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Friday, 18 January 2013

The problem with what Kochie said


If you live in Australia, you've probably seen the furore whizzing around social media in the past two days.

The Courier Mail, 16 January 2013 reports:
"A mother of three has been forced to leave a public pool in tears after staff insisted she stop breastfeeding her 11-month-old baby..."A staff member came up to me and told me I wasn't allowed to feed there, that I had to refrain from feeding out in the open,'' Ms Webster said."
Can you believe this is still happening? Right here in Australia, in 2013. For crying out loud!
"I said I was sure it was illegal to tell me to do that but she said it was a grey area...and had to insist I didn't feed there.''
"Grey area" my ... elbow. What that staff member did? Absolutely illegal in Australia.

Australian law states:
In Australian Federal Law breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege.
Under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 it is illegal in Australia to discriminate against a person either directly or indirectly on the grounds of breastfeeding. Direct discrimination happens when a person treats someone less favourably than another person.
Yesterday morning, David 'Kochie' Koch, a presenter on Australia's leading breakfast television programme, Channel 7's Sunrise, had this to say following an interview with the mother in question:
Koch: "I think that's fair enough, to say, hey, can you be a bit discreeter, sorta go up on the grass or something like that..."
Co-presenter Samantha Armytage: "Really? ... I think if you want to breastfeed on the side of the pool you should be allowed."
Koch: "Well, no, not in high traffic areas, I know my daughters are really discreet and things like that, would go to a quieter area, that's a high traffic area on the side of the pool in the middle of summer on a hot day..."
Later that same program, Koch went on to say:
"Ladies I wonder whether she should have been more discreet. I totally agree with breastfeeding in public, but I think you've gotta be a bit classy about it, that feet on the edge of the pool, isn't discreet enough.... but I'm concerned for the safety if the baby wriggled and fell in the pool...I think there's a safety issue there... I think, theres, em, like, that's why you have mothers—or move back that's a high traffic area, I can understand how people were uncomfortable with it in such a high profile place."
Although he tried to backtrack and cover his words with a half-hearted attempt at safety concerns, clearly, his main point was that a breastfeeding woman should do so out of the public eye.

Social media is aflame with emotions and opinions from all sides of the fence. Overwhelmingly, most commenters are in support of breastfeeding mothers. But there are plenty that have taken Kochie's comments and run with them. And not in a good way for breastfeeding women the world over. There is always the negative minority, clinging to their almost clich├ęd ignorance in comment threads (for example here and here and here).

Here's the first problem with what Kochie said:

Stating that a woman needs to exercise discretion when breastfeeding confirms the misguided belief that breastfeeding is something that needs to be hidden.

Breastfeeding is breastfeeding. Nothing more, nothing less. Breastfeeding is simply a baby taking in nourishment and comfort from his or her mother.

However, to suggest a woman needs to be "discreet" about breastfeeding implies that breastfeeding is, somehow, a naturally exhibitionist act—it isn't. Breastfeeding only becomes explicit when someone else views it that way. And how does someone become offended by breastfeeding? By having an unnatural view of what breasts are actually for.

Despite what they'll tell you, those narrow-minded neanderthals who have a problem with the sight of a woman breastfeeding her baby don't have a problem with a bit of a flash of breast skin. Lets face it—breasts are everywhere.


The reason that those narrow-minded neanderthals get so uppity about the sight of a woman breastfeeding is because they believe the baby is committing an adult act. They cannot see breasts as anything other than sexual.

For far too long, there has remained a patriarchal assumption that a woman's body is, first and foremost, for the purposes of a man's sexual pleasure. Breasts are seen as sex objects before their primary mammalian function. So for a vocal few, the prospect of a baby sucking on a nipple causes all kinds of cognitive dissonance. 

In my opinion, the only time that breastfeeding stops being a naturally discreet act is when woman believe they should cover up—because then it's like a freaking neon sign pointing to something they are doing, that they are purposely covering up.

