It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was sat on a toilet floor breastfeeding my baby. Obviously because it was such a horrid place to be I didn’t feed him for long, and rushed him through his feed. I feel terribly guilty that this was the story of his newborn life. At 4 months of age I was ordered to put him on formula (with threats of Social Services if I didn’t). I had formula fed my oldest so wasn’t against formula but did, at the time, feel a failure. You see I did not know that it was due to my discomfort of feeding in public that is the likely cause of him not gaining enough weight. I had been told that I either did not have enough milk or that it was not good enough. Over a decade later it seems that there are still negative attitudes of women breastfeeding in public with the news about a photo of Emily Louise Slough breastfeeding her baby in Rugeley being added to Facebook with the caption “Tramp.”
Hear Emily on BBC Three Counties radio with Heather Pickering who says you should go home and “let the baby starve” – because it’s not going to die on the journey home. And compares a baby with a peasant. That women who breastfeeding are attention seeking, and just like women who have sex in public.
How women decide to feed their babies should be all about choice, whatever that be, wherever that be and for how long they decided to do it for. I once breastfeed my two boys at once whilst sat on a rock at Disneyland Paris. I was worried as I did not know how those from other countries felt about breastfeeding in public (not to mention Tandem breastfeeding) – and especially as my children were aged 2 and 3 1/2 years old. But I was confident that it was hot and they needed a drink, and I had it available. The rest of my family were on a ride, they’d be gone a while, but if they came back they would not have known where we were. There was no reason not to feed them, other than people’s opinions. I’m just glad that no-one said or did anything, and just let me feed my babies in peace. And that is all Emily Louise Slough wanted.
I asked on twitter how many people had fed beyond a year, as I feel that there is even less support for breastfeeders of what are considered “children” as opposed to “babies.” I am glad to say that actually I think that I was wrong as lots of women had also fed for as long as they wanted to. But I guess we just go about feeding our babies without fuss – because let’s face it there’s nothing to fuss about, it’s just natural to feed our babies – however we do it.
With this in mind on Saturday 15th March 2014 Emily Louise Slough has organised the Rugeley Mass Feed outside Wilkinson’s/The Pig and Bell/The Shrew at midday. It’s for support of all mothers, and for them to feed them however, wherever, whenever they choose! It is to protest of the person who took a photo of her feeding and uploading it calling her a tramp.
She has had lots of support on Facebook
Follow the hashtag #rugeleymassfeed on Twitter