It seems like I’m always hearing appalling stories about women who are subjected to ridicule and cruelty while nursing their babies in a public setting. Stories like the woman who breastfed after graduating from college. Or, the women who staged a “nurse-in” at Target after employees shamed a mama. Sheesh, just how many prude a-holes are in this country?! Would a crying baby be preferable to seeing a woman discretely breastfeed?! Why is this such a big deal, anyway?!
While I certainly feel empathy for women who deal with such puritan nonsense, another part of me wants to ask them to just get over it and go about the business of feeding their babies. I respect that they are trying to encourage folks to “get over it”, but I worry that they might actually be deterring new and nervous mothers from taking care of their babies in the most natural and convenient way.
I am in my 43rd month of breastfeeding, and not once has anyone made me feel uncomfortable. Of course I prefer to be comfortable while breastfeeding, so sometimes I’ll leave in search of a cozy chair or a shady spot. But, never once have I refrained from feeding my baby due to someone else’s problem with it. When my baby is hungry, my mama bear instinct kicks in and I feed him. And, guess what: I DON’T CARE IF A STRANGER IS OFFENDED. It’s not my job to monitor everyone’s feelings on a subject that should be far from taboo.
I’ve respectfully breastfed all over this town. While waiting to pick up my kids at the Lincoln Park Zoo:
While watching the kids play at a park on Lake Shore Drive:
While having lunch with Evie at a cafe on busy Wells St:
While watching my kids play at 63rd Street Beach:
Heck, one of my friends caught me doing it while pushing a stroller on the sidewalk! It just isn’t a big deal, and the only time it becomes a big deal is when we make it one. Let’s all just chill out about it, ok?!
On recent a hot and sunny Saturday we were all at the farmers market when Ben decided he was hungry. Rather than sit on the dirty curb, I stepped into a Jimmy John’s. The hipsters behind the counter didn’t mind that I wasn’t there to feed myself. I sat in the booth and wondered what I would say if someone had the nerve to voice a complaint. Probably something along the lines of “I am feeding my baby. Leave me alone. Get a life.” I plan to feed Ben whenever and wherever he is hungry until he is on to (much) bigger and better things!
Here’s the breakdown: Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. So, relax and feed the baby!
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