|Breastfeeding while waiting for boarding in Ontario International Airport.|
To me, the poster basically said “you don’t need a breastfeeding room to breastfeed. You can breastfeed anywhere.”
|The "Hold and breastfeed your baby anytime, anywhere" poster.|
Things are a little bit better back in America. We don’t have that many breastfeeding rooms, yet we have more breastfeeding moms in public. I think it’s a good thing.
My experience in Taiwan remind me how important exposure is when it comes to normalize breastfeeding. While we applaud the availability of nursing rooms for moms who feel most comfortable with some privacy, breastfeeding in public should be encouraged. In order for breastfeeding to be truly normalized, it must be seen and incorporated into daily life. Only the kids growing up in places where breastfeeding is openly practiced will internalize breastfeeding as being normal way to feed and nurture a baby.
Plus, we don’t want a society where people think the *only* place for breastfeeding is hidden away in a private room. Really, I don’t want to stand in line for 20 minutes again just for a breastfeeding room.
In a 2016 CDC survey of over 4,000 male and female adult respondents, 64% of people believe that women should have the right to breastfeed in public places. That number should be 100%. Luckily these attitudes are continuing to shift. Here, I want to invite all my fellow nursing mothers to make a point to breastfeed openly and support other nursing moms. For the moms who are not used to breastfeeding in public, let me provide a few tips for stress-free experience for you and your baby.
If you’re feeling anxious about breastfeeding in public, try practicing at home in front of a mirror so you can see what you look like while nursing. I promise that you’ll notice you’re not exposing as much of your breast as you imagined, because your baby’s head is covering it.
What you wear when breastfeeding in public makes a difference. Personally I found it’s worth it investing in a few items of nursing wear to make life easier. It’s not necessary to buy specific breastfeeding clothing—you can simply layer up two of your normal tops.
|In one of my favorite nursing dresses.|
*This is originally a post for San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition's newsletter by To-wen Tseng. Photo Credit to Mu-huan Chiang.*