I read an interesting article by a man on his thoughts on breastfeeding – or specifically his wife breastfeeding – tonight. It hasn’t ever occurred to me to wonder what my husband thinks as I have casually whipped one out (well not really but you get the idea!) to feed our daughters. As it turns out he was nervous in the early days in case someone came over and said something to me. I am not sure if that is because I am usually very unnerved by any sort of conflict and it may have made me too scared to continue or if it was because at the time I became a sleep deprived and mentally unstable individual who would have either burst into tears or ripped into the perpetrator at full force. I decided it was best not to check for the time being…
Indeed my only experience of a man taking notice as I fed was actually sat I a cafe having lunch with a friend. He directed his wife and their brand new pram to the table next to us and once they were settled he began to ask questions…
First the obvious one.
“So, how old is your baby?”
Followed swiftly by the usual banter about sleepless nights and neverending nappy changing. Finally he found the courage to ask the question he had clearly planned to ask all along.
“Have you had any problems with anywhere when you have been, you know, breastfeeding out in public?”
The honest answer was that no I had not. And in fact even now after a collective 21 months of breastfeeding the only comments I have ever received have been very positive. The first time I breastfed in public (in fact one of my first trips out due to severe anaemia after Izzy’s birth) was in church at my Godson’s christening and actually I had comments congratulating me on doing what she needed without hesitating. Even the vicar sang from the same hymn sheet as he made sure I didn’t worry if I had done the right thing. Subsequent to that I have had old ladies comment loudly how wonderful it was to see and how much baby was enjoying it (this applies to both Izzy and Poppy as old ladies seem to be drawn to me when I feed!). For the most part though nobody bothers me about it. In honesty once you are used to the quick fumble to “release the beast” it is a case of “whip it out and whop it in”. I have seen more boob when women have bent over to fill in an Argos slip than I generally show when I feed. Maybe this is why I have never had to deal with the much maligned “go and feed in the toilets” routine?
Either way this gentleman’s wife finally got in on the conversation and it transpired the baby she was gearing up to bottle feed was usually breastfed and she was nervous about doing it in public – hence the bottle. I managed to convince the woman to join me so she could try her first time with company! I hope it helped her to do it on future trips out without the fear holding her back. The problem is we have all heard the tale of the restaurant workers who try to move breastfeeding mothers along, but no newspaper has ever reported on the huge number of very positive experiences breastfeeding mothers have courtesy of people who agree that breast is best.