When I had my oldest daughter, I was terrified to breastfeed in public. I wasn’t familiar with it and felt it was taboo for anyone else to see me feeding my daughter. Fast forward two kids later and I will nurse anywhere and everywhere without a problem.
Right now, I am Macks’ only source of food and nutrition. I nurse him on demand and if he happens to get hungry while we are out to dinner or out running errands, I’ll nurse him to satisfy his hunger needs. Most of the time I have a nursing cover, but as Macks gets older, he is becoming increasingly annoyed with having something over his head while he is eating.
While I know that not everyone is comfortable with seeing a woman breastfeeding their child in public, it is outrageous that they would publicly shame her for doing so. Kate White was at her local Chick-fil-A for a play date with her mother’s group. As a courtesy, she asked other mothers in the group if they cared that she breastfed her baby because she forgot her nursing cover at home. They didn’t mind, but someone else in the restaurant did and even snapped a photo of her while doing it. The photo was then uploaded by that person onto Facebook along with the caption, “Anybody want some milk? Noon time at a restaurant is not a place to do this?” Kate was shocked to find the photo, which had gone viral on Facebook, with hundreds of comments from people across the country.
This not only makes me incredibly sad for White, it also infuriates me that our society has such a problem with breastfeeding in public. Nursing our children, no matter where you are doing it, is not sexual. It’s a natural thing that allow us, as mothers, to nourish our kids.
I’ve seen dozens of stories of mothers kicked out of restaurants, told to go into the bathroom, or comments of disgust from onlookers, all because they were feeding their child. Here’s my response to you: “If you don’t like what you see, don’t look.”
As parents, it is our jobs to stop this ongoing cycle that breastfeeding is gross or something sexual. My girls see me feed Macks all the time and don’t think anything of it. If they saw another mother nursing in public, rather than staring, they probably wouldn’t even take a second look because it is so normal to them … as it should be for everyone in our society.
Breastfeeding isn’t a trend; it’s not going to go away anytime soon. So we need to get used to seeing it in public and stop shaming moms for doing it.
Read more from Lauren at her personal blog, A Mommy in the City, where she chronicles her life living in New York City with a suburban mentality. For more updates, follow Lauren on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!