Bill Maher- Applebee’s Nurse-in and Lactivism Are a Waste of Time, Breastfeed in Private

Unbelievable.

Hubby and I are watching Bill Maher on HBO, and I hear him mention ‘breastfeeding’ and ‘Applebees’. He mentioned that the “first ever nurse-in was going to be held the next day”. (If you are not familiar with the story, you can read about it here. Go ahead, I’ll wait.) I like Bill Maher a lot, and I fully expected a joke or two about enjoying seeing boobs, and then something supportive of the move.

The boob joke came right on cue.

The rest went something like this(paraphrasing)- ‘Breastfeeding is an intimate act between a mother and baby, and not an act I personally want to witness. The whole thing could have been avoided had the mother planned better or just stayed home. After all, masturbation is an intimate act, but we certainly don’t do that in public! Did you know there are breastfeeding advocates? They call themselves lactivists, and they consider breastfeeding rights a real cause! No wonder Al Gore can’t get people to pay attention to real issues, people are too busy worrying about silly stuff like this!’

:shock: :evil: :mad:

I’ve always considered Bill Maher incredibly progressive, but this type of rhetoric makes me wonder if he isn’t a little more backwards than he’d like us to think.

Mr. Maher, let’s look at a fact or three shall we?

Breastfeeding can in NO way be compared to masturbation. Last I checked, masturbating is not necessary to survive, whereas feeding the infant when they are hungry IS.

How about the fact that by repeatedly asking the woman to cover herself, the Applebee’s employees were breaking the law??? In 2006 Kentucky passed a law specifically protecting the right to breastfeed in public, and specifically exempting breastfeeding from public indecency laws.(Unlike spanking your monkey.)

For someone who professes to be a huge fan of Hugh Hefner and Playboy, you certainly have one ass-backwards view of using the breast for it’s intended function. Boobs for show? Awesome! Boobs for food? Bad! Put those away! Sorry, it doesn’t lend much to your credibility.

So why do people worry themselves with something you deem so unimportant? To those of us who care about the future health of our children, this IS an important issue. Breastfeeding is proven to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and a multitude of other problems. Given the out-of-control state of these things in the US today, one would think anything we could do to help curb this trend would not only be supported, but embraced.

The declining health of the population may not be as high on your radar as global warming Mr. Maher, but to those of us entrusted to raise the next generation, it’s our number one priority.

—————————————————————————————————————————
Updates-

Thanks so much to Erin for blogging this over at the Huffington Post!!!

Thanks so much to Daddy Drivel for posting a link to the Youtube video on his blog. If you did not catch the show last night, fast-forward this to where it’s got 2 minutes and 51 seconds left and you’ll hit right on it.

Thanks to the Lactivist for covering this story as well!

106 Comments on Bill Maher- Applebee’s Nurse-in and Lactivism Are a Waste of Time, Breastfeed in Private

  1. Christine
    September 14, 2007 at 11:56 pm (7 years ago)

    I’m starting to think that Bill Maher is a closet misogynist; I met him once backstage, and instead of asking our mutual friend my name when he walked up to us he said, “Who’s your little friend?”

    Our mutual friend, btw, was a female panelist on Politically Incorrect. Not that it should matter. Oh, and the year was 2002, and he sounded anything but progressive.

    Reply
  2. Nancy
    September 15, 2007 at 12:13 am (7 years ago)

    I also saw the show this evening and my husband and I were aghast! As a “lactivist”, lactation consultant and mother of five, now weaned, adult children, all of whom were breastfed- wherever and whenever they needed, I cannot believe that Bill Maher was such a jerk on this one. Bill, you say you would never eat a hot dog because of the “junk” that’s in them. Have you ever even considered what is in artificial baby milk. I doubt it. This time, I am afraid, Bill loses!

    Reply
  3. Linda
    September 15, 2007 at 3:44 am (7 years ago)

    I’m not a lactivist, but I am a mother who breastfed two children during the first year of their lives. I am a longtime fan of Bill Maher, and I usually agree with or at least respect what he says. But tonight, I was really disappointed and even insulted when he went on his tirade about breastfeeding. I rarely feel insulted by television personalities, but Bill Maher really got me in the gut tonight. He sounded more like Bill O’Reilly than himself.

    Sorry to ramble. I’m really mad!

    Was Bill complaining about seeing breasts in public, or was he complaining about witnessing the act of nursing in public? I think it’s the latter, because we know he likes to see breasts. I don’t see any similarity between masturbation and nursing. Nursing is simply the act of feeding a baby! Bill usually criticizes people for being puritanical, so why is he suddenly so uncomfortable about witnessing this totally natural and necessary act?

    Bill also criticized lactivists for taking on a “trivial” cause in light of the global warming crisis we are facing. And yet he is a big PETA supporter and frequently comments about the evils of high-fructose corn syrup because it makes people fat and sick. Well, doesn’t he understand that people would be a lot healthier if more children were breastfed and fewer children were given formula? What a hypocrite.

    The thing that pissed me off the most was Bill’s suggestion that women who breastfeed publicly without covering up are trying to flaunt their motherhood. This is crazy and insulting!! I realize that Bill doesn’t have any children and has no interest in ever being a parent, but that doesn’t excuse his assumption.

    Now that I have two young kids, I have firsthand knowledge that breastfeeding in public is often the only way to keep an infant from screaming and crying! One of my kids wouldn’t even drink from a bottle, so using a bottle instead of breastfeeding wasn’t an option. (Bottle rejection is a common problem, and something that many non-parents aren’t aware of.)

    Whenever I went to restaurants or cafes with my kids when they were infants, I never attracted any attention while breastfeeding. No one ever said anything negative or gave me a weird look. I hardly ever used a shawl or blanket, and like most other women I’ve seen breastfeeding, I was able to feed my babies without my breasts being in full view. I’m a pretty modest person about my body, so I tried to be discreet. But I never thought it necessary to cover up with a blanket in order to completely hide the fact that breastfeeding was going on!

    I think that most mothers who breastfeed are trying to be good parents. They’re concerned about feeding their babies and keeping them happy and quiet in public so the family can have a nice meal together without the baby screaming and crying. The last thing on any sleep-deprived, exhausted mother’s mind is showing off their ability to procreate! What a moronic suggestion. I want to believe that this particular point of Bill’s was purely a joke.

    Before I had kids, I really didn’t have any strong affection for children nor an understanding of what parenthood is like. I admit that I felt a bit uncomfortable the first couple of times I saw a woman breastfeed in public without covering up. But I realized that the discomfort was MY problem, and that it was a result of having been a child in the 70s and 80s, when most babies drank bottles of formula. I simply wasn’t accustomed to seeing breastfeeding and had only thought of women’s breasts as sexual playthings. I think Bill has this same stunted mentality about breasts, and needs to reconsider the hurtful, irresponsible comments he made. He thinks of women’s breasts solely as sexual playthings, and doesn’t want to witness them being used for their main biological purpose: feeding children. Grow up, Bill!

    I hope Bill can be rational about this, re-think the issue and clarify his thoughts on the air next week. He always criticizes President Bush for never admitting that he’s wrong. Well, in this case, Bill can show that he’s a bigger man than Bush. Maybe when Arianna Huffington hears about this, she’ll give Bill an earful. I think he respects her opinion, and will maybe listen.

    Reply
  4. Amanda
    September 15, 2007 at 4:49 am (7 years ago)

    UGH. I’m glad I didn’t see this. I don’t know if things like this make me angry or depressed anymore. People just don’t get it. :cry:

    Reply
  5. Jason
    September 15, 2007 at 5:13 am (7 years ago)

    Boy, that is discouraging. As a father of three and husband to a European woman, it never occured to me that there was anything offensive about breastfeeding. On the contrary, it’s bottle-feeding that always struck me as unnatural and even a little grotesque on some level. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution went into breast milk but so many American women place their trust in a few anonymous engineers at a for-profit corporation.

    I think this is a uniquely American thing.

