Every breastfeeding mom has been caught in a situation, where while out in public, your baby demands to be breastfed — even if you’ve brought his bottle and snacks.
Your baby isn’t prepared to take “no”, or “wait”, for an answer and instead keeps tugging at your dress, which is not breastfeeding-friendly to start off with. What is a mother to do?
Finding a private corner
If you can manage to find a private corner on the bus, then this is the best place to breastfeed. But how many quiet corners are there usually on the bus?
Know the law
There is no law in South Africa that bans women from breastfeeding in public, however because some people are genuinely so offended by it, it’s best to be as polite about it as possible. In such instances, covering up while breastfeeding is your best bet.
There are ways to cover up as much as possible if you find yourself in such a situation. Throw a towel over your shoulder or buy a nursing cover from a baby store. A wide scarf, shawl, blanket or a sweater can also be used if you are caught off guard.
Whipping it out
Needless to say, sometimes, this is your only choice. Sometimes breastfeeding in a very public place is the only way to stop your howling baby. While breastfeeding is natural, it can make those around you very uncomfortable. But let’s face it — it’s often just as uncomfortable for the breastfeeding mother – after all her breast is the one out in public.
Spraying in the air
So your baby has latched on and is drinking merrily away, all of a sudden he gets distracted and mom’s milk goes spraying in the air. How embarrassing. To make it worse, the bus is full and your milk ends up on someone’s face. Do you act like you haven’t noticed, even though the guy next to you is screaming “Yuck”! Probably not, a simple “I’m sorry”, should do, as you prepare to get off the bus.
If you are going to successfully breastfeed in public, you need to first make sure that you are wearing appropriate clothing. You won’t be successful if you are wearing layers of garments. Remember to always wear tops with buttons, and a breastfeeding bra.
For the Onlookers
Since breastfeeding in public, also concerns the public, here are some things onlookers should take note of.
There is nothing more annoying than the guy or gal that just can’t stop starring at the breastfeeding mom. In most cases, the mom is already trying to be as discreet as possible, and you aren’t helping by starring. Respect her privacy, and her personal space.
Ok, so you are the person sitting on the seat right next to the mom who is busy breastfeeding her baby. Avoid conversation as much as possible. At least until after she is done, if you really have something to say.
Avoid the Streets during World Breastfeeding Week
Be warned. In observance of World Breastfeeding Week, a public breastfeeding demonstration will be held on Saturday August 4 in Cherry Hill, USA. The event is part of a worldwide synchronized breastfeeding event called the Big Latch On. Thousands of women and their breastfeeding infants and children are expected to take part in the global event, which includes more than 300 locations in the United States. The first Big Latch On was held in New Zealand in 2005. South Africa celebrates World Breastfeeding Week every year from August 1 to 7.