NPR logo The Big Cover-up: On the Politics of Breastfeeding

Maternity Leave

The Big Cover-up: On the Politics of Breastfeeding


A YouTube ad for the Slurp & Burp breast cover..

My husband, Bill, tells Ike every day, "Sir, we have your favorite table waiting."
That would be the baby-friendly pillow in my lap (great product, bad name: My Breast Friend), where young Isaac Stewart Wolff dines seven or eight times a day. I've made the commitment to use these knockers, cans, bra buddies for their natural purpose. With questions about formula (see today's New York Times headline on the sweetener in organic formula) and the immunity benefits for a baby, I never really considered not breastfeeding.

However, I do find myself questioning when and where it is appropriate to whip out "the boob." As some of my more straitlaced guy friends have visited, I've found myself using a very cool coverlet that was a gift. (Thanks, BPP-er Caitlin Kenney!)

Lactivists will likely see my covering up as selling out. I've been sort of shocked by how adamant some lactivists can be and how dismissive some in the traditional medical community are of lactivists. One lactation consultant I encountered in the hospital practically chewed me out for improperly identifying a type of breast milk. (Yes there are types — who knew?) A medical practitioner told me not to allow myself to become a "human pacifier."

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I've come to learn that breastfeeding is a political issue. Remember when Bill Maher angered a lot of women and received the Stinky Diaper award from Baby Talk magazine for saying on his show that women who don't cover up in public are "too lazy to either plan ahead or cover up" and that they're just seek the spotlight for something a dog can do?

What do you think about breast feeding in public? And why has it become so politicized?

Bonus: The Easy Expression bustier.