    Reply
  6. Keli
    September 15, 2007 at 6:47 am (7 years ago)

    Personally I breastfed 2 kids, and would rather have taken them in the bathroom to do so – not only does it avoid anyone saying anything or staring, it gave me a few special minutes with the baby. Just the two of us, and made it a “just mommy and me” kind of thing. The whole world doesn’t need to be involved in it, but that’s just my opinion…

    Reply
  7. Velveteen Mind
    September 15, 2007 at 6:54 am (7 years ago)

    Sara, this is quite possibly the best post you’ve ever written. If someone as intelligent as Bill Maher could hold such antiquated and misinformed opinions, imagine what the general population believes?

    The Lowest Common Denominator scares me for the future health of our children.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
  8. Sara
    September 15, 2007 at 6:56 am (7 years ago)

    Keli, everyone has different comfort levels(Bill Maher included) and I can respect that. As uncomfortable as you are nursing in public, many are equally uncomfortable feeding a baby with very little immune system in a place that’s literally smeared with crap, and crawling with god only knows what kinds of bacteria. And that’s really what it comes down to, the push for the right to feed your child where you are comfortable is being mocked as trivial and narcissistic.

    Reply
  9. Edmund
    September 15, 2007 at 6:59 am (7 years ago)

    Keli,

    Eating in the bathroom… yechhh!

    Reply
  10. John
    September 15, 2007 at 7:06 am (7 years ago)

    While Bill may have some invalid points — your comments miss a few points as well. For the record i’m not supporting BM and I really have no problem with women breastfeeding in public but can see how it could make people uncomfortable. I’m just trying to look at this subjectively and discuss some of your arguments.

    One biggie… while breastfeeding may be necessary for survival, there is no “need” to breast feed in public… the same thing can be accomplished in private. When we have to “use the facilities” we do that in relative private — unlike masturbation, this is a necessity.

    Also, re: the playboy comment, I didn’t see the original comments by Bill, however, it seems the argument was not against breastfeeding, but breastfeeding in public. Reading an adult magazine is usually something done in private.

    Regarding breastfeeding decline and not doing things that would help that decline — it would probably be best to see some studies on why women don’t breastfeed. My gut says the vast majority of decline would be due to society, work, busy lives, laziness, etc. and not because they were not allowed to breastfeed in public. If it were merely an issue of breastfeeding in public then the woman would probably do it in private and/or pump.

    One other thing I just thought of — if you were in public (lets say a restaurant) and your baby were screaming and yelling — would you just stay there and let them scream and yell? Of course not… that would be considered rude. Why is it crazy to expect someone to leave the room to breastfeed?

    Reply
  11. Maggie
    September 15, 2007 at 7:55 am (7 years ago)

    John I think what you are missing is that breastfeeding is on par with bottle feeding. Do we expect a mother to bottle feed in private? No, of course not! The problem is that the American public has come to view breasts primarily as a sexual object, but based on their biological makeup, they are primarily a milk source.

    Reply
  12. slackermommy
    September 15, 2007 at 8:14 am (7 years ago)

    You rock!

    This whole breastfeeding controversy really saddens me. What saddens me the most is the comments from men like Bill Maher and your commenter John. According to John I should miss my kids soccer games or other extracurricular activities because there is a good chance my fourth child will need to nurse. Pumping is not an option for me. I’ve never been able to effectively pump because I don’t do it enough and why should I? I don’t have time to pump just so I can give my baby a bottle in public because I might offend a narrow minded man who is either disgusted or afraid he might get a hard on. Staying home or nursing in dirty bathroom stalls is NOT an option for me. I’m a busy mom of four. I nurse in public. I’m very discreet. Even if I don’t use a blanket you would have to really be looking to see any breast tissue. Come on people, I think we have bigger issues in the world to deal with than breastfeeding. Seriously, we are arguing about whether or not women should publicly use their breasts to do what they are meant to do, to nourish an infant. Especially since I have never seen a women blatantly whip out her boob in public to nurse. Well, once I did. It was an Indian women who was traditionally dressed from head to toe. Isn’t that interesting? Says a lot about us. Most women are very discreet. WE DON’T WANT YOU TO LOOK. How about giving us some privacy. Don’t travel abroad either because you’ll be in for some culture shock. Breastfeeding boobs are everywhere!

    Reply
  13. Joy Smith
    September 15, 2007 at 8:16 am (7 years ago)

    Well I wasn’t impressed with his whole outlook on the incident, but I think covering up to breastfeed would be okay… As long as it’s not scorching hot weather… Which I’d imagine applebees isn’t. Other than that the man was wrong to comment as he did about breastfeeding.

    Reply
  14. Mary Ann
    September 15, 2007 at 8:41 am (7 years ago)

    I just want to say that although I am a bottle feeding mom, I think that Bill Maher’s comments were totally uncalled for. I bottle feed and noone even thinks twice about staring at me or asking me to put the bottle away because it makes them uncomfortable, so why should it be any different for a mother that breast feeds? It shouldn’t be. Breastfeeding is best for the baby and there is no reason that it should make anyone uncomfortable. For those that it does make uncomfortable, how about this piece of advice…..don’t look. Simple as that….mothers don’t breastfeed in public for other people’s pleasure or displeasure, they feed their babies out of necessity and the desire to do what is best for their baby.

    Reply
  15. dynescymraeg
    September 15, 2007 at 8:55 am (7 years ago)

    good god any body who compares breast feeding to masturbation is absolutely sick, breast feeding is the most natural thing in the world it can be done very discreetly if the mother wishes to do it in public, my daughter has a 12 week old baby and breast feeds in public if there is no where available for her to go such as baby changing rooms or her partners car if she finds herself in the position where she has to feed her in public she drapes a blanket over her shoulder as not to expose herself and offend any one no mother should feel like that, it should be ok to feed your baby without being afraid. its a mothers right, I know someone who was ordered to feed her child in the toilets and not in their cafe would “they eat their dinner in the toilet” I dont think so do you?

    Reply
  16. MomChatter
    September 15, 2007 at 9:33 am (7 years ago)

    “The whole thing could have been avoided had the mother planned better or just stayed home” by BM. Umm… don’t people realize that you can’t really plan everything that completely?! I sometimes go out, expecting things to take X amount of time, but they end up X times 2 (or more) because of traffic, lines, sales, etc. I did end up staying home a lot while I was nursing, but I could! Not all women can OR even want to… and they should have that right! And as far as this one, “One other thing I just thought of — if you were in public (lets say a restaurant) and your baby were screaming and yelling — would you just stay there and let them scream and yell? Of course not… that would be considered rude” by John… back when I was nursing, not that long ago, I would’ve just pulled out the ol’ breast to nurse right there to stop the screaming!

    Thanks so much for posting this…

    Reply
  17. Patrick
    September 15, 2007 at 9:39 am (7 years ago)

    Wow people, Its just one man’s opinion, get over yourselves. If its not against the law just do what you do. Personally I think Maher is an ass but thats irrelevant. Do you really think this guy can start a movement to get this act outlawed nationwide? Think about it, with all that is going on in the world… pick your battles.

    Reply
  18. Secret Agent Mama
    September 15, 2007 at 9:50 am (7 years ago)

    Bill Maher’s a f’wad regardless of his views on breastfeeding. This just makes his f’wadness even more apparent! :evil:

    Reply
  19. Cakehead
    September 15, 2007 at 10:53 am (7 years ago)

    It’s aholes like him that made me a homebody for the first six months after Little Man was born. My son wanted to nurse anywhere and everywhere and I was so afraid of “what people would think” that I stayed home and ate myself to obesity instead. (Unless I was going to the mall, Nordstrom had a nice nursing area). Yeah, that’s my own fault but this attitude pisses me off to no end. I have no respect for people who can’t think outside their own box and comfort level.

    Mary Ann, we need more people like you in the world.

    This is a subject that is dear to a lot of women’s hearts; it’s only natural we get a little worked up over it. That *one* man represents a chunk of population that as a whole, most definitely has influence.

    Reply
  20. GHD
    September 15, 2007 at 10:59 am (7 years ago)

    Thank you for covering this. Fortunately, I missed seeing this. I know I wouldn’t be able to handle it…

    Personally, I see exposed boobs ALL DAY LONG and you probably do too– on the cover of mags at the grocery store checkout, movies, ads for fantasy football, prime time tv, flights on Southwest… but God forbid you attach a baby to one, right?

