Friday, January 17, 2014

Just Breastfeed Your Baby!

Once upon a time, a long time ago it seems, I breastfed my children, all four of them.  At home, in restaurants, walking thru Target, at friends' homes, on the beach.  And not once - not at all, ever - did someone say, "hey, lady, you can't do that here."

I'm amazed and surprised whenever a news story pops up about a mom who has been prohibited from breastfeeding her baby somewhere.  And generally, there is no insinuation that the woman was sitting in the middle of the floor, topless, so I'm assuming these moms, if they were in the act of feeding their child, were doing so somewhat discreetly, as much as one can.  Then why someone would come over and say "hey, lady, stop doing something that we can hardly even tell you are doing," I don't really understand.

And I know - yes, there are those moms who sit there almost topless, fully, or at least half-exposed, while they are feeding their baby. So, yeah, I get that no-one wants to see engorged breasts in public, unless and except when it's on the big or little screen for entertainment purposes only.  So, go back to where I said "discreetly."

The other situation is those moms who ask if it's okay to breastfeed their kid.  Why are they asking if it's okay?  I've never once taken out my kid's bottle and asked if it's okay for them to drink their juice, or asked permission before handing them a graham cracker.  So here's the lesson for you moms:
stop asking for permission!

If your baby is crying and hungry, get yourself comfy and feed your kid.

Even the Pope this week said so. Don't let the baby scream until there's a convenient and appropriate time. Feed the kid!

This week, a mom was denied access to a fitting room in Victoria's Secret to breastfeed her kid. On the one hand, I understand VS's point that it's not a feeding room, it's a fitting room for customer's to try on bras and panties that they will buy.  Having a lady sitting in there feeding her kid (whether breastmilk or a bottle) is basically using up income-producing real estate. Understood.  (I don't think that's the way the store clerk put it, but let's pretend she was nice about her refusal.)  But mom - why did you ask?  Just go in, close the curtain, and feed your kid. Take a bra in there with you if you feel like you need an excuse.  These are great, calm, cozy places to breastfeed a kid in the middle of the hectic mall.  Not advocating for turning fitting rooms into feeding rooms, but I'm just sayin'.

And the protests and the feed-ins? Okay, if that's what you want to do.  Me, I never had the energy to wrap up my baby, go somewhere I wasn't wanted, and then wait for her or him to be hungry so I can sit there and feed them to make a point.  But hey, I do stuff that other folks would consider requiring too much energy, too, so to each her own protest.

I guess the stories of moms being accosted for breastfeeding make other moms feel nervous and anxious, and so they ask.  But consider the statistics.  This week, I saw 1 story.  Maybe you saw another.  Altogether, maybe there's a handful of stories this week about moms being told don't breastfeed.  Among the millions of moms who were walking around with happily fed babies.  See? Your chances are low, it's like winning the lotto, that someone is going to bother you.  So stop asking permission, don't be anxious, and feed your kid.

Happy feeding!

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