This week, I read about a breastfeeding mother who, whilst breastfeeding her baby in a high street store, was not only asked to stop breastfeeding her baby and move to somewhere more discreet but when she refused, her baby was removed from her breast so the female could be removed from the store.
This story is what my nightmares are made of. I feel ill at the thought of being publicly humiliated by being asked to cover up/move/leave whilst I breastfeed, but to think my baby could be touched, let alone removed from my breast, makes me angry to the core and scared.
But you know what makes me even angrier? When stories like this aren’t true.
Yep. The woman apparently made it up. Or at least no evidence (CCTV or witnesses) have been found to support her claim. Why she lied? Who knows. But what’s worried me now is how completely damaging this has been towards the breastfeeding community.
Firstly, we breastfeeders have a tough enough time fighting against those that have issues with breastfeeding in public, not to mention fighting our own personal confidence issues when it comes to breastfeeding in public. A day doesn’t go by where there isn’t a story about how a woman has genuinely been targeted for breastfeeding in public
As a newbie to breastfeeding; if this story had been true I would have been mortified and probably never left the house, let alone visited the store in question. Thank god it isn’t, but it could have. I had a tough enough time gaining confidence to feed outside, and I don’t usually give a hoot about anything. I dread to think the effect it could have or may have already had on someone who’s naturally nervous/shy.
Stories like this, where the woman has been found out to be lying, not only make us breastfeeders look aggressive, like we’re going to shout and scream, or immediately accuse anyone who approaches us of harassment when they might not be, but it completely belittles our cause – giving any genuine bad experience room for doubt!
Secondly, and probably the most upsetting outcome of this, is that a popular breastfeeding Facebook page (one that I follow and have visited on a number of occasions for support) called “Free to Feed” is now in the process of deleting their page for reasons I have attached.
I am deeply saddened by this and have only become more angry at the whole, unnecessary situation.
I have no idea why this woman lied or felt the need to create this story – I’m not sure what her gain would have been. But what I do know is that she’s done some serious damage to the breastfeeding community this week, and those within it.