I'm (not) sorry that breastfeeding my baby makes you feel uncomfortable

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Can I please vent for a minute?  As if breastfeeding exclusively and pumping three times a day at work aren't exhausting enough (not to mention all that comes along with it like cleaning bottles, pump parts, etc.), explaining to people where I am for 1 1/2 hours each day while I am at work is getting really old.  The responses I get when I tell people where I have been or where I am going have ranged from general acknowledgement to downright embarrassment.  Now, I am not embarrassed, mind you, they are.

About a week ago I was explaining to a sympathetic coworker (who by-the-way, does not have kids and never will) about the troubles that I was having with my Medela Freestyle pump.  It seemed like there was a battery or motor issue and I was worried that it might crap out on me while I was at work.  Now, given the fact that I spend so much of my day using that machine, I was quite distressed.  She and I were deep in discussion when another coworker, who happened to be a man, walked in and asked us what we were talking about.  I unabashedly told him that my almost $500 breast pump was having issues.  He froze, turned beet red, promptly stated that he didn't want to discuss "women's issues", and walked away.  Umm ok.

This past Monday, I had just finished up a pumping session and was waiting for the elevator to go back to my floor.  The "quiet room" is not on the same floor that I work on.  While I was waiting, I saw another coworker, who also happened to be a man.

"What brings you down to this floor?" he asked.

"Feeding my baby" I stated, pointing to my unmistakable black Medela bag.

It took a second to register with him, but then he said "Oh", as he stammered, turned red, and then with record speed, changed the subject to asking if I was getting much sleep.

These are just two instances where I have left men at my office feeling uncomfortable.  I also get stares as I walk into and out of the "quiet room".  People stare at me while I transfer milk to and from the cooler pack that I keep in the fridge in the kitchen since we do not have one in the "quiet room".

One day last week, when I was doing a milk transfer, a guy (yes, I work with 90% men) asked me if I was going to be enjoying an afternoon snack.  I wanted to burst out laughing and ask him if he was serious.  Aye.

It isn't just men that proliferate the nonsense surrounding breastfeeding.  I have a friend who is breastfeeding who was shocked when I told her that I didn't like using a cover.  She isn't the most modest person either, but she couldn't understand how I could whip out a breast in public to feed baby B.

It just drives me crazy that breastfeeding is still so taboo in American culture.  THERE IS NOTHING SEXUAL ABOUT BREASTFEEDING.  Seriously, I was talking to a friend the other day and we were commenting on how breastfeeding takes all of the "sexy" out of that part of the body.  I don't even want my husband anywhere near my boobs.  Hands off!!  Breastfeeding is all business.  Baby business.  My baby is hungry and needs to eat.  My breasts are where the milk is stored.  I could keep going, but I think you all get it.

I don't understand why it makes people feel so uncomfortable when I mention that I am breastfeeding my baby.  Maybe someone can explain it to me?  Until then, I am going to continue feeding my baby whenever and wherever he is hungry and proudly explaining to people where I am for 1 1/2 hours out of my day.

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4 Responses to “I'm (not) sorry that breastfeeding my baby makes you feel uncomfortable”

  1. There are a total of 3 woman in the branch of the company that I work with. Therefore there are 18 men who are usually on break or eating lunch when I go back to pump. They know what I'm doing but never have they ever been embarrassed or asked me questions about my black bag. They just know and move on. It is so nice having that understanding.

  2. Cant believe how rude people are. I used to think I'd use a cover but I hate hiding my boys away (and they hate ittoo). Good on you, great rant :)

  3. Amen sister! After the initial six weeks and little miss attached like a champ I never covered. More people not being ashamed will make it easier for the nextama.