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Breastfeeding in Public

Breastfeeding in Public - 23Jan2013

Breastfeeding in Public

I know this whole “Breastfeeding in public” thing has just kept bubbling away on social media and I do apologise to those who are a bit over hearing about it because I’m going to bring it up again.

Firstly, big shout out thank you to Mr Kosh, I think you’ve done something very positive for Australia, people are talking about this issue, it’s all over social media, it’s been on TV, people are talking about it in their work places, people are talking about it at home. And a lot of people have expressed how over seeing this topic popping up on their newsfeeds on facebook. As someone who’s breast fed in public many times it is a bit of an unspoken issue for some, the feeling people are watching you, or judging you, the times when people glare, stare or comment, and the fear that maybe someone might ask me to cover up, stop, or leave a public place. I think after all this discussion unless someone doesn’t have internet access, I would say most people would now know loud and clear that breastfeeding is a legally protected right, that you cannot be asked to leave, or stop breastfeeding you baby.

Though I don’t think it’ll change every individuals views on breastfeeding – clearly Mr Kosh has dug in his heels – but I do hope it’s made some people stop and think a little about where they stand and hopefully have come to a more compassionate conclusion.

For me the biggest “issue” here is one of entitlement. So many people are shouting out demanding courtesy and respect, shockingly often from other mothers, I keep reading the line “I use a cover when I breastfeed, so why can’t everyone else?” “I always breastfeed in a parents room, it’s not that hard” and so on and so forth. I’m not even going to get into how difficult it is for some mothers to use a cloth to cover their babies when feeding or how filthy some parents rooms are, but more ask anyone who is still feeling this way to really think about this for a minute – why is your comfort more important than someone else’s? Of course your own feelings are more important to you personally, but then naturally a breastfeeding mothers first priority and focus is her baby, so why do people seem to expect that a breastfeeding mother should care more about the feelings of others than she does about her baby or her own comfort. It is the height of selfishness to expect that other people always consider your feelings first, above their own, and above their children, in all situations.

I don’t expect that everyone is comfortable with breastfeeding when it’s happening in front of them. I don’t expect that everyone will equally feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, or feeding without using a cover, or if you feel more comfortable breastfeeding in a parents room, or somewhere private, or using a cover – who on Earth am I to say to anyone else how and where they should and shouldn’t breastfeed based on my own personal feelings?

However, if you are uncomfortable with breastfeeding, when it’s happening in front of you, I suggest – with all due respect to you – you use this amazing super power you have been blessed with and look away. Problem solved.

About Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central Australia. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner.She has a background in early childhood education, but right now is content to be a stay at home mum.She is passionate about birthing rights, breastfeeding and mental health. She enjoys crafting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.

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