August 13, 2015
An Open Letter to Mr Dyke
When I first had my son and started breastfeeding, my partner said to me “It must be liberating, being able to get your boobs out for a legitimate reason.” And you know what? It should be. I should feel at liberty to feed my child where and when he needs it. But it isn’t, and I don’t. And nor do many women. There is a stigma and it’s ridiculous. We have to continually fight and justify ourselves for wanting to do what is best for our babies. Because, contrary to what you apparently believe, formula isn’t as good. It isn’t even comparable. It’s like having that nasty UHT milk in your tea rather than fair-trade, organic, full fat goodness. I bet you’d complain if you ordered a latte and it arrived as a pot of powder and some water to mix it with, particularly if the person offering it had a jug of milk in their other hand. That being said, some women do, for whatever reason, choose to give their babies formula, and they don’t deserve to be made to feel bad about that either.
I was sat in a coffee shop the other day with a friend and her 6 year old daughter. My little boy needed feeding and so, dutifully, I got out my muslin cloth, threw it over my shoulder and his head, and got my boob out for him to have his tea. For some absurd reason he does not like eating with a claustrophobic cloth on his head, so I then spend a while fighting to keep him from throwing it off and (shock horror) exposing my breast to the general public. After watching me do this for a little while, my friend’s daughter pipes up:
“Why have you covered him with a cloth?”
I then proceed to explain it’s because people might not want to see him eating.
“But… why? When you are at our house you don’t cover him.”
“Well no, but you and your mummy don’t mind. It’s more private.”
“Sooo… It’s ok in a house, but not here?”
“Huh… I don’t get it.”
You know what..? neither do I. And it sounds all the more ridiculous for trying to explain it to a 6 year old. Quite frankly my boobs are fabulous DDs, and at any other time I’m sure most men (even you Mr Dyke) would love to get an eyeful. But only as long as there isn’t a baby attached. Right. Makes total sense.
But do you know the worst thing? This isn’t the Stone Age. Its 2015 and rubbish like this is still in the media. It’s an outrage that I should feel so damn angry that I am compelled to write this letter. For heaven’s sake, before formula, in a time where ladies wore dresses buttoned to the neck and it was scandalous to see an ankle, people wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at a lady feeding her child. But now, in an age of top shelf magazines and giant lingerie campaigns filled with scantily clad women, a tiny bit of nipple is THE WORST THING. How the hell have we gone backwards? Is it because real women haven’t been airbrushed? Is that why we are suddenly so offensive?
Now I am sure you are sat there picturing me. The flabby, moustache wearing, mono-browed hippy, in her tie-dye hessian and patchouli, up on her soap box. Because they are the culprits, right? “Pushing boundaries” and “trying to make you feel uncomfortable”. Quite frankly it wouldn’t matter if I had a full on handlebar and the beard to match. But I don’t. I consider myself an average mum. As “yummy” as any other mummy (we are all yummy in our own ways, hessian or no, but that is a whole other topic) and completely comfortable with my image, boobs and all. (I could also point out you are hardly the looker yourself, but I won’t because it’s tacky and classless).
In all honesty, I don’t really care about your narrow minded opinion. The only man’s opinion that matters to me is that of the little boy asleep in my lap as I write. And he thinks all access boob is great, especially without the cloth on his head. So I do too. And from now on I plan to breastfeed without shame, in the hope that other women, who don’t have my confidence or conviction, can take inspiration from it. It was on their behalf that I felt I needed to say something. We need to leave the stigma in the dark ages where it belongs. Because a country filled with strong women proudly feeding their babies wherever they damn well please, that is the best look in the world.
One very Pi**ed off Yummy Mummy
When I first had my son and started breastfeeding, my partner said to me “It must be liberating, being able to get your boobs out for a legitimate reason.” And you know what? It should be. I should feel at liberty to feed my child where and when he needs it. But it isn’t, and […]