Saturday, 6 December 2014

Stop gawking at my working breasts

Covering up implies that theres something wrong about feeding a baby. There is absolutely nothing wrong with breastfeeding.

I was breastfeeding my 3-month old baby girl, LuluRuby at a shopping mall one weekend. The baby room there was small and at that time it was full of other mummies (and some daddies). And so I had to feed Lulu on a bench across the baby room.

I had forgotten to bring my breastfeeding shawl and so, since I was wearing a loose t-shirt, I modestly lifted my t-shirt and started to nurse her.

Throughout the whole time I was feeding my little girl, for about twenty minutes on the bench, every time I looked up, I saw people gawking towards my chest.

There were a few people who shook their head when I caught their eyes staring at me nursing my girl, like I have done something so terribly bad.

There was even a woman pointing out to the baby room, signalling me to go in.

And I began to wonder what was wrong with this picture?

Why are there people who take breastfeeding as something so obscene?

Even in my office there are people who squirm when I say, “Ok, I got to excuse myself, I got to express milk”.

There is even a colleague who is also a mother who opposes of breastfeeding in public.

As a mother who nursed her kids in all kinds of situation and living in an environment with family members whom support breastfeeding all out, I thought I would address an issue I came across on breastfeeding:

What’s so hard about covering up to breastfeed in public?

There are times when a mom (especially newbie mommy) has to think about so many things before leaving her home that she forgets to bring her nursing poncho or shawl with her.

And especially when you’re a new mom, and you are trying to steady a wriggly, hungry baby into a comfy position, making sure the baby latch properly, covering up is almost impossible and can be stressful. And when this happens the whole act of feeding a baby with a cloth can actually draw more attention.

When uncovered, most often than not, it just looks as if the baby is cradled in his/her mommy’s arms, sleeping. No breast can be seen once baby is latched on to the breast. I know this for a fact because I took a photo of myself nursing my baby.

There are also babies who hate to be covered while they drink. Like my son, he would just pull the cover off. He hated drinking with a blanket over his head, covering his face. Especially when it is hot. Would you eat a meal with a blanket over your head?

Feeding with covers also mean that the baby will not be able to see his mom’s face. Eye contact between a mother and baby is crucial during nursing. It creates that bond, that trust every baby needs, so why are there a lot of people who detest uncovered breast feeding?

To me, covering up implies that there’s something wrong about feeding a baby. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with breastfeeding.

In fact, I would actually like to make a public announcement that maybe we can stop calling it breastfeeding and just call it feeding or nursing, because that’s all it is.

I strongly think that it should be culturally appropriate for women to bare a breast for less than a second in order to latch baby on, regardless of where in the world they are.

Feeding your baby in public is the most natural thing, not at all an inappropriate act. There is definitely nothing sexual about breasts that serve a baby.

Currently, my breasts are working breasts. They feed my baby, making sure she has the nutrients that she needs. In fact the best nutrients she can get right now are from these pair of working breasts. No other formula in the most expensive processed milk can, can ever compare.

And so, why the gawking? Are we really perverted that we can’t tell the difference between natural and sexual?

And really, if it bothers some people so much, if you dislike it and if it makes you uncomfortable to see a woman feeding her precious gem in public, then just don’t look. Stop looking and make her feel embarrassed of the most beautiful thing a woman can ever do and be to her child.

Do us all a favour and don’t banish her to the baby room or to the bathroom, or to a dark corner. Stop making assumptions about her moves, her motives. Stop making hypocritical cultural stands.

Just don’t make it harder to do than it already is.

- Source: Astro Awani 

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