I can own up to it: a fair portion of my social life actually takes place on Facebook these days, due to (a) living really far away from many of my friends and (b) the limited time out in the real world that comes with being a mostly-SAHM. As such, being me, I post at least as many links to birth advocacy, lactivism, gentle parenting and other related topics as I do links to the latest LOLcats, pictures of my kid, and videos mocking Glenn Beck.
Sometimes I wonder how the former category comes off to my, well, civilian friends, particularly when it comes to lactivism regarding breastfeeding in public. I wonder what they think of phenomena like Facebook's censorship of many breastfeeding pictures, and responses like the ever-growing group "Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!" I'm sure that my links have met with more than one pair of rolled eyes. Yeah, yeah, we all know "breast is best", but there are more important things going on in the world. And sure, I guess moms should do it if they can, but what's the big deal about having to do it in public?
This is what the big deal is:
"A recent article published in Australia's Herald Sun indicated that many Generation-Y women polled would not nurse their babies because of fear of embarrassment over public breastfeeding. As much as 75 percent of these young women felt that nursing in public was uncomfortable and few understood the benefits of breastfeeding for themselves or their babies."
As long as breastfeeding is stigmatized, as long as nursing mothers are made to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome, as long as women are pressured to cover up or go to private areas (if this is the mother's preference for her own reasons, including religious ones, this is certainly her prerogative), women are going to be deterred from breastfeeding at all, despite the risks of NOT doing so - risks that affect both her child and herself.
Nursing in public is a public health issue.