Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a beautiful wedding. It was also child-friendly, which meant both Miss 2 and Mr 5 were there too. Miss 2 is still an avid breastfeeder, so having her there with us was actually a bit of a relief. It can be hard work running around after her, but I would prefer that over worrying about her being distressed in someone else’s care.
The thing about weddings is that sometimes they put you in a room with people you wouldn’t normally hang out with. I think over the last 5 years, I’ve slowly conditioned all of the people around me to celebrate breastfeeding, or at the very least accept that I do it, and find a way to be OK with it. Maybe it’s my social circle, hopefully it’s just society in general – I rarely come across someone who isn’t OK with me breastfeeding.
Miss 2 breastfed frequently that night – she was a bit tired and out of her element with all of these new people, so she needed quite a bit of comforting. I was happy to be wearing my beautiful “Collette” breastfeeding dress from Mama Clothing. Towards the end of the night when I was rounding up hubby to come home with us, a man in his late 20’s said hello to Miss 2, who was up in my arms. She must have felt a little confronted, and she immediately stuck her hand into my dress and put it between my breasts. Breasts are comforting for her, and even when she’s not suckling, they can still give her comfort – a reminder that I’m there and she’s safe. This guy looked shocked and said “What’s she doing?”. I ignored him and let the conversation take it’s course.
He spoke to her again and asked her if she was having a fun night. Again, she stuck her hand straight into my top and he said “What the f*ck is she doing that for?”. I just stared at his face, expecting a joking smile on his face or something, but no. His mouth was twisted into an expression somewhere between shock and disgust.
He then actually addressed my little girl. “Get your hand out of there, that’s disgusting”. “Hey mate, she’s breastfed. Leave her alone, it’s fine. They’re my breasts and if her behaviour bothers me I’ll let her know myself”.
He actually just stared at me with an open mouth. As I turned and walked away, I heard him say to my husband in horror “She’s breastfed? OMG that’s gross!”. I heard my husband say, with a laugh, “Didn’t you know that’s what they’re made for? You clearly don’t have kids yet!”.
This is no reflection on anyone else at the wedding. At one point, I noticed someone snapping a photo of me while I was breastfeeding, and he smiled at me afterwards. One lady came and sat with me when she noticed I was alone, and she kept me company for a while. Most of the guests ignored me, which is also fine.
But that’s life! While some people will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable, most people will ignore you and leave you to do what you’ve got to do. And every now and then you’ll come across some fool who’s had too much to drink and will open his mouth without thinking about it first. I could be mistaken into thinking people like this don’t exist – like I said, most people in my life are awesome about breastfeeding. But the wedding was a reminder that there are actual people who will actually behave like breasts are only for sex or porn and that breastfeeding is disgusting.
If you come across someone like that, I hope you’re comfortable enough with yourself to not let them get you down, and instead that you and those around you will treat this person like the rare and bizarre specimen they actually are.