I’m gobby. There is no doubt about it. I have yelled at people for pushing in queues in shops, given drivers the “V” who have cut me up and hence my Nan has called me a fishwife in the past. This is not something I am generally proud of now and I do try to think before I open my mouth.
So the very thought of someone daring to make a comment about me breastfeeding in public was enough to get me riled. I was ready for ANYONE who challenged me. But it never happened. Not once. Trust me this was a surprise. What about all those stories in the Daily Fail? Being booted out of cafes and restaurants for showing a nipple and daring to feed their children. I’m not sure sure if it’s where I live, the friends I was with who were also feeding, or just my blase “whip my boob out” attitude.
I’ve fed in the lovely designated John Lewis baby rooms, cafes, restaurants, the park, on an aeroplane, in a side room during a wedding, behind a clothes rack in Tesco, on floors, in people’s houses. I’ve lost track. I never had an issue. Not once. In fact people have been really nice. On one particularly difficult day I sat on a bench in town, whilst the gremlin refused to latch on. A nice old dear came up to me to have a peek at her and said how lovely it was I was managing to breastfeed. This was great and I persevered with the little monster.
I’m not saying people don’t have issues with public feeding. You do read about it all the time, it does happen and it is horrendous. I do believe however, a lot of issues may stem from fear and worry by the Mum themselves about what other people may think about their public breastfeeding. There is a lot of insecurities, possibly instigated from some of the horror stories published in the news. Can someone see my boob? Am I doing it right? What if my baby cries? There are lots of worries. I know people conversely worry about public bottle feeding (well they aren’t breastfeeding so what about being judged?).
My experience was very positive and my advice would be, as Nike says, “Just do it”. The more nonchalant you are the better. Try breastfeeding cafes, go with friends and practice at home first if you are worried. If all else fails and your baby is screaming or you nipple pops out, hold your head high and stuff everyone. You have a right to feed your baby wherever you need to and feel proud that you are doing such a good job.