Soccer….Family Style

Breastfeeding with Beasley
August 5, 2010, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Many of you who know me through soccer don’t know that I own a baby/children’s store, Simply for Giggles, which has it’s own blog. It’s pretty rare that I get to write about a topic that’s appropriate for both of my blogs, but every once in a while, my worlds collide. And so it was one lazy Sunday on July 25th when I got a text from one of my soccer travel buddies that said “Get in Twitter right now and school Beasley on nursing in public.” It’s rare that my loves of natural parenting and soccer collide with such force, but USMNT player Damarcus Beasley has become the next soccer player featured in my blogs.

Let me preface by saying Beasley was at one point my husband’s favorite player. He has a Beasley jersey that has the letters almost worn off it. I’m more of a Clint Dempsey girl, myself, but Beasley gets (more than?) his fair share of hero worship at our house. So of course I couldn’t resist running to Twitter to see what was going on. At 2:33 he posted “WOW!! I’m at Benihana restaurant RIGHT now and the lady in front of me is Breast feeding her child at the table????? Is that normal ladies??”

Now that’s a reasonable question, to which I could have responded “Well, you’re eating there…seems normal to me” or some other lighthearted response. But he went on “I’m tryin to eat! I’m seriously lookin at this ladies boob while she feeding her son.. No blanket nothing.. Jus out in open! C’mon now!” And that’s where I have to get off the US Soccer bus and go off.

I’ve been a nursing mom for a total of 4-1/2 years, and I’ve only been called out once in the hundreds of public places I’ve breastfed my kids (including several soccer stadiums! Bonus points if you were at Gold Cup in 2003 and were part of the “Soccer Baby” chant…that was my daughter).  Now keep in mind, I own a children’s store, so it’s really not in my best interest to cause a scene, and I often use the Bebe Au Lait Hooter Hiders or Moby Wraps we sell to stealth feed, but I also know that the time I got called out in the middle of Granite City, you could literally see none of my body. But someone apparently became uncomfortable with the idea that he might see me, and asked the manager to speak to me. I remember it was mortifying until I had my husband take a photo of me so I could see that there was nothing offensive going on.

Now, I realize that there is a huge range of what possibly happened at the restaurant where Beasley was eating. Maybe this woman was intentionally stretching her exhibitionist wings and really was creating a scene, but I kind of doubt it. There are far easier ways to show yourself off than breastfeeding. And with the rates of American women who breastfeed far below desired numbers, it would be nice if sports stars and role models could do something to make Americans as comfortable around breastfeeding as they are watching the game at Hooters.

I know, it’s a stretch. But certainly we can aspire to the day when Beasley and other sports stars just leave a breastfeeding mama alone, even if they can’t tweet “Saw a mama breastfeeding at _________. So cool that she’s doing that for her baby.” We could gt US Soccer to do a promo that all women nursing at US Soccer  games (hey, I know I have and I know I’m not the only one!) get an autographed jersey. For now, I’ll be satisfied with the fact that DMB tweeted something directly to me. It may have said “Calm down” but all I saw was @tanyakeith, a big moment for me as a US Soccer supporter, regardless of content.

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