I had such an upsetting conversation yesterday about breastfeeding in public (I am not currently breastfeeding, but have in the past). The comments ranged from "There's such a thing as decorum!" to likening it to walking over to the lawn and taking a shit in front of everybody. I was asked how I would feel sitting on a bench breastfeeding and a bus full of fifth graders let out right in front of me. It was suggested that a woman with a hungry screaming infant might consider refraining until a pleasant private location could be found, which might be more readily available than I might think.
These people are my friends. They certainly don't mind that people breastfeed, as long as they do it privately and nobody has to witness it. But that sounds to me an awful lot like how some people feel about gay people.
I can't stop running through this conversation in my mind, and I really would like to get some sleep. Can somebody reassure me that feeding a baby is not the equivalent to taking a dump on the lawn? And that maybe it's not a terrible thing for kids to understand that we are mammals?
How do we finally normalize feeding babies? And how long will it take to undo the damage done when formula replaced mothers milk, leaving breasts to be perceived as purely sexual?
When I see a woman's breast in the middle of a public place where everyone else is clothed, it takes me aback a bit every time. I can't help that; it's not a reaction I consciously choose. But I know it's my preconceptions at play, and I have the right to look away. I also know how these preconceptions make it so difficult to breastfeed our children to the extent we feel we should, and it's incumbent on me to get over it, and quickly.
We have a long way to go to have this be normalized. You can't make each member of our/your generation take the brunt of changing this back to a normal practice, but boy I do wish we could get there faster. I did what I could. I didn't feed my children in a bathroom, and I was courteous to the extent I felt comfortable in covering my breast, while letting the baby breathe. I don't know if I was being stared at, as I, for one, was minding my own business.