Under The Blanket

September 9, 2008

It was the kind of thing that would have outraged me, had it happened any other day, any other week. It was the kind of thing that would have had me out of my seat, demanding explanation. It was the kind of thing that I would have written letters about, that I would have blogged and twittered and shared, about which I would have said, I would have hollered, to anyone who would listen, look, this just shouldn’t happen, we need to make sure that this doesn’t happen, why the f*ck does this still happen?

But it was the wrong day, the wrong week, and I just wasn’t up for it because my heart was too heavy and my head was too full and the last thing I needed was an argument with a flight attendant about whether or not I really should cover myself up with a blanket while nursing.

When she approached me in my seat near the back of the plane, blanket in hand, I ignored her. Jasper was tucked in at my breast, wrapped in his own blanket, his head pressed against the white half-moon of flesh that was barely visible beneath him. His head was damp from the stream of tears that had been running down my cheeks from the moment of our departure, the tears that I’d held back while saying my goodbyes. I bent my head over his, shielding my face, my breast, my baby, my tears from view with the veil of my hair. I didn’t even look up when she spoke to me.

Excuse me, perhaps you’d like to cover up with a blanket?

I don’t answer.

I brought a blanket for you.

She crouches slightly, bending closer. I gather my voice. I’m afraid that it will crack.

I’m fine, thank you.

She stands up, still holding the blanket in front of me.

Well. Perhaps I’ll leave it with you?

I don’t answer.

She reaches across me, across Jasper, and drops the blanket on the empty seat beside me. If you need help with it, let me know.

Thank you, I say, my jaw clenched, my throat closed. I am trying to not cry anymore than I already am.

Some women are more comfortable nursing with a blanket. I can’t see her, my head bent as it is, but I imagine that she stiffens defensively.

My tears are getting hot. I swallow my anger.

Thank you.

And then she walked away, and I kept my head bent over my baby for as long as he nursed and as long as he slept and until the tension in the back of my neck became too much to bear.

I didn’t say anything. I had always though that if that happened to me, I would say something. That I would I would ask why she was pressing the blanket upon me, that I would ask if it was WestJet policy to ‘suggest’ to nursing mothers that they cover up, that I would say that if I was comfortable with blankets I would have one with me, that I would say that no nursing mother wants a stranger bent over her while she nurses, asking if she wouldn’t rather cover up for privacy, that I would, if I had the nerve, ask are you serious? Are you really serious? Do you not see that I might be offended, be made more uncomfortable, by your hovering, by your suggestion that I cover up? To say, no nursing mother should ever be told to cover up. To say, it is my right, it is my child’s right, to nurse and be nursed here, right here, right now, in the manner that best serves us both. To say, fuck your blanket.

I always thought that I would say something, if it happened to me.

I hadn’t figured that I might, if happened to me, be caught in an anxious, unguarded moment, that I might be feeling vulnerable, that my heart might be sore, that I might not be the cocky self-assured self that I can be when I’m protected by my words, by the screen, by the condition of being virtual. I hadn’t thought that, in the reality of such a moment, I might just fold under the weight of my anxieties and my hurts and my self-consciousness about those anxieties and hurts, about my self-consciousness, full stop, and just want to disappear. Under a blanket, maybe.

Which is precisely the problem, as I’ve said before. A nursing mother is very often a mother at her most vulnerable. A nursing mother traveling – a nursing mother traveling on her own – a nursing mother traveling on her own and weeping – is almost certainly a mother at her most vulnerable. To approach woman under these circumstances to suggest that she do something to modify her behavior is to exploit her vulnerability. It is – and maybe this is too strong a statement, although on the basis of my own experience I think not – to bully.

I wish that I had the emotional strength right now to be more outraged about this. I wish that I had the emotional strength, even, to express a measure of outrage that amounts to more than this heavy sighing, this defeated complaint. I wish that I had the mental and emotional wherewithal to write a letter, to send an e-mail, to make a phone call. But I don’t. I’m spent, completely and totally spent. Everything that I have is going toward supporting my family and keeping my own emotional ballasts stable. There was, there is, nothing left over.

All there was to do, all there is to do, is to take cover under the blanket, and hope that it doesn’t smother.

