Breastfeeding in public is one of the hottest breastfeeding topics covered in the media – and we don’t mean that in a good way. Sadly, public breastfeeding is still, in 2016, very controversial with a social stigma attached. Moms are all-too-often subject to nasty looks, heckling and sadly asked to leave or cover up.
Yes, breastfeeding is a personal choice, but one that sometimes has to be carried out in public because babies don’t care where they are when they get hungry. So it seems that when a personal gesture of love, nutrition and health is carried out in a public place, the public feels this is a forum for commentary.
Perhaps commentary would be OK if it were positive and encouraging. Smiling or offering an “atta girl” to a mother who is breastfeeding in public would be welcomed by most moms. Unfortunately that is not the typical response. And thus, the judging begins.
The obvious issue that most public breastfeeding antagonists have is that a mother’s breasts are being exposed. To them, this may be viewed as lewd, overtly sexual, inappropriate for younger audiences or gross. Much like breastfeeding, that’s a personal choice or opinion, but one that these naysayers should keep to themselves.
Breastfeeding is a natural act and in fact, is the most natural form of nourishment on the planet. Beyond the fact that it is the best possible nutrition for infants (and toddlers and beyond), it has a wealth of health benefits for babies and mothers, it is better for the environment and it helps the economy, breastfeeding is a mother’s prerogative. It’s a simple as that. And if the need arises when moms are shopping at a store, eating at a restaurant, watching a little league game or on any other occasion, she should feed her baby as openly or discreetly as she wishes.
Even among exclusive breastfeeders, mothers have different comfort levels when it comes to public breastfeeding. While some moms are extremely open and up for breastfeeding anywhere, other moms choose to be more private about breastfeeding. There is a broad spectrum of comfortability and every decision is a right one.
At Leading Lady we know that breastfeeding in public can be challenging. Besides the unfortunate social aspect, logistically it can be difficult to find a comfy place to stop during a busy day. And babies can easily get distracted while breastfeeding in public. The change of scenery may be all-too-stimulating to stay focused on eating. A nursing cover lends a helping hand by offering a bit of solitude. With Leading Lady’s nursing cover, moms get the privacy they desire with an easy-to-use cover that can even be worn as a fashionable scarf. And babies are not encumbered with a breezy soft, breathable fabric cover and can stay more attentive to eating and snuggling with mommy.
Breastfeeding in public is a choice and so is how a mom decides to do it. We believe every mom has the right to decide if and when to breastfeed and we’re making it a little easier by donating thousands of nursing covers to breastfeeding moms this World Breastfeeding Week. As part of our landmark $250,000 donation of nursing apparel, we’re giving moms who want privacy while breastfeeding in public an option. We’re partnering with healthy infant feeding advocacy group Best for Babes to share this incredible donation with moms nationwide through breastfeeding support groups like WIC, La Leche League, ROSE, BMBFA and others. We’re hoping to encourage more mothers to breastfeed and support every mother’s right to make the healthiest choices for their babies.
Regardless of the way a mom breastfeeds in public – openly, in a private space or using a nursing cover – moms should be unapologetic about breastfeeding their babies when they are hungry. It’s what nature intended, it’s what’s best for her baby and it’s a mom’s choice.
Join us on social media for the Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week celebration!