Bismillahir rahmanir raheem
Breastfeeding seems to be getting a bad deal from people.
A lot of women are being put off breastfeeding in public due to the negative backlash they fear facing but, from the beginning I made it clear that if my child was hungry I would feed them, no matter where we were. This was a bold statement to make, especially when I hadn’t nursed or given birth to my child yet but alhamdulillah, now he’s here I’m happy to say I’ve stuck to my word.
The first time I breastfed in public I didn’t even think about it. M was due a feed and instinctively I covered my chest with a muslin cloth and began to feed him. It wasn’t until after he was finished that I thought, subhanAllah, that was the first time I’ve fed him in public. It was so easy and simple, as easy as pulling out a bottle of water, some formula and mixing the two. Just that this formula was ready made and at a perfect temperature ready to serve.
The second time was when husband and I visited the Lapworth Museum at the University of Birmingham. Again the hungry cry was ringing loud and clear! And again, I covered myself with a blanket, latched him on and continued to enjoy the artefacts. I remember there being a woman there who was wearing a bay carrier who gave me a small smile, perhaps another proud public breastfeeder I thought in my mind and I returned her smile.
Just yesterday I nursed in the line at my local Lidl whilst doing the weekly shop!
I strongly believe that one of the problems that makes women go ‘underground’ when it comes to breastfeeding in public is the over-sexualisation of the female body. Yes, we can be sexual creatures but the female form is multi-purpose (for want of a better phrase). It is not wholly sexual and it is not entirely for nursing. Just as people sit in public and eat, I don’t see why I should cower in a corner or hide in a smelly bathroom so my child can eat. This equally goes for those women who feel like they should be ashamed for pulling out a bottle and asking for it to be warmed in a restaurant, at the end of the day if your child needs to eat, they need to eat.
This article is by no means to shame women who choose or are unable to breastfeed their children. That is a choice you must make as a mother and it should be respected. However, women shouldn’t be put off by going out if they breastfeed because they’re worried about people’s reactions to it. I’ve found that it not only boosted my confidence, it has helped me to adjust to motherhood, making it as much a part of my life as anything else.
I’d really be interested in hearing your thoughts on breastfeeding and nursing in public. Would you do it, or does the thought just totally put you off? Comment below!