Recently a post on the “Spotted” page on Faceboook of a town close to me, Rugeley, has caused national outrage.
The post included a photograph of a mother sat outside whilst breastfeeding her daughter, with the caption “I know the sun is out an all that but there’s no need to let your kid feast on you nipple in town! Tramp”
I breastfed Miss Rose for ten months, and I fed her anywhere and everywhere. The first time I fed in public was terrifying, because I was scared of getting a reaction like this, but nobody did. Had they I may not have reacted with as much dignity as this mother, Emily Slough, who reacted by arranging a public breastfeeding event to combat stigma and help normalise this most normal of things.
Most of the comments on the original post were from people, men and women, breast feeders and bottle feeders, reacting with disgust at the post. How dare someone describe a breastfeeding mother as a tramp, purely because she dares use her breasts as they were designed to be used.
Others offered equally ignorant opinions, but it’s easy to ignore those. People who genuinely think breastfeeding is disgusting and should be either hidden or not done at all are clearly narrow minded fools who think boobies are just for their amusement and have forgotten that actually nature happened before the Wonderbra.
The comments I found most troubling came from, usually women, saying they support breastfeeding but not in public. “That’s what feeding rooms are for”, “why can’t you just express into a bottle?”
A) feeding rooms are not always available. Unless you happen to be near a Mothercare you pretty much have no choice. For those mothers who are not comfortable feeding in public, and there are many, they then have to resort to feeding in a toilet. A baby being fed from the breast has as much right to be fed somewhere hygienic and appropriate as a child or adult eating from a fork. A toilet is neither of those things.
B) why should it be sentenced to a feeding room? Why should a woman be hidden from sight for doing the most natural thing you can do with a child? You only have to look at newspapers, magazines, night clubs and general fashions to see that our society does not consider breasts to be offensive. We are not, as women, made to feel ashamed of our bodies as some cultures make their women feel. Indeed breasts are pretty much loved and celebrated all the time! So long as they’re there to look pretty. If Emily Slough had been exposing the same amount of skin via bra and slinky top this post would not have been made.
C) I could never express very much. And when I did manage to get the tiny bit out that I spent a ridiculous amount of time working at, she wouldn’t take it anyway, and the hours of pumping and crying were washed down the drain. Breastfed babies are often pretty damn fussy about taking a bottle, and we as mothers feel guilty about so much, and want to do the absolute best we can for our babies, so why make it so we literally cannot feed our babies when we are out? Miss Rose would scream and cry when efforts were made to get her to take a bottle, which for various reasons I tried a few times to do, but her suffering was never worth it and breastfeeding just worked. She fed, she was happy and healthy, and nobody has the right to take that away.
If you claim to be “pro-breastfeeding” as long as it is hidden you are just as bad as those who are against it. I would never suggest a woman who is uncomfortable with feeding in public should be forced into it, it’s every mothers right to choose how and where she feeds her child, but perhaps fewer women would feel the need to hide away if opinions like this didn’t exist.
Breastfeeding is not disgusting, it is not weird, and it is not wrong. It is just how babies eat. For those fools who don’t realise that… And this may come as a shock… The milk you put in your tea comes out of a cow’s boob! And guess what, a calf probably fed from that same teat. Nature is just funny that way. It gives mothers everything they need to feed their child. So don’t come along with your ignorant attitudes and try to shame women out of doing it.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!