There has been a lot of recent talk about the rights of a woman to breastfeed her baby in public even celebrities are getting in on the argument. In some countries it's illegal to feed your child in public, or expose your breast, yet we see many magazines adorning shop shelves with semi-naked women exposing their breasts for others to enjoy.
So what are your thoughts? You would be surprised at what women really think. There are a lot of “closet breastfeeders”, who only breastfeed from home for fear of ridicule and general embarrassment. Some women are embarrassed at the size of their breasts and aren’t comfortable attaching their baby when it means exposing their breasts. Let’s face it, it can be awkward and messy in those first few weeks when both you and your baby are learning to feed. There is nothing wrong with that, its completely normal.
Breastfeeding is a completely personal thing. It is nobody else’s business what you choose to do and there are many options for you to feed your child while you are out and about if you feel uncomfortable. Many women choose to only breastfeed at home and use expressed milk from a bottle while they are out, or use formula and there is nothing wrong with that either.
In the majority of countries in the Western world, it is illegal to discriminate against women breastfeeding in public. If you do intend to feed in a public place then you must be considerate of others if you want them to be considerate of you, it’s just common courtesy. Yes, it is your god given right to feed your baby, but sometimes its appropriate to use a little discretion and that’s why I sell some fantastic nursing tops and wraps that provide comfort for you and your baby.
Did you know that breastfeeding is legal in only forty-four of the fifty America states specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or a private location. For more on US Breastfeeding laws click here. A recent study showed that around 40% of people find breastfeeding offensive in some way, but of course don’t mind seeing breasts in a sexual way.
Let’s face it - breasts really do have a dual function. Before having children they have a purely sexual function, women dress them up in sexy bras and use them in foreplay. However once your baby comes along and they become a feeding device, some of that sexuality is lost. Many women stop breastfeeding after 6 months because they want to get their body back, feel sexy again and reclaim their breasts as their own. Husbands and partners also feel they have a right to your breasts and some men encourage their partners to give up breastfeeding as it diminishes the woman’s sex appeal and ruins her breasts – yes this does happen.
What we have to remember despite all the recent media, the backlash, the breast and bottle debate, is that, it’s an individual choice. Yes there is the recommendation of breastfeeding your baby for at least 6 months and yes there are people with strong opinions on breast and bottle, but it is your choice only. My advice is to give breastfeeding a go. Yes it is the preferred option, but if you can’t or you don’t’ want to breastfeed, don’t let anyone get you down. Listen only to those who want to support you and encourage you in your decision not put guilt or pressure upon you. You have many options. Despite what others may tell you, many women use a combination of breast and bottle because it’s what works best for them and their family. They breastfeed at home and when they have to go out, or to work, then they give their baby a bottle. There is nothing WRONG with either breast or bottle, it’s simply what is best for you and your baby.
Oh, and for the record, I nursed my son for 18 months and I'm presently nursing my 14 month old daughter.