Breastfeeding 101: Breastfeeding is not sexual

Women should be comfortable to breastfeed their babies anywhere they want to be. Period. This means that people should be polite. Read: not creepy!

On Oct. 27, Jamie Gustafson caught an employee of a restaurant taking pictures of her breastfeeding her two-month-old son while she was in Jason’s Deli in San Antonio, Texas. It is not clear why the employee took the pictures, but she did not give him permission to do so. I don’t really want to spend much time wondering what he wanted to do with those photos, because I don’t think I’d be able to come up with any appropriate scenarios.

I am not trying to harp on the same subject here (the other day I wrote about a woman who was asked to leave her doctor’s office because she was breastfeeding in the waiting room). But this incident seemed just so outrageous that it warranted a brief follow-up post.

Let’s get some things clear. This is Breastfeeding 101, if you will, because it seems many people do not know:

Breastfeeding your baby is not a sexual act

Breastfeeding your baby is about food (yes, breastmilk is food), health (breastmilk is alive with antibodies, immune factors, enzymes, and white blood cells to help regulate and mature a babies immature immune system), and love (the very act of cuddling and holding baby close promotes bonding and tells him “I love you.”).

Breastfeeding is not sexual. It is food, health and love.

It is so wholly inappropriate to make a woman feel like breastfeeding is embarrassing, dirty, sexual, or anything other than the beautiful and healthy relationship it is.

The restaurant, Jason’s Deli, responded appropriately with a statement that welcomed breastfeeding moms and babies and reiterated an already “written policy” against such behavior, and the employee was fired.

Good, I say.

Do you think this man should have been fired? What other action would you have taken?

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2 thoughts on “Breastfeeding 101: Breastfeeding is not sexual

  1. Keep up the good work, and be heartened by incremental progress. Look how long the odds were a generation ago against the rejection of cigarettes or the acceptance of gay relationships, but steady advocacy won out. Breastfed babies are healthier and better connected with their moms, and breastfeeding is not an act of defiance or of theater, but the principal way babies have fed throughout the life of our species. Maybe what bothers some people is their feeling, unarticulated but deeply real, that life is theater. Clothing should be fashionable, and cars, and houses, and often spouses. It’s all a sort of show, in which breastfeeding seems an audacious statement, a bold performance. Such heads resist the idea that some things are simply not theatrical. Their assumption must be that breasts are foremost a kind of showy device used to attract attention for mating. But that’s not how babies see them.

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