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a woman’s right to breastfeed

Breast feeding
It’s certainly not news that many mothers have copped flack for breastfeeding their babies in public. I, for one, recall stories from my mum about the struggles that she faced when my siblings and I were young. However you’d think in this day and age the most natural process of feeding one’s young would be much more acceptable. And yet, it’s not.

Late last year the first ever Breastfeeding Flashmob was held in Brighton, UK. Mothers who had been chastised by the public took to the streets with their breastfeeding children to make a stand that it’s not okay to harass mothers caring for the needs of their young. Using the power of social media, the group  spread the word about the event that was intended not only to make their point, but also to give mothers the support and confidence to feed in public.

Comments heard from mothers while breastfeeding their children in public were told it was “unpleasant” and they weren’t discreet. However, the unnecessary fear of being house bound is one that is outdated and unfair, with one mum explaining that “[We] have to feed in public, otherwise we couldn’t get on with our lives”. With the growing number of working mums in the world, on top of their work as a mum, to ask mothers not to feed in public is a way of confining them to a space behind closed doors.

Is it time for society to understand the beauty of breast feeding? I think so.

Perhaps there is an element of childish or misunderstood sexual association with the act of breastfeeding, however as Samsara Tanner, a flashmob supporter said, “They’re [breasts] not sexual objects, they’re feeding objects. Our breasts are for feeding our young, not for page 3”.

Other supporters commented that “breast feeding is very natural and should be supported” and “[Mums] shouldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable… it’s the most natural thing in the world to do”.

Breastfeeding is a privilege that, sadly, not all mothers are able to enjoy and it appears that there isn’t a healthy level of understanding of the important role this process has in the development of children from the public point of view.

How do you feel? Should the social discomfort of one or a few individuals in a public place outrank a mother providing their baby with basic human rights; food and love?

Image Credit (1)

3 thoughts on “a woman’s right to breastfeed

  1. That artwork image is beautiful. I love a bit of cubism.
    And Siobhan, I agree with you that this natural process, caring for a child’s needs, should be acceptable.

  2. I breast-fed my son to fourteen months, and never felt criticised or unwanted. I actually got congratulated a couple of occasions for breast-feeding in public. I fed him in parks, in cafes, in class, on a plane and in parliament house (where there wasn’t a breast-feeding room, except in the toilet!!)
    I wasn’t always comfortable getting my boobs out in public though, so I appreciated when some private space was provided. Especially as my son got older and would get distracted by the people around him.
    My positive experience wasn’t mirrored in my friends that bottle-fed. They would often get lectured about how they should be breast-feeding. The disapproval of other mothers can be so cruel!
    Boob or bottle or both, mothering is hard work! I wish all mothers could get the support that I got – or at least left alone – as they venture into public with their littlies.

  3. Pingback: Is it okay to not wear a bra? | Opinion | Lip Magazine

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