As many of you will know, breastfeeding is something I am very passionate about. I think every woman should have the right to feed their babies in comfort, wherever and whenever they need to. I believe that every baby has the right to feed in a clean and hygienic environment. Why some people believe it is acceptable for a baby to be fed in a toilet cubicle is beyond me – would you eat your dinner in there?!
Breastfeeding in public is a much-debated, quite controversial issue that continues to divide opinion. While many people don’t see a problem with it, many others find it quite off-putting and even offensive – but why? Is it down to personal views or even a deeper reason, such as their faith? A new survey recently carried out by Benednen shows that almost 85% of those questioned have at some stage breastfed their children, or their partners have. Yet only 27% have breastfed in public. This both shocks and saddens me. A lot of the people surveyed said they were fearful of other peoples reactions to public feeding, or struggled to find a safe and comfortable place to feed.
Everywhere should be a breastfeeding friendly option. I don’t know why it is such an issue. It’s not sexual, it’s not exposure, it’s not anything for mums or passers-by to feel uncomfortable about. It is simply a baby eating his or her lunch – just the same as you or I sat on a bench eating a sandwich.
I have seen more and more of these signs popping up near where I live. Breastfeeding friendly places are becoming more accessible. That can only be a good thing for new mums, and those who feel a bit uncomfortable out in the open. At least you know you can sit in a place that displays this badge and feel comfortable, not feel judged. But in reality, it is your right to feed anywhere you like. If your baby needs to eat, go with it. If anyone ever asks you to leave, asks you to cover up or asks you to feed in a toilet, please don’t do it. Please. Breastfeeding rates in this country are low, and we need to stand up and show people that it is OK to feed in public, you don’t need to take a bottle of formula out with you just in case someone gives you a dirty look. Your boobs, your baby, your right to feed.
Have you ever been made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public? Do you have any recommendations for breastfeeding friendly places?
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