Kelle Hampton enjoys the small things, unless the small thing is the word “breast.” She wrote that on her blog. I’m not making it up. Her need to buy a breast pump because she was away from her nursling led to what she termed an uncomfortable discussion about her cans and how much milk they do or don’t make.
I’m glad that she has nursed Nella for two years. Bravo! All children benefit from breastfeeding and I imagine it’s even more important for special needs children to get all the mommy goodness they can. I don’t get her sudden squeamishness, though. She has even shown pictures of herself nursing and made reference to it many times. So why the icky wiggles over a little titty?
In a most Victorian manner, Ms. Hampton finds the word “breast” oogie. Maybe she would prefer “white meat.” Whatever she chooses to call her dirty pillows, I wish she wouldn’t help perpetuate the idea that discussing breastfeeding is unseemly. Additionally, she admitted to pumping her girl spheres in a public bathroom. I would like us nursing mothers to collectively refuse to go anywhere near a toilet in order to pump or nurse. Toilets are for urinating, defecating, vomiting, and if you’re a Hollywood starlet, snorting coke.
Sunday I was at the Aquarium of the Pacific and I had to nurse. We were waiting out front for our friends with the discount passes, and I sat on a concrete bench next to a large group of differently-abled adults in wheelchairs. Using a technique I saw on a YouTube video, I tucked my daughter into a fold of my Moby Wrap, turned her sideways, whipped out a mammary tip, and fed my child.
Just a quick digression: I have decided that I am in favor of the Oxford Comma, so I will be using it henceforth.
It wasn’t so long ago that people like the ones in wheelchairs beside me were hidden away from public view because of shame and discomfort on the part of the general public. There is still strong sentiment from non-lactating people that chestglobes should be similarly hidden away, lest anyone be made uncomfortable.
Even some mothers who give suck to babes will disdain moms like me who feel perfectly entitled to pull out a boobie whenever my kid needs it, whether I’m at home, in a restaurant, in my car, at the park, at Disneyland, or waiting outside of the Aquarium of the Pacific. More modest women will say they cover up their gazongas in public. My response to that is, why should I? To make you more comfortable? Why are you uncomfortable? You’ll see more of Kim Kardashian’s sweater meat on the cover of US Weekly than you will of mine while I feed my baby. She won’t tolerate a blanket over her head, and who can blame her? And I will not go sit on a toilet or even near one so that strangers don’t have to feel uncomfortable.
I breastfed three month-old Viva in the restroom of the Museum of Modern Art here in L.A. because I didn’t want to embarrass my mother-in-law and her husband. Even Odie was a bit squeamish of stray areola in those early days. It was a terrible experience that involved most of my senses, and I vowed never to put us through it again.
I make an effort. I don’t seek to make anyone uncomfortable. All through my twenties people wanted a glimpse of my melons, and now that I have need to bare them, nobody’s interested. Still, I have some modesty. I don’t just flop out a knocker, shoot out a practice squirt, and smoosh a baby onto it. A person would have to try hard to get a glimpse of my nipple in the split second it’s bare to the world before Pringles covers it with her mouth then conceals it with her head. The problem is that people see me and know that’s what I’m doing, even though they don’t see my udder. It stirs up all of their institutionalized and cultural disgust for breastfeeding, despite the fact that they don’t actually see anything.
Why don’t I just pump milk and give Pringles a bottle in public? Why should I? Again with the comfort of strangers? Pumping is difficult. I only ever do it when I need relief from engorgement. Ms. Hampton was talking around this very thing when she wrote her post about her dislike of the word breast. She needed a breast pump because she was engorged. Her umlauts were uncomfortably full of milk that her body in all its wisdom was accustomed to feeding to her daughter. But, ew! The woman who isn’t allowed to cuss on her own blog because of her daddy gets “uncomfortable” writing about how much milk she produces for infrequent feeding of her toddler. Her level of “ew, ew, ew!” makes one think she were talking about vaginal discharge or anal seepage. Nursing is not an elimination function like pissing or crapping. It isn’t drainage like pus. Breast milk is not santorum.
Another reason it’s difficult for me to pump is that Viva insists on helping. And she sucks at it. Horrible, unintended pun and it stays.
Naturally, people who follow a blog are fans of the blog, so no one criticises KH about her dislike of “the word rhymes-with-detest.” Many of them agree and think it is hilarious that she cannot discuss what comes out of her nipples without blushing for shame. “Hey, I too despise my own body! High five!”
Without overtly criticising lactivists, she pokes fun at the women who work in the store where she bought her breast pump. According to her, when you tell baby boob sucker enthusiasts you are going to discard your pumped milk, they all reach for their smelling salts.
