I strongly advocate breastfeeding in public and not covering up. My baby refuses a bottle so he is exclusively breastfed. When he was a newborn the pediatricians in the US strongly encouraged me to feed him anytime and anywhere and to not feel embarrassed because what I was doing was perfectly natural. The male pediatrician told me that I was lucky to have so much milk and a healthy baby that had a good latch.
Just the start
The first 3 months I barely went out mainly because my mom wouldn’t let me. She said I needed to heal physically but I was so sleep-deprived that I barely had energy to even wash my face. But when I had to be out due to a doctors appointment or an errand, I would feed my baby in public. I didn’t stop to think about anything other than, Dax (my son) is hungry. My husband has always been supportive and he would find me a chair and get me some water. He expressed how proud he was of me and thankful that I was able to feed our boy.
Breastfeeding its natural
I remember one time we were walking in SOHO (New York City) with my parents; it was a Saturday afternoon and Dax started crying that he was hungry. It was a bit chilly so my husband suggested we go into this bar so I could sit and feed him inside. We used to go to this bar all the time, the nachos are amazing and has a great selection of beers on tap. My husband said: “Lets get some nachos and we can take a break from walking while you feed him.” Long story-short, while my family ate, I fed my baby. I didn’t cover up or use a blanket. The bar was packed but nobody seemed bothered by it. No one looked at me funny, everyone minded their own business. Once I was done, people looked over and told me what a cute baby he was. Some even held up their drinks and said “Cheers to your cute baby.” When I feed Dax, I pull up my shirt and he latches on and thats it. I don’t feel weird nor do I overthink it. I’ve never gotten a funny look nor a rude comment.
When Dax was 3 months old, we decided to move to Mexico City. My mother-in-law is always praising me and telling me that breastfeeding is the best and that I’m so blessed to be able to do it. However, she said that breastfeeding is not common in Mexico and it is looked down on. In a country that is heavily influenced by classism, she said breastfeeding in public is solely seen in women from a lower class. She said I would receive dirty looks but to not be bothered by it. My husband encouraged me to continue to feed him in public just how I did it in the US.
I feed my kid everywhere
I’ve now lived in Mexico for 8 months and have never received a dirty look nor a negative comment. I feed him anywhere and anytime. From a bench in the park, a fancy restaurant to a mercado, a store and even during church mass. I feed him at family gatherings and again, I don’t cover up. I don’t think much of it, I just do it. That’s why I don’t understand this “lets normalize breastfeeding” campaign. It’s like saying it’s not normal. It’s the most natural thing. Our bodies were made to create life. My body made this beautiful baby and my body feeds and nurtures my boy. There’s nothing abnormal about it. Why feel shame? It’s not like I’m out in public and I whip out my boob and expose myself for no reason or for attention. The entire thing takes a few seconds that you probably wouldn’t even know notice.
Breast are normal
In a world where everything has become so sexualized, you see women’s breasts all time. From TV to social media. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian show absolutely everything and are applauded by millions of fans. Yet here we are feeding our children and some are made to feel like it’s wrong. Ladies, please know that breastfeeding in public is ok. It’s perfectly fine. If you don’t feel comfortable for some personal reason that’s ok too. But if you don’t feel comfortable because you feel it makes others uncomfortable, please stop.
Don’t think about what others will think, do or say. If anyone gives you a dirty look, so what! Bye Felicia! And if anyone dares to say something to you, stand up for yourself. You are a mom. You are strong. You have the hardest most rewarding job out there. The only thing that matters is that baby. Keep nursing and don’t feel like you have to go hide in a bathroom or cover yourself. If you still are hesitant, start small, perhaps during a family gathering or at a cafe. And if you choose to cover up or go into a bathroom, that is fine too. It doesn’t matter where you feed your baby, what matters is that you are able to feed your baby.
To all my fellow moms, let’s be supportive of one another. Sometimes I see other moms glance over at me and smile. I see that support and encouragement in their eyes. Please remember that our hormones are all over the place, sometimes we feel like our bodies don’t belong to us anymore, we are sleep-deprived, we are tired, we are emotional and the last thing we need is for you to pass judgement.