I’d like to preface this by saying that my opinion on this subject doesn’t matter. Nor does any other man or person’s opinion matter. In fact, the only opinion that does count is the mum and bub in question. It really is about time people dropped their own dissatisfaction on the topic and let babies eat in peace for once.
But for the purposes of this article I’ll share a snippet of my view. I’ll also share a true story from the view of a dad of two wonderful kids and husband to a beautiful woman that was fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed both our children as long as she was able to.
My wife was sitting in a café with her mum while enjoy a day out. She was seated with her back against the wall, holding our newborn daughter whom was covered under a breastfeeding wrap. As she sat there, covered, feeding our child, an older woman, probably in her late 70s turned around and asked my wife to “stop that” as it was making it difficult for “[her] and her husband to eat their meal”. With that she asked my wife to go to the feeding restroom instead, to which my wife and mother-in-law replied that our daughter needed to be fed and if the older couple had an issue with that they were welcome to move themselves away.
To say I have a problem with this reaction is an understatement. I’m extremely proud of my wife for standing her ground. This notion that it’s okay to make a mother feel uncomfortable for providing the basic necessity to a baby is ludicrous. I find the idea insane that a stranger feels they have the right to question a breastfeeding mother. I have no hesitation in saying they are well out of their place in this turn of the century to even believe they even have to right to raise the issue.
I’m not convinced more women would breastfeed in public more often, both proudly and comfortably – as they should – if it weren’t for the unfortunate stigma that is imposed on them by a select few.
I’d go so far as to say that anyone that finds the natural role of providing milk to a baby through breastfeeding to be anything but exactly that… natural… to be borderline disturbed.
The time a mother and baby shares during those moments while breastfeeding is one of bonding. In my wife’s words: “Breastfeeding is one of the strongest bonds a mother can share with her baby in that moment”.
Knowing that alone, I find it extremely annoying anyone would have the audacity to try and interrupt that bond. Furthermore, there is nothing sexual about a breast that is exposed while feeding a baby and any man or woman that is uncomfortable seeing it as such during feeding should recalibrate their moral compass, to say the least.
Asking a woman to move to a restroom is just plain degrading
Although we are fortunate to have comfortable feeding rooms setup for women that choose to feed discreetly at our shopping mall, no woman should be asked to go there. For those that like the privacy they offer – that is a preference and they have the right to choose.
Having said that, I’d also like to say if you’re a mum that chooses to feed your baby by formula and bottle, kudos to you. If you’re a mum that chooses to feed through breastfeeding, kudos to you too. You have the right to parent according to your own style. Neither should be judged and where they take place – whether in private or public – is no one’s business but your own.
Oh, and while I’m on the topic, to the lady that asked my wife to move somewhere else to feed, let’s take a moment to appreciate exactly where the milk in your latté came from and how it made it to your cup.