When are we just going to get over this already? They’re just boobs. In France, they’re featured in shampoo commercials. Here in America, we have restaurant chains named after them where you can get the best chicken wings (ironically, they do not make them out of breast meat). The waitresses will have those hooters popping out the top of their tank tops, but put a baby’s face on one and it’s offensive.
Let’s do it. Let’s stop being ashamed of the words that describe the bodies Dove soap ads tell us we’re supposed to be so proud of.
There is nothing wrong with making milk. Cows do it. Goats do it. I’m pretty sure even unicorns do it.
(I stand corrected. Unicorns bottle feed -fast forward to 3:48)
Come on, now. Let’s maybe show Ms. Hampton a bit more kindness about her choice to pump in a bathroom. I never hesitated to breastfeed in public, but pumping? I detested everything about it, and because of that, I would have never done it in public. Would you? Really? Feel just as comfortable breastfeeding as pumping in public?
Me? Show kindness? You must be new here.
But seriously, I wasn’t unkind to her about her choice, I just want society to stop banishing nursing moms to the toilet. If a woman feels comfortable sitting on the crapper and pumping her milk bladders, she can have at it.
I’ve never felt comfortable pumping. Anywhere. But when I had to do it because I was in pain or leaking, I never had it be so urgent that I had to run to a toilet. A dressing room, a car, the hotel room my publishers are paying for, a park bench, all of these will suffice. I have an aversion to other people’s poop sounds and smells. It doesn’t exactly make my milk let down.
So when you said you’d like all women to refuse to pump near a toilet, what you meant was that a woman should do whatever she feels comfortable doing? Got it.
Exactly. What I would LIKE. NOT what I would like to see made mandatory. You understand me perfectly.
LIGHTEN UP ILSA! Wow…
I am simply hazzarding a guess here, but I am going to go for it and ASSume if you were to come upon a breast pumping situation in a PUBLIC restroom:
1. Look away….is the immediate area occupied by another holding a gun to your head to watch? Mind your business.
2. Lady, you in the restroom to take a quick tinkle, a hand wash & move along. Done. See Ya. Get back to the cart with great stuff outside the restroom…You are not required to stick around to watch another woman express a mammary. Really.
And, does this happen to you often? Your reply has you waaaayyy too invested, honey.
Keep up the hilarity, tho. Funny stuff, Ilsa……
I think I am going to copy and print this and keep it in my bag. I don’t breast feed anymore (I have four children between 14 and 6) but people drove me crazy when I would nurse my children in public. I did cover up even and still I was asked (BY FAMILY) to go to the bathroom if we were out, and I refused. I had one of my children in The Netherlands and one in Germnay and nursing there was GREAT. I didn’t cover, have to tuck away or anything.
Story: When I had the baby in Germany, my husband was deployed. So I left the hospital and had to go the city office myself to get the birth certificate (where they still put your religion on it, mine Jewish). The baby was 4 days old and it was still a tricky thing getting her latched on. I was trying to get her latched on under the blanket while the officer worker was looking for the birth records. She looked at me and said “I know how you Americans are, but please don’t do that to the baby, take off the blanket and get her taken care of properly.” So in an office full of suits I sat there with my boob in my hand completely uncovered getting her latched on. Not one person batted an eyelash and no one was desperately trying to “not notice” if you know what I mean. It was very liberating and felt completely natural.
Short version of this long response: Amen Sista’!
I LOVE this story. “I know you’re American…” Priceless. In some countries they are more accepting, but in others they’re just as bad as they are here or worse. At least in America the law supports us.
I love this story. New Zealand is very pro-nursing in public without covers. I felt comfortable nursing anytime, anywhere!
I could never get the hang of nursing to feel comfortable in public, it was always a cumbersome, messy process for me so I never did. But I so envied people who could do it so seamlessly in public, that’s my goal this time around!
I’m sorry you found it messy and cumbersome. It certainly was for me at first too. It’s easier when they’re a bit older and can help. I was unprepared for how sticky it is. I hope it’s effortless for you this time! I had a far easier time breastfeeding Pringles than Viva. From the first moment it was just easier because I’d done it before.
I EPed with H but I’m nursing M (thank god). I haven’t nursed in public yet. I’m nervous but I will do it and I won’t do it in the bathroom!
New reader here. Hi! Love this–not a nursing mom, but I don’t even bring my coffee mug into the bathroom with me here at the office, so I imagine Infant Me wouldn’t have cared to BF in the bathroom either! And that Adult Me will not want to do that if the time comes.
Sure, public breastfeeding is still an uncommon sight around here (buttoned-up DC), so I still do a little of the “where do I look” dance when a lady whips one out. But that’s MY issue, and quite frankly, I don’t want my not-used-to-it-ness to discourage women from feeling comfortable doing something natural! So rock on.
