I've been meaning to write this post for a while - it's about one of my pet peeves. The thought goes in and out whenever I see it referenced on sites or blogs. It's about breastfeeding in public.
What brought it about recently was a blog I read where the blogger claims to be pro-breastfeeding, but also thinks it should be private and not normalized. She started out by talking about how before getting pregnant she thought breastfeeding was weird and gross - which, in my book, is precisely why it does need to be normalized and why women do need to be able to feed their children in public, however they're comfortable.
This was further reinforced by this season of 16 & Pregnant. Thatboy mentioned to me that it seems like most of the young girls go straight to formula, without even attempting breastfeeding. Now, I don't think there's anything wrong with formula - but I do think there's a problem with the taboo associated with breastfeeding. I explained to Thatboy that for many of these young girls, breastfeeding may not even be something they considered. Many of these young girls are children of teen mothers, who also likely used formula on their children because it is only recently that breastfeeding hasn't been viewed as "that thing women who can't afford formula" do. Breastfeeding isn't normalized. It isn't something that is available to everyone.
So how do we fix that? Women, especially young women, need to see breastfeeding. They need to know that it's out there, and that people do it. They need to know it's not weird or gross, but a way to feed children. And that means we, as a community, can't place limitations on where or how women breastfed.
Personally, I always wore a cover when I nursed in public. But that was more for my comfort than anything else. That and I had a VERY distractable nurser ;-) Like with most things in life, what I would do has absolutely no impact on what I think others should do. So women who don't use a nursing cover? Fine. Whatever they're comfortable with, right? Apparently not. I can't understand the vitriol against it. I've heard every argument against it and I none of them ring true. It makes you uncomfortable? Then don't look. Plus, the reason it makes you uncomfortable is because we have such a taboo against it. The more people do it, the more normal it becomes. Years ago showing ankles was highly provocative, now no one blinks an eye when someone wears shorts that barely cover their behind. So the more it's out there, the more it will be out there. The more women will feel comfortable feeding their children and not hiding in bathrooms or backrooms. I mean, really, when was the last time you enjoyed your meal in a toilet stall?