In North America, the debate over breastfeeding in public still stirs a range reactions and a recent U.S. “campaign” is no different. In Texas, there was a law created to support breastfeeding in public places. However, many women are still being scrutinized if breastfeeding in public. There are also reports of nursing moms who are spotted in public and have been asked to stop. This campaign was created by two university students, Johnathan Wenske and Kris Haro from the University of North Texas, as part of an assignment that looks at social issues. Their assignment has garnered a lot of attention so far.
Breastfeeding lays the foundation for a lifetime of better health in countless ways. Let’s view breastfeeding for what it simply is: nourishment and health. Moreover, historically breastfeeding was as normal as eating and sleeping. How else did mothers feed their babies before the invention of formulas and bottles? With the modernization of our culture, there was a shift in perception about breastfeeding. Fortunately we are seeing breastfeeding come into favour again because of the undisputed health benefits it has. And while not everyone will feel comfortable with mothers breastfeeding in public, hopefully this sweeping resurgence in breastfeeding will help others understand the need for moms to breastfeed in public.
Acceptance Builds Friendly Spaces
Additionally, wouldn’t it be nice if we saw more facilities that created a breastfeeding friendly space. If anyone has ever been to the Mapleview Mall, you would know what I’m talking about (amazing!). Granted, many women who breastfeed feel comfortable nursing their child on a park bench or at the restaurant table. However, some women may also have concerns (for what ever reason — self-consciousness, struggling with a drape, a fussy baby) nursing in public settings. Because of this, many breastfeeding moms do find themselves having to breastfeed in a bathroom stall or in their car parked in a parking lot. This also makes many moms quick to find public places that have a spot they can nurse in private, too. They are out there but are few and far between. (Trust me on that one.)
It is my hope that over time the debate over breastfeeding in public fizzles so we can all just see it as a normal part of mothering.