    Oh and Patrick, this is MY BATTLE… and the battle of every women that wants her and her babies’ God-given, 100% natural rights protected or at the very least, respected…

    Reply
  21. Kelly
    September 15, 2007 at 11:07 am (7 years ago)

    It seems like Bill Maher is very uneducated on this subject. I used to be in the camp that said, “Cover up, no one wants to see that.” Than, I breastfed my daughter for two years. When someone asked me to feed her in another area, like the bathroom, I wanted to vomit. It wasn’t like I was showing anything. I don’t know what is so offensive about breastfeeding. Here’s what I think. Bill Maher is ugly. I mean, really ugly. No one wants to see that, so why doesn’t he just STAY HOME?

    Reply
  22. future mom in Colorado
    September 15, 2007 at 11:31 am (7 years ago)

    “For someone who professes to be a huge fan of Hugh Hefner and Playboy, you certainly have one ass-backwards view of using the breast for it’s intended function. Boobs for show? Awesome! Boobs for food? Bad! Put those away! Sorry, it doesn’t lend much to your credibility.”

    You summed this up really well. Good article!! GREAT POINTS!!!

    Reply
  23. Jim
    September 15, 2007 at 11:59 am (7 years ago)

    It would appear that Bill Maher is not only a sexist but a baby hater.

    Reply
  24. crunchy domestic goddess
    September 15, 2007 at 1:12 pm (7 years ago)

    thanks for bring this to our attention. he sounds like an ignorant, ignorant ass. :roll:

    Reply
  25. cate
    September 15, 2007 at 2:44 pm (7 years ago)

    uh….i don’t even know what to say.

    first of all, thanks for sharing this…second of all….bill Maher is an ignoramus of asshole proportions…what a pig.

    to compare breastfeeding with masturbation is the most ignorant thing i’ve ever heard.

    i’m disgusted that, in 2007…and with all the new laws and new information on how beneficial breastfeeding is, there are still people like this out there. [spit]

    Reply
  26. Jackie
    September 15, 2007 at 3:37 pm (7 years ago)

    Yeah, mothers should just be shut-ins so they don’t risk offending anyone when their baby needs to eat. Makes perfect sense. Jackass. :mad:

    Reply
  27. LuAnn
    September 15, 2007 at 5:46 pm (7 years ago)

    I think Maher just doesn’t want anyone interfering with his own little “what breasts are for” fantasies.

    Reply
  28. Jen
    September 15, 2007 at 6:39 pm (7 years ago)

    I have now lost so much respect of Bill that I may not even watch anymore.

    Reply
  29. Mrs. Mustard
    September 15, 2007 at 6:39 pm (7 years ago)

    As a breastfeeeding mother with a son who rips off the blanket when I try to cover him up, I am NOT lazy and I do plan ahead.
    This infuriates me. What a dipshit he is. That’s the only thing I can really say. TOO LAZY? Oh, let me just reason with my 3month old and tell him that he just ate 30 minutes ago and that he doesn’t need to eat now. What’s that? Oh, he’ll just scream instead? That’s what I thought.
    And then Maher would blame me for letting the baby scream in public and say that I should have left the restaurant, when a little nursing would have solved the WHOLE situation.

    Reply
  30. feener
    September 15, 2007 at 6:56 pm (7 years ago)

    I am currently breastfeeding my 11 month old. I breastfeed my older daughter for about 9 months. With my first I was never fully comfortable nursing in public. I would avoid it at as much as possible. However, with my second I could care less, I had to do it when and where ever needed. I think it is a DISGRACE that anyone feels the slightest bit uneasy about nursing a baby. I mean really it is freaken the life cyle. F()&&*^ Bill Maher. He just gave reason for WHY woman feel this uneasiness, b/c of BOOBS like him.

    Reply
  31. BetteJo
    September 15, 2007 at 8:58 pm (7 years ago)

    I don’t know why people respect Bill Maher anyway. After his September 11th foolery – I wish he had stayed off the air. But before that – I was backstage at a Jackson Browne concert, my BF went to use the bathroom and walked in to see Bill Maher taking a girl who looked quite young – into a stall with him.
    He’s a small man with a small mind and probably a small penis. Sorry, couldn’t resist that part.

    Reply
  32. Courtney
    September 15, 2007 at 9:00 pm (7 years ago)

    For anyone who tells me to nurse either one of my boys in the bathroom, this is what I say, you go eat your meal in the bathroom because maybe I dont want to see you eating either. As long as you cover yourself as best as possible I am 100 % for nursing, privately or in public. And for all the women and men who support bottlefeeding I think you are lazy people. I dont get it dont you want what is best for your child??? God made women to have breast for one reason one reason only, to nurse our offspring just like everyother mammal. IT IS NOT FOR MEN AND FOR SEXUAL REASONS!!!

    Reply
  33. Jennifer
    September 16, 2007 at 2:28 am (7 years ago)

    Did we see the same clip? Maher wasn’t telling women to not breast-feed. He was saying, “Fine, but if you must do it publicly, at least cover it up with a blanket or whatever.” Why can’t breeders understand that most people don’t want to see your breast, a baby attached to it or otherwise? It’s especially unappealing when the rest of us are trying to eat. You guys have this sense of entitlement that just because you crapped out your kids (as any dog can do, like Maher said), the rest of us should bend over backwards to make you more comfortable. How self-centered/absorbed you are

    Reply
  34. fracas
    September 16, 2007 at 3:50 am (7 years ago)

    “Boobs for show? Awesome! Boobs for food? Bad! Put those away!”

    I just did a post about that! Click my name. I came here by way of Pass The Chocolate’s link to you regarding catalogue fundraisers.

    I’ve been a PTA (though we don’t call it that here) mom for yeeears. MY kids are 20, 17 and 11 and I agree about stupid, dumbass fundraisers. I’ve also been a fundraiser by profession and know that a lot of those dumb ideas are because people involved don’t have ideas that are better so get talked into the dumb stuff. I hate entertainment books and all those catalogues that sell crap I don’t want.

    We’ve done good old meat, christmas trees and wreaths and lots of other things you’d honestly be buying anyway. People like when you don’t make them spend money on crap in the name of raising money for the school. We’ve been successful that way so stick to your guns.

    Guess that was off-topic for this post though. Go see my post, I’d love a comment, and there’s even a tongue in cheek campaign about manboobs in it.

    Cheers!

    Reply
  35. Heather
    September 16, 2007 at 5:04 am (7 years ago)

    I’ll now remember to never watch his show again.

    He probably made the masturbation comparison because, to him, you can’t separate the breast from a sexual act. So when he sees a nursing woman, he probably gets very confused and feels turned on? Maybe it makes HIM want to masturbate. In a bathroom. With a young girl in the stall?

    Hmmmm, a very sick and disturbed man. Sick indeed.

    Reply
  36. Brittany
    September 16, 2007 at 5:46 am (7 years ago)

    I have only one thing to say, because this comment struck me very hard. He said women are fighting for the spotlight because we do something a dog can do. This is true dogs can give birth, but he can’t. Therefore, is he saying that he is lower than a dog? That’s what I would like to think.

    Reply
  37. Mama Bear
    September 16, 2007 at 8:59 am (7 years ago)

    I covered this story as well on my blog. I’m really disheartened that Bill decided to take this stance, but I’m not surprised, given his track record toward all things female and/or child-related. Disappointed? Yes. Surprised? No.

    Reply
  38. andi
    September 16, 2007 at 9:56 am (7 years ago)

    What? Breastfeeding and masturbation aren’t comparable? Sheesh.

    That is awful. I too am a huge fan of Bill Maher’s, and these comments are unexpected coming from him. Disgusting. I loved your response to it. I’m not sure why we need to be made to feel ashamed that we are trying to keep our babies alive. I guess it’s wrong of me to want to leave my house some time during the entire freaking year that I’m breastfeeding! Men forget that that’s what boobs are for – not for their oogling enjoyment.

    Reply
  39. John
    September 16, 2007 at 4:00 pm (7 years ago)

    Back again —

    Again, I was not stating I thought BM was correct by any means, however I was discussing the arguments the author here used against him…

    There are two issues here A) BM and how he responded to this issue, and B) the underlying issue of whether people should or should not be offended by breast feeding…. I think they are very different. BM clearly states things in an obnoxious way that tends to turn people off to the underlying issue… this is his style. I think his method turns the affected people off to reasonable responses by putting them in anger mode.

