Breastfeeding minis in public

Mini Mini is nearly 3 months old and in that time I am happy to report that I have become something of an expert in breastfeeding in public and by expert I mean not giving a toss what others may think and getting down to the business of feeding my baby.

Many, many years B.M. (before Minis), I would watch some women(not many, this is Ireland after all!)struggle to extricate their boob from its modest covering and manouveure it into baby’s gob without too much of a public display and would wonder why they chose to breastfeed their children in such public places. I would think to myself, could she not have fed the baby before she left the house? Don’t get me wrong, I have never had a problem with it, rather I would imagine confrontation arising between what I perceived to be these brave mamas and those less than understanding of (shock horror!) a flash of naked skin in plain sight. No matter if we think otherwise, Western society dictates that female breasts are sexual in nature. Somewhere along the course of modern human history, somebody who wasn’t a suckling infant took one look at a pair of lady lumps and decided it turned him on.Of course now I know that women don’t pick the most awkward places to feed a hungry infant. The choice is not really up to them, rather it is the tiny human they call son or daughter who calls the shots. Baby, not mama, not prudish shopkeeper or ignorant waiter, decides when he or she will be fed. It really is that simple.

I was nervous when it came to the thought of breastfeeding in public so I made sure I invested in nursing tops with “easy access” and also ensured that every time we left the house, I had a scarf with me to offer further coverage. My daughter is not a huge fan of having fabric cover her face and head, however, so I soon ditched the scarf and after a while, I just got on with the task in hand. To date I have breastfed Mini-Mini for all to see in a local community meeting, in a cafe, in a restaurant, at a bus shelter and on a beach. After having failed to establish successful breastfeeding with my first child,it feels great to have done so with my second and I am determined to remain calm and polite should anyone come to question my actions in a public setting. But so far, I haven’t needed to.
Nearly 3 months down the line, I have yet to encounter any negativity regarding this most basic of human actions.

One other public place I have fed daughter no 2 is on a recent Ryanair flight. Now it would not have occurred to me to contact them like this mama did on Twitter recently:

Wait what now? The representative from Delta’s answer was to enforce a bottle on a 10 week old breastfeeding infant. Some babies won’t take liquid from a bottle at all. I know, I was once one of those very awkward babies. Hundreds of RTs, favourites and collective outrage across the Twittersphere and wider online community later, and Delta say that the representative was incorrect in his or her assertion that breastfeeding without a cover is not allowed on one of their flights, which is a relief but something I wish hadn’t escalated at all. Because babies need to eat. Once again not when it’s convenient for you or me or even their parents but when it’s necessary for them.

On a final note, it’s worth having a quick glance at Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights-
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Amongst other needs, no one should be denied food. It’s a basic principle but a vital one. Without food, we die. Breast milk is the only food some babies will take-they look for it in places that have meaning to you and me, but no obvious connection yet for them-like shopping malls and cinemas and restaurants and airplanes. Last time I checked, babies were people too. Why is it ok to trample on their human rights in the so called name of modesty?

0 thoughts on “Breastfeeding minis in public

  1. Christine

    Good for you! I'm delighted that your breastfeeding journey with Mini2 is going so well, and that you're doing your part to normalize breastfeeding by letting people see it happen. (Discreetly, of course.) I breastfed my two children in public until each was about 18 months old, and I never had anything but positive comments from other people. Then again, I was mostly looking at my baby, so I wasn't really available to engage in conversation.

    Reply
  2. Christine

    I'd never even have thought to check with an airline in advance, would just have taken it as granted that breastfeeding was allowed. After all, it's a very good way to keep a baby quiet on the plane 🙂

    Reply
  3. laura@myinternalworld

    Great to hear of your success. I am the same- failed first time round, determined to succeed this time. I have no fears of bf in public and have prepared my statement in case anyone in the service industry asks me to put it away 'Can I have that in writing?'. That is the scariest thing you could ever ask a business! hehe.

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  4. Mind the Baby

    Yay! Delighted to hear it's going so well Aedin! The Delta thing is just so farcical. I think the first mistake was asking their permission. I remember when I went to my first antenatal class, the midwife said “never, ever ask anyone's permission to feed your baby. Just feed them”. Words to live by I think!

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  5. Daniela Barberis

    you would love Austria just for the attitudes [none] towards breastfeeding in public, life is easy here for breastfeeding moms – it's just a non-issue as it should be. your daughters are very pretty btw (love from a mom [of 3 boys] who would have loooooved a girl to dress up – not to say I don't appreciate my boys 😉

    Reply
  6. Aedín Collins

    Thank you-I do enjoy dressing them up!Austria sounds great!Although I have to say that so far I haven't encountered any negativity whatsoever in Ireland so maybe we have learned!

    Reply

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