Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bristol Breastfeeding Bus Story may not have been what it seemed

In the interests of fairness, I should report further to this posting from the other day that all may not have been what it seemed.

The Bristol Evening Post is now reporting that the bus's CCTV footage told a different story which exonerated its driver, who apparently didn't even speak to Amy Wootton.

If any good comes from this, it's that any First customer across the UK now knows beyond any sort of doubt that women are welcome to breastfeed their babies on their trains or buses.

Another couple of points, though. Virtually every media outlet has covered this story in the last few days, including Friday's This Morning.

I found some of the comments that came into that discussion a bit strange. Opinion seemed to be split quite evenly on the issue. Two specific points were made by viewers and presenter Ruth Langsford. She mentioned that she was always discreet and used a muslin cloth to cover up when she was breastfeeding. Now, that's fine if your baby's comfortable with that. I don't know about you but I can't stand being in bed with the covers above my head. It's stuffy, claustrophobic and I just can't breathe properly. I certainly wouldn't want to eat my dinner in those conditions, so I wouldn't expect a baby to.

Secondly, somebody mentioned that if the mother knew the baby was going to want to eat at that time of day, then she shouldn't have gone out. Ah, so breastfeeding mothers should stay at home, should they, on the off chance their baby gets hungry? That's pretty repressive for anybody. If you look at your own eating and drinking patterns, your hunger and thirst aren't the same every day. It depends on environmental factors - if you're hot and stuffy, you might want a drink, or what you've been doing, exercising or lying around. It's all very variable. It's the same for babies. Nature provided a form of nourishment which could be given anywhere and everywhere for a reason. Nursing mothers aren't meant to be kept out of sight because we're too prudish to cope with a watching a baby being fed.

It's time that we loosened up a bit - I can't stop you being offended by the sight of a mother breastfeeding, but I can suggest that you avert your eyes if it bothers you that much. That's the simplest solution.

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