    My biggest concern in reading all of the replies here, mostly from women, is that “how could anyone consider this offensive”. First, it doesn’t have to be called “offensive”, it may just make some people uncomfortable… second, what is wrong with someone feeling uncomfortable with it?… there are many things in this world I’m sure that make the responders here uncomfortable.

    Also, many people are assuming that only men are uncomfortable with breast feeding… I’m sure quite a few women are uncomfortable with it as well.

    There is definitely a perception difference between people who have children and those who don’t. People who have had children tend to be much more lenient on kids running around making noise, while those who never had children are much more likely to be offended by children being loud.

    One women said in response to my comment about kids being loud in a restaurant, “I just stick him on my breast”… I was not referring to kids being loud due to being hungry, I was referring to kids just being kids — sometimes they get loud and obnoxious. For the times my child becomes too loud for the environment we are in, I take him out of the situation as a courtesy to others there. I know it makes people uncomfortable. Does it suck that I have to miss dinner? Yes of course it does — but thats one of the things I have to do as a parent.

    Along the same lines, one women said “should I have to miss my childs soccer game?” — well, yes, if a number of people in the area were uncomfortable with you breastfeeding on the sideline and you really did care what they thought. If nobody minded — or you could care less what other people think, then go right ahead.

    If we really look at this from a fundamental level, it’s not really a breastfeeding issue — it’s an issue of whether what you are doing in that particular environment (someones home, restaurant, soccer game, etc) is making a reasonable number of people uncomfortable and whether you care or not. This could be breastfeeding, public displays of affection, smoking (in legal areas), wearing skimpy clothes, talking about edgy topics, whatever.

    America is a VERY varied country on values — what offends someone in Alabama my not in NYC… or vice versa. There is a town in Vermont(?) (or somewhere in the northeast) that allows full nudity in public — IE: walking down the street. I’m sure many here would be quite offended by that.

    Anyway, that’s my thoughts for now. When you read this try to look at the real underlying issues and thoughts, not just one persons obnoxious statement.

    -John

    Reply
  40. Mama Luxe
    September 16, 2007 at 6:14 pm (7 years ago)

    John,

    You actually seem like a decent guy, if a little clueless about breastfeeding. So, I am trying to be polite in my response. I tend to get sarcastic, so hopefully it will not sound like I am jumping all over you.

    One biggie… while breastfeeding may be necessary for survival, there is no “need” to breast feed in public… the same thing can be accomplished in private. When we have to “use the facilities” we do that in relative private — unlike masturbation, this is a necessity.

    Yes, technically there is no need for me to go out in public and feed my baby. And if I am home, I am not suddenly propelled out the door and into the middle of the sidewalk to feed her.

    HOWEVER, the point was that when a baby needs to eat, she needs to eat. Regardless of where mom is at the time.

    Now “using the facilities” is a private act. Eating is a social one.

    Furthermore, we “use the facilities” in private because we are adults who have learned the virtue of patience. This is a lot to expect of an infant or younger toddler.

    Also, re: the playboy comment, I didn’t see the original comments by Bill, however, it seems the argument was not against breastfeeding, but breastfeeding in public. Reading an adult magazine is usually something done in private.

    The gist here is that he likes seeing breasts. Breasts which are plastered all over our magazine racks and billboards with much greater exposure. So why object to a breast doing what it is supposed to do? Because it is not airbrushed and barely covered with spandex?

    Regarding breastfeeding decline and not doing things that would help that decline — it would probably be best to see some studies on why women don’t breastfeed. My gut says the vast majority of decline would be due to society, work, busy lives, laziness, etc. and not because they were not allowed to breastfeed in public. If it were merely an issue of breastfeeding in public then the woman would probably do it in private and/or pump.

    There are studies. Lack of professional support is a big one. But so is lack of societal support. Gee, how would society show support for breastfeeding? And another one is, like you said, busy lives…so here’s a woman trying to run errands or (heavens forbid!) still have a social life. And her baby is hungry. So she should what? Feed the baby, right? Or should she leave everything she is doing, head home, etc.?

    Now, and here’s a biggie, as you say:

    Men and women who have never breastfed really need to stop suggesting pumping.

    You could look all this up (try Kellymom.com) but I’ll give you the basics.

    In the beginning, newborns need to eat about every 2-3 hours, some eat more frequently.

    It isn’t on a schedule, this is an approximate.

    Now that is 2-3 hours from start to start. It takes about 15 minutes for a newborn to feed on one side and then the baby should burp and then 15 minutes on the other side. Which means in about an hour and 15 minutes or so, usually less, we need to start again.

    If you pump, you will still get a letdown of milk around the time your baby might eat.

    So, to prevent engorgement and mastitis…and leaking, you must pump again.

    Quick quiz: Is it better to feed your (opaque) baby in public or juggle your baby and a noisy (transparent) breast pump in public?

    If someone has an issue seeing a baby on my breast, would they prefer a clear plastic pump?

    Assuming I do the pumping thing, I still have to feed my baby. So, I guess I need a cooler for the bottle. And a bottle warmer.

    Or I could just stay home until my baby is older…unless I am a single mom…or my husband is deployed (like mine was)…or I, you know, like to take advantage of living in a Western nation where women are allowed to leave the house and stuff.

    One other thing I just thought of — if you were in public (lets say a restaurant) and your baby were screaming and yelling — would you just stay there and let them scream and yell? Of course not… that would be considered rude. Why is it crazy to expect someone to leave the room to breastfeed?

    Screaming is disruptive, breastfeeding need not concern anyone. You can look away if you don’t like it. And it usually stops the screaming.

    Reply
  41. John
    September 16, 2007 at 7:09 pm (7 years ago)

    Mama Luxe —

    Thank you for your well thought out comments — however I do have to disagree on a few points. Obviously I am not female, however I do have a child and am well aware of a babies need to eat.

    One of the biggest arguments people are making here is that a baby needs to eat “immediately”… a baby does not to eat immediately — you don’t need to be a breastfeeding female to know that. Taking one minute to walk around a corner, go to a less public location, etc. is not a big deal. Our child is past breast feeding age, when he gets hungry he does cry. Sometimes we may not have a drink or food immediately on hand, we may have to ask a waiter for something, go to get something from the car, etc. If he doesn’t eat that specific second he is still going to be ok.

    Regarding pumping — I merely offered that as one option, not the only option. For some people it is an option and for some it is not. In the past 5 years I have seen no less than 8 close friends have multiple children… for some of them pumping was not an option, for some it was no problem.

    About locations — from some womens comments it seems that they think everyone wants them to go to the bathroom and that is the only option. Let’s be realistic, there is nothing stopping a mother from going around a corner, or into a few feet over to a less public place if they wanted… this would take maybe 1 minute?

    About using the facilities — you are correct, using the facilities is (in our society) considered private and eating is (generally) public — however that is because society has, as a whole, decided that. It would seem however that breastfeeding, which is technically eating, is somewhere in between a public and a private item — for you it may just be “public”, for others it may be considered private… if not we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Think about it — do you think this blog page would even exist if we were discussing whether we should all have to eat in private or “use the facilities” in public? — that would be absurd… this discussion clearly falls in between.

    To say “breastfeeding need not concern anyone” basically says that you think everyone should feel the way you do. Should PDA (public displays of affection) be ok? You can look away at those too — however those may make people uncomfortable. Teenagers may consider those “public” items and older individuals may consider those private… it’s all a matter of opinion and perception. We have to remember that not everyone has the same opinion on things.

    Reply
  42. Mammaloves
    September 16, 2007 at 8:05 pm (7 years ago)

    I imagine Mr. Maher–who I usually love–is really a spoiled little brat. If the boobs aren’t shown for his pleasure, then they shouldn’t be out?

    Shame on you Bill.

    Reply
  43. Jen
    September 16, 2007 at 8:55 pm (7 years ago)

    “Why can’t breeders understand that most people don’t want to see your breast, a baby attached to it or otherwise? It’s especially unappealing when the rest of us are trying to eat.”
    Yes, people hate to look at boobs when they eat. That’s why Hooters has been such a financial failure. It’s really sad to hear a woman express this kind of disgust at something so lovely.

