Last week Elin and Hennie discussed a Youtube video of mothers breastfeeding in public. Those mothers received death threats in the video’s comments section, and the video has subsequently been removed from Youtube.
Some mothers in Indiana staged a nurse-in and breastfed their babies outside of a pizza restaurant where a mother had previously been ask to leave because she had breastfed on her previous visit to the restaurant.
There is obviously a lot of controversy about breastfeeding in public, but there is also a debate about whether women should breastfeed at all. I interviewed three women to ask them what breastfeeding means to them. These stories show that there are many sides to the debate.
I am in my 10th month of breastfeeding and love it. While it was a struggle at first (latching on, supply issues), I persevered and am so glad I did. Not only does my daughter receive excellent health benefits from breast milk, but it really is an excellent bonding experience. There is something very special about being the only person in the world who can calm and nourish my baby in this way. I plan to wean my daughter once she is a year old, which is coming up very quickly!
I am 100% pro-breastfeeding in public and in front of others. I have nursed — sans cover — in front of friends and family (including my father-in-law!), plus tons of strangers. It is a perfectly natural phenomenon, and if my child is hungry or needs comfort, I do not hesitate to “whip it out.” I have nursed in airports, on airplanes, on my front lawn, in malls, at the beach, the list goes on. If someone is uncomfortable, it’s their problem, not mine. Frankly, if a person is offended by breastfeeding, they are staring too long. The hyper-sexualization of women’s breasts is completely out of control; breastfeeding in public is my way of protesting that.
While I anticipated receiving negative reactions or weird looks from bystanders for breastfeeding in public, I never have! While I’m grateful for this, I also wouldn’t hesitate addressing the issue head-on if someone had a problem. I would merely point out that I am in no way engaging in lewd behavior, that breastfeeding is a natural act and I am merely nourishing my child. And that they need to move the hell on.
More Mothers Speak Out
There are two more mothers who shared their stories with me. I’ll share those stories in the next two days. In the mean time, we’d love to hear about your experience. Feel free to share in the comments section or over on our Facebook page.
Serena is a freelance writer who enjoys baking, protesting, and playing with little dogs.