Monday, May 24, 2010

I just don't understand Better Homes and Gardens...

I'm a fan of breastfeeding. I do it. I have a kid who is over 2 years old and still nurses. I do it in church, at restaurants, school events, and honestly, anywhere that I need to. I don't think twice about it.

I know that here in the US, public nursing is deemed a incredibly taboo thing, but aside from the health benefits, emotional benefits, and the support from medical groups (like the World Health Organization), the plain and simple thing is, it works for us.

Recently Better Homes and Gardens author Heather W. wrote a blog about the 10 commandments of dining out with children. She is admittedly not a parent, nor does she really have a clue what it is to be one (as shown in her article.)

The entire article was arrogant, condescending and offensive, but what REALLY set off the readers and subscribers of Better Homes and Gardens, was the tenth commandment. "Thou shall not breastfeed at the table". She didn't suggest feeding a child with decorum, or even something like positioning yourself away from other diners. She didn't even say for moms to go to the car or waiting area. She took it as far as to say,
Yes, I have seen table-side breast feeding at a four-star restaurant. If at all possible, take it to the ladies room. (Note: most upscale restaurants have really nice restrooms!)
 WHAT? She actually said that? While working for a magazine whose entire base is women who stay home and work on their homes and families? Really? What is even worse is that the editors ALLOWED this to be published! The first commandments (as condescending and rude as they are) were something I could ignore and pass by... but the last one?

Here in the US it is illegal to force a mom to go to the bathroom to nurse. I have talked about how I think women should act with some decorum for the sake of those that are uncomfortable, but I have never thought a woman should remove herself from her meal (that she is paying for) to go to a bathroom to eat, or to feed a child. The thought is absurd, and quite honestly, it turns my stomach. I don't care what class of restaurant you are in, if someone takes a crap, it stinks. People change feminine products in restrooms, have sex, miss the bowl, squat-n-go, all leading to the point that a restroom can never be "clean enough to eat off of".

As for Better Homes and Gardens. A few different apologies have been written, but the article still stands, as the 9 commandments instead of 10. They admit that it is offensive, and that the article was not sent through the proper editorial steps before publishing.

The first apology was this:
Editor's Note: We sincerely apologize that this blog was posted! It was not vetted by our editors, and it reflects poor parenting advice and an offensive tone. We have removed the most patently inappropriate sections. We support breastfeeding moms -- and all moms -- in their desire to include their children in their public lives.

We pledge to do better in the future in both the tone and content of our posts. We will be posting our positive parenting tips for eating out soon. Send us yours at

--The editorial team at Better Homes and Gardens 
Then that was retracted and a shorter, less "real", more watered down apology was issued.

I for one will not renew my subscription to Better Homes and Gardens for no other reason than this: the editing staff allowed this article, allowed the comment about feeding children in a bathroom, and obviously doesn't find the entire thing offensive enough to remove.

A facebook group calling for the boycotting of Better Homes and Gardens has been started, and there is a lot of support for them on various breastfeeding and natural parenting sites... which is funny seeing as how these women are the target audience for Better Homes and Garden.

It is amazing that someone would put their job on the line and be this offensive to the millions of women who read their publication. I just don't understand.


Three Lads and a Lis said...

oh that hurts my heart :(.

I'm already starting to get weird looks... come on, my kiddo is just *barely* 13 months old.

And NO! He does not sleep through the night yet, and NO! it doesn't bother me. That one always makes people go grey in the face, lol.

MommyScott said...

unbelievable :(

Dreamer13 said...

oh my gosh!!!! That is soo terrible! I can't believe someone wrote that and they published it in THAT magazine! for all the reasons you stated. Gross. I've never purchased that mag and now I never will. Very very tasteless.

I like the bf advocacy t-shirt that says, "If my breastfeeding bothers you, please feel free to cover your head with a blanket." :p

Lisa Marie said...

My favorite shirt for the kids says "My mama's milkshake feeds all the kids in the yard"... hehehe

But in all seriousness, I don't like "in your face" nursing, or even when women expose a lot of breast. Not because I care about the breast, but because some people truly are so embarrassed that it can upset them. A little decorum goes a long way, but you should never have to cover or hide :o)