*******

One of you, anonymously, took the initiative to get the contact information for media relations at WestJet. If you’re so inclined to express your opposition to policies advocating the blanketing of nursing babies on airplanes, here it is: Gillian Bentley, Media Relations, e-mail: gbentley@westjet.com.

Many of you have told me that you’ve already sent e-mails linking to this post. You are all so, so awesome. It’s warming, to be so surrounded by heroes, bare-breasted or otherwise.

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    { 212 comments }

    Katrina September 11, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Mz x…the point is that boobs aren’t sex objects, they are designed to feed babies. And boobs are beautiful in design and function. And no one is saying that childfree folks shouldn’t be proud of showing their bodies but they are saying if a chick with her breasts half out of a low cut shirt isn’t asked to cover up why should a breastfeeding mom be asked to cover up?

    A lot of times more skin is shown in revealing clothing and definitely certain swimwear than by breastfeeding but no one is asking those in revealing clothing to put a blanket on their chest.

    I also filled out an online complaint, as it’s a crock of crap what happened.

    To-Fu September 12, 2008 at 3:18 am

    Chorus joined:

    Dear Ms. Bentley,

    I wonder if you can clarify for me West Jet’s policy on breastfeeding mothers. After having read a friend’s post about a very negative experience while nursing in-flight, I’d like to be sure the same wouldn’t happen to me while nursing my baby while on a West Jet flight.

    It’s a shame that this sort of thing still happens today to mothers who are simply trying to comfort and feed their babies. I hope to hear from you soon.

    –MyNameHere
    Breastfeeding Mom and Frequent Flyer

    Anonymous September 12, 2008 at 7:09 am

    mz x: good point. but i draw the line at man boobs.

    Katrina September 12, 2008 at 10:01 am

    I got a response:
    Company Reply: Hello Katrina,

    Thank you for taking the time to write to us with your concerns.

    WestJet has a responsibility to act in the best interests of all guests on a flight. If a guest is engaged in an activity that makes others uncomfortable, or has the potential to make others uncomfortable, flight attendants have a responsibility to engage the guest in an effort to find a solution. Under the circumstances, we believe the solution proposed by our flight attendant was reasonable. WestJet supports a woman’s right to breastfeed. We also support the rights of all guests on our flights to have a safe and comfortable experience while in our care. If at any time we decide that a situation exists which has the potential to interfere with the comfort of our guests, we have a responsibility to address it.

    WestJet does not have a policy on breastfeeding. We do not feel one is required because we fully support it. At no time was Ms. T asked to stop breastfeeding. We do not believe it is possible, or even desirable, to have a policy for every possible occurrence or situation that may arise. We believe and trust in our WestJetters, and empower them to make decisions based on common sense and good judgment. WestJet has responded to Ms. T’s complaint by apologizing if Ms. T felt the request to cover up was unwarranted. However, we believe the decision by our flight attendant was reasonable, and in the best interests of the other guests on the aircraft. Ms. T was never asked to stop breastfeeding her child. WestJet supports the right of every woman to feed her child, whether by bottle or breast.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. I hope we can look forward to welcoming you aboard a WestJet flight in the near future.

    Sincerely,

    Kristin
    Specialist-Guest Relations
    WestJet

    canape September 12, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    I’m late to the game here, but I wanted to leave you this link:
    http://phdinparenting.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/tips-for-breastfeeding-on-a-plane/

    Turns out in Canada, it doesn’t matter squat what the attendant’s intentions were. By law, she is not allowed to ask you to cover up.

    From the article:
    “It is (your) right to breastfeed (your) baby anywhere (you) wish without covering up. This right is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

    Mz X September 12, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Katrina – the difference is nipples. It is an arbitrary difference and I have to admit I fail to understand society’s obsession with 2 square inches of flesh, but, fact is, I can’t wear a top cut below my nipples. I cannot hike my nipples out on a plane. Neither, to be fair, should a woman just because she has a baby. I am not saying the breasts should not be used for their intended purpose. There are tops you can get with a flap of over hanging cloth with a slit underneath, or you could wear a baggy top the baby can fit under, or you could use a blanket. Oh, and by the way: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/20638479/ IT’S NOT JUST MOMS OMG.

