Breastfeeding moms unite!
In the photo above, rockstar mama Gwen Stefani is seen breastfeeding her then 3-month-old Zuma, on a park bench in Los Angeles, Calif. A few months later, the mom-of-two talked about how her baby boy self-weaned during No Doubt’s reunion tour.
“I didn’t want him to [quit],” Gwen said. “It felt like a total rejection. It was really hormonal, and trying to stop in the middle of tour was insane.”
But not everyone has a picture perfect experience with breastfeeding.
After feeling shamed for nursing in public, published UK poet Hollie McNish has the last word in her powerful poem titled Embarrassed.
Hollie writes about feeling forced to breastfeed her baby in a bathroom stall after being told she should simply stay at home to feed her baby.
In a new anthem for all breastfeeding moms, Hollie attacks everything from aggressive formula marketing to the double standard of anti-breastfeeding discrimination in a world of “billboards covered in tits.”
“I wrote this poem in a public toilet after my 6 month old baby fell asleep,” she says in the video’s description. Since she was “embarrassed,” Hollie continued to feed her daughter in bathrooms for six months. “I hate that I did that but I was nervous, tired and felt awkward.”
Striking a chord with millions of moms worldwide, the poem has gone viral.
“I thought it was OK.
I could understand the reasons.
They said: there might be a man or nervous child seeing this small piece of flesh that they weren’t quite expecting.
So I whispered and tiptoed with nervous discretion.
But after 6 months of her life sat sitting on lids,
Sipping on milk, nostrils sniffing on piss,
Trying not to bang her head on toilet roll dispensers,
I wonder if these public loo feeds offend her,
‘Cause I’m getting tired of discretion and being polite.
My baby’s first sips are drown-drenched in shite…”
Outlining the hipocrisy of a society that accepts only “acceptable” images of women’s breasts, Hollie concludes,
“So no more will I sit on these cold toilet lids
No matter how embarrassed I feel as she sips
‘Cause in this country of billboards covered in tits
I think we should try to get used to this.”
I absolutely love this poem!
Like Hollie, I was also embarrassed to breastfeed in public, and remember feeling on-guard and super sensitive to the reactions of those around me.
And, yes, I also chose to nurse my babies in a bathroom stall more than once.
I remember feeling shamed while providing my baby with nature’s gold. And yet, I continued to hide in stalls or under ‘hooter hiders.’
By my third child, I was less sensitive, and I even have one photo breastfeeding my son on a public bench at a park. That one’s a keeper!
I’m so glad Hollie had the insight to outline the hypocrisy of society’s views on women’s breasts. Why is it acceptable to see full bossoms on every billboard and magazine cover, but the minute we actually start using our breasts to feed our babies, it is deemed ‘gross’ or unacceptable?
To see Hollie recite Embarrassed, click below…
One can’t help but wonder if nursing moms stop breastfeeding early, just so they can leave the house and feed their babies with bottles — a more ‘acceptable’ feeding method.
What did you think of Embarrassed? Did you also feel this way while breastfeeding your baby in public?