Breast Feeding with élan.

Breast feeding in public never ceases to produce a hot debate and I am thinking I must be mad to even consider that I could contribute to the topic. However, as supportive of feeding in public as I am, I do think you can breast feed; as with any public act, with a touch of class.

As a preface to this conversation, I am a trained midwife, I have breast fed three children and I have done it in public and never did I receive a complaint. In fact I remember an occasion when I was breast feeding my third baby at a formal function and an Australian High Court judge came up to chat. Not realizing that I was feeding the baby, he stroked her back whilst we talked about his grandchildren. It wasn’t until she burped that he realized what I was doing. He did look slightly embarrassed but I was able to quickly put him at ease. I like to think that I managed the situation with élan.

Susie feeding Sophie

‘Duh?’ you ask, ‘What is élan?’

‘It is doing something with style and elegance and is probably the first cousin to the dinosaur Etiquette,’ says mother.

‘Duh?” you ask, ‘What is etiquette?’

‘It is social convention that takes into consideration others’ rights and needs before yourself,’ says mother.

There are often times when it is easier to feed the baby in public than to wait until you get home. A hungry crying demanding child is very distressing and cannot be reasoned with. So too are the damp patches that appear on your clothing when your milk comes down in reaction to that crying.

So here are some suggestions for Breastfeeding in public. I would be delighted to receive other serious suggestions.

How to breast feed with élan in public.

  1. Stop bosom envy. Most feeding bosoms aren’t tight and perky; they are lovely large warm pulsating mountains. Wear a shirt, t-shirt or jumper and tuck the baby under the flap.
  2. Become a fashionista; scarves and pashminas are today’s fashion accessory and great for draping over peculiar shaped bulges.
  3. A sunburnt bosom is seriously uncomfortable and leads to potential skin cancer later in life. Never leave your towel behind when going for a swim. It comes in handy as a sunshade when it is casually draped over your shoulder and your baby’s face to act as a parasol.
  4. Skin damage is so aging: avoid the Queensland turkey neck on your newborn and drape a light muslin baby wrap around your neck, allowing it to drape gently over the baby’s head to provide sun protection.
  5. Become the watcher not the watched, by choosing a corner table whilst feeding so that you can observe what is happening around you.

Nursing mothers’ rights? Well, other people have rights also, a right to express an opinion and a right to consider a different point of view. You can of course breast feed in public, it’s easy to do, just do it with élan.

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