feel free to be offended…

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at NursingFreedom.org. All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public (“NIP”). See the bottom of this post for more information.


There are those who are offended by the sight of a mother nursing her child in public. To them I say, “Feel free to be offended.” 

In a world as diverse as ours, something is bound to offend another person – sexuality, race, gender, religion, clothing, speech, habits, etc. We have the right to our individual beliefs and, as a part of that, a right to feel offense. Where our rights stop is where they interfere with another person’s rights.

Personally, I’m offended by smoking. I think it’s disgusting, and I really don’t want to be anywhere near it. However, I’m not going to ask someone to quit smoking. I will quietly go somewhere else so that my children and I don’t have to be around it. I am also disgusted by the site of people chewing food with their mouths open. Apparently the memo that watching partially masticated food is unappealing didn’t make it’s way through the entire human population (or my in-laws’ house). I reserve the right to look away in my offense.

What I don’t have is the right to dictate how people legally live their lives. I may be offended by some things, but frankly it’s none of my business. I don’t have the right to dictate what they can and cannot do based on my sensibilities.

So the next time I’m out in public and breastfeed my child, feel free to be offended. Feel free to look away, walk away, cover your head in shame, or however you choose to deal with your uncomfortable feelings. You have that right, just as I have the right to nurse whenever and wherever I have the right to be.

Art by Erika Hastings at http://mudspice.wordpress.com/

Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public

Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit NursingFreedom.org any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.

Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.

This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts – new articles will be posted on the following days:

July 5 – Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World

July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child

July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.

July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives

July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It

4 thoughts on “feel free to be offended…

Add yours

  1. Honestly, I’ve never really gone down this particular path of thought about NIP, but it makes so much sense! Even when I’ve felt offended by the way someone else acted or dressed, I wouldn’t dream of asking them to change – why should our culture require breastfeeding mothers to?

  2. It’s frustrating to me that so many people in our culture seem to think they have a “right” to never be offended, which is just simply not true. I like your attitude of acknowledging that people can be “offended” by or dislike breastfeeding, but just like we don’t get to tell them how to feel about it, they don’t get to tell us where we can and cannot do it!

  3. It’s not decent to attack anyone in public verbally or physically. My first experience I was appalled by the permission one gave themselves to speak openly with their discriminatory remarks, yet, there is so much in this world that should be voiced on and nothing is done.

    How about we fix our roads, or education system, our health care, our social services, yet here they are attacking a happy loving nursing dyad? Puzzlement.

    Nobody has the right to voice their opinion to something that is not illegal. Short skirts, a child crying, nursing, talking to a friend, (unfortunately) walking slow in a mall.

  4. Quite true. I am always amazed that people sometimes think that their “right” to not have to see anything that offends them trumps the actual rights of other people to feed their children. If this right actually existed, then nobody would be allowed in public, because I am sure there is at least one person who’d be able to find something offensive about every other person. I’m uncomfortable around people in the grocery store who prop baby bottles and who seem unaware as they push the cart along with their infant screaming in the bucket car seat… but I don’t tell them what to do. I look away, feel bad inside, say a prayer for them, whatever…

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