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'Breast-Feeding Is Obscene'

Thirty-nine states currently have laws that specifically allow women to breast-feed in any public or private location. Apparently, that doesn't apply to nursing over the Internet.

Australia's Sydney Morning Herald last week reported a story on Facebook's anti-breast-feeding stance. The social networking site that recently opened its doors to grown-ups has been removing user photos of breast-feeding, calling them obscene, and has blocked some nursing-mom-photo-posters from the site, including breast-feeding advocate and blogger Karen Speed.

According to SMH, Facebook spokeswoman Meredith Chin said, "Photos containing an exposed breast do violate our Terms and are removed." Much like every other breast-feeding mom slight in the past few years (most recently Applebee's and Delta Air Lines), this one has sparked a protest of its own. The virtual ban has been met with a virtual group/petition entitled: "Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!" Since the group's launch in June, more than 9,000 folks, both men and women, have joined it.

Moms who have posted photos ask, what constitutes "exposed breast?" Is it the nipple or the inch or so of flesh you see after the baby's latched on? Many simply are telling Facebook to grow up. Breast-feeding is natural and healthy for children. The government encourages moms to nurse. Many states protect women's rights to do so wherever they may be when their hungry babies start demanding food.

I've got to think that the folks at Facebook have better things to do than battle over a woman's right to nurse in public, particularly with all the much more obscene groups on the site focused on both women's and men's genitalia. What do you think?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  September 10, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies
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Comments


I totally support the idea of moms being able to breastfeed any time or place they choose. Its natural and certainly not "obscene". But why on earth would moms want to place images of breastfeeding on the internet? In the isolated cases of pro-breastfeeding activists, this is motivated by trying to change attitudes, but outside of that, it is far more likely to be folks with some sort of sexual fetish - oh yes,they certainly exist and far outnumber activists, and their motivations are very much "Obscene". I agree with Facebook's stance to try to stamp out the latter, and not allow images of moms breastfeeding to be abused in that manner.

Posted by: eclectic01 | September 10, 2007 7:27 AM | Report abuse

I think that these ridiculous stances are fear-based, on the part of people who fear possibly being aroused at the sight of a breast. Do get over it, folks - it comes across as incredibly unloving and is incredibly unhelpful to all of the moms who are trying to give their children a good start in life. What could possibly be obscene about the primary source of life and nurturing for our children? No family values involved here, nope!

Posted by: Leanne | September 10, 2007 7:32 AM | Report abuse

There is a difference between breastfeeding in public and posting pictures of breast feeding on a website. The first is driven by necessity, the second by vanity. Not sexual fetishism, mind you, and most pictures probably aren't obscene under any definition of the term. But I understand Facebook's actions, especially with all the Facebook paranoia out there. They don't want pictures of naked breasts memorialized on their website. So what? All they're doing is denying people free webspace to post personal pictures. IF you want to share these special moments with your friends - and believe me when I tell you, most of us aren't interested - e-mail them privately.

Posted by: NotAMom | September 10, 2007 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Instead of wondering why there are still apes around if we "evolved" from them... maybe we should be wondering why there are still people around who insist on imposing their narrow-minded beliefs on the rest of us.

Why don't you just go away and leave me alone?!

Just more proof that Darwin's theory is probably an urban legend.

Posted by: theFuj | September 10, 2007 8:03 AM | Report abuse

I walk around beaches and public pools with my nipples exposed and nobody complains. I can't understand why women can't do the same without it being considered obscene. It's a double standard!

I wunder what Facebook's policy is on manboobs?

Posted by: ISquirtLikeOldFaithful | September 10, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I definitely do not think that breastfeeding is obscene or even that photos of breastfeeding are obscene, but do you really need to post them on your facebook page? I don't think you shouldn't be allowed to, but I do wonder what motivates you to do so. I breastfed all of my kids and often publicly but I never had the desire to share photos of it via the internet.

Posted by: Momof5 | September 10, 2007 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm right in line with the other posters here. I breastfed and did so openly and publicly, though without exposing myself. Feeding your child is perfectly fine. But why do you have to post a picture of it? Ya, you breastfeed, good for you, nobody cares. Why are people so single-mindedly focused on the fact that they breastfeed? "Hi, I'm Jane, I breastfeed." Believe me, Jane, you're a BORE. However, it's not obscene. There are plenty of pictures of people showing as much breast and more flesh that are not considered obscene, just provacative.

Posted by: atb | September 10, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I am sure it is Facebook's right to regulate the content of their own site, but really this seems like a waste of time. There are images vastly more obscene on Facebook than a woman breastfeeding.

It seems like the taboos that the Victorians bestowed upon us are alive and well.

Posted by: David S | September 10, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I haven't seen the Facebook pictures, but I know that when I started breastfeeding, I encountered all kinds of problems. I turned to the internet for help on techniques and the proper positioning. Perhaps this site is just aimed at educating women. Breastfeeding for many women is a lot harder than they ever expected and many need help with it.

Posted by: Jane | September 10, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

If facebook allowed one breastfeeding picture to be posted, they would have to allow all of them. Believe me, some idiot would take advantage of that and post something that truly was obscene. Makes sense to take steps to keep that from happening.

Instead of whining about this, why don't all the breastfeeding people put together their own website where they can post as many pictures as they want?

Posted by: jj | September 10, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Facebook isn't saying that breastfeeding is obscene...it's saying that too much boobs on the internet is obscene.

If they don't ban a mother breastfeeding her baby (and seriously, is it necessary to post a picture of that on the internet???), then how can they ban an 18 year old girl from posting a picture of her breast, with only a post-it note over her nipples?

They made no comment about breastfeeding. Just the amount of breast that can be seen.

And not only adults use facebook. Kids do too. Kids who may not understand the difference between a breast with a baby latched on, and a breast with nothing more then a sticky-note or a finger covering the nipple.

Posted by: It's not about breastfeeding... | September 10, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Yes, breast-feeding is natural. So are defecation and urination. We go to great lengths to hide the latter two from view, in spite of the need of each and every one of us to defecate and urinate. Why are these acts behind closed doors but not breast feeding?

It's about respect, quite frankly. Respect for those around you. I do not want to be subject to a woman breastfeeding her child, just as I'm sure women don't want to watch me pee. This doesn't even take into account all the fetishists out there.

Tell you what... let's allow breastfeeding in public, and we'll also allow the fetishists to take video so they can use it for their purposes.

Posted by: defenestrator | September 10, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

It appears that the youngster Zuckerberg the owner of Facebook did not have a chance to mature properly as a human being. How unnatural and weird Facebook is to impose obscene policies that victimize the rights of innocent breast-feeding babies? Perhaps Zuckerberg and Chin can be banned from eating in public as well. Or at least they can be eligible for a robust pie in the face.

Posted by: Tony Lopez | September 10, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

If it's okay for a man to be topless, then it's morally and ethically wrong to impose upper body covering on a woman. It's against federal law for the government to impose a ban on toplessness for women in public.

In some counties, it's considered rude behavior to eat in public. However, it it's okay to walk down a side walk in New York City eating a hotdog, then there's nothing wrong with breastfeeding a child in the same circumstances (other than being jostled or feeding the kid street-dirt in the process-probably improve their immune system in 12-ways!)

