Things I Did and Did Not Think About While Breastfeeding in Public: An Exhaustive List
I breastfed my bio-child. It was a choice that I made for myself and the baby. It seemed like a natural choice to me having seen my mother breastfeed my younger siblings and aunts breastfeed cousins and even family friends breastfeed their babies.
Because it seems so natural to me, even though it wasn’t always easy, and although I honor everyone’s right to make different choices, I don’t understand the consistent outcry against mothers breastfeeding in public. How other people feel about breasts doesn’t change my thinking because how other people feel about breasts never entered my mind at all when my baby was hungry.
Perhaps breastfeeding, though rising in popularity, wasn’t as politicized almost a decade ago when I had my child. In the time since, I have seen people online outraged and claiming that breastfeeding is like using the bathroom, vomiting or bleeding, and arguing that we try to do those things in private. Here’s the thing though, breastfeeding isn’t like those things at all, and instinctively many of us know this. You know what breastfeeding is like? In fact, is? Eating. Breastfeeding is an extremely popular way of eating. That’s why the word “feed” is right in it. And we happily eat in public all the time.
Human beings love food. We love food. In fact, we have entire industries, restaurants, channels and stores focused simply around the pleasure of food. Our instagrams are (maybe just mine?) constantly bombarded with food imagery to the point that sometimes a photo of a fresh loaf of bread can evoke the smell for us. Why is the way we may choose to feed our children any different?
I literally breastfed my child when that baby needed to be fed wherever I was. Granted we lived next to the Republic of Cambridge, MA ™ at the time, but no one ever batted an eye except one weird guy at the mall.
I’m sure it might have made others feel uncomfortable, but how anyone felt other than my hungry baby was completely irrelevant to me and would be now if I chose to have another bio baby and chose and was able to breastfeed again.
Here’s why. Here’s the exhaustive list of things I thought about while breastfeeding in public and things I didn’t. May every breastfeeding mother be so lucky.
10 Things I Did Think About While Breastfeeding in Public:
1. How hungry the baby was.
2. When last the baby ate and if the baby was eating enough.
3. Was the baby sick or in any other way uncomfortable or in need of anything.
4. How happy I was to be a mother.
5. How in love I was with the baby and how much I loved breastfeeding.
6. How thirsty I was. (Answer: So thirsty).
7. What else we had to do today.
8. What to make for dinner.
9. What we needed at the grocery store or Target.
10. The meaning of life.
10 Things I Did NOT Think About While Breastfeeding in Public:
- What anyone else other than the baby thought.
- If anyone was trying to politicize and/or sexualize what I was doing.
- If anyone else was uncomfortable by my feeding my offspring when said offspring was hungry in a way that I was fortunate enough to have been able to make a choice about and fortunate enough to be able to do.
- If anyone else was hungry.
- If anyone else was watching me.
- If anyone else wanted to see my breasts.
- If anyone else had never seen a woman breastfeeding a child before and might find it odd, scary, or disgusting.
- If anyone else would think I was showing off or seeking attention.
- If anyone else was offended.
- If anyone else existed.
That’s It. That’s the whole story.
Any mother who wants to breastfeed her child should have the right to do so and support in her efforts instead of social media shaming and faux disgust from people who literally don’t mind seeing the same amount of breast at a Victoria’s Secret. The same goes for any mother or parent choosing to formula feed and/or bottle feed etc.
Let’s stop politicizing breastfeeding and bottle feeding and trust mothers enough to let them decide how and when they will feed their children.
Because at the end of the day, fed is best.