French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.
A mother was breastfeeding her child in the International hôtel Claridge in London a few days ago. She had been politely told to cover herself with an oversized napkins by the hotel staff.
So what ? enough to shock the European media and set mass protests ?
As incredible as it seems, yes it was. Dozens of breastfeeding mothers even decided to organize a « nursing sit in » in front of the hôtel, to force its managers to apologize.
Apologize for what ? read this one carefully « for asking the breastfeeding women to be discreet ». Not to hide in a corner, or in a bathroom. Not to breastfeed out of the hotel. Just to be discreet and cover her breast.
Mais quelle connerie ! excuse my French here, but I can’t believe what some women would do for the holy Feminist Cruisade. It is now winter in London, but those very responsible mothers sat for hours with their tiny baby for the sake of showing that they could breastfeed anywhere, and should be entitled show their breast in a restaurant if they so desire. Seriously women, your baby would certainly be better Inside, at this time of year than being the accessory of this meaningless cause. No one ever asked you to stop breastfeeding. Only to be discreet !
I support the Claridge as a mother :
I have breastfed my two kids for their first year. No matter when, to matter where, I have always been willing and able !
But I never ever felt the need to expose myself on behalf of the « right to breastfeed ». Because my body is my privacy, and as much as I love to be a mother, I am also a woman. I bless all the pashminas and other covers that would protect me and my children from the looks of the by standers. Breastfeeding is beautiful and does not have to be shared nor imposed to the rest of the world. It has been a communion between me and my children, too private to be shared. Even with my closed friends, especially the ones of the opposite sex.
I support the Claridge as a client :
I have been living in enough countries far from home to realize that « natural » does not have an universal meaning. No, it is not natural to show your breast in Asia, let alone in the Middle East. It is pornographic. And if you think you can impose it on behalf of your own values, think twice. Look at the other women around you, how they are dressed and how they are behaving in their family. Look at the men around you. The Claridge has an International clientele, so I can totally understand they could be shocked by a woman breastfeeding without covering her breast.
Whenever I had to breastfeed, I would always always find the most helpful people, anywhere., to give me and the Attila a room, a seat, always making me feel comfortable . It has been a privilege to breastfeed in Bangkok, all the malls have breastfeeding rooms, with soft classical music, and guess what, some curtains for the women who wants their privacy .. from other mothers.
Asking a breastfeeding mother to cover her breast is not insulting her. It’s protecting her privacy and the one of her child. And respecting the people around too, whose culture could differ from ours. My two cents worth…
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