Posted by: Clear cut case of sexual discrimination | September 10, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I think some people are confusing the right to feed your child with forcing someone else to host your picture on their server.

Thirty-nine states allow you to breastfeed in public because, hey, the kid's gotta eat. But your kid is not going to go hungry if you can't post your b00bies on facebook.

Why should you be able to compel someone to host your pictures on their server? You don't own the server. If you're upset with facebook, you should demand your money back. Heck, I'd say you're entitled to double your money back.

Posted by: Bob | September 10, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I have breastfed two children in public places, but I have never willingly exposed any part of anything to anyone in public. The Moby wrap is great for this! Failing that, receiving blankets cover wonderfully. If my child decided he didn't want to be covered, I simply found a department store changing area or barricaded myself behind some strategically placed strollers.

Why would anyone post a picture of a child nursing on the internet (other than for instructional purposes which I assume this is not). I don't understand why "breast feeding proponents" feel they have to put this in everyone's faces. If you want to share these moments with friends and family, put these pictures on a secure sight where people who don't want to see it don't have to!

Posted by: August Mom | September 10, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Isn't Facebook for teenagers?

My wife breastfed in public - discreetly - no problem ever. She was very comforatble with it. Healthy for the baby, and Mom never felt like she had to hide in the bathroom to nurse.

Would she have ever permitted me to photograh her breastfeeding? Never. It's just not necessary. And to post such a photo on the Internet... unthinkable.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | September 10, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Parents in general need to realize that their rights do not supersede the rights of others. Stay home if you need to feed your baby or go to a bathroom. It's disgusting. If you can continue to breast feed in public then I want public urination back on the table. What's the difference?

Posted by: Tyler Durden | September 10, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

tyler, that's a dumb question

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I must be in the minority. I Do Not think that the public should be subjected to this every time you turn around. Why do they have do this on a public bus? People are sneezing and coughing and it really isn't the most sanitary place to feed a baby or anyone else for that matter. But they think that their needs but be granted above everyone else. I know that babies don't really have control over their feeding schedules but there are somethings that are still considered private and shouldn't be advertised to the whole world. We have had enough with the foul language from young school kids and now we are subjecting everyone to this in the public. Enough already. Have some dignity for your child if you don't have it for yourself. I'm sure that the infant would want to have some privacy even if the mother is a I'll do want ever I please when I want to. Just give the poor child some dignity and have some respect for people that think that what they are subjected to should be out of the public eye. After all Not EveryOne reads the National Geographic Magazine either.

Posted by: Disgusted | September 10, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

If you can continue to breast feed in public then I want public urination back on the table. What's the difference?

Posted by: Tyler Durden | September 10, 2007 09:33 AM

You mean I can't urinate in public?

Oops.

Posted by: Bob | September 10, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Breasfeeding in public is obscene. Next thing you know, people will be changing their colostomy bags, inserting suppositories and changing tampons out in the park. Having a baby does not give women permission to just let it all hang out!

Posted by: C-dog | September 10, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

"Parents in general need to realize that their rights do not supersede the rights of others. Stay home if you need to feed your baby or go to a bathroom. It's disgusting. If you can continue to breast feed in public then I want public urination back on the table. What's the difference?"

Oh, come on. Why are you equating nursing with urinating? That's your opinion. You don't have the right to enforce your juvenile hangups on the rest of society. I'm sure you see nursing moms in public every day and don't notice. It's really not a big deal. You make it sound like women are just ripping their shirts off and spraying milk everywhere. I assure you that does not happen, ever. I nursed in public all the time when my DD was little, and I don't think anyone ever noticed, except maybe other nursing moms who were used to the drill.

As for all those who say to nurse in the bathroom, how is this feasable? Even if it weren't completely gross and unsanitary, you can't tie up the bathroom for 15 or 20 minutes! People need to use it, folks, it's not for lounging around. When my DD was a newborn, it would normally take her 30 minutes or more to eat. If I had tied up a bathroom that long, people would have come after me with torches and pitchforks.

Posted by: reston, va | September 10, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Facebook was originally designed for college students as a networking tool, now the website is open for everyone. I agree that women should be allowed to breastfeed in public, but I also think that it is a rather private activity. Why would someone post such a picture on a social networking site geared towards a younger generation?

Posted by: MHB | September 10, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

jj: In researching today's blog posting, I came across several sites where breast-feeding moms can post pictures including:

http://www.breastfeeding.com/art_gallery/Mom_photos_0.html

and

several spots on flickr such as this one: http://www.flickr.com/groups/65231622@N00/pool/

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | September 10, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Your baby's ability to breastfeed isn't impacted at all if a privately owned site says they will not allow a picture of it. That's a completely different story than someone saying you aren't permitted to breastfeed in public. Facebook's a private site. Their house, their rules. If you don't like the terms of a service, go elsewhere.

Besides, Facebook isn't saying that they don't want women nursing in public. All they're saying is they don't want photos of it up on their servers.

Posted by: Sitka | September 10, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

For those of you who consider nursing "obscene," are you even willing to entertain the idea that maybe this is your own, personal hangup? *WHY* do you consider it obscene? Is feeding a baby with a bottle obscene?

If it's about the exposed breast, that's a moot point. There is no breast exposed. So that makes me think it is not seeing the nursing that's bothering you, since you can't really see anything. It's the IDEA of nursing that's bothering you. In that case, maybe you need to ask yourself why the *idea* of someone doing something you can't see that doesn't affect you is bothering you so much.

Posted by: nova | September 10, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I will say I don't understand why you would want to post photos of nursing on the internet. I won't post photos of myself or my DD anywhere, doing anything. The internet is not private, and there are a lot of creeps out there.

Posted by: reston, va | September 10, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Wow Sitka -- rational, good points.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | September 10, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse


People in this country seem to always choose to go from one extreme to another. Even such a natural act such as breastfeeding has to be divided into activists, who post pictures on internet on one side and those with sick imagination, who imagine, who knows what, when they see a breastfeeding mother on the other side. And the legal system is trying to protect the rights of both sides. So complicated, yet so absurd...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Actually, to those of you who are apparently completely ignorant, the internet has been a great resource for breast-feeding women. Pictures play a large role in supporting these resources. Moreover, Facebook has lots of "groups" that you can join. I assume that there are several breastfeeding groups.

Finally, and most importantly, if breastfeeding is not obscene, then why does it merit removal? How is it different than other pictures? Than pictures of bikini-clad coeds, which are definitely more sexual than pictures of breastfeeding?

Posted by: Ryan | September 10, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I guess all my Venus de Milo pictures are in trouble.

Posted by: bkp | September 10, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Do people who find breastfeeding in public "obscene" also think it's "obscene" in general? I think there are some major hang-ups here. The kid is eating. What's the big deal? I think watching you chew with your mouth open is far more disgusting. Also, you know you don't have to watch, right? You have control over your head and eyes.

The bus scenario is ridiculous. So, by your argument, it's also disgusting to give a baby a bottle on the bus. It's also disgusting just to HAVE a baby on the bus, or even in public for that matter, if you're so concerned about sneezing, etc.

On the other hand, it IS disgusting to force someone to spend 30 mins in a public toilet nursing a baby. I don't want to be in there AT ALL unless it's an emergency.

Posted by: atb | September 10, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Finally, and most importantly, if breastfeeding is not obscene, then why does it merit removal? How is it different than other pictures? Than pictures of bikini-clad coeds, which are definitely more sexual than pictures of breastfeeding?

