Friday, 5 December 2014

Two views on breastfeeding

Don't anyone say that LBC don't give airtime to diverse opinions. The fact that both Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage take part in a phone in on that channel each week allows those views an airing.

One subject that they both were questioned on this week was the case of Claridges asking a woman to cover up with a napkin while breastfeeding.

First up this week was the Liberal Democrat leader who said:

"We should create an environment where mums feel it is OK to breastfeed and we shouldn't somehow sweep it under the carpet. I think any mum listening who has breastfed in public would be spluttering with indignation at the implication that it is somehow an in-your-face thing to do in public. Mums all the time breastfeed in a discreet way in public that is not in any way offensive to other people whether it is two old men in their 80s or two young men who are 18."
Quite right too.

Therefore it was rather shocking to hear UKIP's leader today say:

"I'm not particularly bothered about it, I know a lot of people do feel very uncomfortable. This is just a matter of common sense, isn't it? I think that given than some people are very embarrassed by it, it isn't too difficult to breastfeed a baby in a way that's not openly ostentatious."
When asked if Claridge's were wrong he then said:

"Frankly, that's up to Claridge's. I think it should be. I very much take the view if you are running an establishment you should have rules, and be able to apply them."
For clarification he was asked just like some establishments ask you to wear a tie if you want to breastfeed you should go the ladies room or whatever. Farage then said:

"Or perhaps sit in the corner. It's not a matter I get particularly hung up about but I know particularly people of the older generation feel awkward and embarrassed by it."

Now personally I don't think breastfeeding is a showy display, designed to impress therefore I'm rather confused by how Nigel Farage thinks this is ostentatious unless he is envious of women's ability to produce milk. But surely the effect of getting up and leaving the party you are dining with to go and sit in the corner of what is still a public space to breastfeed is actually more ostentatious than doing it calmly with the child where you are sitting. After all parents will comfort a child at their seat (at least initially) should it start crying. Only if they feel it is becoming too raucous for other customers might they consider getting up to take the child outside until it calms down. Therefore to pick a child up and walk somewhere else in the restaurant is actually drawing more attention to the act that simply doing it where you sit.

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