Oh-so-discreet!
The only way that breastfeeding will become as uncontroversial as it should be is by seeing it happening. Breastfeeding is not a big deal. A breastfeeding mother is not 'flopping' her boob out, or 'flashing', or trying to prove some kind of political point. She is simply feeding her child.

Here's the second problem with what Kochie said: 

A celebrity stating that a breastfeeding woman needs to be "discreet" enables the continued oppression-via-ignorance of breastfeeding women.

It doesn't matter how well-intentioned or benign Kochie's comments were in his own mind. Outwardly, what he said was critical of breastfeeding in public. His suggestions that a woman be "discreet" or "a bit classy" confirm the misguided viewpoint that breastfeeding should be hidden. So, for those with a problem seeing a breastfeeding dyad, it's a very slippery slope from Kochie's personal 'opinion' of: "I  totally agree with breastfeeding in public, BUT..." to this:

Or this:
Yes, because excreting bodily waste is totally the same as providing life-giving sustenance to a child.
I hope these people don't operate heavy machinery with that mindset.
You see my point? Kochie (and his supporters) can believe that what he said was mundane and respectful, but he's forgotten the reach of his opinion. As a prominent public figure, he has a responsibility for—and a very powerful ability to persuade—public opinion.

Implying that a woman needs to be respectful of others when breastfeeding her child is a little bit like victim blaming. The problem with someone's sensitivity to public breastfeeding does not lie with the breastfeeding mother — it lies with the person who finds it offensive. In those instances, that person has a right to exercise that thing that holds their head up, and look away. Or move. And then, get some therapy.

Breastfeeding rates in Australia are depressing enough without having prominent public figures, such as Kochie, adding to a mother's burden. Breastfeeding mothers face enough roadblocks without having to worry about what a few other narrow-minded neanderthals people might think.

Oh okay, Ryan, if you have to.
Support for breastfeeding must be unconditional. Caveating "support" with a "but" totally negates that support. Kochie, unless you acknowledge that you committed a rather large faux-pas, you will always be yet another roadblock in the true liberation of women.

63 comments:

  1. Yes, this, in spades. Discreet spades, of course!

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    1. David Koch is the Chairman [!!] of the Port Adelaide Football Club, well-known losers who Dave is no doubt going to take into the 20th Century. His attitude sits very poorly with the AFL seeking to get families into footy.

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  2. I love love love love LOVE this! Thank you!!

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  3. If Kochie makes a new mum feel embarrassed about breastfeeding, or like it is not worth the hassle, then that's a real shame.

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  4. I'm sorry but this has just been blown out of proportion, im with Kochie.. whats wrong with a little discretion, its about mother child time. surely a quieter more comfortable area benefits mother and baby??? I've seen mums walking around the shops breast feeding and I just think sit down and give your child a few minutes of your uninterrupted time.

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    1. This is exactly the point. She was behaving as any responsible mother would; watching her two older children and thus ensuring their safety and providing nourishment for the youngest.

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    2. Anonymous, do you think that if she bottle-fed, she should go away from the edge of the pool, into a private room, leaving her other two children unsupervised so that she can give her child a bottle in a "quieter more comfortable area"? If so, that's fine, I respect your (highly unrealistic) opinion. But if not, then I reject your claim that "its about mother child time", because exactly the same standards should apply regardless of how the baby is fed.

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    3. Hi Anonymous, thank you for your thoughts. It's about a mother's choice. If a mother wishes to spend quiet, secluded time breastfeeding her baby, as many breastfeeding mothers do, many times a day—then she does. If she also needs to feed her baby whilst watching her other children at the edge of a pool, or as she strolls around shops, or wherever—that is also her choice. And her right. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, because breastfeeding isn't something to hide away. :)

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    4. Dont forget here. Its all about the child here. Breast is best. If it was such a hot day, would they prefer her to put the cover over the baby and the breast so it has alot of hot air. I am breastfeeding I do it in public or in a feeding room. whichever is convenient. I have been to places that have no feeding rooms, so what should we do it that situation. Sit in the stinking hot car??? Suck it up and get over it. Its a breast its milk. If you can not control seeing a mother breast feed. you move on...