    Xa September 13, 2008 at 3:46 am

    Sent in a message to those kind, kind souls at the airline, thanking them for helping me save money by NEVER flying their airline.

    Thank you for bringing attention to the situation, and I really hope things start looking up. Love, prayers, and a “you kick ass” is coming your way. Way to stand up for women!!!!

    Rock on.

    -Xa

    phdinparenting September 13, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    How awful. I can’t believe this still happens.

    Thanks to canape for linking to one of my posts on this issue. I actually have a whole series that I’ve written recently on breastfeeding on airplanes:

    Breastfeeding on an Airplane: The Collection

    Dr. P. Rapoport September 16, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    [Letter to WestJet]

    RE: the two recently documented cases of WestJet staff “offering” a blanket to nursing mothers

    ——–

    It seems that WestJet doesn’t get it. Its flight attendants or other staff should not be harassing nursing mothers — and that is what the attitude of WestJet is: harassment, however slight the matter may seem to you. These women have also been inconvenienced, insulted, angered, and hurt. Even if all the details I’ve read about Erin Tarbuck and Catherine Connors are not 100% accurate, they indicate that WestJet has a problem, both on board and in its corporate office.

    I have read WestJet’s standard form-letter response on this issue. It is contradictory and dishonest. WestJet does not actually support breastfeeding. It supports harassing breastfeeders and telling them how to behave, for spurious reasons. WestJet is acting no better than someone telling blacks they have the right to walk down the street but not THIS street — because, you know, someone somewhere might be uncomfortable at the mere thought of it.

    WestJet cannot and must not continue to pretend that it is protecting the interests of passengers when it is protecting only the prejudice of its staff. Human Rights legislation, which has the force of law, has established that women have the right to nurse just about anywhere in just about any manner they deem fit. It is not allowed that WestJet tell them otherwise, directly or indirectly.

    The demeaning acts of WestJet staff that I have read of in these two cases, if not eventually thoroughly denied in every detail by WestJet, are grounds for significant action against the airline, as you probably know.

    Other commercial enterprises have seen their errors in this subject when they have been pointed out to them. It is time for WestJet to issue an unconditional public apology to these women and to undertake a short but serious training program with all its employees about breastfeeding, principally how to leave breastfeeding mothers alone.

    In the extremely unlikely event that another passenger complains, the person to be addressed is that passenger, not the mother. If you wish to know how that might be done, I will elaborate further.

    Kindly do not send me WestJet’s standard response, which I have indicated I have already read. I ask that you pass this message on to someone who will act properly on it. This is not a public relations exercise for WestJet but a public health and human rights matter of wide significance.


    Dr. Paul Rapoport
    McMaster University
    1280 Main Street West
    Hamilton ON L8S 4M2
    Canada

    Shannon September 16, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Gillian Bentley
    Media Relations

    I know you must have received many email letters already about this issue. I am just wondering why, or even if, it is part of your inflight policies and procedures to require nursing mothers to be concealed from the view of other passengers. Breast feeding is somthing that is encouraged in both Canada and the United States and should be supported by everyone. Or, at the very least, left be by those who disagree, or obviously do not understand what its all about.

    Please tell me what the collective opinion of Westjet is on this matter. I know that Westjet is a good company, and I know that many of the people who currently fly Westjet are parents, and mothers, and even babies. Babies need to eat, and if they can not be fed fairly inflight, maybe those parents and mothers, and even babies wont be flying westjet in the future.

    Thank you

    Shannon September 16, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Oops, I had meant to add, thats what I emailed to her just now. I dont expect her to reply, but just take notice.

    Take care!!

    Anonymous September 18, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Why all the drama? Some people don’t want to see in-flight boobs. Boobs are private, I don’t really want to see yours and I don’t know why everyone here is so intensely upset that your rights were violated. Is it desperately uncomfortable to pull a blanket or shirt over your boobs?

    I think I should go anonymous here so I don’t get 150+ emails telling me that I’m an horrible person for not wanting to see boobs.

    Her Bad Mother September 18, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Anonymous: Yes, it can be uncomfortable, for both mother and baby. Some babies (my own, for example) refuse to have their heads covered while nursing (can you blame them? would you want your head covered?) Especially with bigger and or squirmier babies, it takes both hands just to hang on to baby and try to keep him at the breast to avoid full exposure, never mind trying to pull on and keep on some sort of covering device. Isn’t it simply easier for someone who doesn’t want to see a sliver of boob to just look away?