Posted by: Ryan | September 10, 2007 09:56 AM

That point is completely moot. It's up to facebook to decide their own policies, and they have decided that they are not hosting breastfeeding pictures. You have no right to dictate their policy.

There are plenty of resources out there for breastfeeding mothers. Use one that actually welcomes you.

Posted by: Bob | September 10, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Thirty-nine states have laws with language specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming).

Posted by: 39 states | September 10, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the equasion of urination/defication and lactation: The former is the elimination of waste products that, if not properly disposed of, can be a health hazard, while the latter is a life giving gift, shared between mother and child.
As to why women would want to share a photo of themselves nursing their child, perhaps it is because the website is designed to show who you are, and being a part of the nursing dyad is a big part of ones identity while it is happening. The Madonna and Child was a common theme in classical art, and it was not uncommon to picture the Christ Child at the breast.
It is also odd that Brittany Spears, and others, dance about revealing more skin than nursing mothers do and they are seldom greeted with disgust (unless their performance is under par. Pretty strange.

Posted by: weatherwitch46 | September 10, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

What do I think? I think this country's screwed up and totally obsessed with protecting us from things that utterly natural.

Posted by: Adrienne Najjar | September 10, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Bob, you're not the sharpest tool in the shed, are you? If I were dictating their policy, it would no longer be their policy, now would it?

Obviously, they have the "right" to do whatever they want for their policy. I also have the right to complain and criticize. That's not dictating -- that's agitating for a change in the policy. Maybe you've never lived in America before, but that's how lots of things get changed here.

Posted by: Ryan | September 10, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The older I get, the more I understand that these so-called "obscene" body parts are just ancient taboos about stuff that makes us conscious about how uncontrollable and primal sexual urges are.

All societies are, at some level, about control: control over the behaviors that keep us from forming a cohesive unit. The usual thinking is that sex, being such an amazingly powerful source of emotion, must be controlled in some fashion, so there must be rules dictating what is acceptable and what isn't or we'll all end up falling apart.

Of course, since all advanced societies are dominated by men, "unacceptable" (and therefore "obscene") usually means "any visual stimulation that makes men think about sex". But it goes further than that, because as any sane person will tell you, men *like* thinking about sex. Don't men want to see naked boobies all the time? Sure they do...just as long as it isn't their own wives and mothers and daughters who are being oggled! So the general consensus became, "you keep your women covered up, and I'll keep mine covered up...oh and I get to cop a feel and take a peek at any woman who doesn't have a poweruful male figure pulling for her." Yes, I'm generalizing, but you get the picture.

So you see, the stigma against bare breasts is a stigma imposed by men for male benefit.

I think it's high time this taboo is tossed into the dustbin of history.

Posted by: Jen | September 10, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Some perspective:

Unless I read this wrong, this isn't a question of breast-feeding in public. It's a question of posting pictures of women breast-feeding on Facebook.

Which begs the question...why are people posting pictures of themselves breast-feeding on Facebook, or anywhere else on the Internet? Advocates of public breast-feeding say that it's not exhibitionism, it's natural, because it's feeding a baby. OK, I can go with that. So...what purpose does posting a picture on the Internet serve? Just playing devil's advocate here.

Posted by: Clockwork Fox | September 10, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Clockwork:

The question isn't, "why should they" but rather, "why shouldn't they?" There is no obvious harm done, so we are forced to search for reasons why this might be a bad idea.

What purpose does posting a picture of your cat on the Internet serve? Or a picture of your new shoes? Why should posting a picture of someone breast feeding require a purpose to be considered acceptable?

Posted by: Patty | September 10, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the comments on breastfeeding is not equal to urinating. Everyone eats in public and breastfeeding how an infant eats. Urinating and deficating in public is a health hazard. So unless you are going to pick up your plate and devour it on the throne, I suggest you vamoose with that comparision.

Women post pictures of breastfeeding b/c gosh darn it, it isn't something that you magically gravitate to doing. Walking took some time to learn, running properly took time and practice to learn, so did speaking and eating with a fork and spoon. And you had plenty of publicly displayed examples of those basic functions at your disposal.

Not so much with breastfeeding. Women used to have so many children that you couldn't throw a stone without finding a breastfeeding mother and seeing/learning wasn't by example wasn't as difficult. Now, we pay top dollar for "lactation consultants" to teach us how to nurse b/c the nation has become a nation of formula fed babies and women just don't know how to nurse anymore. And if there are women out there who are able/willing to show us how to nurse for free, more power to you!

Posted by: tlawrenceva | September 10, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

A woman discreetly breastfeeding is NOT obscene. Where do people get these weird ideas?

Posted by: pATRICK | September 10, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Facebook can KMA. And in any case, no point getting worked up about it because it's legal in so many states/countries anymore. So I blow a big raspberry to the naysayers and say "suck it up, folks"!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 10, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I think we have a wonderful opportunity here!

Let's see. Are babies obscene? I doubt many would say so.

Is breastfeeding the natural way babies grow up? Well, yes.

So- obviously, and using logical processes similar to many exhibited here- anyone claiming breastfeeding is unnatural and/or obscene is, by definition- psychotic. Critically disconnected from reality.

They should all be locked up, immediately, before they do more damage to the world. And these dangerous, destructive loonies are cheerfully identifying themselves for us- more proof, actually, of their psychosis!

Put them in the looney bin where they belong, and register them as potential sex offenders.

Insane. Really. Certifiable.

Posted by: Philip | September 10, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

What seems to get lost in "discussions" like this is that "obscenity" all lies in the eyes and minds of the beholders. What seems perfectly natural to some is patently offensive to others...and the militant stance of some breast-feeders is more about smugly pushing the shock value of the concept than it is about feeding a baby. Also consider that nearly every business that serves food or provides convenience shopping has a policy that is OBVIOUSLY aimed at MEN: "NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO SERVICE." If a MAN'S chest is so offensive that it needs to be covered up, then it goes without saying that a WOMAN'S bare chest is EQUALLY offensive...if a MAN'S chest is too "germy" to be exposed in public, then most certainly a WOMAN'S chest coated by baby drool and baby spew is far, FAR more "germy".

I find it amusing that the arguments used by feminists and "protectors of public health" to force men to put their shirts on in public suddenly don't seem to matter when the opportunity to have double standards arises. But there's a way to solve the problem once and for all: nursing mothers should either use a breast pump and fill bottles to use for feeding their babies in public...or STAY HOME WHERE THEY CAN FLOP A BOOB OUT ANYTIME THEY WANT. If that's "too difficult" to do, then we should be legalizing public urination for men...after all, men's bladders are smaller than women's and urination is just as natural and just as urgent as a baby's feeding time. Just stop the double standards: either ALL uncovered chests of either gender are OK in ANY public setting, or NONE are. No special treatment.

Posted by: Dean | September 10, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I've seen sweaty, shirtless men (or men wearing "wife beater shirts) reaching over the salad bar, fixing their plates. I do not want armpit hair in my salad, or sweat dripping in my salad dressing.

I have never seen a shirtless, breastfeeding woman, with a drooling baby, trying to breastfeed and make a salad at the salad bar at the same time, so your point is pretty moot.

