I was listening to lunch time program on Monday, called Loose Women, you will know if well if you live in the UK. It was on in the background for my hubby (not me I’m too busy working) ,when he alerted me to a debate on mums breastfeeding in public. One of the ladies on the panel, can’t remember her name (might have been Linda Belingham), made a derogatory comment about ‘right on mums’ breastfeeding in public and this got me a little agitated – well enough for me to write a post about it to you.
You might have guessed it, but I am pro breastfeeding in public. I know it’s really odd to people when they first encounter a mum breastfeeding her child and it can freak you out a bit. But that’s just because people are too scared to do it in public because they think society frowns up them and people don’t encounter this situation regularly. I know when I first saw a mum feeding her child when I was a teenager, working in a cafe, I was quite shocked and dashed over to my mate…”hey look shes breastfeeding”. I wasn’t disgusted, I was more taken aback – it was the first time I’d encountered this.
When I first had babe, I would hide away in a backroom while breastfeeding, even on Christmas day. I remember my first time out in public, it was in a Starbucks coffee shop and I was ever so careful to wrap myself in a shawl to cover every possible hint of flesh – and hubby was on flesh cover alert just in case it dropped down.
Argh what I long way I’ve come now…to the extent where I just don’t give a damn, where I am, what pops out and who see’s it. The only exception is work. I’ve taken babe into the office a couple of times, but did feed her at my desk facing inwards. I work in a very male orientated industry and office, and they are not the most enlightened bunch of individuals generally (software engineers and developers etc). The problem I encountered was when people spotted me…”hey we haven’t seen you in ages, hows things going”. Umm I’m feeding my babe??? And they didn’t seem to notice – I was being super discrete trying to just shout over my shoulder or use the shawl tactic. I might have freaked a few people out with that, but I think they were non the wiser.
BUT I don’t want to be branded as a ‘right-on’ mum just cause I am doing what’s natural.
I also heard about this terrible story, of a woman in Bristol who got thrown off a bus in February by the driver for breastfeeding her baby. When she refused to get off, he threatened to call the police because she was indecently exposing her self! Poor woman.
GOOD NEWS – NEW LAW IN AUTUMN
I’ve just googled this topic and found that a new law is coming in place in autumn.
Under the new Equality Act, passed in April 2010, mums cannot be discriminated against, asked to leave a venue or treated unfavourably because they are breastfeeding when out and about in England and Wales. The Act will come into effect in the Autumn.
Scotland is already ahead of the game on this one, I’m pleased to see that we in England are catching up at last.
So Mama’s there’s no excuses for anyone to be mean to us in public now – stand your ground and attend to your child, don’t let others initial startled looks put you off.
In fact, to be honest I have got very few odd looks from people, but perhaps that’s just because I’m oblivious now or I live in a more enlighted city – I dunno.