Yesterday, I stumbled across a heated argument of epic trolling proportions about public breastfeeding on a friend’s Facebook page. I saw, I skimmed, and I started to move along as always… until I noticed his wife’s response.
“Because breastfeeding is a legal right where pissing on the sidewalk is illegal?”
Did someone REALLY try to compare public breastfeeding to public urination?
I started reading. There were a variety of viewpoints, ranging from “gross” to “I just don’t understand the “I breastfeed in public, hear me ROARRRR!”" to “I’ll support this as soon as it’s okay for me to whip out my body parts in public as well.”
I was angry. I stupidly fed the trolls while I was still fired up. In my husband’s words, I was an asshat.
Don’t tell him, but he was right.
Here’s what I really should have said:
I breastfeed my child in public when he’s hungry. I give my child a bottle of pumped milk in public when he’s hungry. In the past, I formula-fed my girls in public when they were hungry. I choose/chose to feed all three children with as much discretion as possible, because a hungry + crying baby draws enough attention all on it’s own.
What happens if you’re nearby? First of all, you won’t die. I promise. However… You might see some or all of my delicate (snort) breast depending on what kind of shirt I’m wearing, (Seriously. You try and discreetly nurse in a button-up.) or your proximity to me, or whether or not I was able to sweet talk the waitress into a booth instead of the table she tried to seat us at. You might even see (gasp) a flash of nipple as he’s latching or unlatching. Sometimes there’s just no way around it. My apologies.
What about a blanket or a “hooter-hider” to cover up? Let’s be realistic here. My kid cries and flails hysterically if my shirt falls over his nose while he’s nursing. It’s hot, recirculated air, and there’s no way it’s comfortable. I’m not about to torture him further by forcing him to eat underneath a blanket because you might be a bit squeamish. Plus, chances are really good you’d be the type of person to criticize me for not being able to “shut that baby up.”
But here’s the honest to God truth. If I’m nursing in public where someone else might be able to watch, it’s because there is no other good option left for me. And no, going into a bathroom to nurse is NOT an option. While I’m in no way ashamed to be breastfeeding my son (quite the opposite, actually), I’m also not a huge fan of giving complete strangers a free peep show. Weirdos. So trust me, if I can manage to pull off nursing without anyone else noticing, my day has been made.
Then why post photos of it?
Take a quick peek at my Instagram feed. You’ll find photos of my kids eating their breakfasts, of my dinner plates, coffee cups, beer bottles, and desserts; of my kids being the weird kids that they are, our adventures, our boring day-to-day crap, LOTS and lots of random baby photos, and yes… of William nursing. But why? Because I enjoy photographing and sharing pieces of my life. And right now, nursing is a big part of my life. Remember that part above where I said I formula-fed my girls? I would have loved to have been able to breastfeed them. So this? This is a huge achievement for me and it’s something that I’m happy to “roar” about. Not to brag or flaunt or show off or shove it in your face… but because I’m PROUD.
Here’s the beauty of social media. You don’t HAVE to see it.
So there you are.
I’m sorry I was a troll-feeding asshat.
Next time I’ll try and take a step back before I jump in head first.
Also, waffles are delicious.