At this moment I have a three week old baby girl and like with my son who was born in 2001 I am breast feeding.
I love to breast feed both for selfish reasons and for the health of my baby:
- It helps with weight loss
- It helps tone me after pregnancy
- Peer pressure
- It provides my baby with the best food that they can get
- It saves getting out of bed at 2am to make a bottle
- It makes going out easier for baby meal planning
I could go on but if you are also a breast feeding mama I am sure your reason falls at one of those above.
I added peer pressure up there because I have felt that this is very important because like a lot of things in life peer pressure doesn’t end when you leave school but in the decisions that you make in life.
I have two sister in law’s one of them chose not to breast feed because they were too embarrassed about breast feeding in front of people and the other is what I would call one of the breast feeding mafia members that feels so passionately about it that they have to share their opinions with the world. These are the same people that will still be breast feeding when their baby hits 3 because they feel that they should never stop!
But what gets me about breast feeding is that it has become a political issue of you either been for or against it and there has simply never been a common ground.
Take the breast feeding in public that became a very big public debate at the end of last year in England. I read like many others, in great amusement how many people were breast feeding in public just to see if they could get a reaction rather than because their baby needed it.
They would go to a top hotel or restaurant and do it among the other upper class diners just to see who would care and who would report you. Something that has made me roll my eyes.
I will mention that while all this was going on my baby girl Sofia needed feeding while I was out buying her Christmas presents at a super busy Portuguese shopping centre on a bank holiday. It was extremely hectic and because of how people’s opinions are on the subject of breast feeding in public I made the decision to go and feed her in the disabled toilets. I just couldn’t be bothered with the hassle from other people if I did it in public.
In Portugal they really don’t care either way, but with so many British holiday makers currently here I didn’t want to end up in a row just because I was feeding my baby.
This brought me back to thinking about when Kyle was a baby 13 years ago and how I did things then. I remember there was only a handful of places where I breast fed him in public and it was always down to where I felt comfortable and were around people I knew.
- At the doctors surgery while waiting to see the health visitor
- Cafes that I went to regularly
And that was it, every other occasion was when I was round at family and friends houses, but even so it was not frequently as like most mothers you are feeding your baby when you are hungry not to get a reaction from the public.
I love to breast feed my baby but its not something I want to do in public unless I have to and I will plan feeds around going out so that it is kept to an absolute minimum.
It is in most countries a legal right to feed your baby in public, but at the same time it doesn’t mean that you have to go out of your way to do it whenever you can. My parents visited a couple of weeks ago and like my baby I was also breast fed and I asked my mother what it was like when I was a baby and what opinion was like about it – I was curious to see what opinion was like in 1982 and my mum responded by telling me that the only person that was pro public breast feeding back then was Esther Rantzen and nobody else really cared.
I also asked her if she breast fed in public and her response was that it was just the once when she was on a long train journey and that back then you never really had much choice because breast feeding pumps was not something that was freely available like it is today.
I am sure when my daughter is all grown up and breast feeding her babies that she will have the same debate going on and its amazing how things will never change and there will just be a few people around that will be very anti or very pro breast feeding in public and will give the newspapers something to talk about!