Are babies and toddlers allowed to eat at 4th of July parties? Should we allow our BBQ and beer to be sullied by the nutritional needs of a very small human? Can the celebration of the independence of our country really withstand a blatant disregard for breast modesty? I know it's radical, but I say yes, my fellow Americans. If you think babies should be allowed to eat at community celebrations then you, too, may be interested in the ways to respond to someone who shames you for breastfeeding at a 4th of July party.
Seriously, dear reader. While it might be hard to believe for some, even around friends and family breastfeeding shaming still happens. Yes, I sure as hell hoped we'd be past breast or formula-feeding shaming in the current era but, alas, it actually seems to have gotten worse. Anything and everything that you could possibly shame someone for seems up for grabs these days, and women feeding their children are not exempt from the scrutiny. Apparently.
My motto is as follows (and please feel free to take and use for yourself and at your discretion): it's better to be armed with a good comeback ahead of time and in case someone shames you, than to be left sputtering for words and internalizing some judgmental person's hatred. Here's my list of comebacks, and please feel free to add your own. Then message me. Seriously.
"Red, White, & Bite Me"
Too edgy? Too offensive? Well, I guess you should keep your comments to yourself, buddy.
"It's A Free Country, Or Did You Miss The Purpose Of This Day?"
Like a firecracker, this one burns!
(Spoiler alert: firecracker safety is no joking matter. Be safe out there, kids.)
"Lucky For My Hungry Baby, State Laws Don't Care About Your Opinion"
Most all of the 50 states have laws protecting breastfeeding mothers' right to breastfeed anywhere they are legally allowed to be.
"I Brought A Cover. You're Welcome To Put It Over Your Head."
"Does the sight of my exposed breast make you uncomfortable? No problem! I brought a cover just for that reason. You're welcome to put it over your head and I can let you know when my baby's finished nursing."
Just Stare Blankly
Let me paint the scene.
Shamer enters. Says shaming things because that's what shamers do.
Me: ...stares blankly...
Shamer: "Didn't you hear me?" Shaming thing repeated by relentless shamer because that's what shamers do.
Me: ...continues staring blankly...
Shamer: Shamer grows increasingly uncomfortable and eventually walks away.
The Shamer, dear reader, has become the Shamee.
"This Is Nothing! You Should See Me When I'm On The Stripper Pole!"
Because that is a spectacular sight to behold!
Start Singing At The Top Of Your Lungs
"Oh! Say can you see?"
Pull Out A Boob & Start Shooting Breast Milk
See? Now you actually have something to be offended over.
Yell "Grow Up!"
See how fast that shamer turns tail and runs.
Call Your Friend Over
Shamer enters. Says shaming things.
Me: "Wow. Can you please hold on a second? Jane! Hey Jane! Come over here, please."
Jane comes over.
Me: "This guy has suggested I be more 'discreet' in breastfeeding my baby."
Jane: "Oh! Wow! Hold on. Hey, Jeff! Jeff! Come over here for a minute."
Jeff comes over.
Jane: "Jeff, this guy said she should stop nursing the baby."
Jeff guffaws. "Are you serious, dude? Hey, Laura, come over here! You're never going to believe this!"
And so on and so forth, because embarrassment is the great equalizer.
"I'm Just Trying To Help"
"Well if I don't keep my supply up who is going to put your arm out when you start yourself on fire with your sparkler later?"
Take A Page From My 7-Year-Old's Book
My 7 year old says, "I can't do that right now my baby is eating and I can't cover up my booby."
I mean, that's a pretty solid retort.
When All Else Fails, Use Humor
You kill more judgmental people willing to shame you for no reason with humor than, honestly, anything else. Well, at least when it comes to breastfeeding in public.