There’s No Need To Hide!

March 18, 2008

I am afraid I am going to get all political on you again.

Mrs Geek told me that a friend of ours was given a booklet outlining the places within our town where it is suitable to breastfeed her baby.

As much as it is wonderful that certain establishments such as Mothercare and John Lewis provide a place for mothers to go if they are reluctant to breastfeed in public, but I fear that the implication is that these are the places where it is acceptable to breastfeed whilst out and about.

Now I understand it may be unusual to here a man who is so worked up over the rights of mothers to breastfeed in public, but I think it is abhorrent that we as a society are so repressed that we find it acceptable to see a mother bottle feed her baby, but if she chooses to do it the natural way then it makes people squeamish.

I have every sympathy for mothers that can not get their baby to breastfeed, I really do. It is often a difficult, painful and exhausting process to get a baby to breastfeed, and a process that many mothers do not manage to achieve. Thanks to organisations like La Leche League hopefully more mothers that want to breastfeed can find the support that they deserve.

I am also not a “Breastfeeding Nazzi” as I once heard someone describe their health visitor and I have no objection to mothers who choose not to breastfeed, that is not my business. Everyone should make the decisions for their own child that they are comfortable with. However, all medical evidence points to the fact that breastfeeding provides numerous benefits to both mother and baby.

So as a society we should be actively cultivating an atmosphere in which a mother successfully breastfeeding her child is seen as an achievement, while nobody should be made to feel like they have “failed” if they choose not to breastfeed, it should be something that is actively encouraged, we should not be putting up further barriers of social exclusion.

The fact that women get asked to “use the facilities provided” and are expected to sit in what is often not much more than a converted toilet is appalling.

OK … rant over (And I managed it without using the clichĂ© “the most natural thing in the world” once)