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You know what really grosses me out? Flight attendants that hate moms. Sara Keagle, a flight attendant and blogger for The Huffington Post, wrote about "10 Gross Things Flight Attendants Have Seen on Airplanes." I was expecting the snot, the peeing in seats, the bowel movements smeared in places it doesn't belong, but I wasn't expecting breastfeeding moms to get the brunt of her jab making an appearance in not one, but two points on her list.
Keagle essentially attacks breastfeeding moms who pump and finds breast milk to be as gross as a bloody pair of underwear. Sadly, we all know the majority of us thinks a mother breastfeeding in public is an act that should be covered up, but apparently the only thing more deplorable than a mom nursing in public is a mom who doesn't have her baby with her. Some moms have to pump. Moms have to store breast milk. Gross acts, according to Keagle, who I would assume doesn't have children.
She seems to have no problem warming up formula with her manicured nails. Based on this article, she believes artificial and fake is more acceptable than natural. Sadly, she's not alone. There is far too much ridicule, which leads to discrimination, against mothers and children.
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I was a breastfeeding mom. I've nursed my twins on airplanes, in parks, whenever and wherever they were hungry. I also was a full-time working breastfeeding mom who carted my breast pump to work every day to express milk every three hours in a room my employer supplied for me. If I were a traveling breastfeeding mom, I would have had to pump in my travels. Skipping a pumping not only makes a mother very uncomfortable as her breasts fill with milk, it can also hurt supply if she starts messing with baby's feeding schedule or needs.
It's terribly sad that we live in a society who gets disgusted when a mom has to nurse her child. It's terribly hurtful when a female flight attendant publicly discloses that she finds a pumping mom gross. We don't want to be whipping out our breasts, attaching them to a machine, and pumping milk into bottles in order to feed our babies, but sometimes we have to. It's not gross. What does this say about society? They hate breastfeeding mothers when baby is at breast, but hate the breastfeeding working mom even more. Keagle writes:
A lady decided that it was appropriate to use a breast pump during boarding. She fully exposed both breasts and with just a bottle (not with a baby) did the vacuum effect on her fully exposed boob. Let me remind you this was both breasts out in the air, on a full flight, during boarding, taxi, take-off, and part of cruise.
"Not with a baby" -- not sure why this is so offensive to her. Perhaps she isn't aware that mothers aren't always attached to their children? That we actually have lives, leave the house without our sucklings, and aren't just barefoot at home fully exposing our breasts within the confines of our own four walls so no one can see. (Gasp! A breast! Two breasts!) Just like when it's time for baby to eat, baby must eat -- when it's time to pump, a mom must pump. Breastfeeding moms know how challenging it can be to nurse a baby with a cover. Imagine how difficult it would be to hand express breast milk while under a blanket. Why couldn't Keagle just look away if she found it gross?
Keagle continues with her attack on breast milk drippage:
A few passengers notified me of something leaking from the overhead bins down onto their heads. The look on the men's faces was priceless when a woman stood up and said, "OMG....My breast milk! It's not frozen anymore and it's leaking what should I do?!"
Sure, no one wants breast milk leaking on them, but no mom wants her hard-earned pumped breast milk leaking on strangers. The way Keagle writes this, she embarrasses the mother, making her seem like a dolt. For the record, breast milk is probably the most natural, vitamin-filled liquid that has ever leaked on anyone. Keagle should want to bathe in it. It would do wonders for her skin, which I'm sure is dry from all the time in the air.
When you become a mother, it's a beautiful time in your life. You have this precious newborn filling your heart with a kind of love you didn't know you had. Breastfeeding becomes this amazing experience even if you struggle with it. You are giving your child the best possible nutrients. It's a bond that you cannot describe. When you become a mother, you also become the subject of jokes, disdain, discrimination. This sets us back, as women, as people. It hurts breastfeeding rates, which in turn hurts babies.
When you become a mom, it becomes your "job" to deal with poop, fingernail clipping, peeing on seats, seeing people eat things off their feet. Similar to the what flight attendants have to deal with. Or the TSA who have grossly displayed their anti-breastfeeding mother behavior as well. But Keagle wears gloves and is emotionally unattached. I get that it's different, but perhaps instead of thinking a mother doing what mothers must do is gross, she could empathize, you know, something kind human beings do. Her job is one of service, and a breastfeeding mother doesn't deserve to be on her gross list or attacked like that. Maybe Keagle is just in the wrong profession.
Are you also offended by what Keagle had to say about breastfeeding mothers?
Image via Daquella manera/Flickr