To breastfeed, or not to breastfeed? For me, there was no question. I knew, before I was pregnant, that I would do my very best with trying to breastfeed my child. Many mothers make the same choice, and many others do not. Women have the right to chose. What I don't understand is the battle that some nursing mothers go through while feeding their child.
Whether its nasty looks, vicious comments, or negative responses to nursing in the news, moms who breastfeed have to face this negativity at one point or another- unless they become hermits.
The following are various comments I've seen and heard about nursing in public. I will tackle each one with some food-for-thought.
1. "She should take it to the bathroom"
-really? REALLY? The bathroom? You mean- sit on the toilet (or the floor??) And listen to/ smell what others are doing in there? Absolutely not! Why don't YOU take YOUR dinner to the bathroom and see how well you stomach it.
2. "They make covers for a reason"
-personally, my son would cause more of a scene fighting with me over the blanket than he would by calmly nursing. You would see MORE of my breast while I try to fight him to keep the blanket over his face. Not only that, but in hot weather- I couldn't imagine being cuddled up to something that's 98.6 degrees AND have a blanket over my head while eating. Yuck!
3. "Its indecent exposure"
-no, actually, its not. Each state has a slight variation to their laws on public nursing, but each state basically says a mom is LEGALLY allowed to nurse wherever she is otherwise authorized to be. Yes, that's right, nursing mothers are protected by LAW!
4. "Its sexual abuse"
-Yes. Believe it or not- its been said. I can't even comment on it without cussing...
5. "Can't she just give the baby a bottle?"
-ok, let me explain this one. First of all, not every mom can afford a pump. Yes, she can hand express- but she won't get much. With an expensive electric pump I can sit there for about 20min and get an ounc, TOTAL from BOTH sides if I'm lucky. My son needs at least 4oz PER bottle. If I'm going out on short notice- I can't magically pump the right amount. A baby's mouth does a far superior job of getting the milk. Yes, I have a stash in the freezer but it is for (a) date nights and (b) emergencies. I will not waste it while my baby is WITH me because some prude can't stand to see breasts being used for what they're designed to do!
Another way to wrap it up: breast is best, and it is my legal right to feed my child in public using my breasts- and his needs come way before a stranger that has issues with nursing.
Stop giving nursing moms hell- and start supporting them while they give their baby the very best nutrition possible!