    Whenever I would nurse I would probably show less skin than a woman wearing a bikini would. I can’t imagine why that would be considered offensive or gross.

    Reply
  44. Mrs. Flipphead
    September 16, 2007 at 9:22 pm (7 years ago)

    Jennifer-Shame on you. You call people who want to feed their babies in public, self-centered (you clearly don’t understand the meaning of the word, since your rant was the most self-absorbed, self-centered thing I have seen anybody post in a long time.

    As most people point out, breast feeding in public can be done very discreetly without covering up…by turning away and pulling the hem of your shirt down around your boob, you see less breast than on Brittany Spears or hundreds of other young girls prancing around in public–nationwide.

    I think that as LuAnn said of Bill, you maybe are uncomfortable because you are afraid you might stare and then, what? Get aroused? If you stare at my boob while I’m breast feeding is the only way you are going to see anything. So why are you staring at my boob?

    Talk about self absorbed! Your delicate sensibilities are more important than a baby eating? I see, then maybe you should stay home because it might offend you to see the teeny boppers running around with their butts hanging out of their shorts and THEIR boobs hanging out for the child molesters to enjoy.

    Narcissistic much? If it wasn’t for a “BREEDER” you wouldn’t be here! If babies don’t deserve to eat when they need to, then maybe you don’t deserve to live, since the woman who gave birth to you was just a lowly breeder anyway!? What, exactly does that make her offspring?

    Reply
  45. Kimberly
    September 16, 2007 at 9:23 pm (7 years ago)

    I can’t say anything more than what’s been said. So just imagine me offering you some very fervent applause.

    Reply
  46. VDog
    September 16, 2007 at 9:32 pm (7 years ago)

    This really STEAMS me.

    Mama Luxe, I bow down to you. :razz:

    Sara, you are so awesome. I will be rallying the troops and posting about this as well.

    Reply
  47. Cakehead
    September 16, 2007 at 11:24 pm (7 years ago)

    I have to laugh at people who throw the word “breeder” around. What you don’t realize is that in your attempt to make “us” (breeders) look selfish, you have defined selfishness through your own words. YOUR comfort over my baby? Nope, I don’t think so. And if you had an empathetic bone in your body, you would understand that. Your words make me uncomfortable, does that mean you lose the right to express them?

    Breastfeeding is a natural thing. For most civilized countries a debate of this magnitude would be shocking. I find it shocking, too.

    Reply
  48. Deborah
    September 17, 2007 at 4:25 am (7 years ago)

    Really great post Sara.

    Scary reading some of your comments. Women having problems seeing other’s breasts? Weird!

    The fact that Bill would rather us spend more time pondering over global warming (something that is till a hypothesis, albeit one people seem readily able to believe as fact) because it is a “real issue” the future of a successful and democratic society depends on the health and upbringing of our children, something breastfeeding readily enhances.

    Breastfeeding is hard. For some of us, very very hard. I have a condition where I have very little mammary tissue, meaning I cannot produce much milk. I was encouraged to just give up by so many people. I stuck with it for a month on my first daughter. Same thing happened second time round, but it was expected, so I researched and studied how I could still breastfeed. For six months I was either attached to baby or pump and barely managed an ounce of my own milk a day, but I knew this is what was best for my daughter. When her sister brings nasty bugs home from preschool she never gets sick. Worth it. Lack of support is a HUGE problem. If women aren’t supported by people who actually understand the various problems one might encounter, they are likely to give up. But this goes for the so called Lactivists too. So many LLL leaders and the like have a view that anyone can breastfeed and if not, you or baby is doing something wrong. This attitude in itself can be very discouraging for a new mother, who like me, might have a genetic problem and need medical intervention.

    But I digress… great post… keep it up!

    Reply
  49. Christina
    September 17, 2007 at 6:29 am (7 years ago)

    Bill Maher is an asshole. I never thought much of him before, and now I really don’t give a damn what he thinks.

    And what’s with all of the “cover up” comments from people? Do you really think I’m taking off my shirt and flapping my breast around to make sure everyone gets a good look in order to feed my baby? Of course not. I don’t think I’d like eating under a stuffy blanket, so I don’t subject my child to that, either. (For the record, she hates it. Tried it.) And she’s eating – why would I take her into a bathroom? Last I checked, the bathroom is not for eating.

    To anyone who thinks breastfeeding in public is an obscene act, I challenge you to visit my blog and read my post about Facebook and breastfeeding. (I’d post my link, but I’d prefer to run that by Sara before posting a link in her comments.) I’ve got a picture on there of my daughter breastfeeding in public. How much of my breast are you seeing? I actually pulled my button down shirt back for the picture, too, so you would have seen even less. It was a hot day in Chicago – I’ll bet you could have seen more breast by looking out the windows to see the women walking along Navy Pier on that very hot day. And that’s even a downward shot – were you sitting at my level, you wouldn’t see much at all.

    Oh sure, my daughter might occasionally pull off, and then you might see a nipple for half a second – if you’re staring at me! And if you see me breastfeeding and keep watching, well, then you’re the one with a problem, not me.

    Reply
  50. Annie
    September 17, 2007 at 7:25 am (7 years ago)

    I haven’t seen the Bill Maher piece, and I don’t want to. I just read about it on Megan’s blog – I’m so angry I could spit. Who does he think he is and who the hell are his producers thinking they’re going to let him away with it?

    I have breastfed without incident in a booth in Applebees, I wasn’t even aware of this controversy I’m ashamed to say!

    Reply
  51. Annie
    September 17, 2007 at 7:35 am (7 years ago)

    I’ve just read back over the comments – clearly Bill Maher is not the only idiot when it comes to the topic of breastfeeding.

    Reply
  52. Jarrod
    September 17, 2007 at 7:57 am (7 years ago)

    The irony here is that Bill Maher’s show is nothing but an exercise in public masturbation.

    Reply
  53. VDog
    September 17, 2007 at 9:49 am (7 years ago)

    John said:

    One of the biggest arguments people are making here is that a baby needs to eat “immediately”… a baby does not to eat immediately — you don’t need to be a breastfeeding female to know that. Taking one minute to walk around a corner, go to a less public location, etc. is not a big deal.

    I disagree wholeheartedly, John.

    For the first five months of his life, my son needed to eat IMMEDIATELY. Banshee screaming, toe-curling immediacy.

    When you are a new, first time mom, and your baby wakes up SCREAMING like mine did EVERY TIME he got up, because he was hungry, going around the corner (to where? in a restaurant this is just not feasible) would take two minutes too long and my son would have trouble latching. It is nerve wracking enough that your baby is upset; to then have to feel like you need to up and excuse yourself is just too much to ask.

    Those first few months you are most likely going out to eat with people who are supportive of your breastfeeding, and they’re not going to care if you feed the baby at the table.

    Maybe it was because my son was a preemie that he had this insatiable hunger and needed to eat extremely often. His stomach was very small, and he didn’t sleep for long stretches — ever. So when his little tummy would empty, he would wake up famished — and PISSED. I needed to get him the boob ASAP.

    Anyway, John, my point is that sometimes babies DO need to eat IMMEDIATELY.

    My post is up, entitled “Boycott Bill Maher.” Inflammatory much? :)

    -From a “breastfeeding female.”

    Reply
  54. Mama Luxe
    September 17, 2007 at 11:07 am (7 years ago)

    One of the biggest arguments people are making here is that a baby needs to eat “immediately”… a baby does not to eat immediately — you don’t need to be a breastfeeding female to know that. Taking one minute to walk around a corner, go to a less public location, etc. is not a big deal. Our child is past breast feeding age, when he gets hungry he does cry. Sometimes we may not have a drink or food immediately on hand, we may have to ask a waiter for something, go to get something from the car, etc. If he doesn’t eat that specific second he is still going to be ok.

    You can’t compare your child that is past breastfeeding age to a newborn.

    You are also making assumptions about a “less public” location being available.

    That is also a shade of grey the law cannot recognize. It is either public or not.

    I’m cutting the pumping bit since you seem to concede the point.

