Let’s just clear this up real quick…

Let’s just clear this up real quick… February 1, 2013

Breasts are sexual. Before you had a baby, your breasts served a sexual function. After you wean your baby, they will revert back to enticing and comforting your husband full-time (whether you personally find them alluring anymore is totally irrelevant). To say that the true function of breasts is only for feeding infants is condemning women who cannot or have not breastfed by implying they aren’t fulfilling their “true purpose.” It’s like saying barren women are functionally men. Where in the Bible does it say our woman-ness is based on our abilities? The statement that breasts primary purpose is for feeding a baby is a feminist lie. At the heart of feminism is a raging hatred of women. Feminists disdain femininity. They don’t want to recognize the differences between men and women because they wish they could be men.  They see femininity as a weakness. A fault. They are all turned around, fighting their war from the wrong side. They hate the way God made women and it manifests in extremely ugly ways (abortion and pornography not being the least of them). Christian women have no business flirting with what feminism stands for.  A Christian husband should be alarmed,  ashamed  of himself and embarrassed for his wife when she no longer sees her sexual femininity as a gift from God.  Usually, that means that somewhere along the lines, he has failed to adequately communicate just how much he appreciates and cherishes her whole being (mind, body and soul).  She isn’t basing her self worth in God anymore. She is insecure about being a woman. She is (usually unintentionally) drawing attention to her personal discomfort with her own body. A good man wants his wife to be modest, he wants her to be discreet with her sexuality, not because he is a macho, chest thumping woman-hater, but because above all people, he recognizes that her body is fearfully and wonderfully made. We protect what which is most highly valued.

I was a breastfeeding mom several times over. I am well aware that babies get hungry and you can’t always plan ahead and feed them discreetly in a private place (although with some effort and a lot of practice, you  can most of the time, especially after the newborn phase is complete). We must not allow ourselves to be women of double standards. Most Christian women can agree that lots of women dress immodesty, revealing more with unreasonable necklines then is befitting someone made in God’s own image. Just because there happens to be a baby attached to it does not make it any different. Immodesty is immodesty. That man shopping for shoes is not a medical doctor or your husband. He has no business having his attention drawn to your breasts. Immodesty is not only accomplished by showing too much skin, but also by drawing attention to parts of your body that aren’t supposed to be public. That means those nipple baby hats, sitting in the middle of a busy mall (even covered), or having a baby continually pull on or mess with your covering (shirt or otherwise) is also immodest. One of my babies was a slurper, I know just how difficult it can be to breastfeed in a discreet and modest fashion. Good thing we have God’s strength and wisdom to draw on or this could get really overwhelming really fast. Love your neighbor. Protect yourself. Feed your kid. It can all be done at once! They make all kinds of handy, pretty covers now, which helps,  but to have a baby that doesn’t mess with it takes a lot of practice and even then,  sometimes it will still be too ostentatious given where you are at. If you have a question, please, throw it at me! I’d be happy to help!

Breastfeeding Fear

We aren’t God. He makes the rules and made our breasts sexual.

The only fear or lack thereof surrounding breastfeeding should be regarding any teeth in your baby’s mouth!


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  • anna vdb

    Thanks for this! Especially the last illustration. Hah!

  • As one of the men “called out” here, I think I have a place in this discussion. Lots of good stuff here, and I agree with 98% of it. However, as a husband who has allowed his wife to nurse covered in a mall, I think your standards of modesty are a bit too high. A standard of modesty is a cultural and personal issue, there is no strict definition in the Bible. I’d say that there are grey areas which are set culturally, and your personal opinions/conscience determine where in that grey area your standard is. What you consider immodest, others (such as my wife and myself), in good conscience, do not. Yet you state these as universal God-given rules rather than your opinions.

    The danger of stating your opinions as fact here is that you may unwittingly burden others with guilt. A woman who had been nursing in what she considered to be a modest way may suddenly feel conflicted and guilty. Satan is the accuser, don’t help him along!

