To breast feed in public or not to breast feed in public, what did/would you do?
The day Lincoln was born brought on lots of firsts… first baby, first time to have labor pains, first lost mucus plug, first c-section, and first time to breast feed. The lactation consultant came in with her little plastic nipple, but that thing was just weird and awkward so thank God Lincoln knew what to do, because I was clueless. I’ll never forget all the friends and relatives coming in and out to visit me in the hospital. I was so stressed out trying to make sure to feed my kiddo every 2 hours, dealing with paperwork, testing on Lincoln, eating my own meals, and then trying to figure out how to be polite in asking people to leave so I could breast feed. I was not comfortable AT ALL breast feeding in front of anyone other than my mom, sister, and husband. And since I wasn’t very good at it I felt like I was either exposing my goods for everyone to see or suffocating my newborn under the sheet. Because of my personal feelings about breast feeding I find these recent “nurse ins” extremely interesting. In case you haven’t heard about the recent Target story, click here to read about it in its entirety. Brief synopsis: A mother was at a Texas Target store breast feeding her infant in the women’s clothing section when a couple of employees asked her to move to a fitting room and then other employees began walking by and rolling their eyes at her and giving her dirty looks. The mother contacted Target’s corporate office, went on a social media frenzy about her story, and now she’s receiving national attention and even sparked a nurse-in at the Texas Target store with approximately 50 other women.
In all of this I never questioned a mother’s right to breast feed in public. I breast fed my son and after months of doing it I became less shy and more care free about who I did it in front of. I never sat at an Olive Garden table breast feeding and eating my lasagna, but I did breast feed at a friend’s birthday party barbecue sitting behind everyone and had no shame standing in the bathroom at Maudie’s breast feeding because all of the stalls were full. Sometimes a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do! I guess my main thought is that yes, it’s completely natural and very much normal to breast feed; however, so is urinating and we do that in private.
As a disclaimer I’d like to say this blog is less about the specific Target story and more about breast feeding in public as a whole. I just don’t understand if there is a private location to utilize for breast feeding like a dressing room, bathroom, etc then why want to sit out in the open? I just don’t get it. Yes, it’s boring as heck to sit in a bathroom or dressing room for 30 minutes alone but at least you don’t risk accidentally exposing your breast when you are switching sides or force other non-breast feeding people to listen to the gulping and sucking noise from your child. I hope I don’t offend any publicly breast feeding mothers out there by having this opinion, but I JUST DON’T GET IT!!!!!!! I would never roll my eyes or gasp at the site of a woman breast feeding in public, but internally I “might” be. I remember being at Buy Buy Baby and watching a new mom walking up and down each aisle as she breast fed with absolutely no cover or anything with the bottom of her breast exposed. You better bet I was completely and utterly shocked especially since they have a room DEVOTED to nursing moms!
This isn’t the first “nurse-in” as similar stories have happened before and of all places, Whole Foods. So obviously this Texas Target patron and her 50 other comrades aren’t the only 51 people in the world to feel this way, but am I the only breast feeding mom that feels totally opposite? I’m not condoning eye rolls, dirty looks, etc, because that is wrong and unfair especially if there was literally nowhere else to breast feed. And I wasn’t at the Target when this happened so I don’t know all of the circumstances, I’m just going off of what I read in the media. For all I know, every bathroom stall was full and so was every dressing room. I just know for me, I’d breast feed in the car or stand in a restroom before I’d ever breast feed in a public place with complete strangers to look at me. But maybe I care too much about public perception/opinion.
So what are your thoughts? Do we have any breast feeding moms out there that did so in public and can shed some light on the situation? Or do you feel how I do, no way no how?