    About locations — from some womens comments it seems that they think everyone wants them to go to the bathroom and that is the only option. Let’s be realistic, there is nothing stopping a mother from going around a corner, or into a few feet over to a less public place if they wanted… this would take maybe 1 minute?

    In every place? No? Okay, then. We have to make these rules suit every occasion and the only one that works is that mom feeds baby as she sees fit.

    Let’s be realistic, too. In the early months, it is several minutes to go off, find a good spot, get situated, then about 30-40 minutes to feed. Only to do it again in an hour and a half. How would we have any sort of life or be able to get anything done? Why must we leave the public place where we are accomplishing things and living life so that an adult, who can just look the other way, can be more comfortable.

    When I was shopping for food and my husband was in Iraq and my baby (who had a heart condition that meant I could not allow her to cry) needed to eat, should I have abandoned my grocery cart and slunk off to…where? Out of the store? In my car in the 100 degree heat? And then started the shopping all over again? Let my baby have a Tet spell so someone wouldn’t accidentally see a little of my cleavage?

    And that is really what this is about–another person’s comfort over my baby’s needs.

    Oh, but that’s different? No, it isn’t. We need to make things the same for everyone. And the only way to make sure that I had the right and the comfort level to feed my baby when she needed to feed is to make sure that ALL moms can feed their babies when and where they need to do so.

    About using the facilities — you are correct, using the facilities is (in our society) considered private and eating is (generally) public — however that is because society has, as a whole, decided that. It would seem however that breastfeeding, which is technically eating, is somewhere in between a public and a private item — for you it may just be “public”, for others it may be considered private… if not we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Think about it — do you think this blog page would even exist if we were discussing whether we should all have to eat in private or “use the facilities” in public? — that would be absurd… this discussion clearly falls in between.

    Breastfeeding is “technically” eating? Okay, you’ve lost me with that comment.

    It is eating. It is social. Eating is biologically programmed to be social. I don’t know of cultures where it isn’t a predominantly social activity.

    In every traditional culture breastfeeding is also social and public.

    Not to mention using the facilities is private because is is inherently an unsanitary activity–whereas me feeding my child is not.

    To say “breastfeeding need not concern anyone” basically says that you think everyone should feel the way you do. Should PDA (public displays of affection) be ok? You can look away at those too — however those may make people uncomfortable. Teenagers may consider those “public” items and older individuals may consider those private… it’s all a matter of opinion and perception. We have to remember that not everyone has the same opinion on things.

    Yes, affection in public is a societal thing and is relative. What goes on the Spanish Steps in Rome may not fly in another location

    However, eating is fairly universally a social activity and this is the way a newborn is supposed to eat. And we come back to the necessity of it.

    Although I am sure some teenagers do not feel as if they can wait to neck, I assure you, they can. That would be the proper age to learn more about patience.

    Not four weeks old.

    There are some things that make people uncomfortable that are a matter of taste and others that are fundamental rights. You may not like my garishly colored clothing, and that is a matter of taste. Someone else may not like seeing interracial couples–should we chalk that up to taste or say, “Too bad…that’s that person’s problem.”

    The fact that someone does not like seeing my baby eating in public, and wants me to hide this shameful activity from the light of day until my baby can patiently wait or eat something else, does not mean I should comply with that wish.

    Reply
  55. Mama Luxe
    September 17, 2007 at 11:37 am (7 years ago)

    One more thing–I realized why “technically” eating is bothering me so much.

    All analogies, yours, mine, fall short.

    Analogies are useful when trying to explain something to someone who can’t experience it first hand, or when there is no clear precedent for something and you have to decide what that thing is most “like.”

    In this case, however, no analogies are needed. Even if breastfeeding at all resembled any of the activities to which it has been compared, it is not anywhere near as like to those activities as it is eating.

    Because breastfeeding isn’t “like” eating.

    It IS eating.

    It is the way babies eat. It was virtually the only way they ate for much of human history and, although science has introduced some other ways that may be useful for some parents, it is still the ideal way for babies to eat.

    So, when deciding how to deal with breastfeeding in public, we need to start from that point and go from there.

    It is eating.

    If we can’t agree on that, we won’t agree on anything about breastfeeding.

    Reply
  56. jochanaan
    September 17, 2007 at 4:08 pm (7 years ago)

    A hundred years ago, it was “indecent” for a woman’s ankle to be seen in public. Now we see bare ankles, calves and even thighs on a daily basis–and almost none of us get offended.

    Because of incidents like this, it’s long past time to adopt a similar attitude toward women’s breasts.

    Reply
  57. Nell
    September 17, 2007 at 4:20 pm (7 years ago)

    Thanks for posting this Sara! There was a debate on the Applebee’s thing over on feministing.com a few days ago and I was shocked, shocked I tell you, at the number of women (I assume they are feminists, they read feministing) who took the same side as Bill on the issue. I find myself at a loss for words when I think about how women are still dealing with this issue at all. I breastfed both my girls and while I didn’t go around wagging my tits at strangers, I fed them when they were hungry, no matter where we happened to be.

    Reply
  58. Julie (a.k.a. calm mama)
    September 17, 2007 at 4:24 pm (7 years ago)

    I have always found BM offensive, even when he’s rooting for “my side.” But this show clip was over the top. BM, I think I hate you.

    What makes me the most sad is thinking about my near future, and how I am already indoctrinated with the shame around breastfeeding that BM is promoting and that people in these comments describe — shame that either forces one to stay home and/or hide, or shame that has others denouncing the act of public breastfeeding as offensive.

    Over the years, I have often thought it odd that mothers felt compelled to cover up — when my contemporaries started having kids. But then I took it for granted. And now, in my pregnancy I unconsciously find myself drawn to ads in parenting magazines for clever/chic (!) breastfeeding shawls and cover-ups.

    Now, I realize I am going to be breastfeeding in public, if I am lucky to be biologically able to do so, and I will not cover up, and it will be a political act.

    If if if in some tiny crevice of BM’s primate brain, that was his intention, to get those of us who think riled up enough to whip out our boobs more often, then I guess it worked. But the thought of celebrating him as an ironic activist makes me burp up my lunch.

    Reply
  59. andi
    September 17, 2007 at 5:18 pm (7 years ago)

    Sara – Thanks for starting this discussion. After reading yours and Megan’s posts, I wrote one of my own, not necessarily solely in response to Maher’s comments, but mostly about my own negative experiences in terms of people’s attitudes about breastfeeding and the supports, or lack there of, for breastfeeding mothers.

    Here’s the link – http://pootandcubby.wordpress.com/2007/09/17/my-two-breasts-i-mean-cents/

    Reply
  60. Dawn Corleone
    September 17, 2007 at 5:58 pm (7 years ago)

    Bill Maher is not a liberal…he’s a left libertarian. I disagree with what he said about nursing in public, but I agree that there are much more pressing things to worry about in the world. Remember, he is childless… I can see why he would say this. I said a lot of things when childfree that I wouldn’t say now.

    Reply
  61. Sheila
    September 17, 2007 at 6:08 pm (7 years ago)

    Shame on Bill Maher, I used to like him!
    Anatomy-101: Breasts lactate. It is by design that they create the necessary nourishment to sustain baby humans.
    Although society has turned them into purely sexual objects, this is not their purpose. Perhaps he has spent too much time at the Playboy mansion. :evil:

    Reply
  62. Mimipz5wjj
    September 17, 2007 at 8:10 pm (7 years ago)

    Excellent post Sara! One more reason not to watch Bill Maher.

    Reply
  63. Serina
    September 17, 2007 at 10:11 pm (7 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing this. I hadn’t heard about it. He really came off looking like an ass.

    Reply
  64. Mrs. Flipphead
    September 17, 2007 at 10:27 pm (7 years ago)

    In addition to what Mama Luxe said about babies needing to eat immediately: I would like to point out that one of the factors behind the obesity epidemic in this country is that people have been socialized to ignore their hunger cues. Ignoring hunger cues (“It’s not time for lunch yet, I can’t eat now”) teaches our brain to override the urge to eat. We become programmed to eat when the clock says and not when our hunger says. Part of this cue is also recognizing when we are full. When we override this system repeatedly, we set ourselves up for lowering our metabolism and eating for the wrong reasons and eating too much–leading to obesity.

