A Mother’s Opinion On Breastfeeding In Public, And Why People Should Get Over It Already
Have you ever had to take the walk of shame after being notified that you have a big bloody red stain on the back of your pants or dress? Have you ever laughed your whole night away only to check your teeth in the mirror later and realize that you have a big green piece of spinach smiling back at folks? Oh, the horror!
Think about this: Have you ever had to nurse a crying baby in public without a receiving blanket to cover your boob with and felt apprehensive about it? Welp, the feeling that nursing in public used to elicit for me and others presently is the same feeling that some of your most embarrassing moments would bring about and really, that is a shame.
Have you ever heard the nursing mom drop the, “I’m about to pop my breast out and feed the baby” disclaimer? Even the announcement has a “You better get ready!” type of stigma and embarrassment attached to it. It’s similar to notifying your companions that you need to be excused to pass gas.
For me, it’s incredibly sad to read the slew of negative comments from the articles written about the college graduate that posted a photo of herself in her cap and gown breastfeeding her infant daughter. I get it, it’s a boob, and for society, boobs should either be used as a sexual object or hidden. We as a society cannot fathom the thought of breasts being exposed for anything other than a woman’s liberation protest or as sex objects.
I’m not a hardcore feminist that can spit long-winded speeches about a woman’s right to breastfeed her child, but I am a mother that has been the target of side eyes and stares of disgust from folks while feeding my baby with my breast in public. I know what it is to be crouched in the backseat of my car, feverishly trying to quiet my fussy baby with the only milk I had available to me, the milk that comes from my natural breast.
The milk that comes from a woman’s breast is truly liquid gold for a baby. You would be amazed at what a few drops of breast milk can even do to heal an eye infection. My second son had green eye goop pouring from his eyes for about a month after he was born. And for that month I followed docs orders and ‘waited for it to clear up.’ I later decided to try something different and started dropping bits of breast milk into the infected eyes, and within a week, his infection was gone. Unfortunately, there is a stigma attached to nursing and whipping out your boob for the sake of your child, and millions of women will choose formula over the good stuff that is breast milk to appease and maintain the comfort of others.
Telling a woman to hide while she feeds her baby, regardless of where it’s coming from, is disrespectful. To be real honest about it, criticizing a woman for pulling out her breast and feeding her child with or without a blanket reminds me of a kindergarten class pointing and wining, “Ewwwww, you’ve got the cooties!” Are we not grown enough to recognize that breasts are naturally made for feeding and there does not have to be anything sexual about it?
I applaud the graduate that decided she wouldn’t let the criticism of others deter her from providing her baby with breast milk that was made to nourish her baby in a way that the best man-made formula could never compare to. It saddens me to see such negative response’s from the young and the old in our society, as it can make many women apprehensive about breastfeeding and can keep babies from benefiting from the greatness of their mother’s milk.
I say, let us breastfeeding women be great. Let breastfeeding women provide the greatness that is breast milk to our babies without feeling ashamed about it. And really, if you don’t like it and can’t stand it, stop looking!
Opal Stacie is a freelance writer out of the Miami area. Tweet her @OpalStacie