Breastfeeding in public -what not to worry about
Breastfeeding at the mall
The other day, I was speaking to my friend about breast feeding in public. I mentioned that I one of the places I breast-fed my baby was on a public bench inside a mall. He said there was a concern about a risk factor. “What risk factor are you talking about?’ I asked. He stated his concern was that women who breastfeed their baby in public could become a victim of sexual violence. My mind quickly raced back to a particular bench at a mall which I frequently used to feed my baby. I noticed that whenever men walked closer and realized that I was breast feeding, they would immediately look the other way. So there I was, breast feeding in plain view of male shoppers and no one took notice.
I told my friend that my observation was that men were embarrassed or intimated to look at a mom breastfeeding her baby. However, I did point out that I had been sitting there with my breast exposed without a baby attached to it, that his fears might be well founded. In fact, when I look back on my younger years, I recall one incident which occurred while I was walking alone along Yonge Street in downtown Toronto. A fellow ran towards me and grabbed one of my breast and then ran off. I was shocked and incensed that he would dare do such a thing. I doubt that fellow would have assaulted me in such a way had I had a baby attached to my breast.
Nope. When it came to breast feeding in public places, men were never the problem; if there was a problem, it was the women who happened to pass by. Some showed plain disgust while others suggested that I find a private place, such as a public washroom to feed my baby. “A public washroom? Really? Would you have your meal in a public washroom or any washroom? I retorted. Meanwhile, the men kept walking past me and all I could see was the back of their heads.