Also, I bow before the excellence of your array of Synonyms for Breast. And thumbs up for the Oxford Comma.
So breastfeeding women should do whatever they find comfortable unless their blogs are more popular than yours?
Someone wants to pick a fight!
Thank you for this post! I love it. When I read that post of Kelle’s, I actually thought about you and wondered if you would write something about it.
And… Did you have a thesaurus next to you while writing this? All the different words you used to replace breast cracked me up.
I pumped in a public restroom – I chose to attend a college football game when my now 7 month old was 3 months old. It was my first time away from baby (he is baby #2 and I needed some time away from him and his older brother) and I went to the game with DH. Bringing along said 3 month old was out of the question. I took along my pump and pumped twice. Put the milk in the cooler and stashed it in the freezer when we got home. No big deal. It was either that or get engorged or stay home. The only thing I was bummed about was that it meant I couldn’t enjoy some beer at the game. Boo. Big whoop, Kelle Hampton. These are the things she complains about? It was funny, though, when an older woman knocked on the door to the stall to ask if I was ok. I assume she thought I was a 20 yr old sorority chick puking from my binge drinking that day. I had to explain I was pumping breastmilk for my infant son. That was probably the last answer she was expecting.
“They’re just boobs.” Exactly. Unless you are a 13 – 18 yr old boy who is experience a surge of hormones, deal with it.
I recently read her post and wondered when you’d comment as I thought she was ridiculous with her words about pumping and breastfeeding. Esp when she’s the one posting pictures of herself nursing. She should be smacked. And ppl just stick their noses farther up her toosh for her writing and experience. I mean, really, how is sweet Nella gunna feel when she really realizes how her mom has felt and feels about D.S.
I like you Mrs. Odie and I like KH. And was VERY confused about her post since she nurses in public all the time. (Which I love. And in the same breath I lament that normal human behavior is the exception, not the rule here in the US!) That said, I would never pump in public OR in a rest room. This also brings to mind the expression, “If you can’t say it, you can’t do it!” Whatevs. All of us readers and bloggers are a hot mess, aren’t we? Pringles is gorgeous!
Great post–well written and had me laughing. Not too long ago we were at the dinner table with our three boys and Hubs used the word breastesses–which we were eating–and we told the boys all about the skit from In Living Color with the guy who said the word b-b-breast-ess-es over and over. We found it on You Tube and now it is a family joke.
I am not a mother yet, but I agree with your feelings on nursing. I am also a HS teacher and I have had to watch my breast feeding friends duck into the staff bathroom (a truly vile place) for most of their planning periods and lunch break just to continue to provide milk for their children. However, the real reason I abandoned my lurker status was to applaud your use of “Oxford Comma” and “santorum” in the same post. Bravo!
Love this post, dude. You crack me up…esp the unicorn comment! For the record, I went into the bathroom that afternoon at the aquarium to nurse specifically because they have a mother’s room in there and I like the novelty of the idea. Plus, I figured it would help Santiago keep moving rather than insist on staying where I was. Just didn’t want you to think I find any shame in nursing in public. I’m ’bout it ’bout it!
I saw that mommy room when I went to use the facilities. That was nice! From now on, whenever I got to AotP, I will nurse in there. I just wish it were further from the toilets. Its own separate room.
I travel extensively for work and nursed both of my sons, so I have pumped in MANY public restrooms out of necessity, I am sorry to say. As you know it is disgusting but what choice did I have? I wasn’t afraid to nurse in public, but setting up the pump in public? I’m wasn’t willing to do that. As my husband said, after watching the birth of our first son and then, a few days later, watching me pump for the first time, “Now THAT’S disgusting.”
I have pumped in practically every restroom in every airport in the US. When you are flying cross country and have a 4 month old at home, you have no choice but to express before you get on the plane. I give kudos to SF for having a mother’s room and to Denver for having very clean and spacious “family” restrooms (which also double as tornado shelters, an added bonus). But mostly, I was forced to pump in big, public restrooms. Because the outlets are usually by the sink, I would put my pump on the counter, hook it up, flop my shirt over it the bottles (I had the “hands free” bra), and stand there for 20-30 minutes reading Us or People and getting very strange looks. I have pumped in the bathroom on the Acela (Amtrak) while it was moving. I have pumped sitting on the floor of the handicapped stall in LAX because that was the only outlet I could find. And my personal favorite, although by far the least disgusting because it was my own car, I have pumped during a funeral procession that was caught in horrible traffic.
What’s the solution? I think more mothers’ rooms. I wouldn’t necessarily have used them if I had my baby with me (I’m not going to hike to the other end of a museum just to find the mother’s room), but I would have appreciated them (and sought them out) for pumping. Although based on the number of comments I got going through security with my breast pump, travelers who need to express milk are in the minority. Significantly.