Posted by: tlawrenceva | September 10, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

To c-dog (and any others that agree with him)

Breastfeeding is not about whipping them out, it's about feeding the baby. I don't enjoy breastfeeding my babies in public but I wasn't going to confine myself to house arrest when they needed to be fed every two three hours. The two to three hours is between the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next one so if a feeding takes 20-40 min that means a mother can have as little as 1 hr to pack up the baby and diapers and go somewhere to get food for herself and whatever else she needs to do to keep her household running. You try to do all of your daily tasks in scattered 1 hr chunks and see how well you do. I do try to avoid having to breastfeed in public for myself because once my kids were older than 6 months old they were hard to keep undercover and they fed less often.

I do think that Facebook as a whole is not a breastfeeding support site and they can make their own rules to keep themselves from being sued or losing customers.

Posted by: lizhd | September 10, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

This discussion has deviated off the original topic of "was facebook right to remove profile photos of mothers nursing?". Yes the larger picture is public breastfeeding, but these are pictures on a social website that has nothing to do with breastfeeding howtos. As a user of facebook I have no desire to see pictures of nursing mothers, but do I mind when I am out in public and see a lady breastfeeding her child? NO! I understand that babies need to eat. Facebook is in the right, b/c they are not employing a double standard. Yes there are bikini clad young women plastered everywhere, but as soon as the bikini comes off, so will their picture.

Posted by: Mandy | September 10, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Nursing is a natural part of growing up. Babies eat (and rip paper, and knock over blocks, and...). When photographing my family, I want to capture all the sweet moments, nursing times included.

As Facebook has opened up to the general public, they've also opened their backwards policies to more people. Obviously these policies were never tested against a valid user community. But that was then, and this is now.

Posted by: Gman | September 10, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse


Defenstrator's comment....
"Yes, breast-feeding is natural. So are defecation and urination. We go to great lengths to hide the latter two from view, in spite of the need of each and every one of us to defecate and urinate. Why are these acts behind closed doors but not breast feeding?"

...is ridiculous, sophomoric, and juvenile at best. This is about FEEDING A BABY not about defecating or urinating and the equivalence is so plain that I am astounded that you can string a sentence together by yourself. Again, it is about feeding a baby who is unable to feed him or herself and by breastfeeding, his or her mother is providing what nature intended. You can argue with it all you want and that seems to be the kind of narrow minded person you are but that is what breasts were made for and why women produce milk. To be comparing is to other bodily functions is pathetic.

Posted by: ginanick | September 10, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

To Mandy- If bikini clad females are making friends on facebook, why can't nursing mothers? Maybe ~I~ don't want to see girls in bikinis. That's clearly sexual, while breastfeeding is not. The truth is, they're both showing about as much breast, while the girl in the bikini is showing a WHOLE lot more flesh.

Posted by: atb | September 10, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I love facebook. Have for years. One of the things I really like is that it is, for the most part, 'cleaner' than Myspace. I personally don't feel it respectable to post pictures of your self breastfeeding. I support a woman's right to chose whether to breast feed or not. And I think breast feeding is perfectly normal, acceptable behavior. But I don't think it's picture worthy. I mean, I don't post pictures of my self on the toilet. They are both natural human functions. And also, if you want to post pictures of your baby for people to see, they'd rather see the baby's face than the back of it's head.

At the same time...There are plenty of pictures of college girls, and younger and older, in skimpy bikinis. I don't think breast feeding pictures are any more obscene.

I guess I just don't understand why a mother would want to post a breast feeding photo.

Posted by: FfxGal | September 10, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Dean -- you sound like you might be, um, SINGLE.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Breastfeeding is best for the baby. Breastfeeding is natural. Babies get hungry at very inconvenient times. No one argues these points.

What people miss here is that no one would argue about a woman's need to breastfeed in public if "vigilante moms" had the decency to cover themselves while feeding their child in public. Women who insist on whipping out their bare breasts in public to prove they can are the ones who elevated this issue into something controversial. These self-absorbed women think that the world should revolve around them and the needs of their children.

Here's a clue - I don't want to see your breasts. I don't care if you need to feed your baby, just please do so with a little discretion and cover yourself. This is supposed to be about what is best for the BABY, not your ego.

Posted by: Childless-not-ish | September 10, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I've never seen a mother "whip it out" with a completely bare breast -- and I've noticed plenty of mothers breast-feeding in public. Perhaps you've watched too many National Geographics. Oh, wait, maybe you think the tribal people in Africa and South America are obscene, too.

Anyway, I've ONLY seen discreet breastfeeding. I've NEVER met any woman who desperately wants the world to see her breasts while she's breastfeeding. I've never understood the line of argument that the "vigilantes" are the problem. That's like saying everything would have been better if Martin Luther King had just gone away. Oh, wait, many bigots DID say that.

Anyway, some of you just need to get over yourselves.

Posted by: Ryan | September 10, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"Women who insist on whipping out their bare breasts in public to prove they can are the ones who elevated this issue into something controversial."


Seriously, have you EVER seen this, even ONE TIME???

I would guess not, I sure haven't. And I attend mother's groups in which a bunch of nursing mothers sit around and with their babies in private homes. And even then, there is no "boob whippage."

I go out in public a lot. I know many, many people who also go out in public a lot. And no one I know has ever seen this happen. Ever. The idea that these evil breastfeeding militants are stripping their tops off in public right and left is pure fiction.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree with anonymous at 12:53. Exactly my point. It's a straw man argument. Plus, critics just like to blame those people who are agitating for something, as the people doing the agitating are the problem and not the unfairness of some rules or laws.

Posted by: Ryan | September 10, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and fwiw, not many women who have just had babies are really keen on showing the world their naked, postpartum bodies. The idea that all these women are just dying to show the world their breasts is laughable. It's some story people have made up in their heads, but it has nothing to do with real life. Women who nurse in public are almost always showing as little skin as possible.

Oh, and I once saw a women in a hijab nursing in public at Fair Oaks Mall. Obviously, nothing was showing, but even she, who was covered from head to foot, didn't consider nursing in public to be obscene!

Posted by: nova | September 10, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The Facebook removal of breastfeeding pictures annoys me because it validates the view of breasts as solely sexual, without appreciation for their intended purpose. This is counter to the efforts of breastfeeding moms anywhere.
As to why post such pictures, maybe you'd like to show your friends cute pictures of your baby and you have one of the baby nursing that fits the bill. A nursing baby frequently has this ultra-contented look on his or her face that's very appealing.
Finally, you can make your Facebook profile private so that only your chosen friends see the pictures...this would seem to address the fear that they'd be viewed by strangers for some nefarious purpose.

Posted by: Angela | September 10, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I like watching women breastfeed.

Posted by: Jake | September 10, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"this would seem to address the fear that they'd be viewed by strangers for some nefarious purpose."

The thing it, the internet is not private. Some cousins (boys aged 12-16) made a video spoof of starwars, and one of their father's later googled the video and found it downloadable on some creep's site about cute young boys. No one had any idea how he had gotten ahold of it- obviously someone had downloaded and it got passed to some unsavory characters. The only saving grace was that the kid's last names had been removed from the video, per the insistance of one of the parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

oops- forgot to add the video was originally only posted on the family's password-protected website.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could post a very particular photo of me nursing younger son. The particular photo I have in mind was taken by a professional photographer, and it's an incredible piece of art. I can't ever post it anywhere, because the photographer holds the copyright, and will be including it in a not-yet-published book - one of those coffee table art photography books.

