Regular guest blogger Sandra talks about her experiences breastfeeding in public. This comes as Womens Views on News reports that Callista Gingrich calls the cops on a breastfeeding mother. We have heard rumours that this story is satire, we dont know if it is, but the fact the story is all too believable should say something regardless.
I’ve been breastfeeding my daughter Ella for 18 months now, and I breastfed exclusively for the first nine months (I’d like to say that I only started weaning her because she was so determined to eat the food from my plate!) so there were (and are) many times where I’ve had to feed her in public. So what’s the big deal?
Let me set the scene. I’m on a bus, feeding Ella, with her sling wrapped around us to help shelter her from the noise and lights, as she’s trying to sleep. Two women get on the bus, sit directly behind me, and one mutters (very loudly) that “it’s not cold, I don’t see why she’s wrapped up in her coat like that”. To which her friend says, “no, love, she’s feeding her baby.” Here I predicted the end of the conversation, but instead, she raised her voice even more and lambasted me (indirectly of course) about how it was “indecent” to have my breast out in a public place, and that I should have brought a bottle to feed my baby with so I wouldn’t be disturbing others with the unwanted sight of my body.
There are so many things that made me angry about what she said – not least the fact that I was covered up to begin with (she couldn’t even see my breast, she was only aware it was out once someone else informed her), the fact that her suggestion to feed Ella with a bottle would have been a hindrance to her breastfeeding (since a rubber teat can cause nipple confusion and stop babies knowing how to suckle properly at a real breast), and that breast milk takes a fair bit of time to express when you’re trying to stock up for a whole day out of the house (or wait, should I be giving her cow’s milk instead of mine?) Perhaps should I have just let her go hungry, and let her cry for the entirety of the journey? – but the worst part was the fact that she was offended by me using my breast for the most natural reason I can think of.