Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Breastfeeding in Public

As most of you know, I breastfed A until she was 13 months. She self weaned right as I found out I was pregnant again. Eva is 7 months old, and she is exclusively breastfed. Breastfeeding is an amazing experience and something (that I believe) every mom should at least try if they can.

This post isn't going to be about why you should breastfeed or to convince you to. That is your choice, and I will not judge anyone for their choice. With that said, I wish there were more people who respect others for their choice to breastfeed. A baby has to eat at all times of the day, and a Mom definitely should not have to lock herself away because she chose a natural way to feed her child.

I am very fortunate to live in a country that is very supportive of breastfeeding. In fact, I get more looks when I cover up than when I don't. I have had people come up to me and lift my nursing cover to see and play with Baby E. But even though I am here, I still get the American interactions that are either for or against me breastfeeding in public.

Here is what recently happened to me: While out at a dinner for Mr. man's work, there was a group of people sitting  with us and sitting behind us. All there for the same reason - to send off a great troop and friend to his next duty station. As Baby E started to get worked up, Mr Man asked if I needed my nursing cover. Of course I replied with a "yes, please". I proceeded to ask him if I should remove myself since it was a bunch of men. He said absolutely not. He handed me the cover. I put it on and underneath it Baby E went. No comments, no bad looks, no one seemed uncomfortable.

An hour or two later, I went to change E's diaper. When I got back, it was time to nurse again. So I did. As I was preparing... like putting on my cover and unsnapping my bra, some girls at the other table begin to say things. Things such as, "is she about to breastfeed?' "I hope not." "Yep. She is." "OMG, that is so gross!" "Not to mention, unacceptable." I continued about my business.

At that moment, I didn't care. I don't care. Mr. Man does not care either. But what I do care about is how it could affect a breastfeeding Mom who may be insecure about it or a new mom. This is what this post is about.

I want and hope that all breastfeeding Mom's know that what they are doing is NOT unacceptable, NOT gross, and NOT disrespectful to others around them. I'm not saying flaunt what you have, but as long as you don't have everything hanging out, be confident in what you are doing. Do not let people with a different perspective, opinion, or preference affect your choices and actions as a parent. Many who are completely against breastfeeding are either not parents, lesbians, stubborn, insecure, or something in that nature. Many cases than not, there is a reason behind their reactions towards it. But as a parent, ALWAYS be proud and confident in your choices and there will be more people who respect, appreciate, and admire you.

This is for anything in life and anything as a parent. Yes, even parents who choose to formula feed or anything else that others may take a different approach to.

Always remember you are their parent and you know them best. You know what they need and what makes them happy. So I hope that all you new Moms or Mom's who do worry about what other people think, DON'T. Don't go to the bathroom to feed your child. Don't hide in your super hot car to feed your child. Don't seclude yourself from a crowd to feed your child unless you feel it is unsuitable for your child. And lastly, do NOT let anyone make a change in your parenting because they are insecure or uneducated in being a parent or as a parent.

Always remember, you are an amazing person, an amazing parent for whatever choices you make for your children, short of abusing and/or neglecting them.

And, treat people as you want to be treated. Respect others' choices and embrace the differences of our world.

Here is a picture of me in Barcelona on one of our last days of our trip. Breastfeeding. Uncovered. Walking down the street and the beach. Not a single person took a second look. 

1 comment:

  1. I have to say that I applaud you for this post. I think that everyone should have the right to choose what works for them and their child. I think everyone, those breastfeeding and those around them, should be respectful of the situation. In the situation above that you described at the farewell meal I don't think you did anything wrong. If those girls had a problem then they should have kept it to themselves. It is such an American thing to shame people for breastfeeding in public. Just because it isn't a choice you would make doesn't make it wrong. I wish it was a more accepting thing in our culture.
    Now for me I am such a modest person that I don't think I could breastfeed without a cover, but who knows with future kids how I will feel. My little guy was a preemie and could not latch on. He didn't have the coordination to handle it and so he would flip out, make himself sick, then refuse a bottle. So now we are exclusively pumping. I'm hoping to try with the next baby and pray things are different. It is very interesting to hear how things are different overseas than here especially when it comes to parenting.


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