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    5. A quieter, more comfortable area may indeed benefit the mother and baby over feeding at the side of a pool, but unsurprisingly, Kochie misses the point - the point is, it's legislated that she has the right to do so. End of story.

      Some people are so ridiculous about breastfeeding. I recently had to explain to a supervisor at work that I would need to pump milk and when I said I wouldn't need to do it until 11am, he replied 'please! Too much information!'. Like I was explaining bowel movements or something. Bizarre.

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    6. Where would you have her sit while watching her other children ? I say congrats to her for providing the best food for her baby whilst simaltaneously ensuring the safety of her other children . And heres hoping , while being the excellent mother she is and then , dealing , with all this crap , that she finds the sustainance that SHE needs ...obviously not from David Koch , shame on him for such narrow inhumane views ! Should she have gone to a stinky toilet to feed and take her children with her ?

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  5. I think one of the other key points here is if this mother of three was supervising her other two children swimming at the pool it's also a DANGEROUS act to ask her to move away from the edge of the pool. It's hard enough wrangling a baby and two kids without having some judgemental person tell you how to be a parent.

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    1. Absolutely!! Is Koshie and his supporters suggesting she should leave the other 2 unupervsed in the pool, or drag them out to the changeroom while she fed the baby?
      Should a bottle feeding mother do the same perhaps?

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  6. Spot on. Everything in this article is absolutely spot on. If only you had as many readers as Koch(head) has viewers!

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  7. Agree. I definitely should be freed from this view that there is something wrong with it, that it must be hidden.
    :-)
    Sarah

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  8. Just watch ABC24 Breakfast instead of Sunrise. They will get the message!

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  9. How inconsiderate to ask a mother to leave a facility because her breastfeeding was.. offensive! Ridiculous. Full support to the Mum!!

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  10. Thanks for writing this. Great explanation of why his stupid comment is so harmful. And I am so with you on the hideous nursing covers. I now live in the US and they have become very much the norm which makes me very bloody sad. I want to cheer whenever I see a woman BF without that particular drama.
    Michelle

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    1. Oh yes! I'm with you on those nursing covers! Why? To me it's more like saying, 'Look! Over here! Yes! I'm breastfeeding!'

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  11. Love love LOVE this post Kim. Beautifully written and impeccably argued! A shame that this post had to be written at all. Kx

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  12. Well said. I almost fell off my chair when I heard Kochies remarks. It'll take 10 Miranda Kerr's do undo the damage he's done.

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  13. attitudes like this is what is dropping the breastfeeding rates, a lot of young mums don't even attempt to breastfeed anymore because of the sexual stigma associated with breasts in our society. The fact that its acceptable for brands to flash breasts barely concealed by bras for advertising but a woman feeding her child is frowned on just shows the true perception people have of breasts in this society and that is the true crux of the issue.

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  14. At a swimming pool of all places! Have you seen bikinis? When I breast fed I certainly didn't show as much as they do, really no more than a very low cut top

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  15. Wow... way to discriminate against mum's who do cover. How hypocritical of you to be up in arms about someone making a ridiculous comment when you are doing exactly the same thing! So now you can add yourself to the list of people responsible for decreasing numbers of breatfeeding women. Shame on you!!

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    1. Hi Anonymous, thank you for your thoughts. I hope you'll consider re-reading my sentence about breastfeeding covers—you'll notice I wasn't suggesting women SHOULDN'T cover when breastfeeding, nor asking them not to. I was simply pointing out that in a lot of cases, covering up breastfeeding only serves to make breastfeeding far LESS 'discreet'. This seems to have been a trigger point for you, so I hope that offers some comfort. All the best. Kim :)

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    2. The only reason I have entered thIs discussion is because it really annoys me when people get on their high horse about discrimination etc etc then go on to slam another group of people! Breatfeeding is breatfeeding regardless of cover or no cover. In essence of your argument you should be proud of women "holding a neon sign" saying they are breatfeeding... so that breatfeeding is encouraged!!

