World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from the 1st to 7th of August all over the globe to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.
World Breastfeeding Week has brought back so many memories of my breastfeeding days with Madeleine. Although I absolutely hated breastfeeding, I am so proud that I was able to do it for 10 months. You can read about my struggles with breastfeeding here.
One of the reasons why I struggled to enjoy this experience was because of the stares I use to get from people when I breastfed my baby in public. When I was overseas, there was one time where I actually fed Madeleine in the toilet as I struggled to find a private place. Looking back, I am so ashamed of myself and would never ever do it again. I wouldn’t eat my lunch there, I don’t know why I thought it would be acceptable to feed her there! I let my own fear of what people thought about me over her hygiene safety.
I am shocked that breastfeeding in public is still so frowned upon and almost considered inappropriate in many cases especially in some countries. I felt somewhat ashamed and guilty for breastfeeding my daughter. It was always those who didn’t have kids. They just didn’t understand that when a baby needed to eat, they had to eat. One of my friends was told by a passing male that it was sexually disgusting that you’re feeding your toddler in public. This makes me furious!
I have faced my own triumphs and difficulties trying to breastfeed. It is a skilled learnt by both mother and baby. It’s not as easy as it looks and it definitely doesn’t “just happen”. When you finally get the hang of it, the last thing you want is someone telling you that it’s disgusting, wrong or inappropriate! It is completely natural and shouldn’t be frowned upon.
I am embarassed to say that even though I’ve been through it all and experienced all the pressure, I am still frightened and scared of breastfeeding in public. I would never ever starve her, but it has made me want to bottle feed her instead. I am ashamed that I feel this way!
So, I encourage all the mothers out there to post a picture, leave a comment. Embrace World Breastfeeding Week and help normalize breastfeeding in public. We shouldn’t have to feel like this! One of the reasons why I think people react this way, is because they are unaware of the benefits of breastmilk. This will be my next blog post, please keep an eye out for it!
Disclaimer: Please remember that fed is best, no matter if it’s breastmilk or formula.