Saturday, January 19, 2013

A note to David Koch about breastfeeding

Dear Mr Koch,

You are a bit like my dad. When I had my girl and began breastfeeding, he would avert his eyes or leave the room. When I spoke to him about it, he explained that he didn't want me to feel uncomfortable. 

We talked.

 My dad is very pro-breastfeeding and he understood from our discussion that I felt that what I was doing was very natural and that I wasn't in any way embarrassed.  I have breastfed in front of my dad numerous times since with no awkwardness and no further misunderstanding.

I think my dad is a bit like you. He would prefer a "discreet" method of breastfeeding in public. Although my dad has always strongly encouraged my convictions of feminism and equality (and indeed nurtured them), he is also a little old-fashioned in some matters.

As I explained to my dad, what I would like to explain to you is that to ask women to be discreet about breastfeeding makes me feel that what I am doing should be hidden and this leads onto feeling that something is wrong with breastfeeding. 

My girl didn't like a muslin or anything else placed over her when feeding.  Many mothers have other children that they need to keep an eye on while still feeding their baby.  There are many and varied reasons as to why covering up when breastfeeding is not an option or a need.

 I never experienced negative comments or glares and never a complaint. I would have been completely mortified had anyone complained about me breastfeeding my child on the beach or in the shopping centre or in a cafe. 

And then I would inform them of my civil rights.

Breastfeeding is natural. It should be normal.  I would really like for people who have a problem with women breastfeeding in public or think they should be "discreet" to examine as to how they have arrived at that opinion.  Was it your parents opinion?  Do breasts simply function as sexual parts of the body? Is there something distasteful when a baby is being breastfed (do you feel put off your food that someone might breastfeed near you in cafe/ restaurant)?

Mr Koch, as a person with a public voice, please think about the messages you are contributing to in our society.


  1. Love the way you said this and what a beautiful photo

    1. Thanks Em, it was one of those shots where I didn't plan on being in it but then realised I wanted one doing what I was doing every hour for 24 hours a day at that point!

  2. Perfectly put! That photo is precious.

    1. Thank you Lila, I love your writing so very touched by your comment.xx