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    3. Indeed, breastfeeding is breastfeeding, neon sign or not. :) Again, I wouldn't say the post is "slamming" nursing covers, I'm making a point about discretion—as discretion (or perceived lack thereof) is the crux of the issue. Some people want breastfeeding mothers to be more "discreet", yet in my opinion, covering it up only serves to make it more obvious. I hope that's clearer for you. :)

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  16. Wonderful post.
    Rarely do we see someone really get at the core of what upsets some people so much about breastfeeding - the fact that these people see breasts as a sexual appendage, rather as a physiologically functional body part designed to feed babies.

    There's a clever meme on this topic doing the rounds along the lines of "your mouth can also perform a sexual act but that doesn't stop you flapping your gums in public". Sums it up nicely, I think.

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  17. If we were Yequana woman it would be perfectly ok to be bare breasted all the time and feed a baby anytime without covering up. But ladies do you have a sexy bra? Do you like to show a bit of cleavage with that new dress when you were out to impress? Yes? So you are participating in the increased sexualising of the breast. You cannot have it both ways. Besides, breastfeeding in public is at an all time high, so I am unsure what everyone is going on about. Back when breastfeeding was the only way to feed a baby - women did not feed in public anyway.

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    1. I disagree, I think it is entirely possible to "have it both ways". As adults, we are (should be!) capable of making a distinction between a breast serving it's primary function, and a breast in a sexual capacity. It doesn't have to be one or the other. As Tina said above, our mouths are capable of performing both nourishing AND sexual functions, and we all seem to understand that very well. Kim xo :)

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    2. Breastfeeding in public is at an all time high? Please cite your source for this dubious statement.

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    3. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4810.0.55.001
      The above link states that it is estimated that in the 70's that 40-45% of babies were breasted when discharged from hospital. In 2001 that figure was 85%. A more recent report shows 90% are breasted when leaving hospital http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2008/s2279668.htm So the initial rate of breast feeding is more than double now than in the 70's. the figure is steadily rising every year. It was 88% in 2001.
      The same study showed that at 4 months 40% were still being breastfed and at 6 months only 14% were exclusively breasted, but it does not indicate what percent we're still being breastfed with a combination of some solids. I do not have statistics to show the percent drop off over time from the 70's but anecdotal evidence would suggest the drop off to be even quicker then, and extended breast feeding beyond 6 months was practically unheard of. So breast feeding rates are at least twice as high as they were 40 years ago. Breast feeding in public without a cover was according to my mother simply not done in the 70's. Breastfeeding tops started being heavily marketed in 2005 - it would seem likely then that more people were feeding their babies in public and wanted the convenience of not having to use a towel or shawl to cover them. So unless something has happened in the last 4 years (since I stopped feeding in public and taking any notice of breast feeding trends) I would think it could not be possible to have lower breast feeding rates in public now when the rate of breast feeding is highest.

      As for pre 1970's, all I know is that in the 50's I had heard that formula was heavily encouraged, and I suspect that feeding rates would have been lower or the same as I the 70's. From what I understand about those times, there would not have been breast feeding in public, not outside of a women's group or something. However, I suspect also that it would have depended on what class of society the mothers were in if at some point in history it may have been common.

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    4. If by 'all time high' you mean in the last century or two, then you are quite right. Breastfeeding initiation rates are much higher than they have been in that time, and breastfeeding in public is also probably much higher. But if by 'all time' you count from the beginning of humankind, then it is probably not nearly as high nor as accepted. Up until the Industrial Era, breastfeeding would not only have been 100% initiation (rather than just in the 90%s) but would have been totally accepted in public.

      Pre-Industrial times not only would breastfeeding in public be acceptable it would have been so normal that to not do so would have caused a discussion as this has caused.

      What is so important about this discussion is that women should not only have the right to breastfeed in public but it should be accepted as the normal thing to do and there should not be ANY reaction (not even head turning - either to look or to look away)!