I can't begin to describe the beauty of that picture - someone already mentioned madonna and child imagery. The expression in my baby's eyes, looking straight up into his mother's face, and a mother's loving expression as she looks down into her child's face...

About a year after the photoshoot, I had a chance to attend a slide-show presentation of the collection of photographs that will become the book. The photo received one of the two strongest audience responses of the evening - sighs / oh's. The strongest response was to the final photo of the show. That was a serendipitous shot of the baby after he'd fallen asleep from nursing.

Maybe there are other mothers out there who have similar reasons for wanting to post their nursing pictures. Maybe they also see beauty and art. If obscenity and pornography are in the eye of the beholder, I think it must be true for beauty and art as well.

Posted by: Sue | September 10, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Exposing one's breast is gross. Like public nudity, or public defecation, it may be natural, it may be beautiful, it may be part of life, it may be what those organs were meant for, but have some respect for other people. Perhaps in public babies have to eat, so it's a necessary evil, but on Facebook, there's absolutely no excuse. While some people may think there's nothing wrong with it, please recognize that others have another view, and respect that. I'm sure things you find inappropriate -- like public defecation -- are things some others consider perfectly ok.

Posted by: yehadut | September 10, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Sue, your post made me smile. I also have photos like the ones you described. The sated and blissed out look on a just-finished-nursing baby's face is one of the most beautiful sights. It is one of the memories I will always treasure (and miss).

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 10, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey, anonymous at 1:05 and 1:06, maybe you should read other people's posts before giving such an ignorant answer. Or, better yet, be familiar with the topic (Facebook) before throwing in a completely irrelevant story. Facebook is NOT public in that you cannot get into my photos on my Facebook page without being my friend. It's that simple.

Now, if one of my friends decided to steal those photos for some nefarious purpose, I suppose he or she could do that. Not much of a friend, though.

I wish Stacey could take all irrelevant or simply non-sensical posts and put them into a separate thread so that people whose heads are on straight could actually have an intelligent discussion on the issue at hand.

Posted by: Ryan | September 10, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

It really turns me on to watch at women breastfeeding. I welcome public feedings!

Posted by: Matt | September 10, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"Hey, anonymous at 1:05 and 1:06, maybe you should read other people's posts before giving such an ignorant answer. "

You missed my point completely- this was posted on a password-protected website just like facebook. Someone who had access to the website downloaded the video and sent it to some friends, who send it to friends, etc. There is no reason this couldn't happen on facebook. My point simply is that electronic media is not private, and you should never assume that it is. If you don't mind others having access to the photos you post, that's fine and you should go ahead and post them. But don't assume that these things are private; they aren't. It's just too easy to copy and paste things and pass them around.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I think that the Facebook ban is a unnecessarily rigid application of what is probably an otherwise reasonable rule. I'd guess that if they'd really given it much thought, they'd have come up with an exception for nursing photos. However, it's a private site and it can keep its silly policy if it wants to. Anyone who's really bothered can/will simply take their business elsewhere.

I will admit that I don't really see the allure of nursing photos. But for people who want to post photos, there are several pro-breastfeeding sites that provide galleries to which readers can contribute.

As far as nursing in public goes, it's pretty easy to do discreetly, even without a blanket or coverup. When DD was younger, I nursed in public a lot, and managed never to flash anyone. It's pretty simple with a little bit of practice. In fact, I don't think I've ever encountered anyone who simply "whipped it out."

Posted by: NewSAHM | September 10, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Well, anonymous, I guess you should watch out who your friends are (like I said in my previous post but you didn't bother to quote that part). Also, try using a name instead of being ashamed of your thoughts.

Posted by: Ryan | September 10, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"Perhaps in public babies have to eat, so it's a necessary evil, "

Yes, just like feeding you is a necessary "evil," yehadut.

Posted by: Erika | September 10, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"Well, anonymous, I guess you should watch out who your friends are (like I said in my previous post but you didn't bother to quote that part). Also, try using a name instead of being ashamed of your thoughts."

Okay, I admit I was too lazy to type a "name" before. But why are you trying to pick a fight here? I don't understand for the life of me why you are being so combative. I never attacked you in any way, and you are just itching for a fight because I said that there is no true privacy on the internet (which is true).

Posted by: virginia | September 10, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

yehadut | September 10, 2007 01:14 PM
-----------------------------------------
Seriously, we're back to defecation? So, are babies eating off a bottle also similar to an adult male taking a crap in a restaurant at a table? You people are so ridiculous, and your arguments are simply stupid. You're freaked out by breastfeeding, and you're trying your best to come up with a reason why. You've got PROBLEMS. It's really that simple.

And how many times do you have to be told that breastfeeding shows about as much skin as a bikini? If you think bikinis are disgusting, you will find breastfeeding disgusting. You're very unlikely to see nipple. Breastfeeding moms have as much modesty as anyone else.

Posted by: atb | September 10, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Jen.

I go to the source of the issue. A breast is not obscene. Not a breast on a male, not a breath on a female, not a breast on a chicken.

Not a breast in nipple clamps, not a breast tied with rope, not a breast with cum on it, not a breast with teeth marks on it, not a breast with a baby feeding.

Breasts are NOT necessarily sexual, and even if they were, sex is NOT obscene.

And if a person happens to think it IS obscene, so what? Look away. Don't participate. They do what they want, you do what you want.

When will we finally cast away these utterly irrational and puritanical stupid ideas?

I'm fine with Facebook deciding that certain content isn't ok with them and they will take it off- even if their reasons are irrational and applied non-universally. It's their site.

But culturally, can't we just all grow up?

Posted by: Liz D | September 10, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Just another example of how completely uptight and repressed this country is.

Posted by: JL | September 10, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

In almost 7 hours of posting, how many entries actaully addressed the issue?

Very few.

It is amazing how quickly it was taken off topic by the dolt who immediately used the defense that breast feeding is "natural" when that wasn't the issue. That one comment caused a lot of off-topic back and forth about what's acceptable, simply because it is natural.

The base of the thread was, what is acceptable for posting on Facebook and other sites?

The issue is not whether or not breast-feeding in public is acceptable or obscene.

How does posting or not posting a picture on Facebook affirm or deny a worman's right to breast-feed? It doesn't!

How does posting or not posting a picture on Facebook affect the baby positively or negatively? It doesn't!

Ms. Garfinkle didn't help by inter-twining the two mutually exclusive issues in her text.

Posted by: DC | September 10, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

[picture of exposed breast]

Hey facebook ... Bite me!

Posted by: a mom | September 10, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Filth, like beauty, is in the eye (or heart) of the beholder. There are some, with twisted and perverted sensibilities, who would think such a natural sight was offensive, so they make us all pay for their hangups.

Posted by: GKAM | September 10, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

If mothers choose to breast feed, I support their decision. At the same time however, I don't need to see it. I'm not afraid of anyone getting "aroused" by it, but for some reason I'm disgusted by it. I think it's okay for people to post pictures of it on facebook (although why would you?) because I can always choose not to look at those pictures. However, I don't need to see breastfeeding in public. I think mothers should either come prepared with a bottle (of breastmilk if they want) or go to a restroom to do it. Just because you have children doesn't mean everyone should have to suffer. Most moms would change their child in public and I see very little difference between that and breastfeeding.

