It’s been a good few days since I last blogged. I’ve just been quite busy working and mothering.
However, I’m incensed today. Besides the fact that I’m generally a bit angry as a normal state, I’m pretty annoyed that in 2013, where we’re supposed to be enlightened in Australia, breastfeeding is still a topic of debate.
I absolutely believe that the breastfeeding naysayers tie into the anti-feminism debate. Breastfeeding is a woman only activity. Sorry dads, but biologically you can’t do it. I wonder if men could do it, would it be such a polarising topic. Would there be such opposition to a man feeding his baby in public?
This week in Australia, a woman who was breastfeeding her baby felt humiliated and compelled to leave a public swimming pool because she refused to feed her baby away from the public eye. That’s right. A staff member of the pool told a nursing mother that she couldn’t breastfeed her child in public view. In Australia. Where it’s against the law to discriminate against breastfeeding mothers.
So today the debate rages. A high profile breakfast TV presenter (you know the type, the commercial radio breakfast show DJ of the TV world) has said that the mother should feed discreetly to prevent making other people feel uncomfortable.
Other people matter when we breastfeed our babies?
I can honestly say that during the 15 months I breastfed my daughter, I did not give a second thought to anybody except my daughter when feeding her. I’ve fed her in restaurants, at the park, in the tea room at work, at the shopping centre (you get my drift). I only ever once had a woman look at me like I was doing the wrong thing. Nobody ever said anything to me. One time I was feeding Missy as a little one on a bench outside of a shop, an elderly woman who could barely speak English, congratulated me on doing so well.
In saying this, I did not ever sit there with my breast out. I also often used feeding rooms, but was very picky where. Some smelled like a broken sewer. Some did not have chairs in them. Some were so dirty, I felt it was a health hazard for my baby and I to sit in them. In those instances, I’d sit in my car if I couldn’t find anywhere for us to sit where I felt comfortable. It wasn’t about modesty for ‘flashing my breasts’, it was about going somewhere quiet so my daughter wasn’t distracted and would feed. When I did feed my child in ‘public view’, I was not using my daughter as a political statement. I was just trying to feed her.. Like any mother does, regardless of whether that child is breast or bottle fed.
First and foremost, in those 15 months I was breastfeeding, my breasts were my babies food source, not a sexual play thing. I also did not ever cover her head while she fed. Have you ever eaten a sandwich with a blanket over your head? It’s darn near impossible.
It’s time to get over the ‘breast feeding debate’. It’s time to stop worrying about how babies are fed. Breast or bottle, it’s up to the parents, nobody else. If a mother needs to feed her child, then she should be able to, wherever she is, however she chooses, without having to worry about offending or upsetting anyone.
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