      Hopefully, this discussion will go towards making the act of a baby obtaining his or her nourishment as normal as you or I doing so!

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  18. Not sure 'neanderthal' is the correct word to use. After all, those men (and other members of their community) wouldn't bat an eyelid at women doing what comes as naturally as walking and sleeping ;)

    The problem is very obvious. We need to stop having invisible babies that clearly shows the whole breast when the baby is feeding!

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    1. Lol, now that's a really good point!

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  19. I went and met LIANA yesterday at the Bribie Island Auqtic Centre where this all began.. and will be releasing a youtube video about this tonight.....
    I hope you dont mind I reference you ..and use some of your material.....
    KOCHIE needs to move on... the old Dinosaur has done nothing for this community ever.. except fake interest in stories and pretends to give a crap.. well he doesnt... plain and simple...


    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4107626820296&set=a.1112105894145.2016467.1571824932&type=1&theater

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    1. Sure Robbo, good luck with the video. :)

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  20. David Koch is Chairman [sic] of the port Adelaide Football Club, no doubt taking the Power deep into the 20C. How does his comment sit with the AFL management and its drive to make fooy family friendly? No infants? No breastfeeding mums? Hmmm. Wonder what Andrew Demetriou thinks.

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  21. Hi there everyone. I hope that I 'say' this right as I do not wish to be misunderstood.

    Earlier in this conversation public urination, etc., is mentioned as a normal function being legalised - the same can be said for sex, blowing your nose, farting, spitting, etc. ... all of which are normal functions but I don't wish to see (or smell) any one of them, and I suspect that my view would be largely supported. So why is it wrong then when I express the view that there should be some discretion when breastfeeding? It does not mean that I don’t wholly support any mother (or father) providing sustenance for their baby no matter where they are, it was even on Sesame Street in the 70’s & 80’s that babies were breastfed and it was fantastic.

    Now I have seen mothers feeding my whole life (I’m now in my 40’s and I’m the youngest in a huge family) and I can honestly say that I have seen weird and wonderful ways to feed baby both with and without the breast, and I have seen some truly gross ways of feeding baby with the breast. We all know that there will always be those that take it to the extreme.

    But perhaps it is not the question of breastfeeding that is the issue. I would challenge anyone to openly publicize what their definition of DISCRETION is. Do they mean to cover the baby and therefore the breast with a blanket; does it mean to be shut away from daylight (in a smelly or otherwise parents room) so no one can see at all; does it mean to carry bottles when out and about and only offer the breast in the confines of the home? Or does it mean (as I believe) to not make a ‘song & dance’ about it. Push or pull aside only the clothing that needs to be so that bubby can access the breast ... really, does the whole breast need to be shown?

    I do not mean any disrespect or offence I genuinely wish to know what everyone thinks and what (if any) problem there is with my view.

    Big Hugs Kim & Everyone
    Mandy

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    1. Hi Mandy, thank you for your comment. Although I feel as though my post addresses most of your queries, I'll respond because you have taken the time to write such a thoughtful comment. :)

      The big difference between breastfeeding, and other 'natural' bodily functions such as urination, spitting, farting, sex etc, is that 1) breastfeeding is providing safe and life-giving nourishment to a child incapable of delayed gratification, and 2) breastmilk ISN'T a bodily waste product—unlike urine, faeces, etc.

      Moreover, adults are perfectly capable of understanding that there is a 'time and place' for farting and spitting, and understanding social etiquette. A baby isn't. (Hence they fart and spit in public!)

      But the main point of the argument is this: breastfeeding is not sexual. Breastfeeding isn't something to be hidden away. The only reason that breastfeeding has become something that makes people 'uncomfortable' is because the patriarchy labelled breasts as a sex object before their primary function.

      Thanks again,
      Kim xo

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    2. Yes, I agree with everything you have written. The whole issue has been skewed as I think some people think that the issue is whether breast feeding in public is acceptable or not. Which is false. You are right that the issue needs to be narrowed down to what is considered discrete.