    If we demanded that everything that made us uncomfortable should be covered up with blankets, we’d soon live in a very swaddled world.

    Anonymous September 18, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Maybe the flight attendant thought you were trying to hide – from the way you described:

    “I bent my head over his, shielding my face, my breast, my baby, my tears from view with the veil of my hair. I didn’t even look up when she spoke to me.”

    It sounds to me like the flight attendant saw a woman who appeared uncomfortable and just wanted to help by offering a blanket for security and comfort. It sounds like the flight attendant was just trying to be nice and accomodating.

    butterfly September 19, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    This is the message I sent:

    Dear Ms. Bentley,

    Please advise the policy of the airline you work for regarding in-flight nursing. As a nursing mother who must fly places, I would like to know that I can feed my son while on the plane. My son refuses to eat while covered under a blanket, and I think it’s disgusting to feed him in the bathroom. If my son doesn’t eat, he will scream, because he is hungry. He likes to eat, every day, just like the rest of us. The source of his food happens to come from my breasts, as this is the healthiest possible choice for all babies (as has been proven by years and years of research). As I understand it from this website, http://badladies.blogspot.com/2008/09/under-blanket.html, one of your representatives asked a nursing mother to cover up while breastfeeding. I want to make sure that you take the time to educate your staff regarding the fact that human breasts were made for producing milk to feed human babies, not for sexual activity or for uneducated staff to ask to cover up during the production of human milk.

    – Butterfly

    http://www.reasonsyoushouldntfuckkids.wordpress.com

    apathetic bliss September 21, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    This is ridiculous!!!! I am always naively surprised that this ignorance is still so prevalent. I am sorry that you had to deal with this. You are right though, nursing moms are already emotionally vulnerable and then BAM hit with some first-class ignorance. I will be emailing Westjet asap.

    that chick September 24, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    westjet have been fuckers about breastfeeding lately. i’m not flying with them any more until they resolve the breastfeeding issue. which sucks, since air canada doesn’t fly directly to my normal destination. still, assholes can’t be allowed to stay assholes.

    Gillian Bentley September 25, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    There’s been some discussion in the blogosphere about WestJet’s interaction with a guest who breastfed her child on a flight in July. We’ve also received positive and negative e-mails with respect to our flight attendant’s offer of a blanket to this guest, which created a situation for which we apologized a month ago. This act was done by the flight attendant as a gesture of good customer service.

    Today, we’re posting to share what we’re doing for mothers who nurse on our flights. Please feel free to pass the word.

    We are sending out communication to remind all of our front line WestJetters that when and where to breastfeed is a mother’s personal choice and right. If another guest indicates they are uncomfortable with the situation, that guest will be offered a seat elsewhere on the aircraft, provided there is space available. A nursing mother will not be asked to cover up, nor will she be moved unless she requests it.

    WestJet has always supported a mother’s right to breastfeed her child, whether in our boarding lounges or on our flights. For us, the guest experience is everything. Hopefully, in addressing this matter with further guidance to our flight and airport crews, we can avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

    Gillian Bentley
    WestJet

    Vanessa September 25, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Just in case anyone is wondering if the comment from Gillian is legit, it is. I received this e-mail, directly from her (rather than from a lackey)

    Thank you for your email. We have posted our response at: http://badladies.blogspot.com/2008/09/under-blanket.html

    Gillian Bentley Media and Public Relations Coordinator WestJet 5055 11th Street NE Calgary, AB. T2E 8N4. Ph: (403) 444.2615 Toll Free: 1-888-WJ 4 NEWS (1.888.954.6397)Fax: (403) 444.2261 gbentley@westjet.com http://www.westjet.com

    In conclusion:

    WIN FOR THE MOMMIES.

    Her Bad Mother September 25, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    It *would* be a win, were it not for the fact that WestJet has confused my case with one that happened in July – and not responded to my direct communication at all. It seems that they didn’t read your mails or posts or my post – or my mail to them – carefully enough to realize that this was an entirely separate incident.

