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Normalizing Breastfeeding: Breastfeed In Public!

August 1st, 2013 | Posted by Angela Roberts in Breastfeeding | Natural Parenting

Today begins World Breastfeeding Week and I would like to kick it off with a breastfeeding post.  Breastfeeding is natural.  Breastfeeding is beautiful.  I breastfeed in public often for two reasons.  The first is my child’s need to breastfeed and the second is that by breastfeeding in public I can help to normalize breastfeeding.  The more that people witness mamas out and about breastfeeding their children the more normal breastfeeding will become.

I have three children and have been breastfeeding for eight years.  My remaining nursling is almost three years old.  I am extremely comfortable with breastfeeding and also totally comfortable breastfeeding in public.  I know that my comfort with breastfeeding has influenced my children, my extended family members, and even people who were once strangers.

I did not begin my breastfeeding journey with the confidence that I have now.  As a new mama I was a bit nervous breastfeeding in public.  There was an incident at a wedding that opened my eyes and made me realize that breastfeeding in public is totally acceptable.

Here is the wedding story:

My husband and I attended a friend’s wedding with Alex who was only a few months old.  The wedding and reception took place in a small community center on the beach.  I was a new mama and still discovering my breastfeeding comfort zone.  I looked for an out-of-the-way spot to feed Alex.  A woman saw me searching and told me that she would get me a chair to breastfeed in a private room.  I thought that she was very kind.  She got a char for me and opened the door to the room.   I was shocked when I entered the room and realized that it was the broom closet.   The lady shut the door and I was left in a dimly lit room to sit on a metal chair among brooms and mops.  I looked around and became disgusted with the situation.   I embraced Alex and quickly exited the broom closet and joined my husband at the table in the middle of the reception.   I sat down among the crowd and breastfed Alex.

There is no reason for a mother to be asked to go to a bathroom, closet, or separate room to feed her child.  It is acceptable for a baby

photo credit: SunSentinel.com

to be given a bottle in any location and it should be just as acceptable for a breastfed baby to be fed in any location.   We have to change the opinion of the many people who seem to think that breastfeeding is obscene and/or should be done privately.

Mamas, every time you breastfeed in public you help to normalize breastfeeding.  You may give an expecting or new mama the confidence that she needs.  You help fathers understand that it is totally normal to feed children in public whether it be by breast or bottle.  The children that see you will gain exposure to breastfeeding, this will help shape their view of breastfeeding.  AND  it exposes the general public to breastfeeding.  The more people see mothers breastfeeding the more normalized breastfeeding will become.

I hope that when my daughters become mamas they are able to breastfeed in public without being asked to cover up or leave.  I hope that they never have to endure the disapproving and critical glances that I occasionally receive.  I know that all of the effort that us mamas are putting into normalizing breastfeeding will pay off, the world will certainly be a better  place because of it!

Happy breastfeeding week!  Do you have a public breastfeeding experience or a breastfeeding post that you would like to share? If so, I would love for you to leave it in the comments.

 

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