I’ve actually seen more men masturbating in public than I’ve seen women pumping their breasts. True story.
As I was reading this comment I was dying to know how the TSA treated you. Did you read how they saw a lady’s vibrator in her checked bag and added a note to say “Get your freak on girl”.
Yay to the battery adaptor in a car for pumping. I was once so eager to get started during my lunch hour in the car in the basement of the parking garage that I pumped but forgot to add the bottle. Big mess.
TSA just didn’t know what to make of it. I got pulled out of line EVERY SINGLE TIME to get it swiped (they look for chemical residue I think). I would even announce as I was going through, “I am a nursing mother and this is a breast pump” to try to prevent the swipe test. All I got was blank stares. I was nursing in 2007 and that was right after they restricted liquids in carry-on bags. They had crazy rules like “you can have the breast milk in your carry-on if you have the baby with you.” Um, if I had the baby with me, I wouldn’t have all this damn milk. My strategy became to check my luggage on my return trip, with milk in Nalgene bottles in a soft-sided cooler with ice packs inside my luggage. However, this still caused problems on the outbound trip (when I carried everything on) because I would have the little cooler bag with ice pack so that I could pump once I was through security but before I boarded the plane. In one of the more ridiculous exchanges with TSA, I had an argument about whether ice was a liquid or a solid. The TSA guy finally deferred to his supervisor who was a woman. Although she declined to take sides on the liquid vs. solid issue, once I explained what it was all for, she let me through. Not sure what that says about airport security, but I was relieved.
Ahhh, but Mrs. Odie, surely you know that any overly dissenting commentary never made it to the comments? Of course you do.
I am a nursing mom of a two year old, and I wouldn’t pump in a bathroom, either. I can’t believe I am going to ask, but are there pictures of this breastcapade?
Perhaps we should appreciate KH’s adept ability to walk the fine line. The entended breast feeding mommies are happy, and the mommies that abhor thinking about other people’s boobies (you know, aside from their proper appearance in fashion magazines) are happy, too. There are many individuals that think breast feeding should be done in the potty room. Voila! Everyone is so very happy! She really is quite diplomatic.
As for your call to arms, this mama will agree not to nurse her baby or pump her breasts in a public bathroom. If you ask me, that’s just oogie.
I admit I enjoy many of Kelle’s posts but that one was just really odd and uncomfortable. Sounds like she’d rather not have discussed the topic at all but grudgingly included it so she could make a few jokes about it to keep the regulars entertained.
I hope she never visits the UK or Australia where we don’t beat around the bush by calling it “nursing” – we say “breastfeeding” (gasp!) That’s right, no euphemisms, just breast breast breast, to any old stranger even who might ask about our baby’s food intake. Wacky, no?
I am sad and ashamed that I was cowardly and deleted my post to her. I pointed out that kellymom.com, a site devoted to nursing moms, was one of the main reasons her blog went viral as it posted a link to nella’s birthstory. I wasn’t amused in the least but I have zero tolerance or sense of humor about it. I doubted myself.
She’s an idiot.
Kelle’s latest post on the Civitan Club’s Valentine’s Day dance was abhorrent. She found the prettiest, most stylishly dressed, most normal looking DS adult there to compare to what her daughter might be like as an adult. God forbid Nella turns out to be a frumpy, overweight or non-photogenic differently abled adult.
@Jane, I noticed the same thing. It is obvious that Hampton continues to be in denial about her daughter’s disability and avoids living in reality. I think she still can not believe that SHE had a daughter that was “less than” in her mind. Trust me, Nella will not grow up to look that mild sad to say. She already has very severe looking features and Hampton had better start accepting her for who she is.
I found your blog in a forum about Kelle Hampton. I was ironically just trying to find a font that she used in her 1000000 page homages to her kids (ok Im making a book, but no way in hell can i afford as many pages as she creates!) I still haven’t found the font, but I love your blog. Your honesty is refreshing amongst so many mama blogs where everything is sunshine and kittens, and those kittens have glitter and scratch and sniff stickers instead of litter in the litter box. Something about her blog strikes me as disingenuous, especially since she’s started to be sponsored by stores, (I emailed once to see what the prices were, and they start at $150 a week just for a text ad). I don’t hate her, or hate her kids or think that’s she’s a horrible person for constantly posting about only the positive things in life, but I think it’s a shadow of reality, and she’s claiming to be real life. I agree about the breastfeeding issue as well. It’s not a shameful thing, yet we make it out to be, it sucks and nothing changes. Our boobs are sex objects to society and we’re taught that they are taboo and shameful. Babies need to eat, its not my fault that my sons lunch is supposed to come from MY body. At least breast milk comes from our boobs, it could be somewhere much worse.