Recently a small business owner was escorted out of a Chicago trade show for bringing her 10-day old infant snuggled inside her outfit. The newborn wasn't there for the cooking demonstrations, he was there because he's breastfed on the hour. In fact, the baby wasn't a problem to anyone until the woman sat down to breast feed.
There's been quite a vicious pile-up on this mom for her "selfish" disregard for the no-children-under-16 rule that she so "blatantly" rebuffed. Let's take a peek at some of the choicest comments:
"only the stupid people are breeding..."
"Not surprising that she works in a whinery"
"Everyone is special, an exception to every rule.
ME! ME! ME! I am entitled! GIMME! GIMME! GIMME!"
All of these people can fuck right off my lawn. As a mother who has breastfed three newborns, there are a few things I can tell you.
1. A brand-new baby is a part of your body. There is a concept called the 4th trimester. Very young breastfed babies are biologically attached to their mothers in a not-so-different way than full-term fetuses. Any danger at the trade show (fires, smoke etc.) is just as dangerous to a pregnant woman as an attached infant and you wouldn't throw a pregnant lady out of a trade show.
2. Newborn infants don't present the same challenges to order and safety as an older baby. I have a 6-month-old and no way could I bring her to a trade show with knives. She'd try to chew on every shiny object in the room and when she didn't get her way, she'd cause a very noisy fit. A 10-day-old baby doesn't have opinions. They are not curious. They do not reach for things, throw tantrums, practice poor judgement, run, crawl, steal, get lost, try to cook or sneak wine.
3. In these economic times, this woman should be commended for trying to put food on the table and achieve the American dream. Certain conservative pundits have called maternity leave a "racket". In a country that doesn't seem to value unpaid caregivers or maternity leave in the first place, I'm surprised this woman isn't being hailed a saint for putting work first.
I'm not saying anyone should be able to break any rule any time they please. I'd be robbing Pottery Barn all day and half the population wouldn't wear pants. What I am saying is that working, breastfeeding new mothers shouldn't be punished, especially when the rules that got them ousted from a trade show have more to do with the hazards of babies 4-months-old and beyond. Or perhaps, more accurately, the rules that got them escorted out have to do with a bias against breastfeeding than a concern for safety.
Is this really about not allowing children in a dangerous place, or about the need for normalization of public breastfeeding? It's not sex, people. It's food.
UPDATE - I think I fixed all my typos now. Just so you know, I held a screaming baby on my lap while I typed this. She cut her first tooth on my breast just now. If anyone's in favor of bottles today, it's me.
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