I think one of the big problems standing in the way of breastfeeding, is fear. The thought of breastfeeding in public is so terrifying, that some women simply can’t imagine trying it. They might breastfeed in hospital and find it ok, but as soon as they’re back home and going about their daily life, they want to keep their baps covered and so give up.I understand this, I’m not one of those confident, unapologetic, breastfeeders who whips both breasts out in the middle of a cafe. Although, I do feel very impressed by those women. I’m more of a please-please-don’t-let-anyone-see-anything breastfeeder. And I found it especially terrifying in the early days.
I was worried that people would be able to see everything, or that (as once happened, on a particularly impressive early breastfeeding experience) Ebony would pull off and I would squirt milk in five directions simultaneously, probably into the coffees of unsuspecting elderly strangers.
As time went on, I felt more confident about feeding in public. I often carried a thin scarf because it was spring, and so if I felt I was in public view, I would use the scarf to cover myself while Ebony latched on. I tried to sit in corners and quiet spots in cafes and restaurants, so that I wouldn’t feel so exposed. I would wear vest tops underneath my clothes so that I could pull the vest top down, and the other top up and feed without having my entire breast/post-pregnancy tummy of horrors on display.
I would love to be on of the women who doesn’t care whether people see. I agree wholeheartedly that people should get used to seeing breastfeeding, and that if it was a more common occurrence then it would become normalised and more women would be encouraged to try it. I also believe that breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed a baby, and that anyone who objects to seeing a breastfeeding mother is a complete and utter twat. But, I can’t help but feel self-conscious. And so I’m glad I used all of the above techniques to allow myself to feel comfortable breastfeeding.
Apart from one negative experience, I have found the reaction to breastfeeding in public to be really positive. From people not noticing, to other mothers coming over to congratulate me for breastfeeding for so long - I’ve always felt really supported and proud to breastfeed. Whenever I see breastfeeding mums now, I try to give them the nod so that they’ll feel supported too.
But is the nod an actual thing, or am I just going round creeping out breastfeeding women?
To find out more about the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt, click here.
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