Breastfeed in Public! Why so much a hullaballoo?

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Breastfeed in Public! Why so much a hullaballoo?

March 26, 2015

Written by: Lisa Coffey

“If you’re offended by my breastfeeding – you’ve been staring for too long”

Breastfeeding

The dichotomy of reactions whenever we post breastfeeding pics on our Facebook page as part of our campaign to support nursing is usually always the same – Lots of celebration and support! Lots of Oohs-Aahs! But above all, an excess of nasty, attacking, insulting, sickening comments!

“Disgusting!”, “Cover your breasts!”, “Nobody wishes to see that!”- They cry!

And doesn’t matter how many times this has happened – I always feel aghast! Why such ugly and heinous reactions people make to a mom feeding her kid?

Apparently, our society is governed by certain strong social conditioning carrying a clear message that among the most disgusting, worst and most vile acts which a woman can perform is – Breastfeed her child in public! Nursing in public is compared to defecating, urinating, masturbating or copulating in public!

How on earth they fail to acknowledge the difference that breastfeeding is an act of feeding hungry babies! While urination, defecation etc. does not!

I personally went through this a number of times. Once I went to a grocery store when my daughter was only a few days old – Just me and her. I bundled her up in my Ring Sling and marched on to do my usual grocery shopping. I had fed her prior to leaving home, but right in the middle of the store she began to cry. And as a first timer I wasn’t familiar with using the breastfeeding Sling, so I didn’t know how to walk and breastfeed simultaneously while pushing the cart. I searched for a spot to sit and the only alternative was a bench right next to the store’s front door and I was pretty much scared to sit over there at that point of time as I would be in full view with lots of people hovering around.

Oh! I felt so helpless and embarrassed!

So instead, I hurriedly left my grocery cart and went straight towards the bathroom. Gosh! Would you believe that! Smelly, filthy and awful bathroom! And even there I couldn’t find anywhere to sit, so I opted for a stall. It was so difficult for me to balance my little baby while struggling to pull my shirt up and unhook my nursing bra. I felt terrified all the time that either I would drop her or she would be exposed to some nasty bathroom germs. It was so humiliating experience! And I swore that I’d never ever do that again.

“Cover it!” – They cry again.

And I succumbed to such notion initially. I tried to use various covers including blanket a few times, but my baby hated being covered. And I soon realized how inconsiderate I was to her. She cried, clawed at the blanket and finally pulled it away as soon as she gained the strength to do it. Now would I cover my head with a blanket while eating? Never! Then why should she be obligated to? Anyone who cries that a mother should cover while breastfeeding her baby doesn’t know anything about baby nursing and has no idea how annoying it is to hide and cover.

One more ridiculous comment we receive quite often is “Pump it and pour it in a bottle!” – Well as if we’re cows or some sort! It’s so shocking that people are so ignorant about things but start throwing such strong opinions. It’s not possible for every woman to pump. I myself just never responded to it though I had ample supply for my daughter. Also, pumping consumes lots of effort and time.

We are required to purchase some bottles as well as a pump and then sanitize each of the things, then take time to pump and then expect we produce adequate milk and then carry around the supplies everywhere along with us, in case the baby gets hungry.

Now my question is – Why should a mother go for such hardships just because some strangers can’t bear to watch her, breastfeeding her child? When all it would take is – just avoid and turn your head away! It takes zero effort to do so. Whereas, it takes a lot to pump, collect and carry around the breast milk.

It’s so interesting to see how some people get so horrified by the very sight of breastfeeding! Though, they won’t even blink an eye during Victoria’s Secret ultra-revealing commercial. They won’t even complain about women in two-piece at the beach. The sight of breastfeeding mom has become a sore to the eyes than the brutal over-sexualization of women in our mindset.  

Babies need to be fed and moms need to feed their babies! That’s it!

Another important thing is spreading the awareness about breastfeeding and for that seeing breastfeeding is vital. Societies which embrace breastfeeding moms normally have higher breastfeeding rates, whereas cultures which shun breastfeeding moms normally have lower rates of breastfeeding, which in turn costs a thousand lives each year.

We all are aware of the fact that formula feeding is associated with major risks and should be for emergency use only. Yet, it has turn into the norm in our society. Now, it’s high time to pave the way by showing our next generation – How their babies should be fed!

So each time we receive any hateful comments about breastfeeding in public, we’ll be even more inspired and convinced to do so. We will support each other and stand united to oppose every nay-Sayers. We’ll keep on doing so until our general public reacts normally towards breastfeeding and never like – Oh My God, PORN!

At the end, a word of caution for all the public breastfeed haters – Our right to nursing in public is law protected. So anyone who considers it as offensive should stop staring and are more than welcome to turn their neck the other away. It’s as simple as that!

Keep nursing, Wise Mamas!

Bio – As a clinician with years of medical experience, Lisa brings a leading approach to maternity wear design fusing her knowledge as a Women’s Health specialist, awareness of current design trends and her unique style, . With the introduction of mommyliciousmaternity, the needs of the prenatal body are embraced throughout the entire pregnancy. Mommylicious maternity apparel inspires women to enjoy a healthy and active pregnancy.

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