Last night I jumped onto Facebook to have a quick read when I came across this article posted by another mother’s blog that I follow:

Of course this got my attention since I’m a breastfeeding mum, so I read the article. Needless to say I had steam coming out of my ears, not just at what had happened to this poor woman but that I could relate to it myself in recent days. You would think it would end there, but no, I decided to read some of the comments on the article. Well all I can say is how ignorant are people?!

I can’t let this rest, I have to have my say before my head explodes with the anger that is building from everything I’ve read. There are so many aspects to this that annoy me. The first point that angers me is what gives people the right to tell a nursing mother when and where she can feed her hungry baby. If my son is hungry and crying out for food, I will and do feed him when and wherever I need to, to calm him and settle him down.

Recently I had Preston and Addison at Woolworths and Preston let rip. He wanted food and wanted it now, there was no waiting. He was only a few weeks old at the time and I don’t believe in making a baby this little (actually I don’t like to let any hungry baby) wait to be fed. Instead of screaming down the shop I fed him, standing there in the checkout queue. As soon as he got the breast he calmed down and stopped crying, in my mind the best result for myself, my baby and all the other shoppers. Or would you all prefer to have a screaming baby left to cry??

The next is that they expect you to go to a parents room to feed. Ok so sometimes this is easier but as I found yesterday at the shops, in peak times they fill up fast, they are often very spread out in the shops making you carry a crying baby and juggle everything else to get to one, some only have facilities to change a nappy and are simply a wheel chair toilet with a pull down change table (ie no seat to feed, unless of course they expect you to sit on the toilet?) Do you eat your meals in the toilet?? Why should a baby have to? Then there is the case of no parent’s room at all.

I was at Harvey Norman the other day where there was no parents room available. My options as I saw them were as follows. 1. Sit inside the shop on one of their pieces of furniture for sale, which I decided might be considered rude. 2. Sit in my car (which was actually parked a long way away and since we were not finished shopping, I decided against this). 3. Sit outside the shop, in the heat on a park bench and feed there. It might have not been the most comfortable location but that’s what we did. And guess what, I had some woman walk past and give me such a dirty look as though to say “how dare you feed there!” All I can say is I wish I didn’t have to either! It was hot, and uncomfortable, but where was I supposed to go? My other option was a cafe in the area, but then I would have had to buy something to not have been deemed rude too and then hey, I might have been offending other ignorant patrons with my shocking need to feed my baby!!

I rarely use parents rooms when I’m on my own with my two boys. Generally when I’m at the shops Addison is asleep in the pram. If Preston wakes up and wants a feed there is no way you would ever get me to go in a parents room. The crying babies and screaming children would most certainly wake Addison and I would have more of a problem than just a hungry baby on my hands. I find a seat somewhere in the shopping center and do what I have to, keeping my sleeping boy happy and my hungry baby satisfied making for one very happy and calm Mummy.

I don’t know what it is but it seems that babies know when you are having a meal yourself, so of course I do what plenty of other mums do…multi task! I eat my meal and feed my baby at the same time in a food court, cafe, restaurant at the table whenever the need arises. Trust me, I don’t like having to juggle my baby and eat my meal but if I didn’t I would starve! No one else is going to give up their meal to hold the crying baby for you while you eat.

The fact that they told this woman to leave and stop feeding where she was is actually 100% illegal. Here are your legal rights as a breastfeeding mother clearly outlined on the Australian Breastfeeding Associations website: To be discriminated against like this for doing something so natural upsets me to no end. No one looks twice when a mum pulls out a bottle but how dare we pull out a breast. I would hate to tell you all, but this is what God gave us breasts for, to feed our babies! We are simply doing what we feel is right for our children and no one has grounds to tell us otherwise. Either way, breast or bottle you are feeding your hungry baby, there is no difference.

For those of you that expect a mother feeding in public to cover up, I guess you have never tried it. Not all babies like to be covered when feeding, would you really like to have something over your head when eating your lunch or dinner? I would find it rather annoying and uncomforable. Both my boys have been restless feeders, they kick and pull, wriggling the entire time. If I add a blanket etc to this they are 10x worse to feed. It falls off constantly, it makes attachment hard and like Preston, babies pull off the breast constantly making the entire process stressful. Not to mention how hot it gets under there. A breastfeeding mum’s body temperature is already higher than normal, then you add the fact that both my boys were summer babies, the skin on skin contact during feeding, then pop a cover over the both of us and you have two very hot and uncomfortable bodies. Why put a mother and baby through all this when the most you see when feeding is a few seconds of breast at the beginning and end of each feed? A babies head covers more of the breast than most dresses and low cut tops these days.

What is even more frustrating is that this poor woman was at a swimming pool where all kinds of flesh would have been flashing around the place. So why worry about a few seconds of breast from a feeding mother? She would have had to drag her two other children out of the pool (could you imagine their reactions to having to stop swimming and having fun), pack up all her things (which I’m sure she had a haul of stuff with her as any mother knows on any type of outing) just to feed her bub. Give us hard working Mothers a break!

Why are people so worried and offended about seeing a mother nursing her baby, yet watching all sorts of graphic images in movies, games and on tv are simply given a viewer discretion rating. Heck the news is more upsetting with all the war and violence in our society. For goodness sake, let our little girls and little boys see what a Mummy’s breasts are really for!

In a post on the issue a woman put it perfectly “The precious chance for a child to see what breasts are actually designed for is unfortunately becoming much too rare. Go forth and feed your babies with pride ladies and make the world a better place :)” I could not agree more!

I could go on and on about this topic, I’ve really only touched on the tip of the iceberg. I’m that outraged and flabbergasted by this. I hope that some good can come of this poor Mother’s upsetting encounter. Employers need to educate staff, handle customer complaints in the correct manner and simply avoid any discrimination of a mothers’ legal right to feed her baby when and where she likes, cover or no cover. The general public need to be aware, get your head out of the sand. If you find the flesh so offensive, then don’t look but for heavens sake don’t make a Mother doing what is best for her child ashamed or embarrassed. How dare you!

Categories: Life's Fun & Games

One Response so far.

  1. Gran says:

    Well said, Melissa. I agree with everything you have said here and I’m glad you gave the reference to the Australian Breastfeeding Association website. I was involved in this organisation when it was Nursing Mothers in the 80’s and one of our main efforts was to promote better appointed parents rooms that really catered for the needs of parents and especially those needing a quiet and comfortable place to feed. I agree the change table and a toilet do not meet this need at all. We don’t seem to have any problems with other mammals feeding their babies the milk designed for them, so why question human mothers giving their babies a feed when it is needed and where it is needed. I see how Preston is thriving so well and I’m so proud of the way you care for him and his brother and are committed to giving them the very best ou can. Great job.
    Mum E

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