    I do appreciate the amendment of their policy, but I’d like some direct acknowledgment of *my* complaint.

    SUEB0B September 25, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    While I am glad they finally responded, I think this is extremely lame and late example of public relations, though. It is buried where most people will never see it. I am wondering how Gillian keeps her job.

    blissfullycaffeinated September 25, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    I received the same email.

    Her Bad Mother September 25, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Seriously, her comment refers to a completely different incident. No-one apologized to me. My original customer complaint received the same generic SEE POST HERE mail. No acknowledgment of what happened to me.

    I think that I’m even more pissed off than I was.

    blissfullycaffeinated September 25, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    My response to the generic email:

    Ms. Bentley,

    While I appreciate your response, I would like to point out that the case in July that you refer to is not the incident that I have contacted you about, which took place this month. If you had actually trained your employees in the way that you say you have in the comment posted at Her Bad Mother, then Catherine would never have been harassed by the flight attendant in the way that she was.

    I respectfully suggest that you re-read the emails and blog posts that you say you are responding to and address the actual incident in question.

    Regards and blah blah blah.

    Amanda September 25, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    I just got the same copy 'n pasted email that sent me back here to read Gillian's comment.

    It's not adding up….she is confused.

    > Thank you for your email. We have posted our response at:
    > http://badladies.blogspot.com/2008/09/under-blanket.html
    >
    >
    >
    > Gillian Bentley
    > Media and Public Relations Coordinator
    > WestJet
    > 5055 11th Street NE
    > Calgary, AB. T2E 8N4.
    >
    > Ph: (403) 444.2615
    > Toll Free: 1-888-WJ 4 NEWS (1.888.954.6397)
    > Fax: (403) 444.2261
    > gbentley@westjet.com
    > http://www.westjet.com

    Shannon September 25, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Andy my response to the generic email:

    Dear Ms. Bentley,

    I appreciate your reply. However, this incident just happened within the last month. This is not the July incident. And the woman who was pushed to cover up, has not received any personal communication at all. That would be Catherine – whose blog you posted on. Your response will probably be better received if you contact her directly.

    Jeffrey September 25, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Hi, we’re West Jet. We can’t figure out how the internets work, but you should totally trust us to fly planes. Feel free to pass the word, and enjoy the upcoming Victoria Day weekend.

    Millicent September 25, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Just got the same generic email. I also just sent back an email expressing what a pathetic attempt at customer service it was. Hopefully someone there actually DOES their job and sorts this out once and for all.

    Vanessa September 25, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    I told them off like only an academic can. Ha!

    Ms Bentley,

    While I appreciate finally receiving a response, form letter though it may be, I would like to inform you, and your public relations department, that the people who have sent you letters about this incident, myself included, are all aware that you have not taken the time to read any of the letters you are receiving.

    Should you have taken the time to read the letters, you would have noticed two important things. One, that the incident did not occur in July. Two, that the woman in question is not Erin Tarbuck. The blog where you posted the comment that your generic e-mail linked us all to belongs to a woman named Catherine Connors, who as of today, September 25, 2008, has received no personal correspondance or apology from your company, even after communicating directly with you herself.

    WestJet’s handling of this complaint has made your public relations go from bad to worse. First, a staffer harasses a nursing mother, even though she has a legal right to nurse AND another mother had made a complaint a month before. Secondly, you fail to read quite literally hundreds of
    e-mails about a completely seperate incident in which WestJet again violated a mother’s rights. Now thirdly, you are apologizing via a comment on a blog which refers to the wrong person and wrong incident.

    By any standards, this is a public relations nightmare, and you, madam, as a “Media and Public Relations Coordinator” should know better than to respond to a complaint of this nature by a comment on a blog. Mrs Connors’ e-mail is herbadmother@gmail.com. I suggest you start there.

    Sincerely,

    Moi

    We’ve got a win for the mommies on policy. Now HBM deserves acknowledgement.

    Mommer September 25, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    LMAO at Jeffrey and “you should totally trust us to fly planes.”

    And add me to the Bemused and Now Even Madder Club.

    Shawna September 26, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Yep, same generic response from WestJet here and I returned one of a similar sentiment to those expressed already – that they got the idea right but the person and month wrong, etc. I think we should make up a generic response and all send that exact one back. Any takers or votes for responses already posted? Mine’s not clever enough to be in the running.

