10 and a half months ago, I had anxiety about breastfeeding in public. I had this anxiety, because I had seen so many people talking about it on social media. I had seen articles and videos of people getting negative feedback and that gave me anxiety. I lived in a conservative area of Southern California. Would someone say something? What would I do if they did? Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done, but it probably wouldn’t have been a pretty argument. I never had the occasion to find out and that’s a beautiful thing.
Breastfeeding in public has never been easy. My son has always been a bit of an acrobat who didn’t like latching on immediately. This caused even more anxiety as I knew at least once or twice my boob was going to be fully in view of someone. This has been true more than a handful of times over the last 10 months, but I can assure you that no one has ever said anything to me about it. I have never received a sideways glance while feeding my child. I’ve never heard a snarky comment coming from somewhere in the distance. I started to relax. I started to feel less anxious about feeding in public. I started to wonder about things I saw under #normalizebreastfeeding.
I don’t want to negate other women’s experiences. I know that these things have happened to some women. I know that restaurants have asked people to leave since I’ve seen that on the news, but I also believe though that #normalizebreastfeeding caused me undue stress. I was constantly on the lookout when I first started feeding my child in public, and I was hyper alert to the people around me. I waited anxiously for someone to look at me just the wrong way. I felt like I was constantly on guard for a fight and this was too stressful with all the other things going on in my life.
Women should be able to breastfeed in public without causing a scene. As a society, we should support each other and step in if we do see a woman getting a hard time, but I believe blasting so much out there via social media can make new moms more anxious about a job that already gives them a lot of anxiety and guilt.
I believe that each new mom needs different types of support. I needed less outside anxiety. What did you need as a new mom? What do you wish you’d known then that you know now?