I love this great blog post from Geraldine at Let's Breastfeed!
Is this what breastfeeding in 2010 in one of the worlds most liberal countries looks like? In a country where boundaries are pretty much non existent when it comes to the sex industry, I find it outrageous that mums are being thrown out of shops, told to face the wall in a library or worse.
Whilst breastfeeding is gaining momentum, breastfeeding rates in the UK are still very fragile. Mums are constantly bombarded with benefits of breastfeeding from peers, childbirth education courses, the press, the Government, to the point where many are too afraid to openly say:’But I don’t want to breastfeed.’
Why are mums bombarded with all this information? Well, because the benefits of breastfeeding are really something special and we want to encourage mums to give breastfeeding a chance, in spite of the negative association of cracked nipples, mastitis and so on.
However, when mums do breast feed, lot of the hard work and time mums have invested in breastfeeding, seems to go down the tubes. Not by their own doing, but thanks to the flippant remarks and direct attacks on mums who dare to breastfeed in public!
There aren’t many mums who are able to breast feed much beyond the 2 week mark without cracked nipples, mastitis or readmission to hospital due to dehydration. Many feel that they can’t continue and move onto bottle feeding with a heavy heart. For the mums who get through the first 2-3 weeks and manage to find their feet, more trouble is on the horizon.
Going into the big wide world seems so daunting for some new mums that many don’t leave the house for weeks. The question I am asked frequently is how to breastfeed in public discreetly. The answer is: “Through your ‘T’ shirt!” or that it is nigh on impossible, especially when trying to feed a little friend of the 3 month old age range.
Sure there are many cover ups you can invest in such as a nursing poncho, but surely it would be easier to educate the general public that breastfeeding is the norm and should they have the audacity to verbally abuse breastfeeding mums, it is evidence of their small mindedness and ignorance. If you don’t like – don’t look!
Sadly some clients feel too battered after these verbal assaults to breast feed in public and resort to bottle feeding EBM, only to be attacked by the ‘Pro-breast feeders’ and ‘feminists’. Seriously – as a new breastfeeding mum, how do you win?
Long story short – to the general public…just leave mums alone. If they want your opinion, good or bad, they will ask for it.
To somebody in Government – grow a spine and enforce on the spot fines to companies or establishments where mums are attacked. Put your weight behind this and prove your support for breastfeeding mums!
Primark – you are first on my hit list!