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Welcome to Stylish mamas' blog! Part 4.

Hello everyone to our weekend blog entry! This can only mean two things, first the weekend is upon us! Yay! :) Secondly we have got another great entry for you to read during the weekend to help you relax. So grab a glass of water (it’s always good to stay hydrated :)), sit down and enjoy!

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This week i am going to be discussing about point (E) from our “who or what is Stylish mamas?” questions.

E) Breastfeeding in public or in front of company.

Breastfeeding in public is a very hot topic and everyone has got an opinion on it. Some good and some bad but everyone wants their opinion to be heard. What is it that makes breastfeeding in public such a vocal subject? I have asked myself this question so many times and every time I reach a dead end. Before I go any further, I would like to say everything written in this blog is from personal experiences and opinions therefore it should be viewed as such.

Back to the question above, why is it such a hot topic? Is it because breasts have become so sexualised that they are deemed sexual whenever exposed? Is it because it's been drilled in the past generations that "it's wrong and unladylike to breastfeed in public and this message has been passed down to generation after generation?" Or is it because a certain minority refuse to see it for what it is and the amazing benefits it has for both the mother and child? I will let you think about that for a minute before discussing them a bit more. In the meantime I will share a little bit from my own personal experiences.

When I had my first child, everything was new to me (like any other first time mum!) and I had no clue of what I was doing half the time. My family is a fairly active family and we love spending time outdoors. Now this was something I did without much thought until I had my first child. I noticed that when we went out, there were no breastfeeding women in sight and nearly all the shopping places had very little or no breastfeeding facilities available. This started becoming a problem because if we were going somewhere I found myself stressing and trying to think of any breastfeeding facilities available or somewhere private where I could breastfeed. Most places didn't have any and I found myself breastfeeding my daughter in the ladies toilet on a number of occasions.

For a while I tolerated this and accepted it but after a while I started asking myself "what am I doing in here? Look at this place, it's a toilet!" Sitting in there all by myself thinking made me realise I had this all wrong! Why would I expose my own child to such filth just because my breastfeeding made one or two people "uncomfortable"? It's not like I was committing a crime, I was merely feeding my child! And why was my child being punished for breastfeeding? I say 'punished' because I didn't see any bottle fed babies having their meals in the toilet. It is perfectly acceptable to bottle feed a baby in public and not breastfeed? Some would say, why didn't I just cover up or take expressed milk in a bottle? I did and it was disastrous!

My kids hated the covers and would kick and pull until I got them out. I spent more time trying to keep them still under the covers than breastfeeding and i know a lot of mothers have said the same thing and its even worse in the warm months because who wants to be fed under a cover when its really warm? Just because they are babies doesn't make it ok. My kids wouldn't stop trying to get out and in the process would end up exposing me even more which defeated the whole object! As for bottles, my last child hated bottles and would not take one! Again i am not alone on this and before you ask, not even when she was starving! She would scream and scream until I breastfed her (tried on a few occasions to leave her with a babysitter and I had to go back home because she wouldn’t take the bottle). As for my first and second child, sometimes I didn’t have any expressed milk to take with me. Because breastfeeding is done on demand, it’s always ready and at the perfect temperature for the baby so naturally expressing is only done for back-ups and sometimes these back-ups do run out.

The funny thing is that usually the people that are offended by breastfeeding are the minority who are self-centred, self-righteous and ignorant and couldn't care less about anyone else. Otherwise why would they take offence to something that is so natural and nurturing to the worlds’ most precious gift, children! Most people are ok with breastfeeding and yes sometimes you are caught off guard by someone breastfeeding, so what? It's not the end of the world! If it makes you feel uncomfortable, just look away. Most breastfeeding mothers try to be discreet and know that when you are breastfeeding in public, people will stare. Some out of curiosity and others because they just happened to be staring in your direction. This is all acceptable as long as it doesn't cross that line of weirdness or aggressive behaviour.

Which brings me to the next point. Why do some people feel the need to verbally abuse breastfeeding women in public? I struggle to understand how anyone can do this and be able to live with themselves. Apart from making that breastfeeding mother's experience unpleasant, what do they achieve? What is there to be proud of from those actions? It’s not like the mother is going to stop breastfeeding her child just to please you, a stranger! Ask yourself this, if your own mother had been subjected to such behaviour for whatever reason when you were young, how would that make you feel? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves.

Which brings me back to my initial questions, what is it that makes breastfeeding in public such a vocal subject? Is it because breasts have become so sexualised that they are deemed sexual whenever exposed? People are happy to see women in strings of clothes with their breasts nearly popping out and this is ok as opposed to a mother breastfeeding in public? What sort of message are we teaching our children? Is it because it's been drilled in the past generations that "it's wrong and unladylike to breastfeed in public?" Or is it because a certain minority refuse to see it for what it is and the amazing benefits it has for both the mother and child? I don't think there is ever going to be a straight forward answer or answers. Everyone feels justified in their own opinions and its hard changing people's opinions especially when it's something that is so deep rooted. Most people's views are based on how they have been raised or what they are constantly subjected to around them. Breasts have become sexual objects to the point where it's hard not to see them that way. This is reflected in the views of most people who object to breastfeeding. The fact of the matter is their primary purpose is to breastfeed, everything else is secondary! This point has been missed by so many generations and it's about time we reintroduced it to society and start teaching our children this. Some things are more important than trying to keep up appearances and neglecting what has proved to be essential to our very own existence.

Educating future generations about this will not only normalise breastfeeding but will also save our future generations from unnecessary bad attitudes towards breastfeeding. Maybe, just maybe future generations will learn to embrace breastfeeding if we help pave the way for them now rather than doing nothing about it and hoping that the next generation will somehow normalise breastfeeding. How can they do that if we fail them now? The cycle will only continue until something is done about it which is refreshing to see in the media that more and more women are taking a stand on breastfeeding and breastfeeding in public!

Again, I don't confess to be an expert on this and none of what has been said above is from a professional. I am sure everyone has their own opinions and these are just mine.

So to all the mothers out there breastfeeding, don't let misguided views by others stop you from doing what you love to do and is best for your child. Sometimes it can even be from those close to you! My opinion in these cases? Hold your head up, dig your heels in and carry on doing a great job! (Not forgetting to keep calm of course :))

Till our last and final part of “who or what is Stylish mamas?” - E) The birth of Stylish mamas, have a great weekend and we look forward to seeing you again next weekend!

 

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Just because its a cute photo! Darcey and Henry, 2012.

By Stylish mamas.

Dated: 26/02/2016.

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