Breastfeeding and my 5 cents ……

Breastfeeding in public.

Okay, this has sort of hit the level of people losing their shit and images of eating in a toilet cubicle to prove a point.

All very valid observations.

I breast fed my trio – I tended to opt to sit in a both or to the side of a restaurant (if we were out) and I normally had shirt that could lift easily and then I had a blanket I would throw over me.

Keeping in mind that I did not know anyone who had children at the time, I was not in a mommy gang, so I did not know all the stuff that moms seem to know now and feel entitled to. I felt like I was navigating this all alone and stumbling my way through.

Yeah, it was not ideal, especially if baby got hot, and sweaty, but I tried to retain some of my own dignity and at the same time not to shove my heaving milk soaked bosom in someone’s face.

It was about finding the balance between the two.

I am not sure if there were people who were still a bit “horrified” even if I was covered up, I was too busy trying to shovel food in with one hand whilst it was warm.

I recall going to friends for dinner/lunches and though I followed the more or less same routine, possibly not as rigidly, I know it would upset K and he would prefer it if I went off somewhere and fed the kids.

I recall with Connor – born December 2001 – my brother was visiting from where ever far off land he had been in, and he asked me to go into Cape Town with him to do something or another.  I recall us walking through Cape Town station and I could feel my breasts were doing that thing where they are packing 500 litres of milk, and one whimper from Connor and there was going to be this wave of full cream milk for everyone.

I explained to Bruce that we should find somewhere and I suggested a coffee shop and said ideally if they had booths that would work, but I was not that fussed, we just needed to get there in the next 5 – 10 minutes to avert the two puddles of milk I was going to have on my shirt.

As we walked through the station, we got to the outside section where the stalls are normally set up.

I walked past this black woman (nationality unknown) and she had her t-shirt pulled up around her neck area.  She had her infant sort of on her lap, and grasping a nipple.  She was not really holding the infant as she needed her hands to explain something that requires furious hand gestures, so that baby was holding said nipple for dear life.

I walked past and was mesmerized by those being the biggest nipples I felt I had ever seen in my 29 years or so on this planet and then the next point occurred to me.

This woman, was feeding her child without giving a crap about anyone else and there hangups.  No shits were given that day.

People were walking past her in droves and no one turned around and told her to pack away her boobs or go and sit in a cubicle somewhere.  No one called over a manager and indicated that this was indecent.

I thought of her whilst I made my way to which ever coffee shop we could find and as I adjusted my shirt, unclipped by breastfeeding bra, made sure he was snuggled close and that the blanket did not reveal any of my top half and I latched him.

I sat there and thought about all the effort I was putting in to this to save both my dignity and protect everyone else from having to witness my breasts, and I thought that between myself and that lady on the bench one of us was doing it wrong.

Granted I would not have been comfortable with whipping mine out, but when I was breast feeding I did stop thinking of my breasts as breasts — they became a source of food and functional items.

So here is my question – why are we so obsessed with this topic?  Why does it have to become a thing? Why do there have to be so many painful memes about it?

Breastfeeding is a personal choice.

How you breastfeed is a personal choice.

I do agree that my breasts are my breasts, and possibly not everyone wants to take a gander at them.

That is fine, and in so doing I will do the best, within reason, to cover myself and in this way be courteous to other people.

But when and how did breastfeeding become such a contentious issue??

In my opinion I think every one has the right to breastfeed where and when they please.  At the same time it needs to be done with some sense of courtesy for those around you.

Anyway, I am sure I have come about a half dozen years to late to this conversation, but there you are.

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. Alexandra

     /  October 24, 2016

    I breastfed both my babies for almost year each. I didn’t give a damn about where or when and could never be bothered with the fuss of a cover or supposedly easy access clothing. But that’s me.

    However, what does upset me (an possibly many more which would account for all the memes etc.) is that women who are not as confident or struggling with breastfeeding maybe discouraged as they are treated like second rate citizens by certain members of society who hypocritically find breastfeeding (which by now everyone should know is the healthiest option for babies) revolting but are fine with women in minuscule bikinis on the beach.

    It blows my mind that someone could have an issue with such a natural healthy process like breastfeeding. What is wrong with them?

    Time, place, covered or not, it should be the mother’s choice, and no-one else’s.

    Reply
  2. You make a good point. Why is it that no one told the black lady to cover up? Personally this is one of the reasons why I never went out while I was breastfeeding. I only breastfed Liam for the 4 months that I was on maternity leave and I always made sure I was at home when it was time for a feed. I was horrified when I had to feed him in the accountants office at the Paed because the doc was running late. I always tried to schedule appointments around feed times. Thank goodness it’s over.

    Reply
  3. Love this post.
    Breast fed my three girls.Fed where ever and when ever…never exposed myself or made others uncomfortable.I made sure I had on clothes that I could feed with and popped a light cover over my shoulder covering up .
    My one baby was super allergic and if it wasn’t for being able to breast feed her for as long as I did she would not have survived she was even allergic to Soya milk.
    So like you say all have a choice and it is a very natural thing but sitting with your friends boobs out on display is also your own choice and if it makes others uncomfortable then that’s their problem.

    Reply

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