    Niksmom September 28, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Seems to me it’s time to contact the reporter who interviewed you for the television piece recently. I’m sure they’d be all over this!

    Anonymous December 22, 2008 at 12:41 am

    I’m unconfortable with women covering their heads with a hijab, but you will never see me ask them to remove it ! Westjet, shame on you. Give women respect !

    Anonymous March 23, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Why on earth can’t you cover up? I guess now that you’ve reproduced you don’t feel a need to have any consideration for other people because you’re so special. You want respect–how about giving some to other people? But of course not. Putting a blanket over yourself is simply too much trouble. You DO need to cover it up. What about the people sitting next to you, or across the aisle? If you want to breastfeed, fine. But do have just a slight bit of consideration for others and be discreet or cover up. It’s really not that difficult. You were just looking for a fight and you know it.

    *The Young Mother* March 23, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Dear Anonymous,
    Why the hell should any mother have to cover up. And for your information, yes, now that I (as well as other mothers) have “reproduced” it IS within my right to feed my child whenever I feel is nessecary. My breasts are MADE for feeding my children. There’s no reason to make my child uncomfortable, under a hot stuffy blanket, because you can’t be adult enough to accept that breasts are a natural thing. You have a problem with it, its a simple solution, stop looking! I am not about to make my baby uncomfortable because YOU have body issues. Get over it.

    Bellamomma March 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Dear Anonymous:

    Thank you SO. MUCH. for not coming to my zoo this weekend, where I was seen breastfeeding my infant in front of the zebra exhibit. It was the most remote & quiet place in the park, and also one of the few places with a bench in the shade. Since my 3 month old cannot stand to have her head covered, several people were witness to her feeding. Every single one of them noted the activity, saw me staring back at them & looked away. A few of the moms smiled & nodded in understanding. No one was scared for life & no one had to look if they didn't want to. I wasn't looking for a fight, but I was prepared to defend myself if the moment came. To be frank, I was praying that no one would say anything, but I refused to look away in shame because I was doing nothing wrong.

    Oh, and please don't suggest that I feed my child in the bathroom. I barely want to urinate in public restrooms, why should I expect my child to eat in one?

    m March 23, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I’m very surprised by this. I have flown close to 20 round trip flights with WestJet in the last three years, each time breastfeeding and I’ve *never* had a problem. I have found them to be the most child/parent-friendly airline I’ve ever flown. In fact, I’ve often been given knowing smiles by the attendants as they’ve walked by while I’m nursing. Perhaps it was the route you were on? Either way, it makes me sad.

    Anonymous March 23, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I sent a letter to WestJet applauding the flight attendants actions. Cover up or bring a bottle. Some people are offended by exposure and it is entirely to easy to cover up or bring a bottle.

    Angela March 23, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I’m sorry, but I’ll just choose to laugh at these anonymous commenters here. “cover up or bring a bottle” LOL. Obviously someone who hasn’t been a parent yet.

    Guess what, come back after you’ve had a child. It’s amazing the perspective you’ll gain when you realize a baby just isn’t the same thing as a doll. They’re not all willing to be covered up or bottle fed.

    Would you really rather we just let them scream on the plane? Would that make you more comfortable?

    bob March 23, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Your and your baby’s right to feed in a way that best serves you? What kind of nonsense is that? Your rights end where the next person’s nose begins. You weren’t in your house. You were in an aircraft belonging to a private company. You were on another’s PRIVATE property. If they want to ask you to cover up – thats the perogative. You wouldn’t say I have the RIGHT to come over to your house and have sex with my wife in your living room, would you? The flight attendant made a very simple, polite request that would have allowed you to continue feeding in peace. Your disproportionate response to her polite request is not only unwarranted but childish. You may think that those offended by public breastfeeding are silly (and I’d largely agree) but your childish response to the flight attendant’s request is just as bad, if not worse.

    Her Bad Mother March 23, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Ah, Bob. That PRIVATE aircraft is still governed by Canadian law, which states that I have the right to breastfeed wherever I please. You know why? Because my child’s right to nourishment trumps your right to not be bothered by the sight of a woman breastfeeding.

