Real Talk with Duenna

Breastfeeding in public. This is one of the topics you bring into a conversation when you are prepared for an argument.

Although some are unsure where they stand with regards to mothers breastfeeding in public, many feel strongly about it.

Whether for or against, either side believes it is correct in its conviction as to why mothers should or should not serve ‘boob-juice’ in the public eye.

Last year, a woman made news when she posted a photo of herself during her graduation ceremony. Her three-month-old baby girl was latched onto her breast.

There was an outcry.

She was labelled and called many things. People asked why she would do such a thing. Some wanted to know why she did not express like other people ‘normally’ do.

But not everyone was offended. Many came to her defence, asking if people would have preferred for a baby to cry than for a mother to breastfeed.

A breastfeeding mother myself, I have been irritated at a few restaurants and shopping malls that do not provide breastfeeding facilities. If I am going to spend a fortune for a meal and still have to walk across a shopping centre to find a breastfeeding room, then I don’t see why I should go back.

I find it unfortunate and sad that in the urban, or the so-called developed parts of South Africa, breastfeeding, especially in public, is not widely embraced. I could be wrong, but I believe part of the reason breastfeeding in public is taboo is because of the sexual connection to breasts.

I don’t think there is a woman who walks out her house with the plan to show off her nipples. It takes guts and some kind of confidence to flip out your breast, even if it is covered.

So, before you update your next status on Facebook about the ‘disgusting’ site you have just witnessed in a mall, put perfect self in the woman’s shoes.

I am not, in anyway, condoning women who flip out their breasts while sitting on benches along mall passages. However, it makes me feel comfortable when I see a mother nursing her baby with dignified confidence.

My baby always refused cover. I could never get him to breastfeed while covered, which is why I would have to either walk across malls or to the car to feed. I did not use this as an excuse – instead I trained him to drink with cover.

I was asked why I, “Put my body through all that breastfeeding and natural birth trauma” by one of my former friends, which I did not take kindly to, but that’s a story for another day.

The pressure placed on mothers when it comes to their mothering choices is unfair and needs to stop.

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