Some of you may have seen the Dr Phil episode on today (Monday March 13), where different topics were argued over. One of them was breastfeeding in public.
I know there will be many of you out there who are all for it, but I also know that there are probably plenty of you who are all for breastfeeding...but wish it was done a bit more discretely...and was just wondering everyone's views on the topic.
I'm 100% for breastfeeding in public. Before I had my daughter, I didn't want to do it, but when I had her, I understood why many women do it in the park, at a restaurant or wherever else they please. It made sense to me.
I think it's a bit awful for a nursing mother to be "shunned" to the parents room in order to feed her child...especially when she is out with other people. Is she expected to leave her friends/family for half an hour or whatever? What if she is in the middle of dinner? Some might argue that she shouldn't be eating out during a time when the baby might want a feed - but I argue that some babies aren't predictable like that (even though my daughter is). Are nursing mothers expected to "hide out" in places simply so other people can be "more comfortable".
Some of the things the woman on DR PHIL arguing AGAINST breast feeding in public said, were:
"I don't find it very flattering/appealing" - I don't understand why this is even an issue. I don't find mullet haircuts flattering or appealing, but should we round up all bogans and make them wear hats whilst out in public so we don't have to be subjected to their hairstyles? It's just ridiculous IMO. Also - a mother isn't just hanging out her breast and walking around...she's taking it out for a reason.
"I don't like it all up in my face...I don't like to see it" - My simple response would be "THEN DON'T LOOK!" Most mothers are discrete about their breastfeeding...and a babies head covers most of it anyway. Some revealing tops show much more breast than a mother does whilst breastfeeding her child. You aren't required to stare at a breastfeeding mother...just simply look away. You can look away from anything you don't find pleasant...nobody can MAKE you look at it...
"It's similar to a butt-crack hanging out, or a man urinating in public" - Only, it's feeding a child. If a man is in a very public place, there's bound to be a public toilet around for him to pee in. If he's out bush...peeing in the open shouldn't be that bad because it's likely nobody is around to see it anyway. A man can also hold in his pee...babies will cry just as soon as they want to be fed..they don't understand the "just a minute while I find a parent room" line. I also think that if a mother travelled around a shopping centre in search of a parents room to feed her baby in whilst the baby is screaming due to hunger, many people would give her just as many "tut tut" looks are they would if she were breastfeeding. At least if she's breastfeeding, her child is happier quicker.
"Just go do it in the bathroom" - The woman on Dr Phil who was PRO breast feeding in public said it best: "You wouldn't want to eat your sandwich whilst sitting on a toilet." I also think it's quite difficult to manage to hold a baby whilst sitting on a toilet seat...as well as quite unsanitary. And of course there's the line-ups in the toilets! You'd be waiting FOREVER with your screaming bub...getting evil stares from all around. And how angry would the other toilet-goers be if they knew you were using the toilet as a SEAT and not for what it was designed for?
Another reason I think breastfeeding in public is perfectly fine is that bottle-feeding mothers can bottle-feed anywhere they like without getting death-stared. (I bottle feed my daughter btw).
ALSO - parents rooms in smaller shopping centres or similar smaller public areas, often only have ONE seat and a change table. There's not enough room in them for TWO mothers and TWO prams and TWO screaming babies...not to mention any other children the mother might have. Sometimes women just HAVE to feed their child elsewhere.
SO...what are your opinions on this...and please, don't attack anyone personally...