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Why I Breastfeed in Public

On gaining the confidence to feed baby whenever, wherever.

Why I Breastfeed in Public

*We’ve partnered with Bravado Designs to help normalize breastfeeding anytime, anywhere. Breastfeeding your baby is healthy and beautiful, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. And we’re not even talking about the physical part. It can be terrifying the first time you open up your shirt in public, unclip your nursing bra, and put baby to boob. But, mama, you are entitled to feed your baby wherever you want, whenever you want - with confidence. So we’ve partnered with our friends at Bravado Designs to bring you some beautiful stories of breastfeeding in public. Meet Alyson Schwartz, a lawyer and mom of two, photographed in Brooklyn with Baby Paz. “Breastfeeding Paz was pretty easy right from the first latch. I breastfed her older brother, which went really smoothly, and that gave me a lot of confidence this time around. My first experience breastfeeding in public was with my son, in Los Angeles, where we then lived. The culture there felt really open and casual, and I never thought twice about breastfeeding him in restaurants, parks, and wherever else we happened to be. Then, when he was a few months old, I was almost kicked off of a flight for breastfeeding him without a cover. The flight attendant told me that I needed to cover up, and when I responded that I didn't have a cover because my son wouldn't nurse with one, she told me that if I kept breastfeeding him without a cover, I would need to get off the plane. She said, ‘I'm pro-breastfeeding, but only when it's done appropriately.’ I apologized to her and took my son to the bathroom, where I tried to nurse him on the toilet and we both cried. I've since nursed my son on dozens of flights, and have already nursed Paz on at least ten more. I think back to that flight years ago when I was a younger, less experienced, breastfeeding mother, traveling alone with a four-month-old, and I wish I could have summoned all of the confidence and strength that I have now and give that flight attendant the response that she badly needed to hear. I'd like to see someone try to stop me from breastfeeding Paz whenever and however she'd like! I think they'd regret the day they crossed my path. It seemed to me then, and it still seems to me, that there's a sort of cognitive dissonance going on; pediatricians recommend breastfeeding for the first year and beyond, and much of the public is theoretically on board with the benefits of breastmilk for babies, yet the sight of a breastfeeding mother causes people discomfort, surprise, or even anger. Breastfeeding mothers are put in a horrible double bind where they're expected to feed their babies breastmilk and yet are made to feel ashamed to do it publicly. Everyone seems to have lost track of the fact that breasts exist for this very purpose! It's crucial to break this cycle and show other women and men that breastfeeding is completely normal and not something to be ashamed of. It's our babies' hunger that needs to be accommodated and prioritized, not society's over-sexualization of breasts and the discomfort that it causes! I've breastfed in some pretty crazy places: in Israel, Italy, and France; in synagogues, churches, and museums; on buses, trains, and planes. I was recently in Paris with Paz and my phone died right outside the Louvre. I was relying on Google Maps to navigate the city and needed to recharge it, so I popped into the Apple Store to use their charger and breastfeed Paz. I basically sat on a stool and plugged in my phone and stayed there until my baby and my battery were both full. They couldn't have been nicer to me.” Photography by Belle Savransky for Well Rounded. Alyson is wearing Bravado’s Buttercup Nursing Bra in Watercolor, pictured below. Buy it here and get 20% off with code BRAVADO20 until JUNE 12. We want to share your story about breastfeeding in public on Well Rounded! Post a photo on Instagram showing us where you breastfeed, tag us and use the hashtag #thisiswhereibreastfeed. Or email us your story and a photo at info@wellroundedny.com. Make sure to post by Thursday June 15!

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