Contain the Nipple


It’s time to talk about boobs! Yours, mine and everyone’s. Having copious mommy friends causes many a boob and breastfeeding comment to cross my path/Facebook news feed, and after quite a few conversations with my husband about this topic, I’d like to express his views and my own on the subject.

Speaking candidly, I have always had curiosity when it comes to nakedness. For whatever unknown reason, I wanna see what other people look like. Is this normal? I have no idea. You tell me. For a girl, I’m assuming that I am more inquisitive about people’s nakedness than the average homosapiens. I bring this curiosity up to my husband and he says, “Oh, so you’re curious, you say? You literally have no idea. You have no idea what curiosity and excitement over boobs is, until you get inside the head of a guy.” Since there is no way for me to get inside the head of a guy, I’m just going to have to trust him.

So here’s the situation. It seems a lot of women lately are trying to make a statement on behalf of feminism and equality that a woman’s nipples and a man’s nipples are equal, and therefore should not need to be covered. There are also a lot of breastfeeding proponents who feel that covering oneself whilst breastfeeding is not necessary because, in their minds, the beautiful and natural bonding moment taking place between mother and baby trumps the potential offense or curiosity spurred by their choice to breastfeed.

I say the following admittedly as a non-mother, but also as a future mother with full intentions of someday breastfeeding and loving it: Whipping out your gorgeous boob in public to provide your child with her dinner is going to cause the finely-tuned boob antennae of most men and likely many women in the vicinity to telescope out, causing their eyes to be drawn like horseshoe magnets to your voluptuous, nurturing, dairy-filled fun bags. If you’ve ever been breastfeeding in public and have seen someone staring at you, it’s far less likely they are offended by you, and far more likely they’d really like to catch a glimpse.

“How disgusting!” you say. “Can’t they leave me alone to bond with my baby in peace?”

Well, no, actually. Because whether you are a fan of Darwin or God, in both narratives, survival of the fittest and/or God’s command to be fruitful and multiply have placed a carnal desire to reproduce inside the mind of most men. When they see those two circles side by side with other, tinier circles inside of them ( .)(. ), their bodies have an involuntary response which says, “I WANT TO PERPETUATE THE HUMAN RACE WITH YOU, YOU GODDESS OF FERTILITY, YOU.”

There is a recent trend of women placing the sole responsibility of sexual suppression on men, saying things such as, “I’m going to dress how I please, act how I please, and whip out my breasts in various contexts as I please, but I expect you to consistently avert your eyes and behave yourself and your thoughts, regardless of what evolution has injected into your DNA for the last several million years.” How unfair is this?!

Now is a good time to address that moms are likely picking up pitchforks aimed at me right now, uttering phrases such as, “If Kim Kardashian can show nine inches of cleavage in every dress, and girls can wear itty bitty bikinis to the beach, WHY CAN’T I JUST FEED MY FREAKIN’ BABY WITHOUT SOMEONE BUGGING ME?!?!” Before you hurl your garden tools in my direction, let me say that on behalf of my husband who is beautifully honest about all this, I wish Kim Kardashian and bikini-clad girls would put their boobs away, too. It doesn’t matter in what context they’re on display – the carnal response is the same. I get that our very sexualized culture causes my entire point to sound antiquated and archaic, but that doesn’t make it false. Also, as someone who has been seen in a bikini in recent months, I’ll admit that I’m not exempt to the constant messages of our culture telling women to flaunt themselves and care not whether anyone is looking or lusting. So if I’m a hypocrite – then I am. Perhaps I should rethink my bathing suit selections as a result of writing this. The point is, I’m not just picking on breastfeeding moms.

Here’s the thing though – one difference between girls in bikinis and women breastfeeding without covering themselves (besides nipple) is that context matters. At the beach, where everyone’s clothes are microscopic – a bikini doesn’t feel out of place. Those neon strings and triangles are going to attract more eyes on the streets of New York in February than they will at Huntington Beach in July, you know what I mean? That being said, let me share with you a couple of recent breastfeeding experiences I have witnessed which helped spawn this very blog post:

