Breastfeeding Anytime, Anywhere
The unfortunate incident at the Dufferin Grove Park rink earlier this year has highlighted a woman’s right to breastfeed, anywhere, anytime. It also caused a flurry of media attention, including a comment from Toronto Star columnist Rosie Dimanno about discretion being the better point of breastfeeding valour. In response to Dimanno’s column, INFACT Canada member Karen Epstein-Gilboa replied:
"Our inability to apply our understanding of duality to the breast body part can be explained ... namely that breasts were sexualized during the early twentieth century at the same time that women were convinced not to breastfeed. Thus, we were left with views of breasts as mere sexual organs devoid of other physiological purposes. Times have changed, scientists noted that human health was impaired when humans stopped nursing and so breastfeeding has once again become an acceptable behaviour. However, cultural remnants of another time remain, and interfere with our ability to see breasts in dual ways, like the way that see lips, arms, legs and eyes.
"Nursing mothers do not have time to wait for their culture to catch up as they attend to their baby’s needs. An understanding of the mechanics of breastfeeding indicate that at times, it can be difficult to latch an active baby onto the breast in a discreet manner. Furthermore, an understanding of the function of nursing indicates that children often need to nurse frequently. This means that in order to nurse discreetly in public, as suggested by Ms. Dimanno, mothers will spend most of their time sitting in public washrooms. I think that a far more acceptable form of common courtesy would be to come to grips with our cultural inability to see breasts as organs with multiple functions and to support mothers’ efforts to nurse their children anywhere, anytime."
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