Posted by: rose | September 10, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

When I see a woman breastfeeding I sometimes I get lucky and see a nice stiff, throbbing, perky nip dripping with warm milk. Gotta love those moments!

Posted by: MILF | September 10, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"Just because you have children doesn't mean everyone should have to suffer. "

Why are you being made to suffer because I am discreetly nursing my child? I doubt you would even notice, unless you had your face in my shirt for some reason.

"for some reason I'm disgusted by it. "

Some people are also "disgusted" by interracial couples appearing in public or by homosexual people holding hands, but they still have a right to do it (as well they should).

Posted by: reston, va | September 10, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

GKAM - We're not talking about great painters or an Annie Liebowitz here. These are not artists posting their art.

A case could be made that they are exhibitionists.

Posted by: DC | September 10, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone seen a porn movie where the pregnant lady squirts her breast milk onto her lesbian lover?

It was actually very informative, I never knew that breast milk could actually squirt about 4 feet! I'm going to watch that movie again when I get home this evening...

Posted by: Wilbur | September 10, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Look, what I'm saying is that you don't have a right to get rid of everything that you personally find "disgusting." I'm sure a lot of conservative religious folks also find it disgusting to see women in shorts in public, but that doesn't give them the right to tell people what to do.

If you live in a pluralistic society, you are going to have to accept that everyone doesn't have to adhere to your particular code of conduct.

Posted by: reston, va | September 10, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

***ALERT*** Off-topic rant ***ALERT***

Several people have suggested taking babies to the restroom to nurse. Now, that is disgusting! (to me, anyway)

Instead of suggesting that, what about next time you see a woman nursing her baby in a restaurant, why not take your own meal to the restroom to eat it without "suffering" through the "disgusting" behavior.

What?
You don't want to eat in the restroom?
You think that's filthy and disgusting?

So, how could eating in the bathroom be acceptable for a baby if it isn't acceptable for the adults who are offended?

Posted by: Sue | September 10, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The American Taliban must be stopped.

The American people are the kind of people who would vote for Bush - even after Abu Ghraib. But when it comes to a breast this theocracy reveals its Bushist evil.

Posted by: Singing Senator | September 10, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I always bring along a blanket when I am going to be breastfeeding in public, so that if anyone is bothered by the sight of my nursing baby, that person can take the blanket and put it over his head. Problem solved!

As far as the facebook thing goes, yes it is their website, and it is understandable that they want to have uniform standards, but, with this rule, they are contributing to the ridiculous view that there is something "dirty" about breastfeeding, while bottle feeding is somehow considered "normal". This prevailing notion helps to discourage women from doing the best and healthiest thing for themselves and their babies.

Posted by: senga6 | September 10, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Stacey,

Who are you quoting in your headline, "Breast-Feeding Is Obscene"?

Presumably Facebook, but can you provide a source for this? Otherwise it seems extremely misleading to present it as a direct quote.

Posted by: burke | September 10, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

When are we going to learn that "You can do anything you want to do, girl!" is not a blank check which is meant to be taken literally.

There are boundaries for all of us in society. Not posting amateur pictures on Facebook infringes in absolutely no way the right of any mother to breastfeed her in public.

Also, Facebook is a private business and its users agree to abide by the terms and conditions which Facebook sets. So far, from what I've seen here is that facebook has no policy on breastfeeding pictures; but that it does have a policy on nudity. If you don't like the policy, don't patronize Facebook.

Looks like a lot of the "You Go Girls!" here could do with reading fully, before reacting.

Posted by: DC | September 10, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey did you know that they make breast milk cheese? I ordered some and it tastes great! I wish they woudl sell it at Whole Foods.

See it here: http://www.whytraveltofrance.com/?p=826

Posted by: Yummy | September 10, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Breast Milk cheese with some saltine crackers and a nice glass of white wine!

Posted by: delicious | September 10, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

" Not posting amateur pictures on Facebook infringes in absolutely no way the right of any mother to breastfeed in public.

Also, Facebook is a private business and its users agree to abide by the terms and conditions which Facebook sets. So far, from what I've seen here is that facebook has no policy on breastfeeding pictures; but that it does have a policy on nudity. If you don't like the policy, don't patronize Facebook"

Very well said. I breastfed my children, and feel in NO way is it obscene.

Facebook is not objecting to breastfeeding, but to PICTURES - as they have a right to do.

Posted by: LadyZ | September 10, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I wish they would sell human breast milk in the grocery store. I'd rather drink that instead of milk made for cows... gross! I wouldn't drink milk from goats, rats, kangaroos, etc.

Human milk is made for humans. Cow milk is made for cows.

If manufacturers pasturized the human breast milk like they do with cow milk, I would drink the human milk exclusively entirely. Although I'm sure it would be very, very expensive, but at least it would be made for human beings. So I'd feel better.

Posted by: Got Breast Milk? | September 10, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I do not want to see women nursing in public. It's not obscene but it makes me cringe. Breasts are private parts just like genitalia. I don't even like to see cleavage in public. Dress codes are out of fashion, but decency will never be.

Posted by: Barbara B. | September 10, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Barbara B., you're not too sharp, are you? You can't see that these things (i.e. what's "private") are culturally and temporally relativistic, can you? Trying to say that there are absolutes when it comes to such relativism is, well, absurd. I wouldn't expect you to understand, as, generally, speaking, people making such comments couldn't possibly think any deeper about their philosophy.

Posted by: Ryan | September 10, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

ATB: There is nothing wrong with breastfeeding moms who want to make friends with each other via the internet social networks, but you are obviously not a facebook user. It is illogical to search through millions of user profile pictures searching for that lone breastfeeder image. By your reasoning they are using pictures to identify themselves as such. Facebook has an "interests" section that users may search and if one types in breastfeeding as an interest they can be linked to others who have the same interests hence the networking.

DC: totally!

Posted by: Mandy | September 10, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

When someone can explain why a seeing a boob--with or without a baby attached--is more harmful than seeing the killings and violent assaults that occur in all of their gory detail on prime time broadcast TV on a nightly basis, I will accept that Facebook's position might possibly make sense. But, of course, it is inexplicable, which is why Facebook bans baby-attached as well as all other boobs--as America is governed by them.

Posted by: Just confused | September 10, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Enough said! Neither the act of breastfeeding nor the female breast is obscene, but the availability of Facebook to youngsters is the problem, and as one put it, "why would a woman want such a picture of herself on the internet anyway?"

Posted by: tmurt | September 10, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

.
"Breast-feeding is natural and healthy for children. The government encourages moms to nurse."

similarly, defecating is natural and healthy for children (and everyone else). The government encourages everybody to not hold it in.

So, if one is treated like a god-given right to display, why not the other?

.

Posted by: ALEX H. | September 10, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Wrap your head around it Alex H and all the others comparing breastfeeding to defecating -- breastfeeding is EATING. There are a *very* few cultures that frown on eating in public, but America sure ain't one of them.

Posted by: Erika | September 10, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I can accept the notion (old guy) that B.f. is good for the kid ,maybe the mkom, but is it any better for them to make it public.

the key words here are 'common decency'. what is so hard about getting back in the car or finding someplace not blatantly public?

