Barbara Walters slams breastfeeding in plain view


     Barbara Walters raised outrage across the continent recently when she told the audience of her show "The View" that sitting next to a breastfeeding mother on an airplane made her nervous. One would think that a woman who has interviewed the likes of Richard Nixon and Saddam Hussein would have a higher threshold of discomfort.


Normalizing breastfeeding

     Barbara Walterís comments and the ensuing backlash have created a media maelstrom around breastfeeding. It even prompted Seattle Times columnist Robert L. Jamieson Jr. to quip, "Itís hip to NIP" (Nurse in Public). And while some would argue that there is no such thing as bad publicity, it begs the question, "Why is there any publicity at all?"


     Breastfeeding isnít hip or trendy, anymore than itís disgusting or embarrassing. Itís the normal way to feed our babies. In response to Ottawa Sun columnist Anne Marie McQueenís question, "Isnít it a personal choice a woman might not want to shove down other peopleís throats?" Arly Helm, MS, IBCLC asks,


     "How do you suppose it ever became acceptable to publicly chastise women for feeding their babies? Where do you think this idea initially came from?


     "Advertising has always affected our choices. It affects our beliefs. It even affects the way medical professionals are taught and trained. It most definitely affects the likelihood of success or failure at an undertaking which goes against the flow of unbelievably huge commercial profits." 



Barbara Heiser of the US-based National

Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy (NABA)

collected hundreds of signatures at recent

LLLI and ILCA conferences, on back of posters

with a message to Barbara Walters,

"They werenít put there just to hold up a strapless dress."



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