Shopping and the Breastfeeding Mum
The first thing I do now when I arrive at a shopping mall is to scope the joint for the nearest mother and baby ( M & B) changing room – these days many forward looking malls also have a little area included in which a mother can sit and breastfeed her baby away from the prying eyes of strangers. In this country, if you breast feed in public you either
a) get told off by a member of the passing public claiming that the sight is offensive to them (this happened to a mum recently)
b) get gawked at by acne ridden teenagers eager to cop a look at a bared breast
c) get gawked at by lecherous old men also eager to cop a look at a bared breast.
So to avoid any of the above the best option is to make a bee line for an M & B room.
I am toying with the idea of drawing up a list of the best and worst M & B rooms across the country – I have been doing quite a lot of travelling lately and so I am familiar with more than a few of them. The best feeding room by far that I have found myself in is the John Lewis one in the Touchwood Shopping Centre, Solihull. Fantastic! The worst are the ones in the Bullring, Birmingham. Tight and pokey with a very hard flip down seat. Horrible.
But I digress.
The reason why I look for the M & B room first is because I know that I will be spending at least an hour or more in one during the course of my shopping trip so it’s a good thing to be prepared, as the scouts would say.
Another thing that has changed for me as a breastfeeding mum is the type of clothes I shop for – the bottom half doesn’t matter but the top half is all important. Gone are the days of wearing tops with zips down the sides or back. Now anything I buy has to either button down the front, be stretchy enough to be slipped over my shoulder or should criss-cross in front (Principles do a nice range of stretchy/criss-cross dresses) which is a lot more difficult to achieve that one might think. Most of the fashion these days are geared towards slinky, small chested women and shops catering to mums with little babies are either ridiculously overpriced or have a collection of clothes so dull and dismal all you want to do is just sit down and weep.
The fabric of the clothes should also preferably be patterned, fairly dark or thick enough to disguise the tell tale outline of your breast pads. Oh, breast pads are soooooooo important to have on/in when you go shopping. Without going into too much detail the last thing you want to have are two round wet patches on either side of your chest as your boobees begin to lactate at the sound of your baby’s cry. Not a good look, trust me.
Last but not the least – I never, ever leave home without the all important feeding cloth, as I call it. This is simply a square muslin cloth which is almost always to be seen draped over my shoulder. No it is not a new fashion accessory but an all important clothes protector. After all the last thing you want is regurgitated milk resembling cheese in the first stages of processing, oozing down your shoulder when you hold baby up to burp.
And my favourite joke of the minute is..
What sort of bees make milk?
Picture courtesy of daily candy