This little nugget of news has been doing the rounds on social media this week – a breastfeeding Mum sat to feed her baby in a US Starbucks when a woman complained loudly to staff. She asked if they could “…get that woman to stop doing that in public? It’s disgusting.” But instead of doing what was being asked, the barista offered the Mum a free refill, a voucher for a free drink and said “I’m sorry you had to deal with such unpleasantness today.” Touché!
Before you read on, I promise that this post is NOT a ‘breast is best’ rant. I just can’t believe that this sort of thing still happens! Surely, in the 21st century, we can all be open-minded enough to see a Mum breastfeeding her child and not kick up a fuss?! Can’t we just let people crack on with it? I (personally) don’t like seeing blokes wander round town with their trousers so low it begs the question why they are bothering wearing them, but I don’t take it upon myself to give them a wedgie, I just look at something else.
I struggled with breastfeeding and Bear has been formula-fed for most of her life, but I am pleased to say that I never experienced any kind of animosity when I did feed her in public in the early days. I would like to think that I’d have reacted with class and integrity if I had been the one being criticised like that, although in reality I’d probably just move and feed a bit closer so that the whingebag felt more uncomfortable and exposed than me. I’d then have wished very, very hard for one of Bear’s monumental nappies. That would definitely put them off their cappuccino.
In my mind, you have two options when it comes to milk; you do it yourself, or you make up bottles. I know that there is a whole load of research into the health benefits of breastmilk, but there’s a whole load of research into the benefits of ‘making a decision that is right for you’. And whatever you choose, surely you should be able to do it confidently public?
I do wonder if restaurants and bars could make it easier and more welcoming for Mums to feed. In Cardiff Bay, most – if not all – of them are signed up to a national scheme, displaying a logo in the window showing that feeding is welcomed. But while other places are probably just as friendly about it, they don’t openly invite it. Would you feel or have felt more comfortable if you knew from the outset that you had the retailer’s support? Or is the fact that it’s totally natural (and legal!) enough?
As I said before, feeding (whether it’s milk, mush or a 3 course meal) can be so frustrating, and especially so when I’m out and about. Giving Bear a bottle or a sandwich in public takes forever, because she has to wave at every other customer, eye-up whatever I am eating and generally take any distraction opportunity. So whether it’s a boob, a bottle, a pouch or a plate, it’s hard enough without whingebags sticking their beaks in.