Thursday, 15 July 2010

Attitudes to NIP

While I was browsing on the Internet today, I came across a forum post about GMTV featuring yet another breastfeeding debate, this time about nursing in public. Apparently, some celebrity has decided to switch to formula because they feel embarrassed to breastfeed in public. GMTV were inviting people to write in with their responses. Immediately, I started composing an email in my head countering the negative attitudes that seem to dominate 'discussions' like this. Then I stopped myself. For starters, I don't watch GMTV. I don't even have a television. I am clearly not the intended audience for this sort of feature. More importantly, even if my opinions by some miracle were aired, what good would it do? I am not eloquent enough to change entrenched viewpoints. 'Disgusted' of Tunbridge Wells will remain disgusted. The new, timid mum watching is likely to hear the negative over the positive anyway.

I don't believe that these sort of features help promote NIP. They aren't designed to. They're there to get people talking. Or shouting. The most powerful thing we can do is continue to nurse our babies wherever we are, whenever they need it. When children grow up understanding that babies' milk comes from mothers, not just bottles, they will expect their own children to feed that way. Pregnant women will have seen other mothers nursing in public, and will expect to do the same. The sight will be just another feature of daily life with no need for staring or tutting. Discussing attitudes is not the most powerful way to support nursing in public, nursing in public is! We need to normalise something that should already be normal.

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