Although breastfeeding has always been a very important part of being a mother to me, I find I haven’t really posted much about it. This is something I want to change and thought I’d start with this subject that seems to be plastered across social media, as well as every other form of media around. That subject is:
Breastfeeding in public
Or to call it what it actually is:
Feeding your child, with your boob, because they are hungry and that’s how they eat. You also happen to not be alone in your house at the time.
But I guess that doesn’t roll off the tongue so easily does it?
Arguments against Breastfeeding in public
Having heard many differing opinions on this matter I am astounded at the absurd arguments against women feeding their children in the exact way our bodies were intended.
1) You have the people who insist that showing even the slightest slither of skin is immodest, I have even read one man claiming that women should feed their children through some type of thin fabric! Seriously, you read that right! Apparently it’s all the rage in some ultra modest countries. I can’t find any evidence of this myself, no matter what words I put into Google. Plenty of boob pictures, but not much fabric going on in them!
2) You then have those that sing the praises of the breastfeeding cover. If this is what a woman wants to use to feel more comfortable with breastfeeding while out and about then that is her choice. I have no issue with what other mothers choose do. But I am also entitled to my opinion and I think you draw much more attention to yourself while using one of these brightly covered oversized bibs (I’m sorry, but that’s what they look like to me) They sort of scream:
I’m breastfeeding over here but don’t worry I’m being modest about it, no need to look. No honestly! No need to look. Why are you looking at me?
My youngest pulls my hand away for just stroking his head, he hates my t-shirt being pulled down so it touches his face (see picture above). He would completely freak out if he was covered with anything.
3) We then move on to those that are not even satisfied with a cover. They insist that if we can’t find somewhere secluded, like the toilet, then we stay home to feed our children. Seriously? For the first six months or year or two or three or however many years a child and mother decide is right for them? Seems impractical to me! Of course these very clever people also have a solution for this:
Bottles, because that’s what they are made for! Wait, haven’t I heard that said about something else before now? oh yeah…
It’s simple see. We can give our babies pumped milk or formula while we are out of the house.
Of course they don’t have any solutions for those whose baby won’t drink from a bottle, who don’t want to feed their baby with a bottle, can’t pump enough(or any) milk. Or even considered the fact that we would also have to drag the pump along with us to relieve the engorged, painful, boulders that have started leaking through our tops.
Personally? I think it’s more modest to stick a baby on your boob than have a pump attached to it. You can actually see the nipple and the milk squirting out when you use a pump. I think that might draw more attention while sipping your coffee in Starbucks than just looking like you are cuddling a baby.
4) Of course didn’t you know babies can always wait until you get home to feed them? Apparently, according to some (okay one that I know of), there is no need to feed on demand and that all babies, no matter how young, should be taught patience. I’m guessing the person who wrote this on twitter was NOT a parent, or a very nice one if they were!
5) We then come to those who harp on the ‘natural’ bandwagon. That is, if breastfeeding is natural, then they should be able to whip out their genitalia and urinate in public, because it’s natural! What they don’t seem to realise is that urine, or faeces, is waste. It is the leftovers of what we have consumed being excreted from our bodies.
Breasts are not genitals and milk is not waste. Milk is a complex fluid, it is created by our breasts and contains the perfect ingredients to nourish and protect our offspring. Not to mention the fact that urinating in public can get you arrested. In most countries, breastfeeding is protected by law so…
6) Breastfeeding is a special time of bonding between mother and baby. This shouldn’t be brought into public as is it a sacred and personal time.
This statement annoys me, maybe this view is why a lot of people think it should stay a private activity? Yes, in the first few days or weeks breastfeeding is all about the bonding. Even for older babies, in the dead of night and you are snuggling alone just you and your child it is a special, quiet time.
But mostly? It is just milk. Its is only your baby feeding how your baby was meant to feed. It isn’t a special bonding moment when your toddler is tugging at your top for a snack mid ‘mammoth playing with blocks’ session, it is just milk. It is food or something to wet the whistle, so to speak.
Arguments for breastfeeding in public
Because we can, that’s it. Plain and simple. There is nothing to argue. Our breasts make milk, babies who breastfeed need to feed from them to eat, therefore they need to be exposed enough for a baby to latch on. Doesn’t matter where you are. And…
We should in any way we are comfortable with!
If you want to whip out your boob over the top of your t-shirt in the middle of a restaurant. Go you!
If you want to use a cover, a blanket, a shawl, a sling or whatever you feel comfortable with outside, or inside, your home. Then good on you!
If you prefer to remove yourself from the situation and go somewhere private. Way to go you!
I use the two-top method. A stretchy cami top, under a loose fitting t-shirt. I don’t like showing my belly and this method works great. You pull the cami down and lift the t-shirt. A loose t-shirt means that you show very little boob and what is on show is covered by baby’s face. This also means I can pull it down quickly when my little scamp decides that he needs to fling himself off my lap to go play. If you do this too. Yay! Great minds think alike!
Nobody should feel forced into breastfeeding in public if they feel uncomfortable, but also, nobody should be made to feel uncomfortable for choosing to breastfeed in public. As mothers, it should be our choice and our choice alone.
So I think you know my opinions on breastfeeding in public now. But I would love to know yours, even if you don’t agree with me! Debate is healthy, although nastiness won’t be tolerated!