    Just one more reason that breast feeding combats obesity. BTW, Linda mentioned that BM (did you know that is short hand for bowel movement in the health care industry? :lol: ) frequently comments on how bad high fructose corn syrup is. He clearly doesn’t realize that almost all baby formula (I say almost, because I haven’t read every single label) contains high fructose corn syrup or a similar substance. Is it any wonder that we have such a high incidence of ADD in this country, with the lack of support for breast feeding?

    Reply
  65. K&M
    September 18, 2007 at 3:41 am (7 years ago)

    I breastfed my oldest 3 sons until they were 18 months to 2 years and unfortunately, my youngest son was a bit early and did not latch well at all (think about a bleeding hicky on the tip of your nipple.) He had the good ol’ boob-food pumped for him for 5 weeks. I still have sadness at not being able to nurse him too, but I now know that not every baby can and will nurse. *

    Any who, I always nursed my kids in public. With my first son, I just tossed a receiving blanket over my shoulder in such a way that I could see the baby (and he could see me) but there was no boob “flashing the world.” And honestly, by the third kid I could do it without the blanket and no one ever noticed. It’s such a non-issue. So what if I wopped it out? Big deal. Boobs are for feeding babies.

    *I used to be hardcore and thought ALLLLL babies and mommas could nurse, but nursing can fall into the category of things you can’t make a baby do. It became way more important to have a fed, HAPPY baby than a hungry screaming baby and crying momma. But to each their own. :o)

    Reply
  66. Gunfighter
    September 18, 2007 at 8:03 am (7 years ago)

    I can’t get excited by Bill Maher’s comments… they are his opinion, and who really cares what Bill Maher thinks, anyway?

    As for the whole discussion of breastfeeding in public, I say go ahead. It doesn’t bother me a bit, nor do I find it titillating.

    There are alot of things happening in our country, and in the world, that require so much more attention than this. (and no, I am not saying that the issue should be ignored.)

    Reply
  67. Rachel
    September 18, 2007 at 8:19 am (7 years ago)

    Just avert your damn eyes…. I might not enjoy looking at obscenely fat people, especially if they are “going to town” on buffets, but it is their RIGHT to be in public and to eat in public. Not to be harassed. Let the babies eat!

    Reply
  68. bridget
    September 18, 2007 at 10:13 am (7 years ago)

    I have started a petition to get HBO to make Bill Maher apologize. if you want to be included email: billmahermustapologize@comcast.net all email addresses are private and not shared with anyone.

    here is the letter, so far:

    HBO,
    Bill Maher must apologize for his offensive attitude toward women and their caring for their babies. His “new rule” about women not breastfeeding in public, comparing it to masturbation, or his comparing women having babies to dogs is misogynistic and we expect more from him and HBO. HBO has a reputation for being intelligent, creative, and sophisticated. None of these terms define Maher’s erroneous and ignorant rant on your airwaves September 14, 2007.
    There is no reason for this type of hatred to be considered humorous and we hope that HBO will educate its public and its “comedian”. Maher should attend a class on breastfeeding so that he actually understands it role in human survival, or have Carolyn Malone, who sponsored the Breastfeeding Promotion Act, on his show.
    Does Bill put a blanket over his head when he eats? Does he remove himself to a dirty public restroom to eat? If Bill can’t control his hormonal, physical, or emotional response when he sees an inch of the side of a woman’s breast while she feeds her child then he should get some therapy. His comments are disgusting, denigrating, prejudiced and inciting of hate and misunderstanding. His promotion of misogyny should be considered a hate crime.

    Reply
  69. BB
    September 18, 2007 at 12:58 pm (7 years ago)

    I’ve read a few articles in response to Bill Maher’s remarks and they all focus on how great breast feeding is, insinuating that Maher was arguing against it. He never said that women shouldn’t breast feed. He simply stated that it should be done in private or that women choosing to do it publicly should cover up. Sure it was done with a sensationalistic slant, but try not to forget you were watching a comedy show… you know… the kind of show meant to get a laugh. Anyway, there are a lot of things that are “good” and “natural” that society dictates we do in private, i.e. sex, taking a dump, changing your maxi pads… To me, asking that breast feeding be considered private is just common sense, and the fact that people consider themselves “activists” for this cause just hilarious. Seems like a bunch of idiots with too much time on their hands grasping desperately for a cause. I would ask those people to just pick up a newspaper and find something a little more worth while to spend their time defending. There’s plenty out there.

    Reply
  70. VDog
    September 18, 2007 at 3:14 pm (7 years ago)

    BB — you must be really dense to miss the points we are all trying to make.
    YOU must be an idiot with too much time on your hands to comment here, feeling the way you do.

    Reply
  71. bitsy parker
    September 18, 2007 at 3:37 pm (7 years ago)

    I’m with you; I thought Maher was progressive. Feel really bad that I spent $160 on two tickets to see him. I want my money back!! Thanks for taking the time to cover this. First, it’s NIP, next we’ll all be sent to the menstrual shed.

    Reply
  72. Julie Pippert
    September 18, 2007 at 8:14 pm (7 years ago)

    Okay.

    The people who are uncomfortable about women breastfeeding in public and wish a woman to be more “discreet” by finding a “private location” in which to breastfeed?

    No.

    It’s not my obligation as a person—much less a breastfeeding mother—to make sure everyone around me is not uncomfortable or unhappy about anything I am doing.

    Do I care about other people around me?

    Of course. I care. I am considerate. I do my best to respect those around me.

    But not to ridiculous levels, and expecting me to bend over backwards, awkwardly, uncomfortably, ridiculously is past the level of reasonable.

    I will put my shopping cart in the carrel so it doesn’t hit your car.

    I will not cower in a public bathroom to feed my child.

    I will let a person with two items ahead of me in the shopping line.

    I will not juggle a heavy baby for half an hour while leaning against a wall around the corner of a public place, while my friends, family, husband, whoever waits for me to return.

    I will not play loud music or run a buzz saw at midnight.

    I will sit quietly at my restaurant table, in my airplane seat, on the bench at the park and so forth and nurse my child. I guarantee you 95% of the time nobody even knew.

    I’ve never seen a woman—and I’ve been around plenty—be anything other than as discreet as possible, even at a playgroup with only other moms.

    It’s not about how long it takes to get around the corner. It’s not about respecting that some people find it “offensive” or feel “uncomfortable.” It’s not about whether a boob is for prurient interest or more practical purpose of feeding. It’s not about whether people ought to have children at all or even out in public.

    It’s about a mother taking care of her child. The best place for a mother to nurse is where she feels most comfortable. When the mother feels comfortable, the milk flows well and lets down properly. Anxiety and discomfort inhibit that. The former case is good for the baby, the latter is not. Good for the baby is what it is about.

    You want a mom to breastfeed in privacy?

    Then give it to her.

    Mind your own business.

    Julie
    Using My Words

    Reply
  73. Emily
    September 18, 2007 at 8:29 pm (7 years ago)

    Oh my word. Who can we contact to complain about this??

    Reply
  74. VDog
    September 18, 2007 at 9:03 pm (7 years ago)

    Okay, I’ve been reading the all the posts about this, and just found that “BB” posted the EXACT same comment over at The New Mom under the name “Dirk.”

    I can only laugh at you, BB/Dirk/who knows what other names you are trolling under. BWAHAHAHAHA.

    Reply
  75. Loki
    September 19, 2007 at 1:06 am (7 years ago)

    Jim said, “It would appear that Bill Maher is not only a sexist but a baby hater.” Well.. Really, has anyone on here ever seen his show? Yes, of course he hates babies!

    This reminds me of a vegetarian boycot of McDonalds. It’s obvious that very few of you here are even slightly familiar with Bill Maher’s COMEDY stylings. He makes jokes. Those things that are for laughing at.

    You are all freaking out over a joke. Most of you don’t even know WHAT you’re freaking about. “BM wants breastfeeding illegal!” “BM wants babies to die of malnourishment!” “BM wants to masturbate on breastfeeding babies, but since he can’t, he’s ugly, and maybe gay, and wants to outlaw making babies and having breasts!”

