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Stand Up for Your Breastfeeding Rights

Alison Wood |18, August 2013


Have you ever been given "the look" as you breastfed your hungry infant? Unfortunately, many breastfeeding mothers have faced this same "shaming" and are now beginning to stand up for their breastfeeding rights.

breastfeeding rights. Those two words don't even seem like they should be coupled together. It's like saying the right to live, the right to breathe, the right to sleep. All those are natural rights that no government officials or laws should have power over. However, this is just not the case on numerous occasions. So what can you do when someone approaches you about breastfeeding in public?

State the obvious.
Your baby is hungry, and you choose to breast-feed. You cannot give your munchkin a bottle since he is only use to the breast. This is a natural process that humans have been doing for years. Our bodies are designed to feed our offspring, and thus breastfeeding mothers are only doing what comes naturally — nurturing their young.

Move to a more discreet location.
If you are in the main view of public's eye or around young children and men, it is much better to choose a more discreet or private location to nurse your little one. Nursing your infant in a quiet, discreet area will help ensure that others are not offended and you are not asked to cover up. If your breastfeeding session is interrupted your baby could become stressed and not enjoy his outing as much. Even though you are left out of the festivities for about 20 or 30 minutes, you can return shortly with a happy, well-fed baby and you have successfully avoided conflict and shaming glances.

Know your rights.
Research the laws concerning breastfeeding for your individual state. Once you know them, you can relay them to others when they demand you stop breastfeeding in public. Many of the people that command you to stop breastfeeding are only responding to others' complaints and do not really know the laws concerning breastfeeding. You will definitely have an edge in this dispute if you are knowledgeable as well as enjoy the feeling of knowing you are not breaking any laws and you definitely have the right and freedom to breast-feed your little one in a public setting.

Don't flaunt it.
For sure it is uncomfortable to have to cover up and move to a quiet location when you are breastfeeding. Many specially made shirts make it easy to breast-feed without covering up. You can choose proper clothing that still keeps you covered as you nurse your infant. You do not have to expose both of your breasts in order to let people know you are nursing your infant. Both parties, the on-lookers and the nursing mother, should be considerate of other people's feelings and desires. You want people to respect your right to breastfeed? Then you also need to respect their right to go to a place without seeing personal areas on others. Yes, your breasts were made for nurturing babies, but they are also a sexual symbol — especially to men. Make the public atmosphere more pleasant to yourself and others by breastfeeding with discretion. Choose to be a lady and mother that your bambinos will be proud to call their mom. You not only gave them the best nutrition and start a child could have, but you made sure that you respected other people's space and freedoms as well.

Ignore the looks.
Even though you are being discreet and no one can see your breasts, some people are angry just because the very thought that you are breastfeeding in public angers them! Don't worry about those angry looks. Just focus on giving your baby the nutrition he needs and let him enjoy his outing as well. You are doing your part by being kind. If people are still offended, the fault falls on them, not you.

Whether you are breastfeeding or watching someone else breast-feed in public, always exercise common decency and courtesy. If both parties are understanding, then conflicts can be resolved and breastfeeding rights can be enjoyed!

Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers.

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