5 Ways to Handle Breastfeeding Gawkers
You’re not a one-woman show. You’re a breastfeeding mama. The kiddo has to eat, right? Your newborn is wailing, and you know what that means: It’s time to nurse — even if it is in the middle of the mall. The baby is happily nursing away when you notice a gawker. Her eyes are glued to you. Her mouth is dropping. And she clearly has no idea that it’s okay to breastfeed in public. Before you start screaming what’s really going through your head, try one of these polite (but totally to the point) responses.
1. Babies need to eat. Start out with the most straightforward approach. Breastfeeding is the way your baby eats. That’s it. She’s hungry and needs nourishment. Yes, breastmilk certainly has its advantages when it comes to keeping your baby healthy. But jumping into a half-hour monologue on its benefits with a complete stranger is just going to distract from what you’re really doing: feeding your baby. A simple, “This is how my baby eats, and she’s hungry right now!” will do.
2. It’s entirely legal. Unless you live in Idaho (which is still yet to exempt breastfeeding moms from public nudity laws), you’re good to go. Keep in mind that not all people know or understand this. Some of your gawkers may still think that your exposed breast isn’t allowed by law. Again, a lengthy discussion isn’t necessarily in order. Just tell the onlooker that it’s your legal right.
3. This is mommy-baby time. So, yes, you are nursing in public. That doesn’t make you an exhibitionist. You’re just feeding your baby when and where she happened to get hungry. Not only are you feeding her, but you’re also enjoying some mother-child bonding time. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the park, the mall’s food court or a day spa. You have the golden opportunity to use these nursing moments as a time to connect with your little one. There’s no reason that a gawker should ruin it for you. Okay, maybe you don’t have to use the word “ruin.” That sounds a bit harsh. Instead, try something basic and mellow like, “We’re just bonding over here.” Then turn back to baby!
4. It’s nature in action. No one complains when a mama cat is nursing her adorable brood in the latest viral kitty video. Why not? Probably because everyone watching understands that this is how kittens eat. The same goes for baby humans. You’re not being obscene, and you’re not being indecent. Something along the lines of, “It’s nature’s way!” or “It’s totally natural!” gets your message across without any added fuss.
5. No one’s getting hurt here. Hey, it’s not like you’re whipping out a boob and smacking the gawker in the face. You’re peacefully nursing your baby. What you’re doing isn’t hateful, hurtful or menacing in any way. Even so, someone is giving you the coldest stare you’ve ever seen. Smile sweetly and say, “Breastfeeding isn’t hurting me or you.”
How do you prep for public breastfeeding? Share your tips and tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)