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"How dare this archaic man be allowed to comment on when and how I feed my baby!" went most of the diatribe, finishing with a nurse-in protest outside the Seven studios in Martin Place.
Personally, I agreed with him a tiny bit. I breastfed in public, a LOT. But I always tried to be discreet. I’d use a muslin wrap to cover or try and choose a seat that didn’t face the whole restaurant so that people didn’t cop an eyeful while my baby fed. That’s not to say I wouldn’t feed her anytime or anywhere! I most certainly did. There’s no way you can keep a hungry baby waiting – nor would you want to. I just tried to be as discreet as possible and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
You know what IS wrong?
An owner of a café telling you that breastfeeding is offensive. Really? "I think you’re offensive!" should have been the mother’s response. The owner then went on to call it an "offence to humanity".
I am flabbergasted. What would prompt someone to say that breastfeeding a child is offensive to humanity? This café should be blacklisted, because those comments, right there, are discrimination. And abuse. It’s not about whether the other customers were offended at the sight of a wee baby having its breakfast the only possible way it knows how (they weren’t, and said as much on the day). It’s about a nursing mother’s right to feed her baby, where and when she wants, without feeling vilified. It’s about a baby’s right to eat when they’re hungry!
A mum’s first instinct is to protect and feed her child. That’s pretty much the crux of it. When your baby is hungry, you won’t care if the Prime Minister is in front of you, you will feed your baby. That’s just what we’re built to do.
Being a new mum is hard enough. Being a new mum who’s trying to do the right thing by your baby is all you should be thinking about. Frankly, I wouldn’t give a toss about doing the right thing by others at this time. And if they’re offended by it, bad luck for them.
I remember one person asking me why I didn’t go and feed my baby in the toilet. In. The. Toilet. Because that’s exactly where I want to sit for 20 minutes! In a locked cubicle of a public bathroom. Mmm, what a lovely, hygienic spot for my baby to eat. No thanks!
As long as you’re doing the best you can with a wrap or a corner or my personal favourite, wearing a wide sleeved top so you can pop the baby under one arm and nobody is the wiser, then that is all we should have to do. If someone finds you breastfeeding your baby offensive, then feel sorry for them. They clearly don’t understand that most incredible bond a human can experience. And then spread the word, like this good woman has, so that nobody ever goes into Satellite café at Newtown and has to experience abuse, ever again.
Where do you stand on breastfeeding in public? Let us know at the Y!7 Lifestyle Facebook page.
More from Nedahl: Would you smoke while pregnant?
Nedahl is the the director of fashion website cocolee.com.au and a new mum. She's also the former Editor–in-Chief of Cleo magazine, and former Deputy Editor of Cosmopolitan magazine. She writes for Shop Til you Drop, Madison, Cosmopolitan Pregnancy amongst others and can be seen regularly as a commentator on Today Tonight and Sunrise.