A friend of mine posted a photo of her breastfeeding. I was mesmerized by the color of her baby’s eyes, the gentle nature of this perfect moment and how great it is to see someone I know in her element. However, the number of comments caught my attention as unusually high. Intrigued, I read the comments and was surprised to find heated arguments about breastfeeding in public – posting breastfeeding pictures on the internet is now taboo?
While I do not mind seeing mothers breastfeed, not everyone agrees it should be done in public. In January Ashley Clawson visited Victoria’s Secret (of all places!) and was told she had to leave the store to breastfeed after spending $150 on underwear. She was told to go to an alley.
A friend of mine named Rea Señeris is one of the Filipina mothers who feel comfortable to breastfeed in public. Her daughter turns two in a month and she is still breastfed. Rea plans to wean her when she turns two. Initially convinced by her mother-in-law to breastfeed because of the essential nutrients her baby would receive from breast milk, she got used to it and fed her daughter on demand – anytime the baby wanted. While most moms do it in private, she’s bold and does not mind breastfeeding anywhere. She does it in the hospital, in public vehicles, taxix, malls, and pretty much anywhere else. When her baby needs it, she gives it.
And what does she do when people give her strange looks or protest? “I smile and wink at them,” she told me. For her, apologies are not something she’s willing to give to anyone who thinks breastfeeding is faux pas.