I’ve noticed that people stare a little too long and look a little uncomfortable when I breastfeed Monkey #2 in public. I always wonder if it is my imagination or whether their really is some sort of disconnect in North America (or where I’ve been in New York to be exact) between breastfeeding being natural and what people really think about breastfeeding.
CBS New York posted this article about Beyonce breastfeeding Blue Ivy in public and the comments are flabbergasting. People equating breastfeeding to urinating, and if we are saying breastfeeding is allowed in the open then urinating should be too! Seriously? Why are people so affronted by a mother nursing her child at the table where she eats with her husband? How have the social norms around breastfeeding shifted so much that people feel disgusted by the sight of a woman breastfeeding her child? I have so many questions here, because I am at a loss as to why society makes nursing mothers feel like pariahs who should stay home and if they do intend to nurse at say a restaurant, then they should hide out in a stall. Filthy bathroom stalls that are sometimes even unfit to urinate in. Really?
I like to see when restaurants and stores have a comfortable area for mothers to nurse. It shows that they know their clientele and are dedicated to making them comfortable. Some women are not comfortable nursing in public, so a dedicated lactation room is a very nice thing to have on offer. But, I want everyone to understand that I have the right to nurse (respectfully) wherever I want to even if there is a lactation room.
Have you had a positive experience nursing in public?
UPDATE: At the same time I was writing this article, another black female blogger was writing about Beyonce being spotted breastfeeding from a different perspective. Read more about What Onica and Kimberley have to say about Black women and breastfeeding. It’s an important message that I had not considered.