Why I’m breastfeeding in public

Breastfeeding baby

Breastfeeding is not always easy nor does it always come as naturally as one would hope.  As I said here, it took me a little while to adjust to breastfeeding, but I am so glad that I continued despite the pain and discomfort.  I have now been breastfeeding my son for over 9 months, and will continue to do so until Baby Mermy decides to wean himself off.  To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week and the pledge to breastfeed in public, I want to share my experiences and thoughts on breastfeeding in public.

Before and during pregnancy, I was very nervous about how I would breastfeed my baby in public.  How could I just pull my boob out to feed my little nursling?  How would I drape myself in the nursing cover?  What if I exposed my boob, side-boob, or any part thereof?  Should I get the one that allowed me to peek down at Baby Mermy or should I get the one that draped like a scarf?  Papa Mermy and I discussed bottle feeding breast milk when I started to feel overwhelmed (pregnancy hormones probably didn’t help), but that didn’t feel like the right solution for us either.

Once Baby Mermy was born, breastfeeding was established, and I was ready to venture outside the home, the nervousness of feeding him in public grew.  But, I tried to table those worries and decided to enjoy my outings instead.  The few times we went to the mall and it was time to nurse, I looked for a family room that I could nurse in but in my gut, it didn’t feel right to nurse in a bathroom.  Why should my baby eat in the bathroom when I never would?  Why did I have to go running to find a private space with a wailing baby to nurse in “peace”?  Baby Mermy got so agitated that he didn’t nurse well at all.  Plus, he hated the cover.  Still does.

I decided that this was nuts.  My baby would eat when he wanted, however he wanted, and since I did not judge anyone on their manner of eating, if anyone wanted to judge me or had something to say, that was on them and I would deal with it.  I was attempting to do right by my son and that’s all that mattered to me.  I realized then that I wasn’t all that concerned with what might affect people’s sensibilities.  Nor was I worried anymore that I would not be able to modestly nurse.  It’s amazing how much strength your child gives you.  With a little trial and error with nursing-friendly clothes, I figured out how best to preserve my modesty while allowing Baby Mermy access to what was his right.  It gave me such joy to be able to breastfeed when Baby Mermy needed me to and freedom that I didn’t think was possible.

For moments when I wanted to be a bit more comfortable, I utilized nursing rooms that many malls, at least in Ontario Canada, have started to offer.  These rooms come equipped with comfy sofas, dimmer lighting, and a calming ambiance that is perfect for a wriggly, over-excited little baby who gets distracted by a speck of dust in the air it seems.  A mama can take a moment, get off her feet, and rest a little while her wee one gets a little snack or meal in.  I love these rooms for just this purpose; more public spaces need such rooms.

It’s amazing how many stories I have heard of people shaming mamas breastfeeding.  It’s not okay for a mama to provide nurturing and nourishment to her child in public with what is proclaimed, and rightly so, as the best food for a baby, yet it’s completely okay to show scantily clad women in the media in the name of fashion or whatever and lauded for it.  Where’s the sense in that?  Shaming of mothers on how they feed their children must stop.  Mamas, proudly nurse your children in public!  As David Allen said, “My opinion is that anybody offended by breastfeeding is staring too hard”.

For more information on World Breastfeeding Week, please visit http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org

What are your thoughts on breastfeeding in public?  What are some of the ways you breastfeed in public?  Have you found/used a nursing room?

United in diapering,

Mama Mermy

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