Just when I felt like I'd blogged enough about breastfeeding for a while, three different breastfeeding news stories come along. The weirdest of them, and the most problematic, is Breastfeeding driver stuns police. There are a number of versions of this story out there in the news, but the BBC's seems to have more of the relevant details:
Catherine Donkers, 29, was nursing her baby daughter on an Ohio highway while driving at 65mph.
She said she did not stop because she was talking on the phone to her husband and taking notes on the steering wheel.
Donkers is said to belong to a sect which requires her to follow her husband's orders. She was convicted of breaking child restraint laws. . . .
Donkers reportedly said she fed the baby on her husband's orders to save time.
Donkers and her husband are believed to be members of an organisation called the First Christian Fellowship for Eternal Sovereignty which instructs that the husband is the head of the family and a wife can submit to punishment only from him.
First of all, I should say that I have breastfed in many circumstances -- while signing a copy of The Hard SF Renaissance, while tying Peter's shoes, while introducing a paper at an academic conference. But never while driving. I could probably drive while doing it. But I have the sense not to.
Now, about Catherine Donkers: This woman doesn't so much need to be arrested or convicted of anything as she needs a deprogrammer and a divorce. She was doing what her husband -- for whom the proper feeding and care of an infant was too inconvenient -- told her to. She needs to get out of this crazy sect and divorce the guy. He's a creep for endangering his wife and child this way.
Meanwhile, lobbiests once again triumph over the very young: Breastfeeding Ads Delayed by a Dispute Over Content:
Federal officials have softened a national advertising campaign to promote breastfeeding after complaints from two companies that make infant formula, according to several doctors and nurses who are helping the government with the effort.
Take a moment now to donate money to your favorite presidential candidate running against Bush. Perhaps it's time to up my monthly contribution to Howard Dean.
And in Australia, there is a fuss over a television personality, Kate Langbroek, breastfeeding on the air: Australian breastfeeds live on TV. While she didn't expose her breast, the very act of using her breast for what it's for instead of, say, to sell cars is apparently shocking to some. (This happened in September, but I only encoutered the news story yesterday.) Anyone who has seen me regularly at conventions with either of my children as infants knows that I breastfeed without hesitation in many public situations including on panels. What I find shocking about the new story is that Langbroek is allegedly the first celebrity to breastfeed on TV. Since I rarely watch TV, it had not particularly occurred to me that no celebrities had breastfed on TV. (Surely, someone like Madonna had done this if noone else had? And what about that woman who as naked and pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair?)
Here's what I propose: Breastfeeding celebrities, volunteer your services for public service announcements to encourage breastfeeding. While I'm not nearly famous enough to qualify as a celebrity, I volunteer.