Oh, how the mammary fixation plays out in this country. Gabrielle Redfern, a candidate for city commission in Miami Beach, was criticized “for breast-feeding her 1-year-old daughter, Elsie, during Mayor David Dermer’s recent State of the City address.” Mind you, Miami Beach allows topless sunbathing on its beaches.

Yesterday, 16 women held a “nurse-in” in support of Redfern, breast-feeding their babies at a Miami Beach Commission meeting. More below:

“How is she supposed to raise her child and have a career if she isn’t allowed to breast-feed her child when she attends meetings?” said Ellen Sandoval, who came to show her support. “I quit working because I didn’t know or have the courage to do what she is doing.”

State law says a woman can breast-feed her child anywhere she is otherwise legally allowed to be. But even in a city where topless sunbathing is common, others say there should be limits. Yahoo News

Is part of the problem that what Gabrielle Redfern did was too earthy, too human for the cerebral, power-suit-attired, helmet-hair sphere of government?

Can any of you imagine Kay Bailey Hutchison or Maria Cantwell breastfeeding their infants on the Senate floor? Or sauntering down the aisle in pigtails and jeans?
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So are basic biological, nurturing, relaxed acts and informal behaviors verboten in political settings?

I am passionate about the importance of breast-feeding. Besides the nutritional and health values of breast milk, breastfeeding builds an intimate bond between mother and child.

I also noticed that breastfeeding forced me to s-l-o-w down, and just “be” with my baby. Maybe the slowness and gentleness of breastfeeding is too informal in a room devoted to Robert’s Rules of Order and carefully chosen political speech.

A couple more things:

I’d never have made it without La Leche League, whose members also taught me so much about the gentler art of mothering. If you’re becoming a parent soon, check out this wonderful group.

One more thing about breastfeeding: It taught me what breasts are really for.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe name “La Leche League” was chosen, I understand, to use in a culture at a time when it was unacceptable to use the word “breast.” In the ’50s breastfeeding was far from the societal norm and there was a general prudishness that, thankfully, has diminished considerably over the years. In the ’90s, many more women are giving their babies the best start by breastfeeding, thanks in great part to the work of La Leche League. The organization was at the leading edge of this change.

      – La Leche League: What’s in a Name?

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