Saturday, July 17, 2010

Breastfeeding in Public

For the past eight months (yes, my baby is exactly 8 months old today! I'm going to sound like everyone else, but where does time go?), I have breastfed my baby whenever she needs it. Whether it be at a park, at a coffee shop, or at Target, she is never denied food just because we're in a public place. While I don't see any reason why breastfeeding in public should cause controversy, it does! Women are given looks, that raised eye brow, and even told to go somewhere else to "do that."

Thankfully, I have been spared anything embarrassing except a look here or there. I always feel very confident in my decision to put my baby's needs first. Even though I don't think breastfeeding is dirty, indecent, or offensive, I still take precautions to make every feeding session with my baby as discreet as possible so that others are comfortable. Not to boast or anything about how amazing my people-sensing skills are (haha), but I can tell when people are uncomfortable, and it then makes me uncomfortable. But if I know I'm doing everything I can to help the situation, then it's simply their turn to deal with it.

For example, when I'm around others and anytime I'm outside my home, I am very careful to cover up as much as possible. I do not think it's necessary to show extra skin and justify it by, "Well, I'm breastfeeding so it's okay!" If breastfeeding mothers want respect, we should behave respectfully. Breastfeeding is not a sexual display or use of our bodies. It is natural and beautiful. But we can only convey that message if we do it in a beautiful, and not an obnoxious, way.

When I first began, I would watch myself in a mirror to see what everyone else could see. I quickly mastered the whole process so that what everyone saw was...close to nothing! I'm not saying we should be ashamed of breastfeeding and try to hide it. But the sacredness of our bodies should be carefully kept. :)

We always hear stories about mothers who are told to "go somewhere else" to breastfeed their baby. Let's make a point to do the opposite! If you see a mom breastfeeding, approach her and say how awesome it is that she's doing it! She might see you coming and prepare a defense in her head, but I'm sure she'd appreciate the support once you give it! :)

*I just want to add that I don't think only mothers who show absolutely no skin should be the ones breastfeeding in public. I do it because that is just the way I feel comfortable. 


ThirdEyePhotographyIda-blog said...

Nice blog Maggie! I always give a smile and wink to a breastfeeding momma. They always get it, and give me a nod and smile back. It's a very tough decision to make out here, in Idaho, because we are in 1 of 2 states (the other being Nebraska) that still holds public breastfeeding as illegal. It's not enforced, but it's still on the books. :/

DanandAmanda said...

I try to do the same. In front of family, and depending on what I'm wearing, I feel I can be modest without covering up. My thoughts always were that we don't flash people just because our bodies are beautiful; therefore, even though breastfeeding is beautiful I also don't want my father-in-law, brothers-in-law or other men to see anything for my own modesty. I do refuse, however, to leave the room for someone else- it's not fair to me or baby as no one else eats in seclusion or hides away to feed their baby. I think many opposed to breastfeeding in public have had a run-in with one of those moms who bears all in ignorance and disregard for others. At least that's what my experience has been with some guys we hang out with. They're not opposed to it, they've just seen more than they bargained for before and are decent and respectful men. I like when you say, "If breastfeeding mothers want respect, we should behave respectfully". My thoughts exactly.

Bryce said...

Great topics and thoughts =] I'm new to your blog and can already tell that I am going to love following your posts! Thanks for your honesty and openness. I must admit that the other week in Target, I waited until we got to the car to nurse my 4 month old son (just turned on the 19th). I've become pretty good at nursing standing up, but the with him in the sling and my husband taking his time product comparing, I felt really stressed. But like you have said and I agree with, nursing is SO calming for both momma and child. I would love if you'd visit my family blog at Talk to you again soon!