Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The only bad public breastfeeding reaction I have had....

To date I have only had one negative reaction to breastfeeding in public.  Overwhelmingly people are positive, save for the odd askance glance.

I was out for lunch with my mum, brother and nan.  We went to a local family restaurant.  We were the first shown to the dining area and chose a large table in the corner.  I sat with my back to the wall, facing the room.  A few minutes later a couple in their fifties sat at a table opposite me. 

When baby (my son, this was a few years ago) started to fret I pulled my feeding apron over my head, squirreled baby underneath and started to feed.  I was being quite brave.  He was only a few months old and I was still a bit nervous and awkward about breastfeeding around people.  I kept noticing the man of the couple looking at me, but I ignored him and carried on with the family dinner. It was very pleasant, four generations having the chance to bond over lunch.

When we left my nan suddenly chose to pipe up.  She had been nearest to their table.  She said that the man had been disgusted and had made quite a few comments about me.  I was infuriated on two counts.  Firstly, they had arrived after us.  If you have a problem with breastfeeding then you do not sit at a table near a small baby, or even go to a family restaurant in the middle of the day. Secondly, I had been entirely covered up.  I could not have been more discreet.  Was just the knowledge that I was feeding my baby near him so very abhorrant?  I sort of vaguely understand people taking issue with seeing a naked breast, but what could be wrong with me feeding my baby if it couldn't be seen?  Had I got an artificial teat out, essentially a rubber nipple, and fed my baby right next to him he would likely not have objected.  But using my own breast for what it was intended under cover was disgusting?  Would he prefer to have the baby scream throughout the meal because he was hungry?

Well, my mother and I were livid.  We both declared that we wished we had known while we had still been at the restaurant so we could have reacted (although maybe that would have been counterproductive).   Given the time again I might have uncovered, squirted some milk in his eye and said "There. Now you have something to complain about." :D

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