I’m not a happy mama bear.
These last few days have spiked a rather large saturation of Breastfeeding stories in the media, in the UK, a lady was asked by Claridges hotel to cover herself with a napkin to feed her baby (story: here). In response, Nigel Farrage (Ukip) saying that restaurants should ask breastfeeding mothers to sit in the corner so as not to upset anyone (story: here) whilst Nick Clegg (deputy prime minister) has come to our defense (story: here).
The law in the UK is much more vague than here in the US, but, the Equality Act 2010 has made it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place such as a cafe, shop or public transport. We definitely need more lobbying for more stringent, protective laws for breastfeeding mothers, as well as greater education and support, for mothers. This article from today, is very interesting and suggests some positive, possible ramifications of an increase in support, education and breastfeeding (story: here)
In the US, things aren’t much better, this week alone, stories have come out about Qdoba (story: here) asking a lady to cover up while she breastfed (saying it was ‘store policy’ and clearly ignorant of the FEDERAL LAW), Rural King (story: here) firing a lady who needed to pump milk at work every day and in Denver a Deputy told a lady to ‘stop it’ in the foyer of the police station (story: here) resulting in nurse-in, after nurse-in after nurse-in.
Last month it was ihop, where’s it gonna be tomorrow? Or the day after that?
How long do you plan on breastfeeding Lewis? To be fair, a question that really is none of anyone’s business. But also a variation on questions that I’ve been asked a lot recently – since we started ‘weaning’ Lewis on to solid food.
‘Is he still breastfeeding?’ They want to know.
Here’s a novel idea, quit asking and mind your own damn business.
As much as you’d like to think that the decision to breastfeed is a personal matter, it’s anything but personal. People are curious, people have opinions and you’re surrounded by it everywhere you go.
This is not about you, or I. This is about equal and fair treatment for a mother who is doing what is best for her child’s health.
Well yes, Lewis IS still breastfeeding, and, here’s why. Firstly – cause it’s working for us. The pain I experienced over those first few months has dissipated and it’s become much quicker than it was, so it’s not as arduous.
But also, for the first year of a child’s life, they get all of their nutrition from either formula or breast milk.
Think back to when your own kids were little, how long did you give them formula for? At least a year, right? Lewis may be eating some solid foods at meal times with us, but, it’s really not *that* much, it is increasing in size, but the calorie content from the food he’s eating just isn’t enough for him (food before one is just for fun!) So his nutrition, growth and weight gain, is not from his new hobby of destroying the dining room with pieces of food. In actual fact, it’s from his continued main source of nutrition, breastfeeding.
Many people breast feed until their child is two, three, or even four (or more!) years old. It’s called extended breastfeeding, and, while I’m not sure that’s a choice I will make for Lewis and I, I am fully vested in attempting to get Lewis to that one-year mark – not least of all, because it’s now flu season, and the best way for me to protect him from the flu (aside from getting him the flu vaccine), is through giving him regular high-dose antibodies to fight such bugs. If only there was a way to do that – oh wait, there IS, by my BREASTFEEDING him.
There’s so much ‘stuff’ surrounding breastfeeding, pressure to do it, guilt if you don’t, and, if you do, there’s still guilt and pressure – when are you going to stop? Is he still feeding as much? Surely it’s time for him to stop?
I’m so shocked and disgusted that so few people understand basic biology. I find myself wanting to bang my head off the desk when I read the comments written in response to a news article about yet another nursing mother, who was asked to cover or leave a place because she was ‘offending people’, or that ‘people were complaining’, or because another woman got fired from her job because she wasn’t prepared to pump her breast milk in a few minutes in the public restroom of a that gets more traffic than grand central station. It’s despicable.
Need cheering up? Head over to any breastfeeding related story and read the comments, they’ll both amuse you and concern you. It makes me wonder about the future of humanity.
Y’all need Jesus.
Hey wait – you know Jesus didn’t have formula, right?
Let’s talk BS.
- BS is news outlets saying ‘Breastfeeding is not illegal’, when in actual fact, what they should be saying that breastfeeding mothers is a protected class of citizen. It’s our legal and protected RIGHT to breastfeed. Wherever, whenever.
- BS is when you tweet, Facebook, Instagram or send a picture of a nursing mother to any form of social media. Saying how wrong it is for her to be feeding her child in Starbucks/Ihop/the Mall and how this offends you. Answer: close your eyes, turn your head, play with your phone and leave this mother alone.
- BS is when you say, ‘I support breastfeeding, but…’ doesn’t matter how you finish that sentence, whether it’s ‘it should be done in private’, or ‘it freaks me the hell out’, you should simply end your sentence at breastfeeding. Period.
