Prior to being pregnant I was always a bit sniffy about breastfeeding in public. When I was about 16 I distinctly recall being in McDonalds with my god daughter (about 3 months at the time) and her mother and sitting rather sheepishly while she was breastfed and people stared. In reality, nobody was staring but my embarrassment was such that I thought the whole world was looking at us.
15 years later and a small baby and I am finding that my opinion on the whole feeding in public issue has changed. I think this is, in part, due to my mother and baby group where we all whip them out in front of each other, so I feel that breastfeeding is perfectly normal. It is also because H, our nanny, sees me topless on a regular basis so I have lost all shame when it comes to the purpose of my chest.
This week I have been out in polite company a couple of times and known that Eve would need feeding. Whereas 4 weeks, and less experience, ago I would have taken a bottle out with me, this time I couldn't be bothered. So I found myself on Tuesday sitting in the cafe in the plush Conrad hotel in Hong Kong with my lovely friend, L, from Singapore. Eve sat in the sling, happy and tired, until we had just started on our post lunch drinks. Having waited for me to finish my lunch, Eve wanted hers. L, mother of one and shortly two, simply turned to the waiter, asked him to take our drinks to the lobby so that "my friend can feed her baby". We retired to the nice comfy chairs, in full view of the entrance and the many besuited businessmen having meetings, where I draped the yellow tent thingy around my neck and fed Eve while L and I chatted. A few people looked at the two pink legs stuck out the bottom of the yellow tent and probably wondered what the slurping noises were - but if they stared or were disgusted then I didn't notice.
Jump to Thursday and after her jabs I took Eve into my office to say hi to a few colleagues. I work for not only a bank, but a very posh private bank, and we have lovely offices. Eve, of course, started to wail and was inconsolable until she was fed. So I settled into my boss' chair in his office (he works mainly in Singapore), turned the chair around and fed her in the office while looking at the nice view across Western Harbour. It was a rather nice view, although Eve was aware only of the lovely, milk providing, view in front of her.
Postscript - Although I am embracing breastfeeding in public, I have not yet gone as far as C from my mother and baby group who took her 3 month old to the cinema and breastfed her there. Apparently it was all rather easy, although the cinema made her pay for a child ticket for her daughter. Really.
Analogies of a sort
1 week ago