Breastfeeding in Public: Oh, the controversy

By February 5, 2013Uncategorized

With broadcasting news networks working around the clock it’s no wonder that one little breastfeeding incident lands itself on the plasma digital flat screen of every T.V in the entire country. The topic of women being asked to leave swimming pools and restaurants because they breastfed their babies in public is absurd to me. Have we got nothing better to do than complain about the most natural thing in the world? As a new mother I share the intimidation of breastfeeding in public with a large number of other women. If I feed my baby at a restaurant I wonder, will some nut job pop out of the carpet floor, storm up to my dinner table and blast me for my indecency? The amount of mothers I’ve spoken to that have been humiliated breastfeeding is frightfully high. What strikes me as odd is that more often than not, the accuser is another woman. This to me suggests that we are our own worst enemy.

What happened to the sisterhood? Where women understood one anothers concerns and supported them during the hard times.
Let me tell you, breastfeeding a 6kg wiggly baby that paddles their little chubby legs mid-air while you’re trying to discretely get your breast out of one side of your dress has got to be one of the most awkward things to do and yet, as women, we manage to do this and then finish, while still talking to our companion, with a tilted smile and a hint of grace. This large amount of effort allocated to making a meal for a human with our own body and then feeding them without a fork, spoon or plate should praised! not criticized. I find a light muslin wrap helps to conceal the apparently offensive body part but it tends to slip from side to side as my son, who has the strength of a mid-sized crocodile, wrestles around for the twenty minutes it takes to settle him down. He enjoys popping his head up to say hi frequently and although very, very cute, it adds to the difficulty of trying to not offend people who shouldn’t be looking at me breastfeeding anyway.

This is the reason why I cancel more plans than I should to meet up with friends for coffee and meals. It just seems easier to swap dinner at a restaurant for Chinese take-away. I sometimes feel condemned to the quarters of my own home for the duration of my breastfeeding period to alleviate any stress I can, while I adapt to being a new Mum. I can understand why many women scrap the breast for the good old formula. It’s just too bloody hard to appease the myriad of opinions drifting through the public sphere. The only reason I haven’t succumb to the temptation myself is because I know how good the breast milk is for a child’s development and I feel that supporting women who aim to give their child the primary source of nutrients, should be in anyway accommodated.

The effort women go through in order to support their child should be encouraged and acceptance of whipping the breast out, for no other reason other than to feed a baby should be solidified within society. It should be up to the individual to tend to their child’s needs in a way that is suitable to them. By treating breastfeeding Mums as felons, women often avoid the healthy process of breastfeeding and this is unfair to both mother and child. Instead of focusing on women breastfeeding in public, people should divert their attention to more pressing issues, such as children dying from starving and malnutrition. Maybe then, the world will become a greater place.

By Nikki Heindl – Her Life



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