Thursday, 2 June 2016

Should we just whip 'em out?

I am a breastfeeding mum. I do breastfeed in public. But, and it is a big but, I am torn on the coverage on the issue. I find it amazing that some people think it is unnatural (wtf?!) and I think Alyssa Milano is a great advocate for us mummies and has empowered many women to feed in public with more confidence.

I feel desperately sad for mums that feel too embarrassed to feed their baby in public, the mums that are confined to toilet cubicles and changing rooms. This is not on and shame on the arseholes that made them feel it was necessary!

I have been lucky (so far). I have not encountered any hostility or disapproval when I have breast fed either of my children in public but I have to admit I do often feel the need to wear a breast feeding bib know one of those colourful capes with the wire at the top so you can see the baby.

I don't wear it because of other people, I wear it because of me, because of my ginormous tits! I envy the mummies that are able to sit with their baby on the breast looking tidy and relaxed. I am not one of those mummies. My boobs are about the size of my 4 month old's head, and she has a big head! A friend once pointed out that There are many words to describe my boobs but 'discreet' is not one of them! They are big and imposing and have a mind of their own. Once the clip on the faded grey nursing bra is released they burst out of my clothing like the craken out of the sea!
Then there is the milk. Once it starts it is a kin to cracking open a fire hydrant, that shit is getting everywhere! I mean it. I'm soaked, the baby is drowning and I am dangerously close to having to pay for the dry cleaning of every other patron of which ever coffee shop I happen to be in. So I cover up.

Here is my but...

I was in a coffee shop the other day, (it is a 'breastfeeding centre' and everyone is welcome. Lovely.) and as I walked in I saw something that made me double take.

In the middle of the cafe there was an enormous pillow with an enormous boob flopped across it in all it's glory. On the corner of this great green velvet cushion was a baby, nibbling on the end of a nipple! I have to admit that even I, also a breastfeeding mum with gigantic tits, had to double take. I ordered my coffee and sat down with a friend and felt a little embarrassed as I passed.

I felt ashamed as I sat down that I had stared and more ashamed that it had made me feel uncomfortable. But... Here it is, my but... having put a lot of thought into it, it was unnecessary. The woman was exercising her right to breastfeed in public, yes, absolutely, more power to her. But... The way she was feeding didn't seem to be about her and her baby, it felt like it was about the rest of the world seeing it. She wasn't holding her baby, she wasn't even really feeding her baby and I'm not really sure what purpose the boudoir pillow was serving other than to draw more attention to it all.

I know, I know, who am I to judge, how dare I, I am setting the cause back years...these are all things I have reprimanded myself for already. But isn't she too? Is it not because of scenes that make a room full of other mothers shift in their chairs that make other people do it over the more discreet feeding?

Or .. Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps I too should be whipping them out with a little more gusto, dry cleaning bills be damned!

I am surprised with myself, and a little disappointed that this was an issue for me. My friend had the same reaction as did many other people in the cafe. I am sure this post is going to cause a lot of criticism. I have not written it to chastise or to shame any one, merely to illustrate a point. Until this particular trip to this particular cafe I I was 100% certain that I was 100% for breastfeeding in public and then I saw something that made me question myself.

I don't believe that women should feel the need to cover themselves or their babies while nursing and I will never think it is acceptable for women to feel they have to sit in a public toilet to do it but should there be a medium? Should we consider other people when we feed? I don't really believe so no. That would raise more much boob is too much boob? Should we put it away as soon as the baby comes off? How much nipple is too much nipple? If I had to ask myself these questions every time I fed my baby I would end up never leaving the house.

I  would like to think at some point breastfeeding in public won't need to be divisive, we won't feel the need to either make a statement or hide away, we will just get on with it and no one will notice.


  1. This debate will long go on I think. I find it being such a big deal so bloody childish, we are all adults. I breastfed my second baby for 9 months and although it terrified me in public at first, I was determined as it didn't work out with my first.

    My personal opinion is that there is a balance, you shouldn't have to hide away at all but then just getting your full boob out in public is not necessary either. Not because I'm a prude, for me it was just not physically necessary in order to feed and I don't have small boobs (well actually now I do, they shrank away ha ha!) All i ever used was a muslin cloth to cover my boob, not babies head. (the capes quickly become useless). I did consider my surroundings and other people when feeding, it did not stop me feeding but it meant I might change the direction I was sitting for example and I always used a muslin over my shoulder. End of the day I'm just not comfortable showing my boobs to people I don't know and having to feed a baby did not change that.
    Feed where you feel comfortable, it's important for you and baby, oh and obviously somewhere near cake and tea! Keep up the good work #stayclassymama

  2. I think everyone just needs to do what they're comfortable with. I breastfed in public (I'm still breastfeeding, but only in the morning and night), but I tended to stick to quiet corners - not because I was embarrassed, but because my daughter would get distracted if there was too much activity. That being said, if she really needed a feed, I'd have no problem whipping out my boobs wherever - a baby's got to eat! #stayclassymama

  3. This is a tough one, I have actually breastfed in the changing room because I felt uncomfortable but I blame it on the fact that I was a bit shy about breastfeeding at the beginning. I now whip it out ...well I mean...I quickly put baby on the boob so nobody can see my nipple, I guess I am lucky because I have small boobs. I have no idea whether I would have stared at the woman with the pillow but I don't think you are being judgy, I think it's just the way society has made us feel about breastfeeding. Thanks for the thought-provoking post and sharing with #StayClassyMama!