Call myself a midwife and it’s taken me all day to write about the new law permitting women to breastfeed in public places, well I’ve been busy with Amy and the twins, and anyway I was incredulous that such a law had to be passed. On my wanderings around the web I came across this site which has a page about attitudes and practices in other countries concerning breastfeeding in public, should we really have to worry about this, why have some people got such a problem with it? I feel that it mainly stems from those I regard as the ‘upfront brigade’, those determined to advertise the fact that they are breastfeeding by ensuring that they display as much lactating breast tissue as possible in the most central. public area available. Breastfeeding in public, or rather breastfeeding when baby wants a feed, in a comfortable place, without having to resort to public lavatories or thick undergrowth, does not require everyone in the vicinity being unable to ignore it, it is not something to be ashamed of but equally it is not something that demands undue attention seeking. I know that this may seem rather ‘prudish’ perhaps but I do believe that some consideration should be given to those members of the public who find a woman exposing a breast in the middle of Bluewater embarrassing. They are not disapproving of breastfeeding, they may just have been bought up at a time, or in a society where the exhibition of the more usually covered parts of the female anatomy is unknown. There is nothing new about breastfeeding in public, when my babies were still reliant upon me for their nutritional needs I would often end up feeding in public places, but I doubt that anyone around was aware what I was doing, unless they studied me, and I never had any disapproving look or comment. Equally my daughters would both feed their babes when out and about, except the twins. Their Mummy was reluctant to do this, as she found that when breastfeeding two babies at the same time it was impossible to be discreet, and she really did not want to display herself so obviously in public.
Si, I’ve been busy defending the right of the more reserved in society to not have breastfeeding visuals thrust upon them, when I came across this gem from a really nasty, pr*t, Roshan Doug in Birmingham, “Breastfeeding in public is all wrong”, so apparently, according to Mr Doug are children in restaurants, feminists, by association the husbands and children of women who breastfeed in public and a Greek restaurant near Covent Garden. He recounts that “… a long-skirted Bohemian woman at a near-by table who has decided that, not only is she going to have dinner with her baby on her laps but that she’s going to start breast-feeding whilst sitting at the table.” It was obviously worth noting that she was Bohemian, only her type would do such an outrageous thing as to have dinner with a baby on her laps (!), let alone then breast feed the infant. He goes on to advise the use of baby-sitters, he should really have advised the use of a wet nurse. “there she was blatantly disregarding us and all the other diners”, would he have rather than she struck up a conversation with them, introduced herself perhaps? “I think it’s appalling that we, as men, should be forced to accept it.” Hang on a minute there Roshan me old misogynist, what’s this ‘as men’ bit, some women may also find it discomforting. He really gives the whole game away though with his “away from preying eyes” demand, surely he means ‘prying’, but even that implies a furtive watching of the boho woman’s actions. I think he was correct to say ‘preying’, obviously a freudian slip, hunting, exerting a baneful or injurious effect, victimising, sounds like Mr Doug has a major attitude problem toward the female sex. The result of his small-minded, egocentric little piece is to change me from empathising with those who are sensitive to breastfeeding in public to advising them to get their heads around it, after all it is what mammary glands are there for.