One of the first parenting choices I ever made as a new mother, was the choice to breastfeed. Of course, I knew that there was a chance that my choice would be invalidated by potential breastfeeding problems, but when I was successful at breastfeeding, I let out a sigh of relief and patted myself on the back for making my first mom decision. That relief was short-lived, however, when I was subjected to the creepy things people say to moms who breastfeed in public. Suddenly, my choice wasn't just about feeding my child, it was about trying to endure the misconceptions of others; misconceptions that empowered perfect strangers to make pretty disgusting comments about my body and breastfeeding, and even my son.
At home and around friends and family members, I was in a wonderful breastfeeding bubble of support. My partner helped me breastfeed and purchased our pump and researched the benefits of breastfeeding and, well, me pulling out a boob to feed our child was a normal part of our daily routine. My mother had breastfed both myself and my brother, so she was very excited that I would get to experience the same. But in public, when I breastfed my son without a cover, that bubble of support popped. I wasn't going to starve my son in the name of someone else's comfort, but wow was it difficult to sit there and listen to someone tell me that what I was doing was "inappropriate." I mean, I just can't think of anything more "appropriate" than a mother feeding her child.
Perhaps the only positive to enduring such creepy comments, was the solidarity I have come to have and feel towards and from other breastfeeding mothers. We're definitely not alone in these struggles, especially when breastfeeding in public, and as #NormalizeBreastfeeding becomes more and more popular, our collective voices are growing just a little bit louder than the voices of those who are willing to say the following, absolutely creepy and gross things. So, it's not all bad, right?