Why I'll always defend my bosom buddies
WHO hasn't made a boob of themselves at some point?
There are very few of us who can admit to getting it right all the time, but a Lancaster Council worker committed a huge faux pas when he allegedly told a young mum to breastfeed her crying baby in a toilet.
The story sparked outrage and anger and opened up debate as some people confessed they do have an issue with public breastfeeding.
It came hot on the heels of an incident that apparently took place at a park in Kent where a woman approached a breastfeeding mum asking her to go somewhere private as she was distracting her husband ... and ended up getting angrily squirted in the face with breast milk.
While I don’t condone the breastfeeding mum’s actions at squirting a stranger with bodily fluids, I can certainly understand her fury and frustration when faced with ignorant and repressed people who can’t seem to get their heads around the fact there’s nothing sexual about breastfeeding.
What did this woman think – that the baby wasn’t actually hungry and the mum was secretly conspiring to seduce her husband with her engorged milk-filled breasts?
And why did she direct her small-minded comments at the nursing mum? Why didn’t she simply elbow her husband in the ribs and tell him to stop ogling a breastfeeding woman?
Nothing divides a nation as much as breastfeeding mums. There are still those who believe breastfeeding is a hidden thing to be ashamed of that women should only do under cover of darkness or in private away from prying eyes.
Sadly, it’s often other women who are critical, unsupportive and judgemental of breastfeeding. That just isn’t showing sisterly solidarity.
Firstly, breastfeeding is actually the purpose of breasts. They weren’t created purely for the titillation of men. As one friend quipped: “Breasts are there to help women get pregnant and then for feeding their babies.”
Secondly, breastfeeding isn’t flashing and most mums do it so discreetly, you can’t see anything apart from the back of a baby’s head. And if it offends you, don’t look.
What kind of society do we live in where people don’t bat an eyelid at scantily clad women in magazines, newspapers and television – and that’s before we even consider the internet – yet get all huffy and puffy about the natural act of feeding a baby?
People don’t baulk at topless sunbathing or TV programmes sinking to new depths such as Channel 4’s Naked Attraction where contestants look at completely starkers people with all their bits hanging out before choosing which one to date – yet some get all uppity about a bit of breastfeeding.
I recently saw a video of a social experiment in a shopping centre where a model wearing a low cut top flaunting plenty of cleavage sat on a bench for an hour. No one thought anything of it and the only looks she got were admiring and leering ones.
Then a breastfeeding mum sat on the same bench discreetly feeding. Yet she received negative comments and disapproving looks from shoppers with some saying: “That’s disgusting.”
One male colleague recounted how his girlfriend was discreetly breastfeeding their baby in a cafe when an elderly couple sitting nearby who didn’t like it kept muttering before moving tables.
My normally mild-mannered co-worker was so annoyed, he actually confronted them asking if they had a problem.
I breastfed my twins and, luckily, didn’t encounter any negativity. But I’m also conscious of women who go too much the other way and yell: “Breast is best” disapproving of anyone who feeds their child formula.
Breastfeeding was my choice and I’d never judge those who choose to bottle-feed because they either can’t or don’t want to breastfeed.
As for those who say things like “I don’t urinate in public, so why should a woman breastfeed?”
That act is considered private, but eating isn’t.
Why should a baby be forced to have a meal while hidden away?
As for people who say “Why don’t they breastfeed in a toilet?” ... ask yourself, would you eat your dinner in a toilet?