The right of every woman

Northern Star editorial

IT'S Christmas, but that doesn't stop people from being stupid. Yesterday, The Sunday Telegraph seemed to mistake a horse for a woman by awarding sportswoman of the year to Black Caviar, so I guess it is understandable that a few people in Lismore could be forgiven for mistaking a breast-feeding mother for a stripper, (no offence to strippers intended).

Yesterday, after completing some last minute Christmas panic-shopping, I was on my way down the escalator at Lismore Square when a woman with a newborn stepped onto the upward bound escalator. The baby was crying, so its mother lifted her top, revealing a nipple for no more than three seconds, while the bub latched on and was immediately pacified.

Three people in front of me seemed to take strong offence to the sight of the woman's breast. "Did you see that," one said. "That's disgusting," another chimed, while a woman in her 60s said, "That poor baby," inferring the baby would somehow be subject to life-long disadvantage because it was being raised by a woman who possessed the gall to breastfeed in public.

Self control is not one of my strong points, so it took considerable effort for me not to simply mow down these people with my Christmas present-laden shopping trolley. Luckily for them, I condone violence as little as I condone stupidity.

I am gob smacked to discover that on the cusp of 2013 there still seems to be a question about a woman's right to breastfeed in public and a woman doing so can elicit such a reaction.

So I will put this simply. Babies need to be fed; their source of food comes from the breast. Those breasts are attached to a mother. In order to feed, the baby must be able to access the breast when it is hungry. The consequence of this symbiotic relationship results in breastfeeding.

If breastfeeding offends you, stay home this Christmas where you will be safe from the effects of this naturally occurring perversity.

I wish all the breast-feeding mothers of the Northern Rivers, and their supporters, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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