Monday, June 11, 2012

The Perils of Breastfeeding

THIS WEEK news media carried yet another story of a woman asked to leave premises after breastfeeding her baby.  This time the venue was a public library in Minnesota .

The story disappoints the Platypus staff for a couple of reasons.  First, we’d like to think of libraries---those bastions of study and shelves stocked with books on all manner of uncensored subjects---showing an open mind about such things.  Second, we thought the considerable efforts of groups like the La Leche League had helped educate the public by now about the superior benefits in infant health that breastfeeding provides to infants: Tops for nutrition and increasing immunity by passing on valuable antibodies from mom to tot.

But what does that matter when someone witnesses a bit of naked mammary?   Won’t someone think of the children??? (Actually we thought we were thinking of the children… but, oh well.) 

As long as breastfeeding gets a mom kicked out of the library, or a picture of this bonding experience gets a mom kicked off Facebook, the age of nude beaches probably remains light years away.  There are, however, rays of hope.  

In Florida, for example, a security guard once told a young mother she couldn’t breastfeed in public. She happened to be then-governor Lawton Chiles’ daughter and the infant, naturally, his grandchild.  Very soon Governor Chiles helped usher in a law making breastfeeding permissible in any location where a mother is otherwise lawfully allowed to be.  (Actually this may not fix the problem. Re-reading the news accounts of “library mom,” it appears Minnesota also has such a law on the books.  Not much help when the uniformed but un-informed guys with the billy clubs show up.)

Here’s hoping more states follow suit and more people get a clue.  In the meantime,  follow this link to see touching photography that celebrates the innocence in these feedings.  If you’re like The Platypus, you probably never even notice the breasts in these pics. 

But those babies’ eyes?  Captivating!