So I just had my second baby, I breast fed my first and I certainly plan to do the same with this one too. Still, there seems to be a strange sort of stigma that goes along with breastfeeding, as if every single mother who dares to do so, is a sandalwood sniffing hippy who believes grades should be awarded in interpretive dance.
First of all, breast feeding is natural, the baby can eat whenever they like, no zombified parent half shuffling to measure out formula at a 3am feed, just latch on and away we go. No continuous bottle scrubbing, it is amazing. Granted I pumped and gave one nighttime feed to Daddy, so that he and baby had bonding time, but still. Secondly, it’s cheap, and by cheap, I mean free. Trust me, as a new parent, not having to fork out €30+ on formula is a huge saving.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can talk about what really gets on my tits. Yes, pun intended. I can handle the idiots that think breasts are sexual organs, or the inconsiderate fools who claim that I should smother my child in a blanket, or sit on a communal toilet every time that they require sustenance. No no no. It’s so much worse, when it’s people who think that they are doing the right thing.
With baby #01 I had purchased a variety of nursing tops and dresses, for no other purpose than ease of access. Anything that would make feeding him easier. I had already suffered through mastitis and anxiety related dwindling milk supply. My anxiety does play a huge part in this and I am very aware of that fact. So there I am, in Dunnes Café, with my friend, I bring Zachary in for a feed and I’m raving about how handy this nursing dress is. My mate said that it was very good, because it just looked like I was ‘just giving him a cuddle.’ Those words really shook me. I got angry, upset & very, very stressed. She was probably just making an offhand comment, probably trying to reassure me because of my anxiety, but questions kept swirling around in my head.
- Why does it have to look like anything else?
- Why does it matter what it looks like?
- Why is feeding my baby an issue?
- Why the HELL is it anyone else’s business?
Another instance, I was in Costa Coffee with my Mum, Costa is great, really. I’ve had baristas come down and offer me refills and such because I’ve finished whatever beverage and they know that there is no way I’m making it up to the counter mid feed, but I digress. I plonk myself down by the window, my Mum sits opposite, I have my Orange Mocha Latte cooling down as I set Zachary up to feed. At this point, I have given up on specific nursing clothes, opting for stretchy vests as it is much easier to scoop the boob out. My Mother keeps shuffling in her seat as Zachary latches on, I ask her if she’s alright, and she tells me that she’s moving to the right position so that no-one can see. I explain to her that I really don’t give two f**ks if anyone has an optimum view of either my 6 week old suckling son, or my fullsome pair of funbags.
Listen, the only reason that anyone should have an issue with my chesticles, is if I am running over to them and personally squirting milk in their eyes, singing My Milkshake Brings All The Boys To The Yard. Otherwise, sit down and shut up, because my child’s needs are more important to me than your sensitivities.
Like I said, I can handle the arses who think breastfeeding is an archaic or disgusting option. I never got upset, ashamed or embarrassed until people close to me acted like it should be covered up, disguised as something else, or shielded from view. So stop breast shaming me. My boobs are my business, if anyone has a problem with that, then they don’t have to look at them. Simple.