    Again, everything else you have to say is fine, just be careful calling sin what the Bible does not. The Bible does say immodesty is a sin, but it does not say nursing covered in the mall is immodesty.

    • Michael, thank you for your thoughts. I am assuming this section is the spot that is concerning you,

      “Immodesty is not only accomplished by showing too much skin, but also by drawing attention to parts of your body that aren’t supposed to be public. That means those nipple baby hats, sitting in the middle of a busy mall (even covered), or having a baby continually pull on or mess with your covering (shirt or otherwise) is also immodest. ”

      if my assumption is incorrect, please let me know. The only sin I am referring to here is immodesty, which I agree, can be a grey area. The dictionary defines it as

      1.not modest in conduct, utterance, etc.; indecent; shameless.

      2.not modest in assertion or pretension; forward; impudent.

      and while I don’t equate the dictionary with gospel truth, it does give us a nice commonplace definition. Like most aspects of our life, context is everything. Part of our responsibility as Christians is to navigate the grey areas so we aren’t misrepresenting our God. Breastfeeding in the middle of a busy mall reminds me of good Christian boys who just turned 21. They have been taught that there is no sin in enjoying a little booze, so they fully indulge in their Christian liberty by frequently towing the line of drunken-ness. They technically aren’t breaking any of God’s commandments but they are missing the spirit of the commandment. Times do change, and the Bible does not give examples for every application (unless you are still grabbing thighs to seal a contract as they did in Genesis 24, you have also adapted to times).Technically, I agree, breastfeeding in a busy mall is not a sin of itself. But in my opinion (and as I have mentioned on this blog before, I don’t have any problem with people disagreeing with me), it toes the line. A woman breastfeeding in a busy mall may or may not be stumbling other people in addition to drawing unnecessary attention to herself. Even I notice women when they are breastfeeding openly, I can only imagine how awkward it must be people who do not have an outlet for their sexuality. “You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” that is Leviticus 19:14. The question that comes to my mind is, why is this mom breastfeeding in the middle of a busy mall when procuring a private dressing room to nurse in is so easily accomplished? Has she simply not thought of using dressing rooms for that or is she making a point of nursing in public as some sort of personal crusade?

      If I may, I would like to offer a suggestion in regard to insecurity or frustration that bubbles up when someone says something that rubs you the wrong way. You are welcome to take it or leave it, obviously, but it has helped me tremendously over the years. I was not calling out anyone specifically with this post, however your serious accusation that I am helping Satan, “Satan is the accuser, don’t help him along!” makes it clear that I have hit a nerve in your home. When I feel myself getting defensive, I like to take the opportunity to re-examine my thoughts and motives. Weigh the pros and cons. I like to chew on the offending points. Sometimes I change my position on it and other times it simply reaffirms my original thoughts on it. Either way it is a win-win because now I have strengthened my position because I understand it more thoroughly or I can address the holes in my logic that I was previously unaware of. Perhaps that might be helpful in dispelling any doubt or guilt.

      Blessings to you and yours.

      -Abra

      • No nerves struck here :). I was merely pointing out that the danger is there for a family weaker in their convictions. But nothing you have said changes the fact that these are just your opinions on what constitutes modesty. You seem to think that the act of breastfeeding in and of itself is immodest if people notice that you are? Shame in breastfeeding seems just as feminist. If they hate women, then of course doing one of the main things that separate women from men would be shameful.

        I apologize for the Satan bit. I thought that might be too inflammatory of a sentence to write, but I do think it’s a valid concern. As Christians, it is our job to sharpen one another, but not to look for sin where there is none. I don’t think it’s even close to toeing the line to nurse covered. You do. It’s well within the grey area, and therefore it’s up to our own consciences to decide where the line is for us. It looks like I would tend to go more towards Christian freedom, and you would tend more towards not stumbling others. Both are fine. Both come with a different set of temptations. I just want to caution you that one of the ones on your side is interpreting your ‘higher’ standards as THE standard for all.

