5 May 2011

Full-Term Breastfeeding in Public

Time to combine two topics that are sometimes seen as controversial in and of themselves: full-term breastfeeding (sometimes called extended breastfeeding) and breastfeeding in public.  If you know me, you know I fully support breastfeeding in public, and I'm still breastfeeding my 3-year-old because he's not ready to wean completely yet, and I'm not going to force him.  I think both of these things should be more widespread, yet I'd given little thought to the logical step of full-term breastfeeding in public as well.  One reason given for promoting breastfeeding in public is to normalise breastfeeding, since the more it is seen, the more it will be accepted.  Would this not also apply to full-term breastfeeding?  I think it would, personally.

I was thinking about this yesterday when Kieran wanted me to come outside with him while he played with his friends.  He then added that he wanted milk outside.  At first I tried to put him off, to tell him that he could have it later, but then I questioned why I was telling him that.  Did I have a good reason?  Not really.  I simply wanted to avoid any comments from the other adults out there (or even from the other kids).  Now, I've breastfed him in public fairly recently, but usually it's around others who are like-minded about breastfeeding, so I've not been nervous.  Yesterday I was a little nervous, but I went ahead and fed him because I reasoned that I couldn't let my nervousness adversely affect him.  I don't want him to think that breastfeeding in public is taboo, because it shouldn't be.  I just hadn't thought about how my attitude and nervousness would affect him like that before.  Perhaps now I won't be so quick to say "no" if the only reason behind the "no" is because we're in public.  And if someone comments or questions, hopefully I'll have the presence of mind to answer respectfully, and with the relevant information on the continued benefits of full-term breastfeeding.

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