Friday, 6 February 2015

Oh the shame! Breastfeeding in public?

I am a little ashamed to say that I am still too nervous to breastfeed my baby in public.

Elena is now 4 months old and a fully breastfed baby as always as been. For me there was never really a question whether my baby would be breast or bottle fed. If my body allowed, I was determined to breast feed her for the first year even though the idea of breast feeding at first made me feel a little strange.

I'm not going to get into the Breast is Best debate. Personally, I think breastfeeding best for my child but I completely understand that for many women, breastfeeding is not possible. In the end, it comes down to personal choice and what our bodies can or can not do. You can force someone to breastfeed who isn't comfortable with it or is in constant pain. Likewise, so many women find disappointment that there bodies won't let them breastfeed.

This is not the point of my post.  What I want to talk about is the shame many women feel to feed their babies in public.

One lady I know recently encountered the disapproval of one man while feeding her baby. She wrote an open letter to said gentleman. I think here letter says it all. To all the breastfeeding haters, you are all only here because your mothers fed you as we feed our babies. Have a think about that.

An Open Letter to The Man Who Shook His Head:
To the man who gave me a disapproving look and then shook his head while I breast fed my baby, 
I wanted to publicly apologise for my behaviour. As you sat down to have your lunch I proceeded to remove my breast and breastfeed my baby. At least that’s what you assumed I was doing, underneath my wrap. You are indeed correct. I was breast feeding my baby. 
This may come as a shock to you but you do not look like the Mona Lisa while eating that seasoned bit of cow you were chewing in your mouth. I would have loved to have given you the same look you gave me, however unlike you I understand that food is a need, not a want. Just like you need food to survive, so does my baby. 
I also understand that without breast feeding you would not be alive to sit there so smugly and shake your head at me. 
This was not actually an apology nor was it written for you. It was written for all the mothers that breast feed and all the mothers that don’t. What we do is nothing short of a miracle! It its human nature in its most natural form. We are mothers. We use our motherly love to keep the human race going and we don’t need your disapproving looks while we do it. 
Rant over!!!
Actually F*** you
Now, Rant over!!!
Sincerely,
Your Mother, Sister or Daughter
How can someone judge how a woman feeds her baby? Why is it ok to bottle feed your baby in public but not breastfeed it? We are doing the same thing, providing life and nutrients for our babies. Three cheers to this lady. As a breastfeeding mother, I am proud that we have some great women standing up for our rights.

Breastfeeding is not easy. It is only made harder when we feel trapped into only feeding our babies hidden away in a dark room.

I am equally as proud of the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA). I don't believe any other country has a breastfeeding association that does as much for women's rights to breastfeed as ours! We are a lucky bunch of mummies to have such supportive advocates.
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Also, a big shout out to all the wonderful cafes, restaurants and venues listed in the ABA's Breastfeeding friendly list! Thank you for supporting mums whether they breast or bottle feed. To find local venues in your area see here!

And congratulations to all the breast feeding, bottle feeding and mixed feeding mothers. Thank you for nurturing your baby. Thank you for giving your baby what it needs. Most importantly, thank you for giving it to them when and where you need it.


7 comments:

  1. Absolutely!! Good on your friend for writing that, although it would've been even more brilliant to say it to his face!

    I honestly can't believe that this is still such an issue. Babies need milk. Boobs make milk. Simple. Get over it silly old farts!!

    I tend to really make eye contact with people now as Im feeding my 18 month old, daring them to say something. No one ever has!

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    1. Good on you! Who's business is it really whether you bottle feed, breast feed, when you wean your baby and so on! They don't know whats best for your baby and why you are doing what you're doing.

      I am constantly surprised how many friends tell me about these types of incidents! Even friends who bottle feed are constantly getting dirty looks because they aren't breastfeeding. We cant win.

      Its time people entered the 21st century isn't it! :)

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    1. That's what I thought! I had to share it :)

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  3. I'm totally for public breastfeeding, for everyone, but yeah, often to intimidated to do it myself! I have a fussy feeder, I think that makes it worse.

    I find it helps to start somewhere quieter where it's more 'socially acceptable'. I've been at the GP so darn often that I have often ended up having to feed there, and I'm a lot more comfortable than I used to be. Also, meeting up with a friend who's feeding also and getting the boobies out together! Failing all else, if a bottle used in public is what makes you feel comfortable and gets your baby fed, go for it :)

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  4. Definitely! I find when I'm in a mothers group and there are other breastfeeding mothers, it's easier. I don't think I'll ever be comfortable as long as we all still get jeers from strangers when we do it. I think bottle feedings get judged too because they aren't breastfeeding unfortunately :( its hard but hopefully society is starting to progress more in the right direction!

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  5. I'm onto the 3rd baby and I'm far more comfortable giving my bub a bottle of expressed milk as opposed to breastfeeding them if we're out in public. It's strange that this is still an issue in this day and age. Maybe by the time my kids are having kids something will have change, but somehow I think there's always be a few who think breastfeeding women should just never leave the home.

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