On today’s This Morning, I watched with interest a debate about breastfeeding in a pub. A twist on the ‘natural’ vs ‘inappropriate’ debate, this was in response to an online ‘rant’ by a gentleman named Sheldon, who witnessed a woman breastfeeding her 5 week old baby in public.
This Morning had two guests airing their opposing views, as well as taking calls in response from members of the public. Most, in the large majority were against Sheldon’s actions. I however can see and sympathise with both views!
I am a breastfeeding mother, and have breastfed both my children. I am pro breastfeeding but not anti bottle. I know that ‘breast is best’ but I am not preachy about it – however someone feeds their child is fine with me as long as they are fed. I hate that some bottle feeders feel ‘judged’ by breast feeding Mums, and I wish it wasn’t a constant topic of discussion. (I appreciate the irony in that statement!)
Erin was breastfed till 25 months (unplanned but that’s the way it worked out) and Neve is ebf at the age of 6 months. I am all for breastfeeding in public – if my child needs feeding I will feed her. I however, will usually opt for a quiet or discreet location to do so, not only for my benefit, or for those around me, but for hers. For example, my family and I often go for a carvery at the weekend. Sometimes I will feed Neve at the table, other times I will move away to a seat away from other diners. Am I ashamed of feeding in public? NO. Am I scared I will flash a boob at other diners? NO. Am I scared someone will say something – I’d love them to even go there. Do I find it easier and calmer to go somewhere quiet – Yes I do.
I believe breastfeeding to be totally natural, and therefore an online ‘attack’ against someone feeding their child is completely unacceptable, whatever the circumstances. That said, I am personally not one for what I would call ‘full on’ breastfeeding. It is possible to feed your child without exposing your entire breast. Whilst I know many will disagree with me, I don’t think it is necessary to show so much in public, in the same way that I wouldn’t wear an extremely low cut top or sheer blouse. I am a big fan of the one up one down approach, meaning I can feed my baby in a way that half the time isn’t even noticeable to those around me.
I have also noticed another trend recently which as a breastfeeding mum really is starting to frustrate me, and that is one of a ‘blame culture’ from some pro breast feeders. Just because you CAN breastfeed and have the right to do so doesn’t mean you should – like the lady who was feeding IN a swimming pool and got up in arms when asked to stop. I roll my eyes whenever I hear a story like this because the way I see it, if you wouldn’t feed your baby a bottle of formula in a pool, or a sandwich for that matter, then why should breastfeeding be any different?
As always, the breastfeeding debate seems unlikely to ever end. Each to their own. Live and let live – Sheldon if you don’t like it, there are plenty of other pubs in Bristol!
What are your thoughts?
PS – I appreciate this is a debate on which many will be passionate however abusive comments will be deleted. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, so please be respectful.