  1. Friday Night – Downtown Disney – Inside Starbucks. A mother is wearing her breastfeeding infant as she approaches the front of the line. When she gets to the register to order, Junior decides he’s all done, and tucks his cute little Asian head down inside the Baby Bjorn, leaving mom ordering her salted caramel frappucino with throbbing nipple fully exposed to barista and everyone in the vicinity. She feels a cool breeze, glances down and tucks it into her shirt without so much as the widening of her eyeballs.
  2. Sunday Morning – Norm’s Hangar – Breakfast Café in Pomona. A family sits at the table and three-ish year old toddler starts to get a little whiney and fussy at the table. Mom, wanting to make him feel better, says, “What? Why are you sad, honey? You want the boobs? You want the boobs, don’t you.” She then takes out her VERY large breast in the middle of the busy diner, and it hangs there in mid air while hungry Henry gets out of his seat, walks over, and pushes his head up against her to have a treat while her husband saws on the biscuits and gravy on his plate. Fun fact: This event occurred THIS MORNING. Like, today, November 1st, 2015.
  3. Personal favorite: Tuesday afternoon – Goodwill – Yorba Linda. A haggard looking mother tries to contain her three young children who are running amok in Goodwill. She exhaustedly collapses into a chair that is for sale near the register, and Tommy runs up and hollers, “MAMA! I’m HUNGRY!!!” She rolls her eyes and says, “Okay, but make it quick, because mommy needs to check out soon.” She then – I cannot make this up – lifts up the BOTTOM of her t-shirt, revealing a tired, maroon nipple at equal latitude with her belly button, at which point Tommy flops his head into her lap and latches on to that overworked, fatigued nipple and he gets his snack while mom looks on, on her cellphone.

I share these stories because, well, let’s be honest, it’s partially to entertain you, but also, I wish to hopefully demonstrate that in Starbucks, diners and Goodwills, a bare breast raises more eyebrows than, say, the beach, due to the fully-clothed context of everyone else in the area.

I can only imagine how commonplace breastfeeding must be for a mother, and how LITTLE she must care about her vitamin-filled milk machines after a while. With multiple feedings a day from day one, the number of times her bosom has been retrieved to give sustenance to another tiny human quickly reaches into the thousands. There is probably nothing less sexy than feeling like a dairy cow – wanted for your milk every two hours.

Allow me to remind you, mothers, the world does not see you the way you see yourself. You still spark the curiosity of men and women alike around you. (Okay, I’ll admit, my response to breastfeeding mother number 3 was less sexy curiosity, and more can’t-look-away incredulity, but still.) However, that doesn’t mean we SHOULD get to see it. We, the general public, are so not worthy. Boobs are best with less spotlight brazenness and more mysterious subtle suggestion. Don’t cheat yourself into thinking that just because a child is being given life and strength from yours, that they’ve lost even an ounce of their intrigue.


Take this picture Alyssa Milano posted yesterday for Halloween. Alyssa is sending a lot of powerful messages and evoking several responses through this photo:

  1. Breastfeeding your child is an empowering and wonderful thing to do.
  2. Mothers are superheroes whether they’re in costume or not.
  3. Moms are beautiful and keep this crazy, incredible world turning.
  4. Alyssa Milano is still freakin’ hot and why can’t that baby get its dumb head out of the way so that I can see a little better? <– every man and Charmed fan ever.

Before I leave you today, there are some things I want to make sure are crystal clear:

  1. Breastfeeding is a great idea, for as long as your little one wants to do so.
  2. Breastfeeding in public is also a great idea, because moms deserve to go out, too.
  3. Breastfeeding with your chi-chis on full display WILL cause men and women to want to see your nipples. To avoid stares and potential arousal, donning the nearest scarf, Kleenex or cat to cover those beauties up is appreciated.
  4. Men’s nipples are simply not women’s nipples. They NEVER will be. There is no such thing as BROZZERS.COM. At least I don’t think there is. Dang, I hope there isn’t. Let’s not check. Anyway, the chesticle and the breasticle are not equals. Stating that a bare-chested woman and a bare-chested man are exactly the same robs a woman of the inherent beauty, mystery and intrigue that was bestowed upon her the moment she gained that second X chromosome. I say this not as someone trying to rob women of their right to show off their bodies – but as someone desiring to share that it is in mindful discretion that a woman’s equality, individuality and power shine through.

Women, feed your beautiful babies, know your astounding loveliness, and for the sake of my husband and men everywhere, please CONTAIN THE NIPPLE! Preferably with something besides this:



Disclaimer: Miriam Bernard is a human being capable of human error. She is not a mother, therefore it is possible that through lack of experience, she has not considered every possible viewpoint in her writings. She is neither claiming gospel truth nor having figured it all out. She is simply sharing her husband’s and her own views for the sake of encouraging knowledge sharing, learning from others, providing am alternate viewpoint than those most common, and an unhealthy  enjoyment of stirring the pot. Please consider this before commencing the burning at the stake.


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