I was having a conversation with a few coworkers last week (we all have kids around the same age – a year old, give or take) about life with a toddler & all of our proud parent moments. It was also nice to talk to another bed-sharing family! Then the conversation went on to talking about if were were going to work on transitioning to a crib or toddler bed anytime soon. Our family is still pretty set on being undecided & just waiting to see which arrangement gets us all the most sleep HAHA! It was then that my coworker said something that really struck me as odd. It wasn’t WHAT he said but rather HOW he said it. He looked around the room, leaned forward & said “Well, with my wife still breastfeeding it’s easier on her for our son to be in the bed with us.” OK – while that is not a strange sentence in itself – he whispered the word “breastfeeding” & he even looked around before he said it to make sure nobody was around that might hear him.
He didn’t care one bit about speaking in a normal tone about bed-sharing so that clearly wasn’t the reason for the lean in & whisper. I’m also sure it wasn’t because he was concerned that anyone would be offended by the fact that his wife is nursing a 15 month old (tho that can carry a bit of a stigma in our culture) because he didn’t even say anything about his son’s age. He specifically whispered the word “breastfeeding”.
If this was the first time I’d ever heard someone say “breastfeeding” in a hushed tone I might not have given it a second thought but the more I thought about it the more I realized I have heard that word whispered more times than I can count! Why are so many people whispering??
Is it a secret that your wife is giving your baby the best possible nutrition that could ever be provided?
Is it shameful that a woman is using her breasts for their intended purpose?
Are you worried that someone might even overhear you talking about the fact that your wife HAS breasts??
If his 15 month old son was bed-sharing but still waking up in the night for other reasons I seriously doubt the conversation would have gone this way:
(looks around the room… leans in… hushed tone) “well, with our son still waking up for a bottle at night it’s just easier to have him in the bed with us”
or even another option:
(looks around the room… leans in… hushed tone) “well, with our son still waking up for a pacifier at night it’s just easier to have him in the bed with us”
I don’t even feel this is a situation where it had anything to do with the gender of the speaker because I have even heard other women say “breastfeeding” in a hushed tone! THIS IS CRAZY! How did this come to be?!
I’m going to go ahead and say this is totally unacceptable!
We should NOT be whispering about FEEDING our children! We don’t even whisper about our children’s BOWEL MOVEMENTS! “oh my goodness! He had a total BLOWOUT this morning!”. Why would we find it OK to talk so freely about POOP but not EATING?!
Ugh! This needs to change!