Bothered by Breastfeeding in Public? Here’s a Survival Kit.

Are you bothered by breastfeeding in public?Does seeing a mom breastfeed in public make you want to pull your hair out? Does it make you itch and cringe all over? Is the act so grotesque and inappropriate that you can’t help but speak out over it? If so this post is for you! I understand your pain. I hear you in your struggle. Most importantly, I have some tips to help you survive this public, nightmarish epidemic!

5-Step Public Breastfeeding Survival Kit:

  1. Don’t look. Like, completely turn away. Stop staring, it’s weird. Focus on something else. Glance downwards. If there is something in your line of sight that bothers you, simply make an adjustment, turn your body, and look away. What you don’t see won’t hurt you.
  2. Get over it. If you have never seen a breast before I can somewhat empathize with your naivety and I can help you work through that. But if you are not an amateur and you are STILL totally grossed out by the thought of a breast, which is covered in most cases, then just ignore it.
  3. Worry about yourself. Why would you be worried about what a woman and baby are doing anyway? There are 101 other things to focus on. Like, bettering yourself. Continuing your education. Living a healthier lifestyle. Focusing on someone else’s breast is a gross misuse of your time. I urge you to re-prioritize your concerns.
  4. Be on your way. Carry on and move along. Nothing to see here, unless you are trying to get a sneak peek (weird). Get back to your life and the things that matter.
  5. Seek counseling. If you’ve tried steps 1-4 and you find that the thought of a little innocent baby eating in public setting drives you up a wall, it’s time to put it in the hands of a professional.

Now that we got the survival kit out of the way, I have to ask an obvious question.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

Do you have a severe case of Latchphobia?

Latchphobia: An excessive and irrational fear of mothers that feed their babies, around your presence or in your line of sight. Sufferers are uncomfortable at the thought of babies eating in public places. This condition is known to cause panic, dread or intense anxiety.

-Me

Like seriously. We are not children, we are adults that should not bizarrely debate over a woman’s use of her own breast and nipple. Why would you make that your concern? I’m sorry to break this news to you, but you are not the primary stakeholder here. Like, you are so far down on the list of what is important that you actually don’t even show up. You’re outside of the circle of trust. Baby comes first. Their health, nourishment, and need supersedes your insecurity.

Related: Breastfeeding While Black. Let’s Normalize It.

America still has a long way to go with breastfeeding in general.

America’s breastfeeding rate is 73%, which pales in comparison to rates in other progressive parts of the world. Norway is at 99%, Japan is at 97%, and Mexico falls behind at a whopping 92%! Although public breastfeeding is legal in most U.S. states, positive public perception still has a long way to go. Yes, I know I can legally breastfeed in public. But the “law” in itself didn’t make me feel welcomed or comfortable. There is no protection against public ridicule.This country claims to be progressive and exemplary, and brags about putting children first. Yet, it’s very citizens often undermine and shame the actions we take to keep our babies safe. We are the “land of the free,” yet want to banish those that nurse in public spaces. We are the “home of the brave,” yet often obstruct a woman’s courage to stand her ground and act within her rights. America is a walking hypocrite and needs to engage in a lot of soul-searching about what we truly represent.

Fed Up! My Breakup Text to Target

Do YOU eat your meals in nasty, public bathroom stalls?

I think back to when I was a younger mom that resorted to breastfeeding in my car or in a public restroom because the shaming stares made me uncomfortable. I felt insecure and defeated by the whispers and pointing.

Women should never feel ashamed to feed their child whenever and wherever they choose. With my subsequent children, I gained confidence and learned how to stand my ground and ignore the stares. I outright refused to feed a precious newborn in a nasty bathroom stall where pee, poop and germs are on every surface imaginable. Anyone that suggested I find a bathroom, I replied “do you eat your meals in public bathroom stalls?”

It takes a lot of courage to rise above the naysayers staring you down and do what is right for your baby. Every year, some mom breastfeeding in public becomes breaking news and I roll my eyes. A woman “caught” breastfeeding at her graduation. A mom is shunned for nursing at a public theme park. It’s hard to believe that onlookers still take issue with this and that these stories are still newsworthy.

Breastfeeding around the world.

Would it surprise you that in many other progressive parts of the world, breastfeeding is not only expected, but also respected? Take Australia for example. Here, babies are expected to be breastfed anytime and anywhere. At home or in public. Or maybe we should look at the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, etc.). Here, all mothers are required to breastfeed for 2 years. Those that cannot breastfeed are asked to consider wet-nurses. Okay, that’s a bit much, but I digress. The point is, breastfeeding is highly respected in these places and we may learn a thing or two from their acceptance levels. What will it take for America to become more progressive and #normalize such an innocent act? It takes you, naysayer. We need your help.

Related: Why Some Feel Paid Maternity Leave Is Unfair

Still bothered by breastfeeding in public? Education helps.

Many people take up issues with breastfeeding in public, because they are still not 100% comfortable with the idea of breastfeeding in general. In fact, after talking to these people, I find the root issue is that they actually don’t know much about breastfeeding AT ALL. Well, today is your lucky day! Because “Latchphobia” is a very treatable condition that begins with education.

The best way to overcome your stigma is to really educate yourself on the benefits of breastfeeding.

Benefits:

  • Healthier baby, both long-term and short term
  • Stronger bones
  • Lower risk of SIDS
  • Burns calories for mama
  • Greener for the earth
  • Speeds up postpartum healing
  • Lower risk of childhood cancer
  • Increases vaccination effectiveness

-Fit Pregnancy

After understanding the benefits, I imagine it’s really hard to uphold your disgust.

In addition, learn about circles where breastfeeding is discussed as commonly as the latest NBA draft pick, which NFL team will most likely head to the Superbowl, or the Real Housewife in the weekly news. Read about the conversations being had in breastfeeding communities like The Leaky Boob, or check out KellyMom’s website to understand everything one needs to learn about breastfeeding in its entirety. These communities are movements that are growing by the day. Becoming familiar is a step to acceptance, and acceptance is a bridge to changing the narrative. #normalize

This image is copyrighted and usage is restricted

Related: I Thought I Was Done With Breastfeeding, But Puerto Rico Disagreed

Breastfeeding in public is TRENDING and it’s not going away.

We are here to stay. More women are standing their ground on breastfeeding in public by simply…doing it. And wonderful movements like the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project feature talented photographers who capture beautiful images from around the country. You see, as Americans become more accustomed to seeing these images everywhere they go, public shaming will decrease. Thanks to projects like these we all stand together to #normalize breastfeeding.

Screenshot from the Breastfeeding Awareness Project

Final advice

So if you are one of those that are against breastfeeding in public, I’m sorry (not sorry), get used to it. This is only the beginning.

Share this blog if you want to promote breastfeeding in public! #NormalizeBreastfeeding

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook!

Author
I am a career-driven mother of 3 dedicated to the health, spiritual, and emotional well-being of moms.

One comment

  1. Couldn’t agree more. It’s really not hard to look away! I had an argument the other day with someone telling me that they couldn’t look away which I just found crazy!

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