Here We Go Again, Another Breastfeeding “Controversy”

If you read or watch the news, I’m betting you’ve heard about the latest breastfeeding brouhaha. Once again, critics are in a tizzy about a photograph of a nursing mom. In this case, it’s actually two military moms in uniform nursing three babies (left). The pic was captured as part of a local breastfeeding awareness campaign by Mom2Mom of Fairchild Airforce Base, a support group launched in January by Crystal Scott, a military spouse and mother of three, according to Yahoo Shine.

“People are comparing breastfeeding in uniform to urinating and defecating in uniform,” Scott told Shine in an interview. “They’re comparing it to the woman who posed in “Playboy” in uniform [in 2007]. “We never expected it to be like this.”

Are these people serious? Ah, let us rehash the old arguments and explore the new.

There are those who say that you sexualize breastfeeding when you depict beautiful moms doing it. (Sound familiar?) In this photo, the women are both are pretty.  And the one with twins appears to have near-perfect boobs even though she’s nursing. The horror! How lewd. Unless you’re like me and you simply see two women feeding their children.

Other people are angry that these women are breastfeeding in uniform. But why? Is it the symbolism? Women can be tough and fight in the military (ie. do a man’s job)–and then go home and perform the role of a traditional, soft mother. Is it unsettling that they have the capacity to fit into both roles, while a man’s stereotypical role is so much more narrow? Puulease.

And what about those people who insist that breastfeeding is private, not public. As a super-modest person I can understand where they’re coming from. However, every mom who has ever breastfed knows that there are times when you don’t expect to breastfeed and then suddenly you need to and there’s no private room or cover in sight. I found myself in this position when Mason was nursing, and I didn’t care at all what anyone around me thought about it.

Whatever your rationale is, if you’re a critic, I say get over it.

In my opinion, this photo represents pride more than anything else. When I think of the people who serve in the military, I think of heroic men and women who make our country proud. For many moms, breastfeeding successfully is something to be proud of. So it makes total sense to me to juxtapose women in uniform and nursing babies.

Furthermore, as Terran Echegoyen-McCabe (above, left) points out in an MSNBC article, there is no military policy against nursing in uniform. So I would imagine that a lot of military moms have fed their children in uniform before. Are we really to believe that they come home on a break or after work and make their hungry child wait while they change into different clothes? C’mon.

Seems to me like this “controversy” doesn’t have legs.

Photo: Brynja Sigurdardottir

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  1. by Faith

    On May 31, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I say …. GET OVER YOURSELF to all those who have a problem with this ….. This is part of life when u are a mom and choose to breastfeed . Whether u are in the military or not and don’t act as if ur so nieve to pretend it doesn’t happen . This is part of us and part of the beauty of being mom . Except it or keep your mouth shut !doesn’t matter if ur in uniform or in plan clothes If u are that insulted by a woman feeding her child in public u have issues !!! woman have been doing it for centuries ….. It is not sexual nor inapropriate this is life get your minds out of places it shouldnt be..and how dare they who do t approve compare this to a playboy picture ..Puuuulease ..this is beautiful to see a mom who can be proud of who she is in the military and as a woman !There is no shame in this !! Get over yourselves …… Woman be proud of who u are !

  2. by Elizabeth

    On June 1, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I am always disgusted by the people who have a problem with breastfeeding. What if all of us who nursed our children just started throwing wall-eyed fits everytime we saw a baby with a bottle in it’s mouth. It’s just ridiculous. At what point in time are we actually going to grow out of this controversy. Women are feeidng babies. Done. Period. Anyone that has a probelm with it has their own issues they should probably be dealing with.
    This just makes me irate.

  3. by Marion

    On June 1, 2012 at 9:33 am

    This photo is very inspiring to me as a mom that gave up on breast feeding after two months. I look at it and think if two military moms can do it, then I have no excuse next time. The military is to lead by example, and this is a great example to lead by.

  4. by Ann

    On June 1, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Hmm… I did a quick Google search and upon first glance found no articles arguing against this photo. The only thing I saw was people talking about the controversy. What controversy? It seems that articles like this one are what is *causing* the controversy, not actual people making a big stink. What gives?

  5. by Ann

    On June 1, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Further… what DOES seem to be inviolation is “using the uniform to further a cause, promote a product or imply an endorsement” (http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2012/06/airforce-airmen-breastfeeding-uniform-violation-060112/) — it’s not attacking breastfeeding directly. It sounds to me that if these photos were taken as candid snapshots and posted on someone’s blog or what have you, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But since they used the uniform to promote the Mom2Mom group, that’s where the higher ups in the military raised eyebrows. SO, really, I think this controversy has more to do with everyone being soooo defensive!

    I breastfeed, I think the controversy is awful, and I’d love to see it stop. That means to stop FUELING it. Articles that yell “FIRE FIRE, BREASTFEEDING CONTROVERSY!” do more harm than good, in my opinion.

  6. by jai

    On June 1, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Those who comparing breastfeeding with playboy are just pervert. .. this are the man we hv to watch out.. the can be having hse with under age or may be wanted rapist or womenizrr….. when playbooy magazine can be distributed with uniform picture nobody cares… why dont u ppl go band thos 1st then start talking! This moms are noble n strong! I dont think any man can do this.. if a women support this kind of nonsense I dont think u had any child or family.. that y

  7. by MilitaryMommy

    On June 1, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Ugh! No one has an issue with military moms nursing! The issue is them openly exposed, nursing in uniform, in public, POSING for a flippin picture!!! People in the military aren’t allowed the same “freedoms” as civilians. We/they KNOWINGLY give up some of those rights when enlisting!!! There are codes of conduct that are expected to be followed! No one would have a problem with a military mom nursing in uniform if she at least TRIED to be modest & mindful & respectful of the codes of conduct & rules for behavior while in uniform! Posing for the picture, in uniform, goes against uniform conduct rules! They are doing it to promote breast feeding and further their cause. You can’t wear your uniform if you are going, as a civilian, to a political rally; the air force is equating this to the same thing. And that’s total BS that the women didn’t do it to cause a stir! Now anyone that opposes this picture is accused of opposing nursing and that is so far from the case!! I nursed my daughter till she went on regular milk! In & out of uniform! Not once did I have a problem, but I was modest & mindful & respected the uniform codes of conduct!

  8. by Shirley

    On June 2, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I am tired to know that there are people that confuse breastfeeding with sex.
    They are perverts!!!!
    It is a God’s great gift to feed our babies with the best way.

  9. by профессиональные магазины

    On April 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Здрямочки. У мя есть вопрос
    Если вьющиеся волосы покрасить,то этого они не перестанут виться?

  10. by Feminism 101 - Public breastfeeding controversy

    On April 8, 2013 at 10:05 am

    [...] Source 1, Political cartoon source [...]