Recently in Michigan, there have been some news stories regarding a woman who was criticized by a judge for breastfeeding in the courtroom…
This situation has subsequently been picked up by the national media. I have read several versions of this story on various websites. There are A LOT of different opinions about whether or not breastfeeding in the courtroom is appropriate or not. Now, would I bring Madi to court with me if I had to appear in court…probably not. But it sounded like this woman was in a tough spot as her son was sick. If I absolutely had to take Madi with me and she got hungry, what would I do? I would probably try to find a discreet place to feed her. Would I leave the room if I meant I might not be where I needed to be when I needed to be there? Probably not. So, I guess I might do just what this woman did, sit in the back of the room, cover up, and feed her.
I think the most astonishing thing in this whole situation is some of the comments I have read. The following is my response to the way some people think…
Several people made comments along the line of “If I have to pee, I don’t just whip it out and pee right where I am.” Really? Breastfeeding and urination are not even remotely compatible. First of all, most women breastfeed discreetly. I can pretty much guarantee that this woman did not take her shirt off and breastfeed topless. Secondly, urinating leaves waste behind that people have to deal with and experience. Third, there are generally appropriate places for people to urinate in. That is not often the case for women who need to breastfeed in a public location.
One person (I promise you it was a man) suggested that the woman should have gone in to the bathroom to feed her son. Really? There is no way that I would feed Madi in a public restroom. Would you suggest that I feed her standing? There is generally no place to sit in a public restroom except the toilet. Dear sir, would you like to eat your hamburger and fries sitting on a toilet of a public restroom? No? Well then, why should my daughter have to eat there? i am seriously grossed out just thinking about it.
Another person was appalled that the woman had not pumped and simply brought a bottle for her son. Seems easy enough right? Sure. If her son will take a bottle. Some kids will not. Madi will take a bottle, but I have not been super successful pumping. Madi has been here for 2 months and I probably have enough milk pumped and stored for maybe 3 feedings. I refuse to use that milk unless there is a real emergency and she absolutely could not be with me when she needs to eat. That pumped milk is like gold. I cannot imagine using it when I am sitting right there with her.
Yet a third woman actually wrote an entire opinion article about how this woman exemplifies the selfishness of generation me. This one blows my mind. Selfish? Breastfeeding is far from selfish. In fact, it sounds to me like this woman was putting the needs of her child before what was convenient for her or even social convention. If I were here, I would have felt a bit timid/embarrassed if I had to feed Madi. But I would do it if she was hungry. Additionally, as I have stated before, breastfeeding is not easy. This argument absolutely blew my mind.
So, what’s my solution? Where do we go from here? Well, how about if we make an effort to provide clean locations for women to breastfeed? But, the fact of the matter is, with so many people out there who believe that women should just use the bathroom, or pump, or never venture away from the home for longer than 2 hours, this just isn’t going to happen.
My personal solution…I try to feed Madi at home whenever possible. We are both just more comfortable at home. But when I need to be out and Madi needs to eat, I will feed her. I will be as discreet as possible. I will cover up. But I will feed her. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to watch.