By Alissa Peters
I know you are appalled by my choice to breastfeed in public. I can tell from the look you’re giving me. It’s that same look of confusion and disgust I’m used to getting when I tell people that my favorite Beatle is Ringo. Before you assume that this is something I wanted to do, strictly for the thrill I get from being judged by a stranger, please believe me when I say that before I decided to pull out my boob in public, I did try to convince my baby not to make me do it. I started by giving my infant a very firm lecture about the childhood obesity epidemic currently plaguing America. I even handed her a pamphlet (which she read cover to cover) detailing all of the alarming statistics. My baby needs to know that infants are not exempt! Obesity education must start early, am I right?!? But even with all that foreboding information, when I looked down and asked my baby, “SO… DO YOU STILL THINK YOU NEED TO EAT?” the selfish little three-month old still insisted on eating! I too, am appalled by what a generation of entitled children we are raising, and needless to say, I was just as shocked as you that I was forced to pull out my breast in front of you this afternoon. It was not my first choice, and of course, I apologize.
Please know that in addition to being sorry for my actions, I am also sympathetic toward your disgust. I understand that witnessing public breastfeeding can invoke a multitude of emotions, including but not limited to: confusion, disgust, and even jealousy or desire. I know that these feelings can be very frustrating for anyone of any stage of life, but especially for a fully-functioning, mature adult.
As mentioned above, confusion is one of the most common emotions associated with witnessing public breastfeeding. If you are, in fact, confused, then I assume that it is because you had no idea that the breast is how babies were actually fed. You’d heard the term “breastfeeding,” but it came as quite the surprise for you to discover that it was actually a literal term. You had always been under the impression that babies were fed by just looking at the sun through some kind of magical photosynthesis. You really didn’t know what breastfeeding was until today, but you assumed it was something available only on the secret menu at Chick-Fil-A. So for this lack of understanding, you are forgiven.
Now, if you’re one of the rare intellectuals who did know what breastfeeding was, then I am forced to assume that the real reason for your ostentatious display of disgust is that you fall into the JEALOUSY category. I know your game! You’re simply pretending to be repulsed because you need a façade for your envy. You’re just dying to be the one attached to this boob, aren’t you? You’re turned on, and it scares you. You’re pretending you want it to stop because there is something about seeing a woman having her life juice sucked out of her by a little alien-like creature that gets you hot and bothered. It confirms for you what you have suspected for some time…that you have a fetish for dairy cows. It’s ok. Your secret is safe with me. In this case, I am not sorry, and you owe me a thank-you for having helped you in your journey of sexual self-discovery.
Now that we’ve covered emotions, I would also like to take this time to thank you for your helpful suggestions for alternatives to public breastfeeding. It never would have occurred to me that it was possible to bottle-feed an infant until your novel suggestion of doing so. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. As much as media will have you believe that babies are simply born with a bottle as an appendage to their mouths, many are surprisingly not. “Just don’t do it,” was another helpful suggestion, but I think this logic is better applied to you looking at me breastfeeding if it is something that you find so repulsive. Since it seems you are unable to do so, I have to assume that, much like my infant, you have not yet mastered the gross motor skill of turning your head a chosen way, or perhaps also just like my infant, your eye muscles are not developed enough to avert in whichever direction you please. I’m sorry that these motor skills continue to be a problem for you even in adulthood. I know a good physical therapist who may be able to help you with this.
I also wanted you to know that your helpful suggestion about how I could just go into a bathroom and breastfeed did not fall on deaf ears. As much as I personally find the sound of a flushing toilet to be the perfect compliment to any delicious meal, it seems my baby has found that the presence of those pesky E.coli and Hepatitis B microbes have a way of killing the vibe, no matter how flattering the bathroom lighting is. Can you believe what a diva my baby is? I mean, the bathroom has always been my favorite place to eat. I am working diligently to correct her pretentious attitude.
Again, I’m very deeply sorry that I’ve offended you. Next time I’ll just leave the baby at home alone with a pizza.
About the Author
Alissa King Peters is a school psychologist and mother of a two year old. You can view more of her work (some of it parenting-related, some of it just completely off the wall) at The Weekly Humorist, Robot Butt, and Little Old Lady Comedy. Follow her antics on Instagram @alissathing.