Real Life

Breastfeeding (or not) is every woman's choice - but why is there still so much stigma?

Two AMAZING mums stand up to the shamers

There’s a lot of misinformation about breastfeeding that causes unnecessary stress for mums who are doing their utmost on very little sleep.

The marketing spin and judgments about formula are often worse as some people, men included, feel the need to impose their cultural views on others.

Breastfeeding may be a healthy and natural choice for looking after your baby’s nutrition. But it is a CHOICE – not a requirement for the wellbeing of you or your child.

For women who do choose to breastfeed, there’s nothing more harrowing than being publicly shamed and abused.

British poet, Hollie McNish, has crafted one of the most powerful videos about the Western world’s hypocritical attitude towards nursing mothers and porn.

In the four-minute film titled "Embarrassed", she asks: "Why is titillation accepted and sustenance rejected?"

Hollie’s video comes at the same time a mum’s Facebook rant went viral with over 19,000 shares on Facebook.

Hilton hotel staff in San Francisco repeatedly told Lynda Nguyen she should pump in the public toilets at their Embassy Suites.

Lynda posted: "I told them they don't eat lunch in the bathroom, so it's gross to expect me to contaminate baby's milk in there.

"Based on principle, I decided to pump in the lobby next to reception. F**k you, @embassysuites .I'm livid. I spoke to the GM and expressed their need to train their staff, and reiterated how appalling it was to be quickly dismissed without any attempts to accommodate my need and offered a bathroom because sir, you don't eat where you sh£t, so why should my baby! He apologized profusely.

"Do NOT piss off a mama who knows her rights and is a social worker to boot!"

A group of British mums were similarly embarrassed at a 'family-friendly' restaurant after a man reading his paper said he didn’t want to be "disturbed by women and babies".

Staff at the Derbyshire restaurant, Brewers Fare, asked the women to move towards the back of the restaurant near the toilets to "pre-empt any complaints".

One of the mums, Marie Barron, said: "We are not loud, hooligan types. We were not there to get drunk.

"We are working mothers, on maternity leave with seven month old babies.

"The treatment we received was unacceptable and left us feeling extremely embarrassed as well as discriminated against and ruined what is otherwise a perfectly lovely place to dine with friends and family."

Another mum in the group was so outraged, she wrote a formal complaint letter to Whitbread who own the restaurant in Ripley. A company rep has since apologised and offered the mums £10 vouchers in a bodged attempt to makeup for their out-dated policies.

Many restaurants and cafés in the UK need to take a serious look at how they manage breastfeeding complaints to ensure that nursing mothers have their legal rights protected. The same goes for women who need to bottle feed in public places.

One Cheltenham café set the right standard back in 2014 when the manager posted this message on Facebook:

Emma O’Connor’s random act of act of kindness also went viral and was widely praised from Australia to the USA.

Emma said: "The sign was literally from a mum that was tired. I made her a cup of tea and she looked like I’d given her a million pounds.

"I wish I’d done it ages ago, if I’d known it would make people feel more confident."

With this kind of leadership, awareness and public support for harassed mothers, why are we having the same conversation about breastfeeding stigma in 2016?

Have you been shamed for feeding your baby in public? Tell us on Facebook and via Twitter (@CloserOnline)

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