Nursing in Public

Lea Ann McCombs

As a veteran mother of 4, having breastfed them all, I fail to see why this needs to be an issue. I often fed my hungry infants in public, but did it discretely and without calling undo attention to it. Most people never even knew a baby was eating in their presence, and if they did, it was so unobtrusive and modest that it rarely caused embarrassment for anyone. It appears that both sides of this issue need to moderate their positions somewhat to find simple solutions.

In Bible times, women did most things in groups of other women. Even their worship services were gender divided, so the issue of a woman exposing her breast in public was not even considered. It shouldn`t be considered now, either. Mothers who take up arms over their right to flip their breasts out anytime, anywhere, at the demand of a hungry child are disregarding the sensitivities of others in their presence. A 13-year-old boy does not need to have the milk-engorged breast of a stranger flung before his eyes in McDonalds, based upon some woman declaring her rights to do so. It may be a "natural thing," but so is using the restroom and we consider that off-limits as a spectator sport.

Philippians 2:3-4 should be a Christian's guide to every situation: "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." If nursing mothers considered the embarrassment or discomfort of others, especially men, as more important than their own wishes, they could easily find alternative ways to feed their babies that did not cause such discomfort. Women have done so for centuries. Countless cute and modest nursing apparati flood the market, making modest nursing quite simple.

On the flip side, a disgruntled person who finds the whole idea of breastfeeding repulsive just needs to get over it. A mother nursing her baby is not gross or vulgar, as long as that right does not infringe upon the rights of others to not be exposed to more than decency allows. If the controversy revolves around the immodest exposure of breasts in public, that issue is worthy of attention. Modesty is the responsibility of the mothers in question and women should have enough self-respect to consider their breasts off-limits to the gawking eyes of others. We all owe those around us a modest appearance that does not cause lust or detract from the accurate representation of Jesus in our lives. However, if the mere knowledge that a baby is nursing causes people to object, then they are the ones at fault.

Our nation has become a chaotic tangle of rights-fighters, everyone insisting on the "right" to do whatever they want to do. As Christians, we do not live by this world's standards. Jesus calls us to a higher standard, the law of liberty (James 2:12). Under His law, we choose not to let our freedoms become an opportunity for the flesh or a stumbling block to others (Galatians 5:13; Romans 14:19-21). If we all chose that path, there would be little to fight about.

Image Credit: Jessica Merz; "Nursing at Kabuki Sushi, Petaluma"; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Controversial-Issues  | Personal-Relationships  | Womens-Issues

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Published on 6-23-16