Kate Hawkesby: Breastfeed in public? By all means, go right ahead

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Jan 2020, 9:17AM
Chelsea Morgan's six-month-old son needed feeding while four-year-old Chloe was playing at My Wonderland. Photo / supplied

Kate Hawkesby: Breastfeed in public? By all means, go right ahead

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Jan 2020, 9:17AM

COMMENT

I see whether or not women can breastfeed in public is back in the news again, after an Auckland mum was asked to move into a changing room.. so that she didn't make other people feel 'uncomfortable'.

Seriously? Can we have a show of hands of exactly how many people feel "uncomfortable" these days with a woman doing the most natural thing in the world - feeding her child?

Who in this day and age still finds that uncomfortable? What's uncomfortable about it? It says more about you than it does the new mothers.

What's particularly bad about this situation is the mother was actually inside an environment designed for young children - an indoor playground, with her toddler in tow.

She was trying to watch her toddler play (as any good supervising parent would want to) and feed a hungry baby at the same time.

To expect her to leave an unsupervised toddler playing alone while you vanish to feed a baby is ridiculous.

Any parent who's ever juggled more than one baby knows what a struggle it is to keep everyone happy at once, and what's the alternative? Supervising your toddler but a fractious baby screaming up a storm because it's hungry? Or abandoning your toddler, leaving her unsupervised, so you can go feed the baby?

Would the complainers prefer you try to wrangle the toddler off the playground and into a small changing room with you so she can sit still and quiet while you feed the baby? Anyone who's ever had the baby plus toddler scenario, knows that's nigh on impossible.

But why are we still on our high horses regarding breastfeeding in public anyway? Surely we are over this by now?

And actually, I believe most of the public are over it and are cool with it. It's mainly employers who freak out.

Why do they think their businesses are going to be adversely impacted by mothers being mothers? Why would a café or a mall freak out over a little bit of humanity?

Most disturbingly, why would a children's indoor playground not be cooler about it?

I rang around a few indoor children's playgrounds yesterday and asked if they had a problem with babies being breastfeed in their playground. Not one of them did. One playground manager did say to me it wasn't a problem 'as it was quiet today'. I asked if it would be different it was busy, she paused and then said, 'not really no.'

So I like to think that this particular case reported yesterday was an isolated one, and that most operators do indeed live in the 21st century.

Shunning and shooshing women.. into small rooms to perform natural acts of motherhood is over. It's expired.

This is a modern world we live in, babies need feeding, and mums are not always at home.

My advice to any young mother is feed your baby anytime and anywhere you want.

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