      My answer to your question is that I consider discrete as adjusting clothes to provide access, and that in most cases the entire breast is not required to be exposed.

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    3. Yes, breastfeeding is naturally a discreet act, it looks like a cuddle :) Although I don't think it matters at all how the mama adjusts her clothes, I often find it easier to pull my shirt down than up—I suppose that "exposes" my whole breast, but my kid's head is bigger than my breast! xo

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    4. I can't understand why you put farting , spitting , urinating in the same context as breastfeeding and why it (BF )disgusts you so much .

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  22. I have breastfed both my children both publicly and not..whilst a natural thing some discretion should be taken. It's not a matter for argument between the supporters and the non supporters the pool management have gone too far in removing her from the area. I have to agree with David Koch's comments to some degree, he is a bit of a "tool" and I doubt he meant any malice.

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  23. The problem with what Koch said, and others like him, is that they all claim to want whats best for the baby. Unfortunatley what is best for the baby happens to be what most offends their tender sensibilities - breast feeding.

    As for being told to be discreet or "classy" - there seems to be an implication that feeding a baby using a mammary gland is a sexual act - an absurd idea when the purpose of a breast is to provide sustenance to a baby.

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  24. The problem I have is that the majority of negative comments are from Men, what? they can't control themselves. How about you take a look at the bliss on the babies face and tell me it's not the most wonderful thing. Oh and take a look at the peace on the mothers face (cracked nipples and other painful problems notwith standing)and realise the link that it forges between them. Us males can try to understand but really we can't, the closest I have is the special moments when my gorgeous grand-daughters fall asleep while they are on my lap.

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    1. A really lovely comment, thank you Kev :) Kim xo

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  25. I breastfed both my babies in public. A lot of the times I did feed in public, I felt embarrassed because I was worried about what other people would think. I wasn't one to be 'exposing' myself, but there was no way that I was wearing one of those ridiculous covers so that I couldn't see my baby! I fed my baby when they needed it, wherever I was - whether that was home, cafe, shopping, in the park, friends house - I wasn't hiding away whilst giving my baby nourishment.

    As for taking a bottle to feed my baby in public - what an awful idea! I am proud to say that neither of my babies ever received a bottle! I couldn't offer them expressed milk in public either, as I had difficulty expressing. I was lucky enough to provide my babies with a breastfeed when they needed it.

    I'm not sure what the answer is to changing the perception of breastfeeding. I think that if new mums see other mums breastfeeding in public, then they will feel more comfortable doing it as well. Having supportive friends and family (and partners) helps a great deal.

    I was once approached by a worker in a shopping mall whilst feeding bub number 1 and told that there was a parents room where I could go to feed my baby! I was sitting on a lounge,out of the way, breastfeeding! I continued to feed my baby where I was, but needless to say I was quite embarrassed and researched my breastfeeding rights when I got home.

    Maybe people should start being concerned about bigger issues and let mums get on with nurturing our future!

    Anna

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    1. Thank you Anna. You've made a really important point—breastfeeding is a learned skill, and women need to observe other mothers breastfeeding in order to learn, and feel comfortable, breastfeeding their own babies.

      In the Le Leche League's 'The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding' there is a story about a mother gorilla in a zoo in Ohio in the US. The female gorilla had been in captivity her whole life, and had never observed another mother gorilla nursing her young. When this gorilla's first baby was born, the new mother simply didn't know what to do to nurse her young and sadly, the baby died. When the gorilla became pregnant again, the LLL recruited women to go to the zoo and breastfed their babies in front of the gorilla. Her second baby was born, and she went on to happily nurse her next infant.

      We need to SEE breastfeeding, in order to have it normalised. :)

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    2. That's really fascinating, Kim! Could you possibly share a link to this story on your facebook page? I'd be really interested to read it and then pass it on!

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    3. Isn't it a great story? I'll try and find something to post and share :) Kim xo

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  26. This has really upset me, I have breastfed pretty much continuously for the past 9 years (4 beautiful babes). I can only imagine how upset and attacked this young lady feels. I have has my share of negative comments and glances, "the why are you still feeding a toddler remarks". I see Koshie remarked that his daughters are discreet when they breastfeed, "my bet is around him they probably are". I am also ashamed of societies reaction to a baby having breast milk, the way nature intended.

