Breastfeeding in public can be daunting, particularly for a new mum. You can feel judged, nervous and if you can’t settle your hungry baby quick enough, the stress sets in.
This is exactly how New Zealand mum Briar Luisa McQueen felt when she ventured out on her own for the first time with her then eight-week-old son. But instead of the judgement she was bracing for, she was left gobsmacked by the kindness of a stranger.
Act of kindness
Briar shared her sweet encounter with a stranger last May in a Facebook post that has struck a chord with many, receiving more than 300,000 reactions, 14,000 comments and 12,000 shares.
“(I) just wanted to share this really sweet moment I had this morning,” Briar wrote.
“Today was the first time I went out for breakfast alone with my eight-week-old son.
“I had just received my breakfast and hot chocolate when Jaxon started crying wanting his booby, so of course I fed him.
“After a few minutes, this older lady walked up to me, I was scared, thinking she was gonna tell me to put my boob away, instead she starts cutting up my breakfast for me and said, ‘What a good mama you are, we can’t have your food getting cold can we’.
“I honestly could have cried…loveliest lady EVER!!”
Plenty of people were quick to throw their support behind the new mum.
One user wrote: “That’s fabulous! Such a shame we have to think the worst of people and the stigma is still out there for feeding our child. Let’s hope there are more and more positive experiences like yours.”
“This is how every breastfeeding mum deserves to be treated when they are breastfeeding in public,” another wrote.
Shake off the negative
My first public breastfeeding experience was similar to Briar’s but went a very different way.
My husband and I took our then newborn son out to a cafe to have breakfast.
Just as our order arrived, it turned out we were not the only hungry ones.
As I fumbled to set myself up to breastfeed, I saw the looks of disapproval from two elderly ladies sitting opposite us.
I also heard one say, ‘Never in my day, fancy doing that in public, how disgusting’.
Not that it matters, but I always used a breastfeeding cover or wrap for my own comfort and privacy.
Today, I would shake it off and just feed my baby and enjoy my pancakes but at the time I retreated to the parents room to feed.
Instead of enjoying my breakfast hot, I sat in a cold room as the smell of dirty nappies wafted in the air.
Thankfully, after that day, I never experienced anything but support when I breastfed. Let’s be more like Briar’s kind stranger and support all the amazing mums out there doing such a fabulous job.
We would love to hear about your first time breastfeeding in public.