was not one that lent itself to sling/discreet nursing. I did my best, but I’m sure that someone, somewhere, probably caught sight of a portion of a boob at some point during the 15 months that I nursed him, and for that I’m tremendously sorry. (NOT!) I can only imagine how scarred they must have been. Oh, except that it all happened in the Czech Republic, where people have a sane relationship with all of their body parts.

  • texasgurl

    August 7, 2007 at 10:30 am

    Fantastic, hilarious, insightful post. I, for one, nurse my 9-month old walking through the store, down the street–wherever–with my shirt up and my belly sometimes hanging out. As long as I act like I’m *just* carrying the baby, most people don’t even notice. And if someone had a problem with it, that might actually be sort of fun for me.

  • Annie

    December 3, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    I realize that I’m way, way behind the curve here, but I had to comment on one tiny fact I learned from my sister’s boyfriend, who’s a captain on a major passenger airline. The blankets on some flights aren’t washed for three WEEKS at a time, and another airline (he won’t tell us which one, which makes me wonder if it was his) no longer hands out blankets because they had lice problems on a huge percentage of their flights. I know we don’t want to make waves with the FAA/flight attendants/gate agents/guys in black suits and dark glasses by disobeying them, but if one of them offered me one of those blankets to cover up while I was breastfeeding, I’d go ahead and throw MYSELF off the plane. I’m just sayin’.