I remember having an internal state of panic at the thought of breastfeeding in public; the thought of what everyone else thinks, people being disgusted at me, being sexualised, mothers of older children telling me off and so on.
I would search the internet for breastfeeding covers, muslin cloths that were large enough to cover us up, breastfeeding clothing and other such items that never made it past my basket.
I even bought bottles and a pump so we could easily feed him in public to avoid the awkwardness.
The day after my son was born, my partner and I decided to take a walk out. It was a beautiful day, mid-August and just past the unbearable heatwave. Perfect for our first family stroll. But then it happened; my baby cried out for a feed.
Breastfeeding in public for the first time
I remember just looking up at my partner in panic because we were out… in public… and I can’t just let him wait until we get home?! So, we found a quiet corner with a picnic bench (that had some lovely messages from the local youth engraved, which definitely made for some entertaining reading whilst feeding) and we began to get comfortable. I wore a dress that I couldn’t just pull down at the breast so I had to take my arm out of my sleeve, exposing part of my upper body. I felt so on edge and I was convinced everyone was looking at me and judging me. No one actually cared or even noticed, of course.
I felt so on edge and I was convinced everyone was looking at me and judging me.
It was only once we had established our latch and we were in the moment that I realised; this really isn’t so bad!
Something just clicked in me where I realised I have this duty of care for my precious baby that I had lovingly made for 38 weeks and 6 days. I was going to give my all to my baby, regardless of what it meant people thought of me.
That day I became a badass, body-loving mama
I’m not the most confident person but I’m also not the most shy either, but that day something changed in me. I truly became, not only a mummy, but a Mama. A badass, confident, body-loving mama. These weren’t my boobs anymore. These became my son’s food-source, an extension to our bond, his safe space and so much more.
I researched more into laws and regulations that protect a mother and child’s right to breastfeed in public and made sure I was well-versed so I could reference the exact act and regulation that whoever was to discriminate against me was breaking. I was so riled up and ready to fling that one out like an uno-reverse card!
It’s yet to happen, almost 7 months later. But I’m always ready.
I will always remember when a pair of elderly ladies in a café stopped me when my son was only five days old. Of course I panicked at first, but they just gushed and cooed over me feeding him and they looked at each other with one saying to the other “this is what we fought for all those years ago”. When I tell you my heart burst with pride, I mean it!
I do get comments from people in public. But comments of love, support and kindness. Other mama’s telling me how impressive it is that I’m walking with my coffee in my hand down a busy city street whilst feeding my son and still managed to push the pram, nods and smiles from others and an outpouring of love from fellow breastfeeding mamas.
I do get comments from people in public. But comments of love, support and kindness.
Now, I breastfeed my son everywhere and anywhere
Now, I breastfeed my son everywhere and anywhere. On one occasion, he needed feeding whilst Christmas shopping around The Trafford Centre. So, I got him out of his pram, I re-arranged my bra and fed him. All while still walking around the shopping centre and choosing gifts for loved ones.
Nothing can stop me now. I do it for my son, I do it for myself and I do it for my mum who wanted to breastfeed my siblings and I but struggled to. I’m so proud to be where we are now.
I don’t know what I was so afraid of.