Breastfeeding In Public, How Is This Still a "Debate"


Breastfeeding In Public

WHY, is this still an issue? HOW, is this still an issue?

How can anyone in their right minds want to deny a mother the right to comfortably feed her baby?  It just seems so simple to me, if your baby is hungry, you feed them. You don't run into a darkened corner, cover both of yourselves up in a shawl and hope for the best.  You just feed them.  In the same way and the same place you feed yourself.
If men were the ones who had to breastfeed their children, I really don't think this would be an issue, but, society today thinks its OK to tear women and mothers down over every choice they make.
Its everywhere, in magazine headlines declaring shock if a model isn't runway ready 6 weeks after birth,  in our workplaces where a woman with a family is mommy tracked and passed over time and again, and our own homes, and in our friends lists and news feeds, where every single choice we make is put up for judgement.

Being a mommy is hard, its the hardest job I've ever done.  I remember back when I was pregnant with my first, everyone would always ask,

"when are you due ?"
"what are you having ?"
"will you breastfeed?"
"will you get an epidural?"
"are you planning to use cloth diapers?"

I felt judged by choices I hadn't even really made yet.

Mothers are faced with judgement every day, its like, as soon as your belly pops, everyone in the world thinks they know whats best for your baby, and are more than willing to tell you so.   The choices we make in a babies first months are hard enough without the burden of pleasing strangers, and yet nobody seems to care about how the mothers may feel, just whether or not they are doing things "the right way"

And what is "the right way?"

Well that depends on whether we're being lectured by our mothers, or cousin Sheila, or the old lady in line at the grocery store,

"breast is best, and formula is poison, but formula makes babies healthier and fatter, even though nature didn't mean for babies to eat from a can,  and breastfeeding hurts, and your nipples will bleed, and all that holding will spoil the baby, speaking of spoiling the baby make sure you let him cry it out a little bit so he knows who's in charge, but crying it out will raise his blood pressure and make him not trust you so never do that, but a spoiled baby wont sleep through the night, and you don't want to be waking up all night do you, so you should co-sleep because babies sleep best with their moms nearby, you should baby-wear too, babies need to feel that contact, but make sure he doesn't start to need it, so put that baby down, he'll learn to play alone that way.  and you're cloth diapering right, because its so much better for the baby and the environment, but don't cloth diaper because who wants to clean that mess, and you don't even know how much laundry you'll be doing already, speaking of which, what laundry detergent are you using?"

Its exhausting just keeping up with everyone's opinions, never mind trying to follow them.

We as a society need to support mothers, not tear apart their choices because they're different than the ones we would have made.  We need to accept that having a baby hard enough without all the judgement, and no, the answer is not to "just stay at home then".

Food is a fundamental human right, a right that no one would even consider denying to an adult.  I have dined with many people who's bad manners at the table are far more offensive than a breastfeeding baby, and no one would seriously consider asking them to go eat in the bathroom, or cover their heads with a blanket, and yet mothers are told to do so on a daily basis.
My answer to that has always been no, if I need to feed my baby, I will, and no, I wont cover him, unless there's a benefit to us.
I'm not doing it to spite you, I don't want to push my breasts in your face, and insult your delicate sensibilities, I just want to feed my baby.  If you don't like it feel free not to look, feel free to go sit in the bathroom until I'm done, In fact, feel free to just go away.

Just do it quietly.



Have you ever experienced harassment or disapproval for nursing in public? How do you deal with it?

13 comments:

  1. I am 100% in support of a mother's right to breastfeed where she sees fit. I am not a fan of the shut up and suck it approach that I often see. It's all about education. We can' change society over night. Because the fact is our society was taught for decades that bottle feeding was the "right" thing to do. We need to turn that thinking around and it's going to take time. We can stand our ground in a way that is matter of fact, this is what I'm doing because it's my right, without being belligerent about it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't be bothered to care about what other people, strangers mostly, think about me breastfeeding my baby. I'm responsible for caring for this human being, and I'm going to do my job. I don't think you're being belligerent about it. It's rather ridiculous that people who are not impacted in any way get all in a snit about it. I agree, your problem is not my problem. Look away or go away.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree with Shayna. People don't change opinions by being belligerent. Facts are facts. Take them or leave them. Also I don't know how this is still an issue. I had the opposite experience though. As an adoptive Mom I was ostracized in the opposite way for bottle feeding my baby in public. I sure as hell did not need to explain that I just adopted the infant in my arms and couldn't breastfeed because she was adopted to every single arse that gave me that judging look or snide comment. It's offensive to me either way that people are so judgemental about this issue, period. Most Moms want to do what is best for their baby and for their family. So butt out with the judging comments and let's all just be open minded and supportive. We get nowhere by tearing people down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 100% agree! I have never met a mother who took this issue lightly, and i think women should have the right to feed their children however they think is appropriate.

      Delete
  4. I just saw today a mom in a facebook group stating that she was given a hard time in a restaurant and asked to cover up :( Such a bummer and so so sad! The stigma attached to breastfeeding totally baffles me and I am so glad that I had supportive people in my life and breastfeeding journey!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I dont think there is anything belligerent about feeding your child. Its not like moms are going out there, sitting on strangers laps and whipping them out.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am 100% in supportive of breast feeding in public. You shouldn't stare, be disgusted or insulted. It is a natural process of taking care of one's child. Isn't there many shirts out there that expose breasts more then a breast feeding mom?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I use to keep up with everyone's opinions, way too exhausting.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I breastfed both my girls - I chose to cover up with a beautiful cover when we were in public, but that was my choice...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well said...I always feel judged and now it is for extended breastfeeding (daughter is 23 months) had a facebook friend comments how it is disgusting to see a 2 year old still breastfeeding, that stung :( I feel to save myself the hassle I should not to tell people that I am still breastfeeding or that we co-sleep,getting a lecture on how wrong I am doing things...it's like living in the bathroom stall :(

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well said! Thankfully no-one ever commented on me breastfeeding either of my babies - but I did feel like people were judging when I was still feeding them at a year old. Just let us get on with the tough job of being a mummy!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am all for breast feeding but not when a woman just whops out her boob. If she is covered with a blanket so she's not all revealed then thats fine.

    I do feel a little uncomfortable if there is no blanket covering her breast but thats probably just me.

    Breastfeeding in public is perfectly fine

    Love,
    Lauren
    Xx

    www.lauren-ohara-x.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

Blog Widget by LinkWithin