Delta Airlines has now stepped into the breastfeeding battle by kicking a mother off of one of their planes out of Burlington, Vermont. Emily Gillette, 27, was discreetly feeding her 22 month old daughter near the window in the next-to-the-last row, with her husband in the seat next to her when a puritanical flight attendent gave her a blanket instructing her to cover up.  Mrs. Gillette politely refused as she was completely covered up to begin with and then informed the attendent that she had the legal right to feed her hungry baby.  Immediately thereafter a ticket agent came to the family and told them that the flight attendent had asked for them to be removed from the plane.  They complied without complaint at the time, according to Mrs. Gillette, “out of embarrassment”.

Needless to say, Mothering sites all across the internet quickly became enraged over this new attack at mothers and a nurse-in was held which drew large support with 30 mothers, fathers and dozens of infants attending.  Parents all over the US are outraged by this latest faux pax by yet another major American corporation.  Earlier this year, Victoria’s Secret, a clothing retailer whose entire purpose is providing lingerie to women, humilated a woman trying to feed her child in one of it’s stores.  Within days, mothers were staging nurse-in’s at their local Victoria’s Secret with clever signs that said “Hey Victoria, this is what boobs are FOR!”

I am disgusted and appalled that some people, and surprisingly enough…women, would be so offended by the sight of the back of a child’s head (which is all you can see 95% of the time).  Especially since formula feeding in America has been shown to be deadly to 21% of infants. (see one study here).  With obesity, diabetes, cancers, disease breaking out in American’s at all time highs why wouldn’t every parent and every tax-paying adult want to see all children given nature’s most perfect food that protects against all of the above, even for the mother herself?

I doubt it has to do with the breast being seen as a sexual object, because breasts are everywhere anyone looks.  The local mall has more cleavage on the 13 yr olds then most will ever see from any nursing mother.  It can’t be the nipple, because men have them and we see them everyday, on billboards on our way to work.  My guess it is guilt.  Guilt from women (and their husbands in a sense) who were unable to medically (which, by the way, is a miniscule percentage in reality though many would have you believe that it is this epidemic) and more realistically, unwilling to for personal reasons.  The US Surgeon General’s new ad campaign likening not breastfeeding to putting your child at risk, the Center for Disease Control’s new action plan to get American mothers to breastfeed isn’t helping the guilt.  Generations of Americans have been given powdered, chemicals and are “just fine”.  Of course, we are a nation of diabetic, obese, mental disorders….but that has nothing to do with it.  Yeh, right. 

I’m sorry, truly, that there are women out there who didn’t get the support they needed to breastfeed.  It’s hard.  It’s oftentimes painful and setbacks like bleeding nipples, mastitis, clogged ducts & thrush don’t help matters.  I feel for them.  However, your inability to provide the perfect nutrition for your child and protect yourself from disease and post-child weight gain (nursing burns a lot of calories) shouldn’t stop the world from being able to do it for their child & themselves.  Your guilt shouldn’t destroy the inalienable rights of hungry infants. 

Babies are born to breastfeed and society just needs to get with the program.

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