This is a sponsored post in association with Benenden.
When I was pregnant with my first child 12 years ago, I found breast-feeding a dream.
He was an easy baby, the midwives were wonderful and I had no issues with feeding him in public at all.
In fact I relished it. They had just opened a new John Lewis store within an easy drive from me and I pretty much decamped to there; they make is SO easy for a mother and baby to hang out!
Just three short years later and I was nursing my second and things had changed. A slight shift. I can’t put my finger on it, but things were different. I struggled with breastfeeding her as it was – hungry baby, mastitis, a toddler to look after. But on I marched because it’s something I really wanted to do. And I had enjoyed it so much the first time around. We had enjoyed it.
But I remember sitting in a cafe with a friend, tucked up in a corner with our hot chocolates, and getting The Look when I dared to feed my hungry babe.
How the heck the woman – for yes, that right there is the stinger, a fellow woman was giving me the Evil Eye – could see what I was doing without craning her neck and staring was beyond me. But there it was. Derision in her face. Angry at me for being a mother in public and not in private.
Not giving her evil glare to the table just two down from her where a toddler was having a screeching fit and throwing the contents of her bowl across the table while his mother chatted on her phone. No. I was the Bad Mother.
Earlier this month is was World Breast Feeding Week. According to figures released by Benenden, 1 in 5 mothers feel some form of negativity when breastfeeding in public.
That’s way waaaaaay too high.
Every week on Twitter or Facebook, there is revealed a story of how a nursing mother is made to feel like a social pariah for feeding her baby in the most natural way possible.
I’m sure it’s a minority. I hope it’s a minority. But when you’re feeling vulnerable or it’s your first child or you’re just not confident or comfortable, just one sideways glance, one unkind word, one look even can make all the difference.
Now World Breast Feeding Week is over Benenden has also been looking at the evolution of Motherhood from baby accessories, child facilities to laws concerning parental rights. Check out this infographic for the journey of motherhood from the invention of the pram, right up to present day.
Parenthood timeline Infographic by benenden health