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Why I said breastfeeding in public is illegal

I BREASTFED and I am all FOR breastfeeding and support it wholeheartedly. In fact as a first-time mum I still remain in awe that our bodies are so perfectly designed for baby's nutrition.

As humans we have the freedom to have different opinions on what we think is right or wrong and are entitled to voice them. And just because someone's opinion is different from yours, doesn't mean they are wrong.

So you can argue your opinion on this matter and go against mine but realise there are women, like myself, who prefer to choose to be discreet in breastfeeding and opt for comfortable conditions in which to breastfeed with intention of providing the solo intimacy for both mother and baby.

My main premise for the comment I made in Channel Seven's new reality show, Yummy Mummies, that "breastfeeding in public, for me, is illegal" derives from my notion that the sacred act of breastfeeding is physically and emotionally intimate and is not just about feeding, but equally as important is the connection and bonding of mother and child.

 

Yummy Mummies star Maria DiGeronimo and her husband Carlose. (Pic: Tom Huntley)
Yummy Mummies star Maria DiGeronimo and her husband Carlose. (Pic: Tom Huntley)

A powerful hormone that is vital for a mother to successfully breastfeed is oxytocin which stimulates the "letting down" of the breast milk.

Many factors can inhibit the production of this hormone including a mother's stress level influenced from her surrounding environment.

Obviously, I do not suggest one has to hide or feel ashamed to breastfeed, I just personally would use the nursing areas - which nowadays are so readily available - or with no other option, I would use a light cover with intention of ensuring a more relaxed and less distracting moment for my baby to be able to engage in eating and bonding with me.

I personally feel that the time and location of a feed should warrant some rationale, as I feel the composure of a nursing mother is vital to a successful breastfeeding experience and a possible crowded place could ensue distraction.

 

I feel breastfeeding is a special moment that should be witnessed by only intimate family members not just anyone walking by. I just don't see why I should have 20, 30, 50 people walking by me with the added background noise potentially disturbing my peace with baby.

Furthermore, even in the most evolved societies breasts are part of one's sexual ritual, as unfortunately society has been somewhat programmed from birth to sexualise breasts. We are bombarded with daily sexualised images of women predominantly featuring breasts; from daily televised adverts to magazine covers.

I am aware that breastfeeding is natural but there are many things in this world which are considered natural that we as humans do not partake in public. Call me old fashioned, but I just don't feel comfortable having my breasts out for just anyone to see.

 

Yummy Mummy Maria DiGeronimo.
Yummy Mummy Maria DiGeronimo.

I feel a woman's breast is a private part of her anatomy and although they are being used for food, I don't feel comfortable with a flash of my nipple as I latch baby on and then off.

I am comfortable with my body, I am comfortable to wear swimsuits, and am not worried about any flaws on my body... yet I still don't want everybody to see my bare breasts.

To clarify any uninformed doubt, the comment I made was not active discrimination or a breach of the law as the mother was not in any way restricted from breastfeeding and there was no direct attack against her rather a mere exchange of words between my mother and myself.

There's a con to filming as ones opinion is forever documented. For me, the beauty of this is that I am able to review my initial shocked reaction to breastfeeding in public (before becoming a mother) and realise how motherhood has helped me to grow and inevitably broaden my understanding of breastfeeding collectively.

Motherhood entices many learning curves; I see women breastfeeding publicly and I can understand its empowering for some, and honestly sometimes I wish I could so easily let my guard down and be one of those powerful mothers.

But at present, I still unapologetically remain uncomfortable at the idea of breastfeeding publicly. Needless to say, God willing, I could one day potentially progress my breastfeeding journey.

 

Yummy Mummies airs on Tuesdays at 8.30pm on Seven.

Topics:  entertainment television

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