    And I was childish to respond by…not responding? Or by writing about it?

    *SIGH*

    Jen Maier March 23, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I’m sorry but sex in someone else’s living room could not be further from feeding your baby. Wtf?!

    Anonymous March 23, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Hey Bob,

    Have you ever visited a strip club, or viewed Playboy magazine, or watched any movie/television show featuring nudity, or admired the beauty of the female figure in any of the numerous famous paintings? If so, you’ve certainly seen much more exposed breast than can be seen in a glance of a feeding. Get over yourself and the thought that breasts are to be kept covered until men such as yourself desire for them to be shown. The intention is to nourish our young and if doing so makes you uncomfortable, WHO CARES!

    Shannon March 23, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I never breastfed my child in public because I wasn’t comfortable. However I fully support other mother’s rights to do that. I figure when I have my 2nd child there will be some public breastfeeding happening and I will stand up for my rights and my baby’s if I have to. Breastfeeding in public is 100% legal in my state as it should be.

    Breasts were made to feed babies. How in the world do you think babies were fed before formula was created?!?! The haters on here need to move on.

    Anonymous March 23, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    anyone who does not have a baby, let alone a VAGINA, should stay far away from this issue. you do not by any means have the right to decide the rights of others. this is what we call a tyranny of the majority. if the majority decided the rights of the minority, well… oh wait in america the majority DOES decide the rights of the minority. hello, prop 8? i assume all you anti-breast-feeding people are also pro-lifers? i hope one day you have YOUR rights taken away by someone who is completely removed from your situation. the fact that a man has an opinion about this disgusts me.

    hey bob, fuck you.

    Anonymous March 23, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Peeing is natural too. Maybe I should just whip it out a pee in a bottle. I mean, that’s what it was made to do and no one wants me to to be in pain or discomfort. Oh wait… they have provisions for using the restroom that is blocked from the the eyes of those who don’t want to see me in action. I wonder if there are any simple provisions available for breast feeding as well… just a thought.

    Oh, by the way, I’m a parent that doesn’t mind breastfeeding in public. I just don’t see full exposure as a right. If one person near by would rather not see it, I think it is only proper to make different arrangements.

    This goes for most any subject, not just breastfeeding.

    J March 23, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Comparing feeding a child in public to having sex in someone else’s living room. Wow…just the fact that you said that, Bob, shows that you don’t get it. Breasts are for feeding. Just because they have been turned into sexual objects by society does not change that fact. The penis is made for multiple purposes, one of which IS sexual. THAT is the difference.
    And, it’s already been said, but some babies will not eat while covered up or from a bottle. Something tells me that if faced with a screaming baby or a quiet baby the passengers and crew of any aircraft would pick the quiet baby even if it meant the mother of that baby had to breastfeed uncovered in order to achieve such quiet. In this case, Catherine didn’t let it get to that point before feeding her hungry child.

    verybadcat March 23, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Bob’s ugly heart and soul offend me. Can we get Bob a blanket to hide under? Please?

    Oh, and Bob? I want you to find someone who is treated poorly in a retail store because they are black or brown, or look poor, or are young, and stands up for themselves. When you find that brave soul, say this to them:
    “Your disproportionate response to her polite request is not only unwarranted but childish.”

    See, that way? Bob? You’ll get your eye teeth knocked out, and I won’t even have to break a nail!

    Anonymous March 23, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    All those supporting this woman insist the issue is “breast-feeding in public.” If that were the issue, the woman would have accepted the blanket. The real issue is that you all insist you should be able to breast-feed in public UNCOVERED and you know it. The uncovered woman is mad about “what happened to her.” She must grow up and admit that she “happens” to a lot of other people; especially to those who correctly identify the issue as being a CHOICE of public nudity. She CHOOSES to breast-feed UNCOVERED in PUBLIC. She believes this is her “right.” She believes her “rights” should be exercised at the expense of the rights of others when she has a CHOICE to bottle-feed, or breast-feed UNCOVERED in private in the women’s room. She clearly wants to breast-feed UNCOVERED in PUBLIC knowing she is “happening” to others who view this as indecent exposure.

    Anonymous March 23, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Oh, yeh! Annoy a liberal, use logic!

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