Why do some people have a problem with hungry babies? Why do they want them to go hungry, or to be fed in a toilet? The latest ‘let them starve’ scandal comes from Purley. In a coffee shop an 11-month-old baby was hungry and made its feelings known. The baby’s mother, unsurprisingly, decided to feed it.
This did not go down well with two customers who said she was a ‘slut’, that it was ‘disgusting’, and that she should ‘control herself.’ Who thought breastfeeding was a sign of lack of self-control?
This is not the first time a mother has received abuse – actual verbal abuse – for feeding her child. The depressing list of breastfeeding abuse includes a mother left in tears after a male staff member at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth ordered her to stop breastfeeding in its creche, saying: ‘We don’t do that here.’
Another Mum was branded a ‘tramp’ by internet trolls after somebody took a photograph of her breastfeeding in public in Rugeley, Staffordshire. In fact even nurses, who should know better, stopped a Mum from feeding her infant daughter in a waiting room in a hospital.
People now accept they cannot abuse people for being Jewish, or Irish or black. Well, just like these groups of people, breastfeeding mothers and their children are protected from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.
I do wonder why some people have such a problem with babies who want to be fed their mother’s milk. Mother’s milk seems to really irk some. Never mind that the milk that comes from the mammary glands is what makes us mammals.
Perhaps these people were not breastfeed themselves so in some Freudian way they are jealous. Perhaps they did not breastfed their own children and have conflicting emotions over it. Or Perhaps British culture is so obsessed with breasts as sex objects, people cannot understand that their primary function is to feed a child.
What is so depressing about this whole episode is that it is just another example of open hostility towards motherhood and babies and children. There have been calls to have mothers and children banned from coffee shops, banned from restaurants and banned from flights. Children are too noisy in supermarkets, we are told. They scoot over people on pavements and on and on it goes.
Now, I have no doubt that there are some obnoxious parents with spoilt kids out there, but do you know what is not spoiling a child – feeding it. Do you know what makes a baby on a plane stop crying – feeding it. In fact the quietest child in the coffee shop is the one breastfeeding. This is why I fed both my children until they were two years old.
So breastfeedingphobes of the world out there, here is some advice. There are some very good ‘modesty covers’ available for breastfeeding mothers who dare to feed their children in public. I never had them myself but I think they do have their uses for others. The next time you see a mother feeding her child take advantage of said modesty cover and pop it over your head until the horror is over. They come in different colours.