A Mum’s Take on Breastfeeding in Public
On Friday the car was a mess and the weather was sticky and the thought of getting into the car to breastfeed was completely unappealing. I think my little three month old man felt exactly the same way as I did. So, we sat on the side of the curb by the car. I lifted my double layered breastfeeding top and did, what I thought was, a very discreet job of breastfeeding him.
Discreet or not, it made my husband uncomfortable. I don’t think it’s because he’s bothered by my breasts possibly being exposed. I think it’s more that it ignites his protective instinct. He just wants to shield me from how other people might perceive my breastfeeding.
All the same, my husband’s reaction reminded me that breastfeeding in public is not as easy as it should be.
When I breastfeed in public, I try very hard to not show anything at all because I know that it makes other people uncomfortable – even if they don’t want it to make them feel uncomfortable. And, because I know that it makes other people feel just that little bit awkward, I also have to put on a bit of bravado and completely forget what I’m doing. Otherwise my anxiousness about making other people uncomfortable rubs off on bub and the feed goes terribly…usually resulting in me spraying half the room with breast milk because little man keeps popping off.
As a general rule, people are very tolerant of breastfeeding in public and it’s wonderful that Australian law states that a woman is allowed to breastfeed her child anywhere and at any time. But there is still a stigma of awkwardness.
Does it bother you too? If it does, how do you cope with it? Or do you find that you can’t and you end up organising your feeds so that you are at home or in a place that you do feel is comfortable? Is there anywhere other than home that you do feel 100% comfortable breastfeeding? And finally, do you think it is possible to change this awkwardness?
Perhaps it is simply something that will change over time as more and more mums take the plunge and breastfeed in public. Society might then become so accustomed to it that it simply isn’t an activity worth worrying about which direction you stare in anymore.
This post was written by a Mum who works for Mamaway. Mamaway designs and sells maternity wear as well as breastfeeding tops and dresses that are easy for breastfeeding. If you struggle with breastfeeding in public, please take a look at this article which offers some tips for stress free breastfeeding in public