- BS is when you say, ‘why can’t she just cover herself?’ Not that she should have to, but there’s any number of reasons, she may not want to, it may be 110F plus humidity and she doesn’t feel like cooking her child, or, maybe, here’s a novel idea, the child doesn’t like having a blanket over its head? How about this, how about you pay less attention to what she’s doing, and cover yourself with a blanket whilst you eat. Cosy, huh?
- BS is when you say, ‘Can’t she just feed him/her in the bathroom/in her car?’ or ‘can’t she just pump in the bathroom/in her car?’ We can’t control when or where our baby wants to eat (cue a very nervous and unsure nursing Las, panic-feeding Lewis in a funeral museum, close to tears cause he wouldn’t latch and he was getting very frustrated!) Also, public bathrooms are festering breeding grounds for Ecoli and other types of disgusting and dangerous diseases. Why don’t you take your dinner into the restroom and eat it from the toilet seat, or the floor? No? Why ever not? If it’s good enough for my baby, surely it’s good enough for you? No? What do you mean NO?
- BS is when you say, ‘Why does she need time out of work to pump?’ AGH! Educate yourself, how about, for any number of reasons? If you don’t regularly express milk (either by pump, or your baby eating) your milk supply can diminish, how about your boobs getting boulder-like, hard, and freaking’ painful, increased risk of infection and clogged ducts, ruining your shirt at work because you’re leaking boob-juice everywhere… hey, no, why DOES she need time out of work to pump? I have no idea *eyeroll*
- BS is comparing breastfeeding in public to having sex in public, or taking a dump in public. This one is just plain wrong. You have GOT to be kidding me. It’s not even – I just can’t. I just CAN’T. If you’re making this comparison, you’re too much of an idiot for me to waste my time on. Shitting in public and eating in public are not the same. Either is getting laid.
- BS is saying ‘People shouldn’t have to see that sh*t’. Here’s the thing – you don’t! Avert your eyes!!! Most places are big enough that you don’t have to sit face to boob with a nursing mother and watch her nursling have his lunch. Look away – it’s that simple. OR, again, cover YOUR head.
- BS is when you say ‘you’re psychologically damaging your baby by breastfeeding him at that age’. No, they aren’t. YOU are psychologically damaging the mother by giving her shit. Doctors say the best thing for my baby until he is at least a year old, is boob-juice, so boob-juice he shall have damn it!
- BS is when you say, ‘Well, I did this’, or ‘I never had to do that’, or ‘I never had a problem with x, y, z’. No two breastfeeding experiences are the same, no two babies are the same. Comparing, contrasting and competing aren’t cool. Move along.
- BS is for judging people for HOW they decide to feed their child. Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, but, sometimes, breastfeeding comes in other forms, exclusive pumping or donor milk for example. Hey mums, give other mums a break, k?
- BS is when you gender-blame, victim-blame, or criticize a nursing mother for relying on her FEDERALLY MANDATED RIGHTS to feed, or provide nourishment for her child. “She just wants money”. Bit me. She just wants to be able to feed her baby without being stared at, mocked, taunted, or bullied because of it.
The law varies from state to state within the US, and can be quite vague, but, generally speaking an employer must provide a room other than a toilet for a nursing mother to pump in work. And they must allow you to have a break, as often as you need to pump (though it doesn’t have to be paid-pump-time).
While I’m at it, let’s talk benefits of breastfeeding,
- It’s quick. My milk is the perfect temperature for Lewis and is available any time, any place. The only wait he has, is the time it takes me to get my shirt up. I don’t have to make up bottles, or warm milk. I don’t have to listen to Lewis crying in hunger while he waits for me to get organized. I’m good to go – always.
- It’s cheap. I’m cheap. I really begrudge paying for formula, when my boobs produce the same thing – for free!
- It’s good for Lewis. People WAY more intelligent than me, have done years and years of studying, researching and learning on the subject. If the smart people tell me that it’s what’s best for my son – who am I to disagree? Especially when it’s not like you have to DO something to tell your body to do, in most cases, the milk comes – whether you want it to or not. It’s just what our bodies were built to do.
- Health benefits. Now, I dunno nothin’ about nothin’, but ‘they’ say that babies who are fed solely breast milk for the first size months of their lives, have fewer ear and respiratory illnesses, as well as fewer trips to the doctor. Lewis has been to the doctor – unscheduled – once. It was around 8.30pm at night, a few days before a major flight, we were convinced it was teething (typical symptoms) but we wanted to exclude the possibility of an ear infection before flying. One doctors visit in eight months (Thank God) - I can live with that.
I just don’t get it, not at all. What is the big deal? You see more skin at the beach – in fact, men can walk around totally topless, and that’s not, a woman can feed her child, and that’s offensive? Gimme a break!
Do you have issues with breastfeeding? Have you been harassed by someone while publicly feeding your baby?