Breastfeeding in public; normalizing the act of nursing everywhere
I have been breastfeeding for over 2 years now. At first, I breastfed Téo for a year (at the same time I was pregnant with Ély) since then I have been breastfeeding Ély for the past 6 months. I think I nursed in every location possible. I never hide in a public bathroom even though sometimes I felt intimidated by taking my breast out for everyone to see.
Why? Because none of us is used to seeing a mother breastfeeding in public, well our society feels this way. Therefore, each time, we can feel the astonishment, the discomfort, the whispers and also sometimes see the happy faces.
As breastfeeding usually requires taking your breast out to feed your baby, I often feel challenged by my own core values coming from my education and coming from our society. Sometimes, I also feel scared of the opinions and the stares coming from others.
Even to this day, I feel like it’s not easy to know you will have to take your breast out in public to breastfeed.
WHY IN 2018 IS IT STILL NOT EASY TO BREASTFEED IN PUBLIC?
- First of all, I think it’s related to the modesty we were told to have from our younger age. The breast must be hidden at all time. That’s pretty much what we were told to do as a child. It’s personal, it must be kept for yourself only. BUT MOST OF ALL, no one ever explained to us as much as they told us to hide our breast what was the main reason why women have a breast.
- Also, our society sexualized this part of our body so much that, none of us is used to seeing a nipple out and that’s without mentioning its main usage other than sexual desires for men and women.
- Furthermore, breastfeeding in public still is a very marginal action. Not many women breastfeed or want to breastfeed in public (for many reasons mentioned above). Which means that taking your breast out in public to breastfeed your baby still is not as normal as taking a bottle out of your bag to feed your baby. I don’t know about you, but in my family, I have to go way back like after my great-grandmother to see that women were breastfeeding, none of the women in between did.
And this is exactly the reason why I am writing this post. I wish that in the future, people will be more aware of the situation and more women will opt to breastfeed their babies, that they can do it in public if they feel like it and that it only feels… normal to do so.
Breastfeeding needs to be seen as a normal and as ordinary as giving a bottle to your baby. (And I have to mention here, before you throw me a rock, that I have absolutely nothing against baby fed with bottles. Like nothing, to each its own, all that matters are healthy babies!)
I probably have some work to do on my own, for me to step away from everybody’s judgment and just act like I don’t care. I know I have to work on that, I often have to talk myself down before taking my breast out in public by repeating to myself that this is a normal act and that I shouldn’t feel bad about it.
Whilst writing these lines, I am analyzing myself and I know I have the duty (in my own way) and the power to bring things forward. I have to be the first the make the right moves, to create those changes. And by that, I mean never feeling bad about breastfeeding in public.
I suppose that the more we will see women breastfeeding, whether it’s through this post, or the women sitting across from you at the restaurant, or with a picture on social media or even on television, the more it will be destigmatized. I feel like that’s the only way for us to get there. I have put myself out there many times by using words or pictures and by talking about breastfeeding on our blog and on social media. See more here, here, here and here.
I truly believe that we still have a lot to accomplish for everybody to see this action as a normal and as an ordinary gesture.
Are you breastfeeding? How is it to breastfeed in public?
If you’re not breastfeeding, what are your thoughts?
We want to hear you!
Léa, 28 years old, loves my life and my 3 mens. I am a go-getter, a sociable and creative person. My heart always wants what’s real and my taste pallet always wants what’s good #foody ;). I adore to travel, to read, to make new discoveries as well as practicing yoga #Namaste.