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Breastfeeding In Public. Feminism Gone Wrong?
The Breastfeeding Debate
Member Name: CosmicLove
The Breastfeeding Debate
Date: 15/03/13, updated on 15/03/13 (52 review reads)
Advantages: When your baby is hungry he or she gets to eat whenever he or she needs to.
Ever since I remember there has always been a big debate about whether or not women should/should even be allowed to breast feed their baby in public. The media used to be all over this subject, and during my pregnancy with my son, I read a fair few articles regarding this issue. I have to say that whenever I am reading articles that are against breast feeding in public, my mouth is always wide open in absolute disbelief - the number of ignorant and uneducated people who feel that they are able to comment on this never fails to amaze me.
I struggled with breast feeding my son at first, I had supply issues and had to bottle feed Kai. I have to admit that I hated breast feeding at first, because I didn't know what to do or whether I was doing it right, but I hated having to give him bottles even more. The first six weeks or so were really hard. Once these issues were sorted, though I began to enjoy it. When feeding Kai, I find peace. It is an intimate thing, but nevertheless I have always breastfed in public. I don't go out of my way to do so, but if we are out and he needs feeding (shock horror!) I will feed him!
I have never, not even once used blankets or towels. Yes, I try to be discreet and do it somewhere tucked away, I don't sit there in the middle of a busy shopping centre doing it. I will usually try to find a cafe and sit somewhere that isn't too public. I don't do this to make a point, or to try to prove myself as a good mother, an Eco warrior or anything else. I do it because my baby is hungry and needs feeding, and I don't see why I should try to cover him up while he nurses. In fact I don't see why I should cover my self up like im trying to hide some god awful crime when I am feeding my son. I know I'm not doing anything wrong, so I don't feel like I need to be covered up.
All women have breasts, and almost all humans know exactly what breasts are there for. Making milk, lactating,
feeding a baby. How can something so natural offend and shock so many people?? I completely respect women who do choose to cover up and even avoid breast feeding in public. It is their decision. But when other people. - especially other women, decide to create a huge drama and bash other women who do choose to feed without a cover, this annoys me. I think the main problem is that women such as myself who do breastfeed in public without a cover are seen as attention seeking looneys who love getting their breasts out in public at every oppurtunity and want to show their boobs to everyone.
In fact this assumption couldn't be any more wrong. When my son is hungry the very last thing I'm thinking of is whether or not people will be looking at my boobs. Honestly, all I am worrying about is how fast I can get him feeding before he throws a fit. I have lost count of the amount of direct (and of course snidey indirect) comments that I have received while peacefully, discreetly feeding my son somewhere that I deem as tucked away. Today, for example a woman commented that surely he should wait, and it wasn't as if he was a newborn. I was told i should go into the toilets (we were in Asda) to feed him. She said it all nicely, but I still couldn't get over how ignorant she was.
When you're hungry, how do you feel?? Irritable? Cranky? Well, babies aren't any different,and they don't understand that in ten minutes time if they wait they will be fed. They're hungry now, so they want food now. The point that this woman made about taking him into a toilet to feed him also annoyed me. Would you enjoy eating your yummy sandwich or burger or salad or whatever else you ate today for your lunch if you had to eat it in a women's toilet, where people bring their babies to change their dirty, smelly nappies or where women come to freshen up and spray body spray all over themselves, or change their tampons or have a poo? Of course you wouldn't, and I sure as hell know that neither would my son.
Over and over and over again I have tried, logically to work out what makes people feel so uncomfortable about seeing a woman breastfeed in public. Is it because boobs are seen as sexual, and a baby attached to the boob makes people uneasy? Do people think that they'll be branded a pervert if the catch a glimpse of a woman feeding her child? I've actually had women come up to me and point to ther child and tell me that I am a disgrace, that I'm confusing their child and should do what I'm doing in private. How does seeing a woman breastfeed confuse a child, when more breast can be seen on daytime TV?! If a mother can't simply explain to her child that 'the lady over there is just feeding her baby because he's hungry' then I think they need to question their own parenting skills.
Something has gone wrong somewhere. People need to stop insulting while preaching how good breast feeding is and using 'if' and 'but' in the same sentence. Any woman who doesn't want to cover up doesn't have to, in my opinion and I shouldn't have to. Neither should any woman who doesn't want to. Maybe if you don't like looking, you should get your jacket, place it over your head and eat your meal covered up in case you catch a glimpse of breast? Society needs to stop and realise and understand. We need to stop labelling any woman who chooses to not cover up while in public & breast feeding as an Eco warrior or looney hippie, people need to remind themselves of equality and respect.
It is not feminism gone wrong, it is a mothers right and a babies right.