Breastfeeding in public

Don't look!Is it OK to stare?

I know it's probably a dumb question that instantly has everyone woman shouting, "NO!" but give me a few moments to explain where the question came from ... and then shout, "No!"

I was idly watching the world around me at the Chocolate Frog (Palmers Garden Centre) this morning whilst finishing off Jack's smoothie as he played airplanes with the salt and pepper and I noticed a woman breastfeeding a (hers I assume) baby.

Normally this sort of event registers with the same impact as leaves falling, birds flying and cars moving - as something happening but not affecting me in the slightest.

But I stared. No, actually that's not quite right. I was staring into space and thinking about ... crickey knows what: jobs in Christchurch, Meg/Louie, fog, where's my phone, what time is it ... and noticed that my head has stopped moving and happened to be pointing at this woman and her baby.

When I 'came to' I actually thought, "Nice trousers" because her trousers (not 'pants'!) were quite nice, bit funky and a little different to the normal mothers 1980's fashion parade of tight jeans and black sweaters.

Oh! You're probably thinking that something happened. I got caught and banned from all Palmers nationwide. Or there was a ruckus from her friends when they noticed me. Or maybe I got embarrassed, stood up too quickly and caused a salt-and-pepper air collision.

Sorry. Nothing like that.

I did, however, think, "Is it OK for me to watch? Breastfeeding is interesting. It's life. We've all probably done it (one end or the other). In fact, it's quite cool and a little lovely".

But I'm sure the answer is still, "No!"

I then let my imagine wander to the trial. How would I defend myself for the charge of being a pervert and corrupter of kids and middle-aged gardeners alike.

Prosecution: Well Mr Miramar, if that's your real name, what do you have to say to that?
M: Look, I was honestly just looking around at life and daydreaming.
P: A likely story. You saw this mother, this MOTHER and her innocent CHILD, doing what comes naturally and you took the opportunity to try and "catch a glimpse".
M: No, I wasn't looking for anything. Catch a glimpse of what for heavens sake?
P: It's not for me to enter your sick little world Mr "Miramar".
M: My mistake, thought you were a lawyer [boom boom].
M: [hurumph] You, YOU took a natural act and perverted it into something sordid and, excuse me ladies and gentleman of the jury, into something SEXUAL. Isn't that the case?
M: No. As far as I can see there's nothing sexual in brunch.
P: So you accept you were looking at this MOTHERS breasts do you?
M: No ... well, maybe. I wasn't just looking at her breasts.
P: Trying to take in the 'whole package' were you?
M: No. NO! I was just ...

and this it continues until they send me down for trying to subvert the Kiwi way.

Or maybe not.

Perhaps something deep in me does only see the 'breast' in 'breastfeeding'.

But I don't think so. I think it's fine to look at people. I like people and I like looking at them, whatever they're doing. And if you're a mum comfortable enough to breastfeed in public then all power to you.

I may look at you doing it. I might not.

Don't be offended either way.


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