Mother Gives Baby A Blanket – Breastfeeding in Public
Once upon a time there was a mum, and she was eating in a restaurant with her baby, it was a cold day so her baby was wrapped in a blanket. Another woman in the restaurant is feeling a bit chilly so she calls over the waiter and says “Excuse me, I’m a bit cold, and I just noticed that baby over there has a blanket. Do you mind if you go and get it off that baby for me, I’m feeling uncomfortable.”
And the waiter says “Sure thing, here at whatever restaurant this is, we try to resolve any complaint a customer might have, no matter how it impacts other patrons.” Off he goes to approach the mother and baby.
“Excuse me,” he starts. “I just wanted to let you know that that lady over there had noticed your baby has a blanket and she is cold.”
The mum looks up, blinks, struggles to comprehend what it is that’s been said to her, looks from her warm, wrapped up baby, to the waiter and says “huh?”
The waiter, very calmly and politely says “look, the woman over there, she’s cold, she’s seen your baby has a blanket – I’m not saying you have to take the blanket off your baby and give it to her, I’m just letting you know that she’s uncomfortable.”
“Are you kidding me?” the mother responds, starting to go red in the face as everyone in the restaurant starts to turn to look at her and her warm baby. “My baby has a right to be warm.”
“Please, calm down, I haven’t told you not to keep your baby warm, I’m just saying that you’ve made the other patrons uncomfortable with your baby having a blanket.”
“But, my baby is just trying to stay warm.” She says, still baffled that this conversation is taking place.
The waiter offers her a compromise, “okay, well could you at least just turn away while your baby has a blanket, or just go sit in the back where nobody can see you. Nobody wants to see that while they are eating!”
The woman, realising that now everyone is staring at her. “Stuff this, I’m leaving.” Picks up her baby, packs away the blanket, and leaves the restaurant. The next day she emails the restaurant manager, saying that she felt harassed and that it wasn’t appropriate that the waiter had told her she couldn’t keep her baby warm in that restaurant. That her baby has a right to keep warm, and that it was outrageous of anyone to even notice her baby had a blanket, let alone tell her not to give it to her. The manager emails back:
“I’m sorry you felt that way, I’ve spoken with the waiter, I fully support keeping babies warm and we are a family restaurant, but I understand that other patrons had made a complaint and we at whatever restaurant this is have a duty to cater to all our customers. You and your baby, and all mothers are welcome in our restaurant, however we’d appreciate it if mothers could be discreet with their blankets and be respectful of other patrons.”
The mother, dissatisfied with this response, takes to social media, to bring attention to this issue people have with babies being warm. She hopes to educate others and also support mothers to be allowed to give their babies blankets in public. Here she encounters a range of responses. Some people think that mothers should just politely educate others on a person by person basis on the needs of their baby to be warm and their legal rights to have a blanket. Some say that they gave their babies blankets at home, but have them in full fleecy onsies in public because they are discreet about blankets in public. Some people say “I have sex under blankets, does that mean I should be allowed to go to a restaurant and have sex.”
A talk show host starts saying while he fully supports the use of blankets, in fact both his daughters are mothers who use blankets, he says women need to be more discreet and classy about their use of blankets ; that respect goes both ways.
People continue to speculate about the inherently sexual nature of blankets, despite their primary purpose is to keep warm. While mothers continually try to explain to people all this mother was doing was trying to was care for her baby. Others suggest the only reason that mothers give there babies blankets in public is to flaunt them, insisting they’ve seen women with two blankets out without even having a baby wrapped in them!
This debate goes on and on. It comes up over and over again – on buses, in shops, in daycare centres, mothers are told to be discreet, or leave, or just glared at by other people for giving their baby a blanket.
Now – imagine you’re a mum who has a baby, who is kept warm with a blanket, and you take baby and her blanket out in public all the time. How would this affect you? Or impact your choices about whether or not you use a blanket? Or if your a mother who confidently uses a blanket – anywhere, any time you baby is cold, wouldn’t that make you want to fight side by side with any mother who’s been discriminated against simply by trying to meet her babies mist basic physical needs.
This is a totally fictional story, based on totally fictional characters, because this has never happened to anyone because – seriously – nobody would ever actually do this.