Friday, 1 April 2016

Breastfeeding shaming

I have read a huge amount online in recent weeks about episodes of breastfeeding shaming which still seems to happen on a much larger scale than I would have expected.  My son is almost seven months old and is breastfed.  No big deal in my eyes.  He’s a baby. He gets hungry.  He gets fed - pretty much wherever and whenever necessary. He’s slightly (very slightly) more predictable now that he’s older but, in the early days, I knew that any kind of an outing would most likely involve me having to feed my baby in public. Now, I’m not a whip ‘em all out kinda girl, (except that time I walked into my daughter’s school for a presentation and hadn’t put them completely away after feeding the little guy in the car – however, that wasn’t deliberate and she’s slowly recovering from the trauma and embarrassment I caused her) but then again I don’t know any breastfeeding mother who is. A huge amount of the time, no one would even know I was feeding the baby and I think this is the case for most mothers.  It has happened, however, and usually at the most inopportune time, that my son has decided to suddenly stop feeding, turn around, give a gummy grin to a passerby and expose my boob to any poor unsuspecting and potentially easily offended individual sitting or standing in my line of vision.

I’ve never been made to feel uncomfortable breastfeeding my baby in public. I’ve never had a disapproving look, someone moving seat or a comment about whether or not an appropriate proportion of my breast is on show.  I hope it’s not just a case that I’ve been lucky.  I hope the stories of breastfeeding shaming, while apparently plentiful at the moment, are a collection of isolated incidents. I would hate to think that something so natural could cause offence to so many people. To paraphrase a midwife I met while expecting my first child “Breasts have a function. They are there to feed your baby, even if men like to play with the empties!” For me breastfeeding is hugely convenient in that it allows me to adopt the motto “have boobs, will travel”. It saves me a huge amount of time in an already chaotic life. The biggest inconvenience it causes me actually, is the restriction in my wardrobe choices.  I am now a wearer, almost entirely of separates! #remembertoputthemawayafter #sorryhoney #mamatude 

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