Kochie won't budge on breastfeeding comments

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Kochie won't budge on breastfeeding comments
David Koch meets outraged mums at the 'nurse-in' protest

David Koch has responded to the controversy he caused and "vitriol" he copped over his comments on the hot issue of public breastfeeding, but has he excused his actions or is he just making it worse?

Writing in today's Daily Telegraph, Kochie has said he believes Australian women should be able to breastfeed "anywhere at anytime", but he hasn't backed down from his original stance that if women choose to do that, they need to be "classy" about it.

Newsflash Kochie: We'd rather not bare our breasts in public - but babies come first

"Call me a dinosaur … respect is a two-way street," he writes.

"Nursing mothers also need to be aware of the sensitivities of breastfeeding in public and return that respect by, when appropriate, being discreet and modest."

Bringing his daughters into the debate, Kochie points out that his two breastfeeding daughters have differing opinion on the subject, one agreeing with dad, while the other might have been a welcome guest to the "nurse-in" held outside Sunrise studios in protest of her father's remarks.

"One agrees with my views and tells me that when her mothers group meets at the local park they all use a muslin cover or a baby sling to feed," he wrote.

"My other daughter has torn strips off me and says she should be able to feed anywhere, anytime and however she wants: 'If someone has a problem, it's their problem not mine'."

Highlighting that his wife Lib breastfed their four children in public, "everywhere from trains, planes and automobiles to the Vatican", he said she'd always chosen to do in a discreet and practical place.

"I suppose, if I'm honest, one of the underlying reasons I'm so passionate about issues like respect, modesty and courtesy in everything we do is we're seeing less of those values in modern society. It seems we're becoming more and more self-centred rather than community-centric," he writes.

"Being a new mum is a gift. It's one of life's wonderful experiences. You are special but you're still part of a diverse community which deserves all of our respect," he writes.

When The Weekly's columnist Zoe Arnold opened up on this subject yesterday, she argued that while most mums don't like exposing their breasts in public any more than Kochie likes seeing them, they are a food source for babies, and any mum given the choice between a screaming baby and a content, well-fed one, will opt to get their boobs out.

"No, it's not particularly 'classy' I guess, what aspect of motherhood is?," she wrote, and many of our readers agreed.

Related: Why are Australian women too posh to push?

While Kochie has taken up considerable air-time and newsprint explaining his actions and fuelling the breastfeeding debate, it doesn't appear he's budged on his controversial position.

He's acknowledged his "dinosaur" views, yet maintains them.

Do you think Kochie has done himself any favours by explaining his views? Or is he just digging himself deeper?

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