Day two of World Breastfeeding Week is here! Every day, August 1-7, I'm sharing a breastfeeding blog post that links to my giveaway.
This week, we're being challenged to get out and breastfeed as a way of normalizing public breastfeeding. On Friday, I'll be doing this with a group of people at a local event called The Big Latch On. I'm so excited!!
Breastfeeding in public is something I do every time I go out anyway, but this week, I'm putting in a little extra effort to get out and take pictures so there's more exposure. Not for personal attention, but so that the more people see it, the less weird it is. I want to help normalize public breastfeeding so no mom ever has to feel uncomfortable about meeting her baby's basic needs because she's afraid of judgment or harassment.
Momma, is your kiddo hungry? Does he need comfort? Then that's all you need in order to feed! You don't need permission. You don't need discretion. You don't need a nursing room or gross bathroom. All you need is you. Don't let anyone make you feel otherwise. Get familiar with your state law so you know your rights.
Ignore the haters. Be a momma bear!
At first, I was so afraid of judgment and harassment, I stayed in my car or used a cover even though the cover was awkward and uncomfortable for both of us. Eventually, I stopped using it. Now I feed anywhere, anytime. Proudly. (Read my post, Breastfeeding without a Cover Doesn't Compromise My Modesty.)
My expectations of judgment and harassment have been nowhere close to reality. I actually have an incredibly supportive community of people. I want to shine a light on the best reactions to public breastfeeding I've gotten. These people are amazing and, while I would public breastfeed with or without support, it's wonderful to have it.
There are two kinds of positive reactions.
1. No reaction.
This more common response might seem neutral rather than positive, but I say it's positive because no reaction means no big deal. No big deal means it's normal. Public breastfeeding should be seen as totally normal because it is.
2. Positive acknowledgment of the breastfeeding or my baby while he's breastfeeding.
Honestly, I love any positive reaction, but this one is my favorite. I'll share specifics here.
At Applebee's in Benton Harbor, Michigan, our waitress stopped, actually looked at my feeding baby on my breast and said, "Aww, someone's hungry!"
At church, my son started getting fussy while I was talking to someone, so I latched him on. She said, "Wow, you're a pro at that, by the way."
In line at an Indiana Vera Bradley outlet sale, while on my feeding, a few different women told me how cute my baby is.
I can't remember any specific things family has said, but I've breastfed my son around my family and my husband's family, and they're always supportive, positive, or don't say anything, which is fine too. (Our families are AWESOME.) I've gotten zero grief from my church family. (They're wonderful too!) None from "Hike, it Baby" moms. (Hey, they get it.) I guess I just keep company with the right kind of people. They're out there.
If you're not surrounded by people like this, change that. Find a good support system. And if you can't? Keep doing your thing, momma. Let's normalize public breastfeeding one public feeding at a time.