Breastfeeding in public. It can be a touchy subject. But this is my blog, and I am here to give you a no-holds-barred account of my experiences and opinions.
As a breastfeeding mother, it is inevitable that sooner or later, you will need to breastfeed away from home. While some mothers may be intimidated by this notion, breastfeeding in public need not be an intimidating experience.
What is it that is so socially unacceptable about breastfeeding in public? Surely neglecting your child’s needs should be more cause for alarm. Shoving a bottle into the mouth of a screaming infant will barely raise an eyebrow, but a breast? That’s a whole other kettle of fish. But what is so wrong? We know that breastfeeding is the NORMAL way to feed a baby and toddler, but if anyone sees you doing it, its suddenly sick and perverted.
Society has sexualised women’s breasts so much that many people seem to have forgotten their primary function, to provide nourishment for our young. It’s not like we stand on a soapbox yelling “excuse me everyone, now that I have your attention, I am going to breastfeed my child now.” We do not feed our children in public for attention, to show off, or for our own sexual satisfaction. We feed our babies because they are hungry or for comfort.
If you are worried about what others will say if you breastfeed in public, then don’t. Here are some tips to help you feel more comfortable feeding away from home:
• Educate yourself – it is illegal to tell a breastfeeding woman to stop or to cover up (within reason of course)
•Wear suitable clothing – Ideally you want something you can pull out of the way quickly and easily without exposing more skin than necessary
•Have faith in yourself – remember, you are doing the right thing for you and your child
•Get support – you may like to have a friend or family member to back you up in case of confrontation if you are not yet confident
Now many people say, it’s ok to breastfeed in public if done discreetly. By this they mean a blanket or some other cover over your babies head and your shoulder, so as to cover any offending skin. By all means, if it makes you feel more comfortable, then go for it. But do not feel you have to because someone told you to. How would you like having a blanket over your head while you eat your lunch? That’s what I thought. If it is perfectly fine for a baby to bottle feed in public, it is perfectly fine for a baby to breastfeed.
In the end, what’s going to cause more attention, a baby quietly breastfeeding or a distressed baby screaming to be fed?