Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Being objectified while breastfeeding/pumping

I had a creepy thing related to pumping happen tonight and I was talking to Shane about it and he thought it would make a good blog post for TGL (TGL=The Good Letdown).

I was at the NICU tonight, pumping before I did K-care (kangaroo care for those who aren't sure) with Ella. I had closed the curtain to the front of the room but it hadn't gotten closed all the way. As I was sitting there pumping, I noticed an older man in the hallway who was pacing back and forth. At first I thought he was just mindlessly pacing or being impatient as he waited for the family he was with. It was obvious he wasn't a parent, I think he must have been the visitor of the family whose room is next to ours. After a minute or two though, I realized that he was moving back and forth and each time he moved within view of Ella's room, he stared me. Pumping. I gave it probably another minute to make sure I wasn't completely crazy but no, he was definitely looking into my room at me pumping. I brought my sweater down to cover my breast shields and then our nurse walked in. I immediately asked her to close the curtain all the way and told her what was going on. She said she also noticed him and was about to go say something after she checked on Ella. She did and I don't know if he left or went into the baby's room he was visiting.

Now, I'm all for nursing in public and I have pumped in public more times then I can count. In fact, I think I've pumped in public more then I've nursed in public! I don't mind people seeing me pump, although I don't prefer it simply because it's a very mechanical thing as opposed to breastfeeding which is totally natural. But he wasn't just seeing me pump. He was watching me pump and going out of his way to stare. I felt extremely uncomfortable about the whole thing. When I was telling Shane about it, he got angry and said the man was objectifying me. I would have to agree. I definitely felt creeped out and objectified by this man who was going out of his way to stare at me as I pumped.

It may not have been a sexual thing for him. Maybe he was just a nosy person, or a weird-o but it certainly seemed to be since I was pumping and my breasts were exposed. Regardless of whether it was, it's creeptastic men like this that make so many American women feel uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public or even breastfeeding at all. It's people like this who take the primary function of our breasts and make them dirty. Don't get me wrong, I understand that my husband enjoys my breasts and not for the functions of feeding our children. And that's okay. But primarily, they are for feeding my babies (and he'll get punched in the face for using them for anything else right now because they are sore ha-ha) and he understands and respects that.

This man, and so many others like him, seek to pervert the natural act of providing sustenance for our children as God (or your maker, whatever) has engineered us to do out of ignorance, selfishness or outright being a skeevy dirty pervert. And it makes me sad that women experience this and it actually affects their decisions on how to feed their babies or when. Have you ever felt objectified while breastfeeding (or pumping, as it was in my case)? What's your take on this whole situation?


  1. Eeeeeew!! Sorry hun... that's creepy! On a related side note... I've heard there are guys out there that will PAY for videos of women pumping... and some that go as far as wanting to buy some breastmilk... double and triple ew.

  2. that is NASTY mother hen!!! Christa, that guy was a perve, sorry you had to experience that! Glad you said something too! I never had an issue with pumping because it was always in a room with a door, however I was always a bit on edge because the doors never locked (conference room at work) so I was sure one of these days someone would just walk in.........I would tape a sign on the door every time, LOL! In terms of nursing in public, I did ok with that other than Culley wanting to pull the blanket off of his face all the time, I didn't really do it much though because I was mostly home when I needed to feed him...........this time will be a whole different ballgame though, I am out and about a lot more as I've made connections with playgroups and such since I started SAHM. Again though, it will mostly be with all women and children so........

  3. Oh, Christa, I know how you feel! My cousin's creepy fiancé will often pull up a chair and watch me feed my twins. I don't mind nursing in public and I feel it's actually very important for my family to see me doing it so as to normalize it. However, I'm not a peek show! I'm glad you said something to your nurse.

  4. yeah, there are creepos out there, and it is pretty sad they look for a thrill in that, I don't go out of my way to cover up but usually make sure i bring my hooter hider, a man like that watching me nurse would creep me out, plus, we have to still remember they are boobs and men are naturally attracted to them and that is why I like to make sure my boob isn't hanging out, I will be honest, as pro breastfeeding as I am I did get annoyed when my husband's sister would just sit there with her toddler coming on and off with her boob just hangin in the wind with a resturaunt full of men! If your baby isn't actively nursing, cover it up!