What amazes me as much as the idiocy of Bill Maher's comments are the debates that rumbled on in the comment sections of some posts on the issue. It is so sad to see that so many people, including many women are so against nursing a baby in public.
Comments I've seen made on the issue in blog comments and elsewhere are:
"I don't want to see anyone's blue veined engorged tit at my dinner table"
"A baby doesn't need the distraction of a busy restaurant, go take them somewhere quiet to eat"
"I can't stand to hear the sound of a baby slurping at the breast" (and a bottle fed baby doesn't slurp, right?)
"I have the right not to have to see you breastfeed, as much as you have the right to breastfeed"
Then there are people who have obviously made assumptions that when a woman breastfeeds a baby they must need to be half naked to do so?
I have nursed both my children, my first for 17 months, and Baby J is still nursing at 11 months. I have no doubt that some of my family and friends had some level of discomfort over my choice to nurse for this long - but I don't care. I know I did and am doing what is best for my babies.
I have paid attention to other people's comfort levels, and when it was possible I would nurse in another room so as not to make people uncomfortable. If it was not possible I went ahead and fed my baby anyway. I've nursed on planes, in restaurants, at the Mall, at the park, during playgroups and in stores. I have done so in the most discreet way possible. I have never received disapproving looks, nor have I received any comments on what I was doing. Perhaps I live in a more enlightened part of the country? (I doubt it, I live in the redneck capital of Florida *snort*).
Maybe I have a different take on this since breastfeeding was demystified for me by seeing my own mother breastfeed. I hope so, because then there is hope for my kids' generation - that they will not carry the same prejudices or distaste on the subject.
'So, what's your point Annie? You said you weren't going to rehash all of this' I hear you say.
I guess my point is this. If you have a problem seeing a mother care for and nurture her baby. In the way that nature intended, with the best possible substance available. And if you have a problem with a mother providing that nourishment on demand, which is the best way to provide it, meaning that sometimes yes, she'll have to do it in a public place, then they are most definitely exactly that. YOUR PROBLEMS.
Mothers should not have have to justify themselves on this issue. We should not have to respond to the Bill Mahers of this world. We should not have to be asked to cover up in a restaurant, or be escorted off a plane for feeding our children. Who would do any of these things to a mother bottle feeding a baby? It's the same thing - feeding a child, involving a different vessel - plain and simple.
Society - you need to get over this prudish misplaced discomfort you have with breasts being used for their intended purpose. It is unnecessary, juvenile, and downright irritating!