Breastfeeding parents in the U.S. all probably jumped for joy at the fact that it’s legal to breastfeed in public! For too long they have been asked to stop feeding their child just because others were ‘offended.’ (“Please don’t stare at me feeding my kid, thanks!”) Now the law is in full support of these parents, and that’s a huge victory. But that’s just a step in the road to normalizing breastfeeding as mothers are still being asked to breastfeed out of public eye.
We still need everyone, breastfeeding or not, to lend their vocal and public support.these three following things could happen when breastfeeding becomes more normalized in the public:
Individuals that clearly express support of public breastfeeding could prevent any future issues. No parent wants to hear “You can’t do that here,” phrase in the middle of feeding their child. In the past, parents breastfeeding at grocery stores and public beaches have been asked to stop or leave. In some case the police called on them! That is ridiculous and totally preventable. Having public and private locations vocally express their support of breastfeeding could prevent other people from wrongfully confronting these parents in the future.
Vocal affirmation that these parents are welcome to breastfeed wherever and whenever they need could allow them to feel motivated and empowered in their journey. When more parents are motivated instead of shamed there is a greater chance of breastfeeding being normalized. This may also positively affect the rates here in the U.S.
There is a commonality between breastfeeding parents and their supporters that do not personally breastfeed – the wellbeing of the child. Breastfeeding is about the baby’s nutrition and bonding, not the parent’s breast being out of their shirt. Whether a baby is breast or bottle-fed, we can all agree and support baby needs to eat. We should work together to strengthen the next generation of children, not judge the current generation of parents for breastfeeding!
Normalizing breastfeeding is about much more than changing laws or store rules (though it is a big part of it). It’s also about going out to the mall, feeding your child and still being able to confidently have conversations with other adults without any awkwardness or tension hanging in the air. We’ve come so far, but we still have a little further to go!