Posted by: allen | September 10, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Breast feeding in public does make some people uncomfortable largely because few women do it. If more women did, perhaps it wouldn't even be a subject for discussion. But in our boob-obsessed culture, lactating or otherwise, I doubt if it will be a common practice in the near future. I nursed my child on the occasional airplane or two, but hearing about women posting their home videos on youtube gives me the creeps. They're probably the same folks who want to show you their bronzed afterbirth on the mantlepiece. If you have to do it in public, be discrete. And if you must post videos of this intimate act on youtube, why not start a facebook community for lactating mothers? It could be called "Youboob." Then everybody would be happy.

Posted by: Diahni | September 10, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

On a related note, I sell "shields" so that a mom can breastfeed in public and still maintain some privacy. They are on www.etsy.com and my seller name is smartiworks.
I began making these after trying to keep a blanket over my shoulder and breast while feeding my baby and failing miserably. The nice thing about a "shield" such as I make, as opposed to a blanket is that 1. you can see your baby and breast and 2. it isn't going to fall off and expose you.

Posted by: Portland Mom | September 10, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

"defecating is natural and healthy "

Yeah, well, so is breathing. Could you please knock it off? Or at least find a private place? I really don't want to see you doing it.

Posted by: nova | September 10, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Freud would have had fun with this subject, although I'm not going to try to speculate about the type of pathology he might consider for those who are 'offended' when they see a baby nursing as babies have for hundreds of thousands of years.

Etiquette #1: Don't stare.
Etiquette #2: Mind your own &*%$# business.

Posted by: edwinkenn | September 10, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Most of you don't seem to realize what is going on here.

Nursing advocates have been pushing to make it clear that breast feeding is not obscene -- in essence, to change the culture for the benefit of babies and mothers. How our society got so twisted that feeding your baby became something shameful is another story, but there are people trying to correct it.

why post photos? I don't know. To emphasize that there should be no stigma? To help women learn the proper technique?
Most women who intend to breast feed quit within the first week or two because its very hard for an inexperienced mother and baby to get it going at first. photo sharing may address those problems.

The issue isn't whether facebook has a legal right to ban breastfeeding photos, its whether they can be pressured into recognizing its a dumb rule.

Posted by: pj | September 10, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a problem with women breastfeeding whenever babies are hungry, whether that be in public or private. However, I don't post pictures of myself scarfing down a bowl of Honeycomb cereal, nor do I particularly care to see someone eating an asparagus stem. What is the purpose of posting a baby eating breakfast, lunch or supper?

Perhaps these pictures were supposed to help educate or exemplify to other mothers the proper technique, or helpful hints/positions, but maybe there should be a more secure and private site to post such delicate moments.

For those who can breastfeed, it's nothing they've not seen before, for those who can't and wish they could have, it is a painful reminder of an experience they have been denied.

It's not a problem for me, but just as I am somewhat ambivalent about the cause, I don't understand the passion others seem to have about putting up pictures of people consuming food.

Posted by: David | September 10, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Women shouldn't be allowed to breastfeed in public and they shouldn't be allowed to post pictures of themselves doing it on the web. The following arguments..."It's perfectly natural." "I'm doing it to demonstrate to others who are unable or uneducated how to do it correctly." It's my right to do it."...are equally valid for a man or woman masturbating. The fact that they do it at the insistence of a child (and not based on their own judgment and situational awareness) suggests that the people engaged in this practice need to have their heads examined.

Posted by: Clark | September 10, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

"It's my right to do it."...are equally valid for a man or woman masturbating."

Nope- you have no right to masturbate in public. You'd get arrested. Sorry- better luck next time!

Seriously- comparing nursing to masturbating? Do you masturbate when you eat?

Posted by: va | September 10, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

If that Big Boob in the White House can go on network television anytime he wants, I don't see the problem with mothers posting breastfeeding pix on the net.

Posted by: Mister Methane | September 10, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

maybe you guys should all check out the petition on facebook to see that none of the pictures are obscene???

the issue is not Facebook's rights/its rules...since when do we allow corporations to dictate our morals

if facebook had a "no breastfeeding, no breast period" policy that would be one thing, but they are not saying you are violating our term of use for showing breastfeeding, they are saying you are violating our terms of use for having obscene content--a vague term they bandy at will, because trust me, there is a lot more obscene things on facebook that are not being pulled off


if according to your highest legal authorities it has been determined that breastfeeding is not obscene, then why would anyone allow any corporation to dictate new parameters...what if they suddenly decided Jews or Blacks were obscene

the reason breastfeeders post their images of them breastfeeding is they feel it is a strong part of their identity as mothers

there is a double standard at work here

and seriously, why are people so obsessed about the creeps on the internet, there are creeps on the street that doesnt keep me from staying in doors

Posted by: cyngs | September 10, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

I am disgusted about Facebooks issue with breastfeeding photos! There are groups on that site that feature pornographic images of women and men in compromising positions-groups that encourage children to partake in drug use/ sexual activity- groups that encourage bodily harm to people of certain 'groups' (whether joking or not, this should be disallowed) and they're worried about some women feeding their children??? If mothers out there (me being one of them) are confident and proud enough to breastfeed in public - as we have the right to do, then it should be embraced, not ridiculed. Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things known to mankind that dates back centuries, why are people so shocked now?
I appreciate the fact that the Washington Post has brought this issue to the mainstream, because it's an issue that needs all the support it can get.

Posted by: Emily, Canada | September 10, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

The comparison between public urination and defication to breastfeeding is absurd - one is voiding your self of waste.. the other is someone EATING. You don't like to eat in the bathroom so why should a woman's child have to?

no one is asking you to view these pictures, no one is asking that you watch a woman breastfeed in public. She has that right. The child has a right to eat. Look away if you don't like it. Don't visit the site if you don't like it.

As Emily stated Facebook is a host for a multitude of seriously graphic, obscene and disgusting images and groups. I don't choose to go there.. but there are teens on the site. I don't want mine seeing that stuff. But I have no problem with my teen asking me about a breastfeeding woman... That I can explain.

women post these pictures out of pride, bringing this to light.. it is normal.. it should be celebrated. if you don't like it.. don't look.

Posted by: canadianna | September 11, 2007 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Why post nursing pictures on facebook?

Well, I'm a nursing mother that spends about a third of my life with a baby attached to my breast. This is my life, and my facebook profile is private and set so that only friends and family may view my pictures. (Although I really don't care if they end up elsewhere. If someone gets their fetish on bully for them.) Of course I'd like to share my private album full of family photos with my friends and family who are likewise unoffended by the pictures, who wouldn't?

I've also posted on breastfeeding support groups (And had the photos subsequently removed because of complaints from individuals that get their jollies from trolling these groups simply to report the "obscene" material.) because I had pictures of myself nursing my twins and believe me the response from mothers that the pictures helped was worth it. Nursing twins is HARD and often as twins are premature or low birthweight it's even more important that these babies are breastfed and without adequate support (And 24 hour online support from women who've been there is invaluable!) this often does not happen.

Why take pictures of breastfeeding?

Because when pictures are taken of myself and my family and I happen to be breastfeeding at the time the picture is taken I get a "breastfeeding" picture out of the deal by coincidence. Sometimes it's hard to get pictures of me NOT breastfeeding as that's the only time as a busy mother that everyone's sitting back relaxed enough to take a picture that doesn't result in a motion blur of children running by. It's a quiet, beautiful moment. Why NOT take a picture?

