Public breastfeeding continues to be an issue that generates all kinds of heated responses. Yes, there is a vocal group of people who seem hell-bent on question a mother's choice to do so (I am personally a huge fan of being told what to do with my body, so thanks for that), but there are also things every grown-ass man does when his partner breastfeeds in public that can essentially and effectively shut down those vocal individuals, making any woman's unapologetic breastfeeding experience a positive one. And let's be real here, there are a lot of people who would happily make your public breastfeeding experience a bad one, so it really does (sometimes) take a grown-ass man to step up.
I consider myself to be extremely lucky, having never faced any outright criticism for breastfeeding in public. The one time an older woman stared at me with a little too much judgement while I breastfed openly, was when I was on a plane and getting ready for takeoff. My husband and I stared her down together, and then laughed at the absurdity of it all since she was obviously a grandmother herself. We felt sorry for her daughter or daughter-in-law, honestly, as we could only imagine how they felt on a regular breastfeeding basis. Having my partner there to "back me up," so-to-speak, and make an otherwise uncomfortable situation light-hearted and hilarious, was everything I needed in that moment and, honestly, everything a grown-ass man should be willing to do for his partner.
So, with that in mind and in the hopes that more cisgender men (who will never know what it is like to breastfeed in public and in the midst of constant judgement and shame) will step up to the plate; here are nine other things every grown-ass man will do when his partner breastfeeds in public:
He Will Willfully Support His Partner's Choice
Whether she decides she wants to cover herself and the baby, or she doesn't give a rat's you-know-what who is staring and why; it's up to her grown-ass man to support those choices, not question them. You guys are a team, right?
He Makes Sure She Has Water
If you're getting her water at home, what makes you think it's any different in public? Grab the water bottle you guys packed, and if you forgot to bring one, go buy her one nearby. She will appreciate it.
He'll Find Her A Spot Where She Feels Comfortable Breastfeeding
If there's nowhere free to sit, but lots of seating available, you can always ask someone to move. Many women will absolutely give up their seat to a woman with a baby, and most men won't say no, especially when asked by another man.
He Will Sit With Her, If She Wants
If you live in an area that has many "traditional valued" (a.k.a. judgmental) folks, being there with her while she breastfeeds may help her to feel safer and more supported and, sadly, less likely to be attacked for her choice to breastfeed. Oh my god, I can't believe I have to write that in this day and age. Thanks, sexism. You're the freakin' worst.
He Will Speak Up Against Haters
A grown-ass man will be just as offended as his partner when someone (sadly, inevitably) stops to tell his partner that she shouldn't be "exposing herself" like that. Grown-ass men say something to the haters, because honestly, how dare they?
He Will Defend Her Right To Breastfeed In Public
Similar to the above point, any grown-ass man should be armed with a few points they can list off about why breastfeeding in public is perfectly okay. Should this be a necessity? Nope. But is it? You betcha. Defending your partner to someone who wants to shut her down is really important, because she's not really in a position to get assertive about things when she's trying to feed the baby and, honestly, she's not just feeding her baby. She's feeding your baby, too.
He Will Constantly Encourage Her
If your partner is unsure of herself and whether she should breastfeed somewhere, guess what? It's your job, as a grown-ass man, to encourage her to be herself and be comfortable with who she is and to ignore that judgement and criticism of others. Clearly, you shouldn't be pushing her to do something she doesn't want to do, but some encouragement is definitely warranted, especially you know breastfeeding is something she wants to do, but something she's also kind of afraid to do.
He Refuses To Ask Her To Be Discreet
Seriously, if you ask her to cover up, you are as bad as any of the people out there who are judging your partner about breastfeeding in public. Why should she need to spend time caring about this? She has more important things to worry about. And, sorry fellas, but your partner's breasts aren't "yours." They're not "for your eye's only," they're your partners and if she wants to use them to feed your kid in the middle of a crowded mall without a cover, then that is exactly what she should do.
He'll Act Like Everything Is Normal, Because It Is
Breastfeeding is a part of being a mother (in most cases, if a mother can successfully breastfeed and if she chooses to breastfeed), and having a baby who needs to eat when you're on the go is normal. The sooner your grown-ass gets over it and acts like everything is as normal as it actually is, the better.