Breastfeeding: Much Ado About Suckling
The columnist is once again going for cheap laughs at the expense of others in the debate over breastfeeding.
Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh. ~ W. H. Auden US (English-born) critic & poet (1907 - 1973)
I was astonished by the voracity and scope of the debate triggered by last Saturday’s Patch article, Where Do You Stand on Breastfeeding in Public?
There were 46 comments posted in the oftentimes heated, sometimes humorous deliberations; a sizeable response by any standards.
In Rantings And Other Despicable Acts In Three Part Harmony, a column I wrote for the Easton Patch in February of last year, I referenced an incident where I witnessed a young woman breastfeeding her baby at Starbuck’s in Easton. It was done in my usual playful, tongue-in-cheek style, but one reader who obviously missed my subtle humor took offense to my feigned shock at witnessing this stirring tribute to La Leche League International while enjoying my Triple Grande Cappuccino.
Amy, the reader who ‘didn’t get it’, responded as follows……………
“The Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 111 § 221 (2008) allows a mother to breastfeed her child in any public place or establishment or place which is open to and accepts or solicits the patronage of the general public and where the mother and her child may otherwise lawfully be present. The law also specifies that the act of a mother breastfeeding her child shall not be considered lewd, indecent, immoral or unlawful conduct and provides for a civil action by a mother subjected to a violation of this law.
You claim that it's natural and you're as open minded as the next guy ("or more so"? I think not!) yet you are ranting about it on a public forum. She was being discreet about it and presumably at no point did any of her breast or nipple show, so what's it to you? Shame on you for being put out. Did it ever occur to you that she, too was taking a well-deserved break from what had already been a rather hectic day and her baby was hungry? Would you have preferred she do it in the cold car, or the dirty bathroom? Next time you see a nursing mother lawfully feeding her child in public, take your wife's advice and look away.”
My response to this well-intentioned, yet sadly mislead young lady was……….
“Thank you for your comments, Amy. I appreciate you taking the time.
I'm not sure whether or not you're a regular reader of my column. If you were, I think you'd understand that much of my 'style' is predicated on humor, much of it 'tongue-in-cheek'.
In reality, I have no problem with breast feeding in public between a consenting adult and a minor under the age of two. Between two consenting adults? Now THAT I would have a problem with.”
I’m exceedingly thankful that Amy didn’t quite grasp the humorous intent of that column. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of it over the past year-and-a-half, having referenced it several times in subsequent columns.
For my money, one of the best comments posted to last Saturday’s article came from a reader, Janis, who proudly stated…………
“I breastfed my children and most of my friends did as well.”
I laughed for about five minutes after reading that and, being that it’s my nature to ‘jump on the wagon’, I responded…………
“Janis - most of your friends breastfed your children? The English language is a tricky bugger isn't it?”
I’m not laughing at you, Janis. I’m laughing with you. But, then again, you may not think it’s all that funny; so I guess I’m laughing at you.
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Sorry! Sometimes I just can’t help myself!
Make it a great week!