Imagine: you’re in a restaurant and a baby starts crying, the mother takes out her breast to feed. How does this make you feel? Should the woman leave to nurse her baby? We found out what Humber students thought.
By Shaunte Sterling
Many Humber students say breastfeeding is natural, and nursing mothers shouldn’t feel uncomfortable.
There is a stigma attached to breastfeeding in public and it continues to cause controversy, which is confusing for Humber student Vidy Matadeen who says it’s a part of life.
“It’s necessary. The child needs to be fed and its natural,” Matadeen told Humber News.
“It takes like five to ten minutes to feed the child and then it’s over. Just let it happen.”
Some breastfeeding mothers use udder covers, blankets that cover the chest while nursing, to discreetly nurse infants. Matadeen says every time he’s seen a woman nursing they’ve been wearing covers.
Fashion Arts student Jessica Gagliano says that the stigma needs to end, and women should be appreciated.
“You shouldn’t sexualize a woman for feeding her child. [A woman] isn’t taking out their breast to show people, she’s doing it to feed her child,” Gagliano said.
Gagliano says this is a part of a bigger issue that has to do with environment and how people are raised.
“It also has to do with religion and cultural [preferences] too. Some are more conservative than others.”
General Arts and Science student Ebuka Ekeanyawu says the double standard that nursing mothers face should be no more.
“It depends on how you see things. Everyone else is okay with seeing a women dressed sexually or [showing cleavage]. But, when it’s in a different way it’s [considered] gross.”
In a survey conducted by a Humber student, students found excessive cleavage to be more inappropriate than a mother chest feeding her youth.
People openly express their opinions online.
I still dunno why breastfeeding is somehow more unacceptable than a dude with bare feet on a train feeding himself Subway
— Lucas Neff (@RealLucasNeff) October 14, 2016
I think breastfeeding in public is gross without covering it up with a blanket. IDC IDC IDC.
— cjc❗️ (@Col3Cok3r) October 5, 2016
La Leche League Canada is an organization that supports and motivates women to breast feed.
Keristen Wyatt who is a La Leche leader says there are many positives to breast feeding infants.
“There are numerous health benefits for the baby [like] strengthening the immune system, reduced risk of obesity and diabetes, reduced risk of breast cancer in baby feed baby girls and their mothers.”
Wyatt adds that breastfeeding is environmentally, and economically, friendly.
“We recommend that a breast feeding parent does whatever they are comfortable with. For some parents that’s finding a private space but it could also be breastfeeding a baby at the dinner table with family,” Wyatt said.
The biggest takeaway is that, although some may be uncomfortable with public breastfeeding, it’s happening and here to stay.
“Certainly a parent’s right to chest feed anywhere in public is protected in Canada and specifically in Ontario under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”