Leave mothers and their babies alone

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 November, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 November, 2002, 12:00am

I would like to add a few points to the debate on public breast-feeding.

A breast-feeding mother no more desires to display her breasts than an adult diner desires to display his tonsils.

Asking a breast-feeding mother to go through the hassle, expense, and risk of expressing milk, storing it, transporting it, and delivering it by bottle so that other people are spared the possibility of seeing a bit of breast is like asking other diners to puree their food and sip it through a straw so we do not accidentally see their teeth.

Babies are capable of many irritating things. Of all of their possible activities, sucking at a breast is one of the least annoying. Interrupt or delay a baby's breast-feeding and you will see just how irritating it can be. Those who are in the vicinity of a baby should be grateful for the breast. Adults are also capable of many annoying and disgusting things.

Some, like smoking, spitting, and littering, actually put the health of others at risk and are regulated or outlawed. When you consider the full range of possibilities, again, breastfeeding does not really figure.

I wonder what goes on in the heads of people who find this particular activity so offensive?