The recent news articles about what happened to Wioletta Komar has made me feel quite disheartened and worried about attitudes towards breastfeeding.
I don’t know if you saw these articles but the long and short of it was that Nottingham staff at the successful retail outlet Sports Direct told this poor young woman to leave their store because she was breastfeeding. All Wioletta was doing was sitting in the store, feeding her hungry three-month old son while her father shopped!
The staff there apparently claimed that breastfeeding in the shop was against company policy. Even though Wioletta drew their attention to the fact that it’s not against the law to breastfeed in public, they still insisted that she and her son leave.
I was almost brought to tears when I read that Wioletta had to continue feeding her son outside while it was raining! I asked myself how I would feel if that were me and Alice and I came up with embarrassed (though with no reason to be) and upset. It seems that there has been an angry reaction to this tale as well.
I’ve seen online that 70 women staged a protest in the shop with some going ahead and breastfeeding their babies in there! It brought a smile to my face and apparently Sports Direct have now apologised to Wioletta.
The idea that breast feeders are unwelcome in this shop has left me baffled really.
It’s not legal either, as the Equality Act 2012 says that business aren’t allowed to discriminate against breastfeeding women. There definitely is a taboo around the whole public breastfeeding thing though, isn’t there? It seems strange that people can be so funny about it when it’s not unlikely that they were breastfed as a baby themselves!
I’ve seen some government breastfeeding campaigns that highlight the health advantages for babies and mothers: protection against allergies and infections in babies, and against cancers and heart disease for the mother (by all means not an exhaustive list!).
It still seems to hugely bother some people though. What is it about breastfeeding that they find so repulsive? Is it a modesty thing?
Whether you’re a breast feeder or a bottle feeder, I’d love to know your opinion about breast feeding in public. If a child is hungry, can it be fed immediately, wherever you are? Or should mothers be prepared to account for the concerns of other members of the public and always find somewhere more subtle to breastfeed? Or should they even just always take a bottle if they’re taking their baby out? Maybe you think we could do with breastfeeding stations in towns to make this easier? Whatever you opinion is, I want to know!