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    1. I understand elisha, and I feel the same. Some of the reaction from the public has been incredibly upsetting and confronting, and yes, especially so for those of us not only breastfeeding, but breastfeeding what much of our culture considers "older" babies and children. Nine years, what an amazing journey! Feel comforted that you have four beautiful babes who will see breastfeeding as normal, natural, and wonderful. Lots of love to you, from one "still" breastfeeding mama to another. ;) Kim xoxo

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    2. I find it so upsetting too - I really thought that Kochie would be standing alone with his ridiculous comments, but alas - reading his page and the comments on various articles has shown there is a number of people who share his views, and worse, some who seem to find the act of breastfeeding repulsive :/ I feel like I don't recognise this world I live in, today :(

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  27. It's very sad that this topic is even being discussed, still. I breast-fed two babies over 30 years ago and the same discussions were happpening. I thought we had moved on and present-day mums would be able to feed their babies from breast or bottle wherever and whenever the baby needed it. It's beginning to feel a lot like groundhog day.

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  28. Okay, got it. We can sexually objectify Ryan Gosling and ridicule women who choose to cover up when they feed their babies but it's not okay to ask a mother who was breastfeeding her ELEVEN month old child (not a baby who couldn't wait) to move to a quieter area.

    Everyone's entitled to their opinion. I fully understand that breastfeeding makes some people uncomfortable. It's not difficult at all to do it discretely and keep everyone happy. In the end my comfort (and my baby's) isn't any more important than anyone else's. I'm feeding a baby. I'm not changing the world.

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    1. Hi Lisa, thank you for your thoughtful comment. Can you tell me where the "ridicule" is happening? Because any criticism of any breastfeeding woman, covered or not, is not okay, and I'd like to ensure it doesn't happen on this page. There are a few comments referring to the notion of breastfeeding covers being noticeably 'indiscreet' for the purposes of discussion about 'discretion'—is that what you mean?

      Interesting that you picked up on the Ryan Gosling thing—I've been waiting for that! I put it there specifically for that reason—that we're capable of making distinctions between something sexual, and something that isn't. :)

      I don't think an eleven month old is capable of delayed gratification, but that's not really the point. The point is the mother is free to breastfeed where she needs to. :)

      I'm pleased that you've found a way to feed your baby comfortably for you both, and if that means being mindful of what you perceive as the comfort of those around you, then that is wonderful. All the best. Kim xo

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    2. Another point, Lisa, is that whilst I agree with you that it is not difficult to be discreet when breastfeeding in public for most of us, for some women no matter how much they try it can be impossible to be discreet because of their breast size. Other women can find it embarrassing when their baby comes off the breast without notice leaving them exposed (to the elements and to negative comments).

      Very few mothers wish to go topless in public; and if they did that would probably arouse less concern in our society than when a baby is attached!

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  29. I totally support a woman's right to b/f in public, I choose to b/f in public when needed and I am not offended by breastfeeding. However, whilst waitressing I encountered a woman in my restaurant with her breast "hanging out" (unnecessarily in my opinion)....now I know and support the law that entitles her to feed in public therefore I say nothing but in my mind I am thinking "show a bit of class".... It is sad that some women flaunt their right to b/f in public and create these feelings so I understand where Kochie is coming from, keep it tasteful girls. I never had a shawl hanging over my babies as I really struggle with attachment and it would be impossible for me but I can guarantee no one other than my baby and husband EVER saw my breasts. It is possible (and easy) to be discreet.

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  30. Thank you all for your comments. It's clear that this is an emotive issue in Australia that is well in need of discourse. I'm closing the comments now as the thread is getting long, but I'm grateful for everyone who took the time to contribute to this issue—change needs to happen, and I'm confident that if we keep talking, it will. And for the better for everyone! Much love. Kim xo

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