    Really, if there was an award for clueless blog posters/readers, this whole page would be up there.

    To VDog, if you cut out the middle part of BB’s comment, it actually is true and makes sense. I hope he DID post it on other sites, because this isn’t the first completely misinformed blog site I’ve seen this info on.

    Reply
  76. amanda
    September 19, 2007 at 12:27 pm (7 years ago)

    I so relate to what you’ve written. I have always liked Bill Maher, a refreshing direct and intelliegent voice. I was fine with what he was saying and then the masturbation and being the center of attention thing came into play and I started spitting venomous words at the grainy little YouTube box on my screen. I still show less breast when nursing than an Abercrombie and Fitch ad, and my breasts ar considerably smaller given the size of the billboard and floor to ceiling posters. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the health aspects. And if we want to talk about people’s ability to eat without losing their appetite, I think there are a significant number of things that tip the gag factor before a smidgeon of milky skin.

    Reply
  77. Tina
    September 19, 2007 at 9:03 pm (7 years ago)

    I do not know much about this man, I have seen him on TV now and then, But he did not make a very good impression on me with that crap he was spewing out of his mouth. How dare he compare a child eating to him masterbating!! It just shows that he lacks any knowledge about breastfeeding and the needs of infants. I hear he doesnt want kids, Thank the heavens for that!

    Reply
  78. Loki
    September 20, 2007 at 3:07 am (7 years ago)

    Let’s think for a split second about the whole masturbation/breast-feeding comparison. In one, a milky white substance comes out and goes into someone’s mouth. In the other, you have breast-feeding. (This is a joke, but also funny because it’s true) I think he may have been comparing how a fluid comes out one’s body vs how a fluid comes out one’s body. See how that works? *Gasp* There is a similarity there! But that’s why it’s a joke, because it SHOULD be more than obvious to any viewer who was smart enough to press the buttons on the remote to get to HBO in the first place that that’s where the similarities end. This is what makes it funny, comparing two unlike things and finding the only possible similarity they share and then saying they are alike. It’s comedy! (And sometimes Republican strategy..) I can’t believe I have to explain comedy to people who might actually be grown adults.

    And really, if you think that during a comedy bit about breast-feeding, Bill Maher revealed how he truly felt about the act, you’re just looking for someone to be mad at, which is ridiculous given that there’s so many people who deserve to be hated. Still just proving him right that some people will get behind any cause, no matter how silly it really is.

    Reply
  79. Barb
    September 20, 2007 at 8:07 am (7 years ago)

    You guys seriously need to get off the whole masto analogy. It was made as a joke. Continuing to latch on to that makes you look stupid.

    Anyway, I asked a few of my friends (a couple females and one male with a newborn) about their thoughts on public breast feeding and all three said the same thing. They said that if they were in a situation where they needed to feed their child, they would either go to the car or another more private area, but if one wasn’t available, they would simply cover up. How difficult is that? While you may have the right to hang your boob out in public, I think it’s generally viewed as trashy and classless. Bottom line: How hard is it to cover up?

    Reply
  80. Julie Pippert
    September 20, 2007 at 9:23 am (7 years ago)

    Barb, you act like it’s just “throw a blanket over the baby, why not?”

    Most babies don’t like it. They’ll fling back, fight the cover, etc. You can end up more revealed during the Blanket Battle.

    Breastfeeding doesn’t require hanging a boob out in public. Period. That’s not what happens.

    I’ve seen more boob in a Victoria’s Secret ad on television.

    Reply
  81. Mama Luxe
    September 21, 2007 at 8:45 am (7 years ago)

    Jokes are one thing–poking fun at lactivists is certainly fair game.

    However, he uses humor to reveal his opinions. That’s his *thing*.

    You can poke fun at taboos and groups–but you have to be really funny and you also can’t make statements in your own voice that are insulting and wrong and nasty and then add, “Just kidding” to make it acceptable.

    Or was Michael Richards just making a joke and that makes it okay?

    I might be more willing to give him a free pass if he hadn’t shown himself to be a misogynist several times in the past.

    Loki–

    You’ve shamed the name of my cat.

    Reply
  82. Crystal
    September 21, 2007 at 9:33 pm (7 years ago)

    Umm, Jennifer, we “crapped” out kids? You , my dear, might have been crapped out. I’m sure the rest of us birthed our children.

    And as far as Bill Maher? Meh. He’s short and angry that his momma didn’t breastfeed him.

    Reply
  83. Liz
    September 22, 2007 at 7:23 am (7 years ago)

    The problem is, as shown in some of the comments above, there are people who agree with Maher’s statements. They aren’t going to think “hey! Maher just made fun of people who think breastfeeding’s gross” they’re going to think “hah! See that, Maher agrees with me!”

    And something to consider, could Maher possibly be so naive as to not have learned that the vast majority of people who saw that segment thought he was expressing his actual views? If he was actually intending to joke, wouldn’t he have made some sort of effort to clarify his views?

    I am not a breastfeeding mother, but I am a lactivist because the anti-breastfeeding rhetoric is so hypocritical.

    Reply
  84. jill
    September 29, 2007 at 9:32 pm (7 years ago)

    What a jackass. I was breastfeeding my daughter at the Museum of Natural History. (How appropo!) A woman approached me and asked how she was going to explain this to her kids. (Bizarre) I told her to take them to the mammal section and maybe that would explain it! DUH!

    Reply
  85. Tamara Cosby
    September 30, 2007 at 10:54 pm (7 years ago)

    I do believe it’s official, I am FINISHED with bill maher. He has proven himself to be uneducated when it comes to things relating to real life. For that reason, I am finished. I am no longer breastfeeding…but I will tell you, when I was, I WOULD DO IT WHEREVER I WAS BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE MY PUMPKIN WAS HUNGRY!!!!!

    Reply
  86. Kristy
    December 1, 2007 at 2:02 pm (7 years ago)

    Did anyone else get completely confused when he said that breastfeeding in public was a “parochial” cause? I thought EVERYONE needed to eat, including EVERY baby. That sounds pretty much like the exact opposite of parochial….

    Reply
  87. Kristy
    December 1, 2007 at 2:32 pm (7 years ago)

    RE: This comment earlier: “One biggie… while breastfeeding may be necessary for survival, there is no “need” to breast feed in public… the same thing can be accomplished in private. When we have to “use the facilities” we do that in relative private — unlike masturbation, this is a necessity.”

    Hmmm….sounds like you don’t get out much…like even out of your house. PUBLIC bathrooms aren’t called that for no reason…

    Reply
  88. MadameMeow
    January 20, 2008 at 3:28 pm (7 years ago)

    You know, I think the part that bothered me most–besides his ignorant ass–was the fact that the audience laughed. That they found it amusing. Had I been there, I probably would have thrown something at his head. My being a lactivist myself, I resent the fact that they all found that so terribly amusing.

    Reply
  89. Emmy
    May 24, 2008 at 3:23 pm (7 years ago)

    He tries to dismiss it as trivial, but I do not think it is trivial at all for people to think that the act of breastfeeding is disgusting or inappropriate. Breasts are sexualized because they are -feminine-, and a very important aspect of being female is having the ability (to some, the responsibility) to nourish offspring. I can go out in public with an “everything-but-the-nipple-itself” amount of cleavage showing and everything is fine and dandy, but once I attach a baby to the breast (which also obscures the nipple, by the way), it’s obscene. That’s so totally perverse and completely backwards thinking in my opinion. It is so discomforting to think people are demonizing the functionality of the human body. Breasts wouldn’t exist if not for that intended purpose.

    Reply
  90. Emmy
    May 24, 2008 at 3:41 pm (7 years ago)

    Upon reading more of the comments posted, I want to clarify that I am not very familiar with Mr. Maher or his comedy style. So if the video clip has been taken out of context then that’s awesome, because otherwise he appears to have a lame-o perspective on all things boob related. Women’s inability to breastfeed peacefully in public is still an issue, as I’ve heard numerous other people voicing the same opinion- and they were dead serious.

    Reply
  91. Ameda Ultra
    October 30, 2009 at 12:11 pm (5 years ago)

    Thank you for the post, I quite enjoyed reading it.

    Reply

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