2015 – The Year of Public Breastfeeding?
Wouldn’t it be great if 2015 could be the year that all women could feel free to feed their children anywhere and everywhere without fear of being chastised, judged, or shamed? I’m hoping this is the year that we stop turning breastfeeding into such a controversial subject and we just leave it as simply feeding an infant.
The Pope (yes the Pope!!) has publicly welcomed mothers to breastfeed in the Sistine Chapel.
You can find the story here.
I’m not going to lie, this impresses me. I never expected to hear this message coming from the top of the Church.
I would have thought that by now, we would be past the whole breastfeeding in public is weird thing, but unfortunately we aren’t. Many people are still uncomfortable with a woman breastfeeding her child in public. I still hear stories of women being asked to cover up in all types of establishments from cafés to public pools, threatened that if they don’t cover up they will be asked to leave.
I’m not entirely sure why as a society we haven’t been able to get past the breast and look at it as feeding.
I breastfed Ms. J for 18 months. I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t someone who was comfortable breastfeeding in public. Breastfeeding didn’t come natural to me. I struggled with it. I suffered with pain, and clogged ducts. I wasn’t a graceful nurser by any means. It was pretty much impossible for me to nurse without exposing the entire top half of my body. It caused me so much stress that I gave up and started using a nursing cover. If I was around anyone other than my husband or Mr. T that nursing cover was on.
This decision was really was more about my comfort level than anyone else’s. I never once nursed in a public bathroom. I was lucky enough to not have experienced any judgement, harsh looks or criticism, at least that I noticed. I was also very fortunate that my baby actually enjoyed being in cozy tight places so the nursing cover never bothered her. If it had, I would not have continued using it. Feeding my child when she was hungry was always my top priority. Her basic human need to eat came before my comfort and anyone else’s comfort. She felt right at home underneath my hooter hider (yep that’s what it was actually called) and would pop her head out the wide opening at the top whenever she wanted.
It worked. It worked for us.
Nursing covers and blankets don’t work for everyone. Not all babies will nurse with a blanket over their face. As a mother, you have to do what it takes to feed your child. Your decisions have to be about what makes you comfortable not what makes everyone else comfortable.
With this new message coming straight from the Pope, I have some hope that maybe, eventually, every woman will feel comfortable breastfeeding their baby in public without fear. Without fear of not only being asked to move or cover up, but fear of being stared at or judged. Maybe it is really possible that it will become so commonplace that no one will even bat an eye.
If the Pope himself has publicly invited mothers to breastfeed their infants in the Sistine Chapel then please people, we can all handle seeing a little boobie at our local Starbucks!