  • (oh, the phone’s ringing. who could it be, who could it be? Could it be…)

    Michael,

    Not sure there’s really anything worth arguing about here, but a few things for you to consider, in any event:

    This post was addressing a general attitude of belligerence adopted by many women who view breastfeeding where ever and whenever and however they please as some sort of “inalienable right,” and who further attempt to quell all naysayers by claiming that a call for a little tact and consideration of others is somehow indicative of being “ashamed of breastfeeding” or “ashamed of breasts” or “sexualizing breasts” (the first two being grossly fallacious, and the third by turns both sad and silly as a criticism).

    This attitude (and the effective absence of the male half of the equation which often accompanies it) is one which Abra frequently encounters in the online forums she is employed to moderate, and it was in large part to this she was speaking in the post.

    This is obviously an opinion post, not ex cathedra exegesis. There is no “Thus sayeth the Lord regarding shopping mall etiquette” to be had here. When one speaks it is generally safe to assume that one is speaking one’s opinion, and not somebody else’s. That includes supportive interpretation of authoritative texts. Of course this is our opinion: Wouldn’t have said it if it weren’t.

    Usually when someone demands that you qualify everything you say on a topic as being “just your opinion,” it’s really a way of insisting that all the force be taken out of the point being made so that it may be ignored rather than engaged with. Even more so when the person who has expressed said opinion is not particularly close to you or in any way authoritative over you. Why should you especially care, unless you were in some way convicted (or “called out,” if you prefer) by the content of that opinion?

    “Throw a stone into a pack of dogs, the one who yelps is the one who got hit.” Not an infallible test, perhaps, but also not a bad rule of thumb, especially in this circumstance. Given that you felt it necessary to comment at all on this post written by someone with whom you are not real closely acquainted, and that the gist of your contribution appears to be “that’s just your opinion” mixed with accusations, by your own admission inflammatory, of burdening the consciences of weaker brethren and being Satan’s little helper, and given the fact that you demonstrate great concern that breastfeeding in a tactful fashion be duly designated a “grey area,” and further insist that any behavior in this “grey area” is to be determined by “personal opinion/conscience” (not, and this is important, analogous or even really related concepts), but for all this do not offer anything like substantive interaction with the claims made in the post suggests that you (or your wife, perhaps) are indeed experiencing the uncomfortable jangling sensation of a struck nerve. Of course that’s not necessarily the case, but ‘all indications are’, as they say.

    Since you’ve bothered to toss your hat in the ring here (and since you’ve now expended the energy to wade through my wordy 2, or let us say 3, bits), may I recommend you attempt to get something worthwhile out of this: As Abra suggested, sitting down with your wife and figuring out if you and/or she were a little offended by something in the post, and if so, why, wouldn’t be the worst way to spend a few minutes of your weekend. Perhaps you change an aspect of the way you two think about this issue, perhaps you just clarify and solidify the opinions you currently hold (one of which possibly being that those Carnahans are nutters), but either way at least you will have actually thought about the issue, which is the intent of posting about it anyway. For whatever that’s worth.

    Don’t feel any obligation to respond or defend the particular manner in which you apply your obligation to honor your wife and love your neighbor: You don’t owe us an explanation, and we aren’t really interested in one. Take whatever you might find useful from the post as grist for the mill and chuck the rest (and hey, if a particular analogy or turn of phrase rubs you the wrong way, feel free to roll your eyes: wouldn’t offend us in the least).

    And don’t worry, if we happen to see you breastfeeding in the mall, we won’t cross to the other side of the concourse with a sharp intake of breath (well, ok, maybe if you’re breastfeeding the baby, but only because that would be a slightly unsettling physiological anomaly).

    And speaking of physiology (and the exam I’m putting off studying for), that’s way more than enough from me.

    Pax.

    -Ben