Why not cover up?

For some people it is literally impossible. (Not that they should ever feel they have to, impossible or not.) I am one of those people. I have extremely large breasts and can only nurse my child in the football hold. In order to ensure that my child is not smothered by my breasts I need to see that my areola is not pressed against his nose and face and I need to have my hands on him. There's not much to see unless you really look, but even breastfeeding capes and the like are useless and they inhibit the breastfeeding process by rendering it impossible, prolonging it or making it uncomfortable for everyone. (Hello! it's hot out! Breastfeeding is hot sweaty work for a baby.)

As for facebook being a private site who may do as they wish, facebook is violating its own terms of service by discriminating against breastfeeding mothers (In addition, you agree not to use the Service or the Site to:
• upload, post, transmit, share, store or otherwise make available any content that we deem to be harmful, threatening, unlawful, defamatory, infringing, abusive, inflammatory, harassing, vulgar, obscene, fraudulent, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable.) and where facebook as a company is located
breastfeeding wherever, whenever is a protected(by law)human right. They do NOT have the right to discriminate against breastfeeding mothers via their website or otherwise.

Posted by: Iris | September 11, 2007 3:53 AM | Report abuse

Facebook removed one of my breastfeeding pictures. The pic was on me sitting in my hospital bed, fully clothed wearing a tshirt and pants, holding my newborn son and breastfeeding- my son's head blocks any nipple that might of been showing around his mouth, and you might of been able to see a strip of 1 inch of skin of my breast.....are you going to tell me that THAT is obscene? facebook is full of truely obscene pics, yet I don't see them being removed!! this is a clear cut case of discrimination- someone in Facebook obviously has an issue with breastfeeding and is trying to empose their idiotic views of others. grow up! how are babys supose to be fed? with a plastic bottle? now THAT's gross to me!!

Posted by: Dani | September 11, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Is there a special place women generally go that is in public so I can go watch?

Posted by: Mike | September 11, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

So if breastfeeding is on par with public masturbation and urination, is bottlefeeding the same as waving around a dildo? Why is a plastic nipple so much less offensive than a real one?

Posted by: ZOMG | September 11, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Hi ZOMG, it would only be offensive if the baby were in public sucking on the dildo. (Or better, the mother sucking on one end of a double-head and the the baby sucking on the other end)

Posted by: Mike | September 11, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe we are spending time discussing about something so natural and normal as breast feeding.

What kind of society do we have?, a worthless entity as Facebook makes a fuss about breastfeeding while we are immersed in violence, porn and gore 24/7 thanks to videogames and media in general.

Posted by: Augusto | September 11, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Women shouldn't be allowed to breastfeed in public and they shouldn't be allowed to post pictures of themselves doing it on the web. The following arguments..."It's perfectly natural." "I'm doing it to demonstrate to others who are unable or uneducated how to do it correctly." It's my right to do it."...are equally valid for a man or woman masturbating. The fact that they do it at the insistence of a child (and not based on their own judgment and situational awareness) suggests that the people engaged in this practice need to have their heads examined.

Posted by: Clark | September 10, 2007 10:05 PM


Clark, get a life, seriously. Or even better, get professional help.

I think we are the only country in the world where somebody actually creates an issue out of it, what the heck is wrong with us?

Posted by: Augusto | September 11, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Shame because breastfeeding is considered to be obscene and the breast is considered to be a sex object for men are the main reasons that women in the US and other countries do not breastfeed. They are just too embarrassed by our culture to feed the best nutritional and health protecting product to their babies. Additionally, the marketing of formula by health professionals has given the notion that only the select few "are able to" breastfeed. In truth 99% of all women can successfully breastfeed if they just don't reach for the bottle.
It is important to oppose the stigma and shame that have made it hard for women, and babies, to breastfeed.

Posted by: Virginia | September 11, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Iris.. your point
"• upload, post, transmit, share, store or otherwise make available any content that we deem to be harmful, threatening, unlawful, defamatory, infringing, abusive, inflammatory, harassing, vulgar, obscene, fraudulent, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable.) and where facebook as a company is located
breastfeeding wherever, whenever is a protected(by law)human right. They do NOT have the right to discriminate against breastfeeding mothers via their website or otherwise."

was the one I was going to make.. they are a public forum... and women have the right to breastfeed in public without discrimintaion in canada and 39 of the states...

breastfeeding mothers are protected from discrimination in these places. This means you cannot kick them out of your restaurant, play park, or public website for doing so.

Just becasue you can put up a sign saying "management reserves the right to refuse service for any reason whatsoever" doesn't mean that managment CAN... management can't not serve black people just for being black, nor can managmen not serve a disabled person just because they don't like them, nor can they ask a nursing mother to leave.. no matter what their 'sign' says..

it is the same for facebook.. they are a private company but open to the public.. so they cannot discriminate...

thanks iris.

Posted by: canadiana | September 11, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

To Mike:
Well, there's always playgrounds, where moms congregate with their babies and kids. My reaction to a nursing mother is "oooooooh, that's so sweet." But I'm not a guy. I have observed a guy or two watching a breast feeding mother with fascination. And it is fascinating - it's a beautiful part of life. As long as a woman is somewhat discrete about it, everyone else should mind their own beeswax. Meanwhile, many of our children and Iraqi children are being slaughtered. This is not so beautiful. Let's worry about that, folks.

Posted by: Diahni | September 11, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't think breastfeeding is obscene. I simply don't want to see it. I am eating at a restaurant, and seeing a woman breastfeeding makes me think that we are going backwards and behaving like animals that do all their necessities in public.

There are pumps that can be used to save breast milk for later use.

If it is so natural, then urinating in the middle of the street is also natural.

The fact is that this country is full of hypocrites. Breastfeeding is fine, but going topless is not.

I just think that it is absolutely un-classy.

Posted by: G | November 17, 2007 1:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm personally offended at extreme cleavage, and think that pictures of too much of any body part that is usually covered by clothing should remain that way including beer guts and man-boobs. Yes, I breastfed 4 kids, and all past their 1st birthdays. However, my kids heads were always bigger than my breast. I'd be walking through Home Depot breastfeeding, and people would ask to see my baby, and I would have to stutter and state that they couldn't right now because the baby was nursing. People could never tell I was nursing because it was never crude, rude or obscene. As long as Facebook allows pictures of cleavage, I definitely think they should allow pictures of breastfeeding. Additionally, I really liked the comment about how difficult breast feeding is, and how online pictures can really help. Breastfeeding is an art, not a gift because most of us never saw it in the U.S.A growing up because it was Tabu or behind clothes doors, we are at such a loss when we are expected to do something that's natural and so foreign at the same time. Kids on Facebook, a lot of you are going to grow up and be Mommy's and Daddy's too one day, and you'll discover then and many times throughout your lives that your views will change. Things that you might feel are important now may be silly when your 20, obscure when your 30, and completely a non-issue at all when your 40. People change their minds about things dozens of times as they mature, and I'm sure the shock of feeding a baby will one day be cute like kittens and puppies nursing on their Mommies too.

Posted by: Mommy of 3 girls and a boy | December 6, 2007 2:45 AM | Report abuse

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