Saturday, September 12, 2015

Nusing in Public without Using a Breastfeeding Cover?

A couple of days ago celebrity host KC Montero irked the breastfeeding community with his comment about moms being discreet when breastfeeding in public. My initial reaction was to raise my eyebrow and ask, why? Is there something wrong with what we are doing? How is feeding your child suppose to make someone feel uncomfortable? This is not the first time I've seen and heard this happened. Trust me. And this is sad.

Breastfeeding mothers do not use breastfeeding covers for several reasons. I used to think it was necessary because I was at first scared that I will expose myself in public. I bought one and I was at first excited to use it. Then it happened. I wore it. I positioned my son and put him under the cover. He thought we were going to play hide and seek and he immediately lifted the cover. There I was flashing everyone in sight. The truth is as soon as your baby gets older and more active these covers eventually become useless.

Back when I was still using the cover.

Yet I continued using them because at that time my husband was not OK with me breastfeeding in public without using one. Instead of me bringing a bottle, I resorted to using the cover because I was committed into ditching formula milk gradually. Yup. I was stubborn. The next time I used it was when we were in a cab on the way to the doctor. I used the cover and feed my son because he was hungry. It was almost lunchtime, the sun was high and the aircon could not do anything. My son was sweating profusely inside the cover and he became restless. My husband saw this too. After attending countless breastfeeding seminars, my husband eventually warmed up to the idea of me feeding our son in public to the point that when he hears our son cry, he would tell me to go ahead and nurse. We eventually ditched the formula and the nursing cover too. I guess you can say I pretty much mastered the art of nursing in public. I've done it at the clinic, the mall while shopping, at the church even in public transportations like the MRT, the bus and the jeepney.

At a breastfeeding photoshoot

Everything all boils down to this. When a woman makes a decision to breastfeed the first thing that she needs is support -- from the family, friends, organization and the community -- because this is not an easy journey. Some had to resist the urge of supplementing with formula milk because someone made her believe that her milk is not enough. Commenting that a woman should cover up in public not only will humiliate her but you are in a way insinuating that what she is doing is wrong. It's not like we want to whip it out just to deliberately make someone feel uncomfortable. When a mother breastfeeds in public, the only thing that she is thinking of is her child. So the next time you see a woman nursing publicly, give her a smile to encourage her. When you are with your children please do not let them look away. Take 5 minutes or less to tell them that what the mother is doing is just feeding her child. Nothing out of the ordinary because God was amazing enough to actually design a woman's body like that so a baby can thrive from a mother's milk. However, if you are uncomfortable just look away. Do not talk. Do not comment. Do not say anything at all. Just leave.


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    1. Hi Tina. That was such a brave and straightforward post. So very you.

      I have breastfed most of my kids. Thought those breastfeeding days were not done mostly in public as I was at that time unemployed and no house help, those were among the most fulfilling and memorable experiences in my life. In fact I even got inspired to write a post about it, because until now I can still remember how each of them has been breastfed and weaned differently. It is one of my favorite stories I tell to my kids which always bring a smile to their faces.

      About time that people have a paradigm shift when it comes to breastfeeding in public. You are right. If one gets uncomfortable looking at a breastfeeding Mom in public, they can either keep quiet or simply leave.

    2. Thank you Sarah. Breastfeeding is such a beautiful and selfish act and Kudos to you for breastfeeding your kids. I just think that it's about time that this should be normalized. This is how kids were fed before formula milk was invented. Milk companies just have created a need and market their products like crazy and in the process, this undermined a woman's breastfeeding journey. Enough. Women should be empowered.

    3. Sorry. I meant a selfless act, not a selfish act. :(

  2. I admire and envy moms who breastfeed their children beyond 1 year old. Because I breastfeed my two kids exclusively for 4 months and mixed feeding until 6 months. If I was more diligent despite having 8-hour work schedule I may have them breastfeed until 1 year or more if I was more lucky. Kudos to you!

    1. Thank you Mommy Donna. But don't blame yourself. I think that if you have gotten the same support I had, you would have lasted longer. :) Let's face it. Working moms have a bigger challenge in sustaining breastfeeding. You mentioned that you have an 8-hour work schedule but in reality, it's not really 8 hours. You have to take into consideration having to deal with traffic for hours and this adds to the time you are away from your little one. My son was mixfed too right from the start. I just met the most amazing group of women who inspired me in ditching the formula. It really boils down to having the right support -- support from your immediate and extended family, support from friends and support in the work place. Who knows, you might have another chance to breastfeed another little one in the future. When that happens, shoot me an email. I can help you find a support group nearby.


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