Breastfeeding is the preferred method for feeding your infant child and is recommended whenever possible. This is particularly true for women in developing nations where mixing formula with parasite-laden water can lead to the child’s death. Here in America where we have a plethora of clean water options the American Academy of Pediatrics still recommends breastfeeding.
The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends it as well as the World Health Organization. You get the idea. When women choose to breastfeed their child they know there will come a time when they have to breastfeed in public. This shouldn’t be an issue but shaming women for public breastfeeding has become a more frequent occurrence.
- A mother told she cannot breastfeed at the YMCA pool
- An employee covering the breastfeeding baby with a blanket, twice
- A mother was asked to stop feeding her child
- A mother told she cannot breastfeed without a cover
- A mother told to go to the locker room to feed her baby
- A school district punished an 8 year old for his mother nursing his younger sibling during a private meeting.
These incidents are not only disturbing to nursing mothers and their advocates, they are illegal. In the United States, breastfeeding in public is a protected activity and nursing moms are fighting back when a business or a person tries to shame them for feeding their child.?Hollie McNish got tired of the double standard that had her scurrying to restrooms to breastfeed her daughter. Her poem defending her right to breastfeed her child in public speaks to what so many mothers would like to say.
When we don’t fully support a woman’s right to breastfeed in public, there is a chance that she will stop, not because she wants to but because it is embarrassing to her. This is from Amber Hinds at the Huffington Post on a time when she was asked to go to a locker room to feed her baby:
“Though the experience was annoying and I felt uncomfortable to be singled out by the group of lifeguards, since Zara is my second child and I am now a dedicated and confident nursing mother, it won’t ultimately have an impact on my nursing practices or relationship. However, the more Chris and I discussed what had happened, the more I became concerned about how such an experience might impact a new mom, who may already be struggling with nursing or feeling self-conscious. Being told that she can’t nurse somewhere could be the thing that makes someone stop breastfeeding.”
Why all the fuss? It isn’t as if we have not all seen breasts at some time. Is it really that shocking to see a child nursing? Breasts are seen with regularity on television and in movies and on magazine covers without nearly the fuss that we see over nursing mothers. Public breastfeeding is here to stay, get over it.
Edited/Published by: SB