Women shouldn’t have to second-guess breastfeeding in public - mother

By Te Ao Māori News
  • North Island: West Coast

Parents Lou Tyson and Tamati Tiananga are calling for people to stop intimidating mothers who breastfeed in public, after a bad experience the couple had over the weekend.

The couple were at a cafe when a middle-aged man walked in and stared at Tyson while she was breastfeeding her baby boy, says Tiananga.

“He looked more in disgust like ‘What are you doing feeding your baby in the cafeteria’,” says Tiananga.

Following the experience, the father took to social media to share their message and posted a photo of Tyson and her older sister breastfeeding.

Tyson says women should feel comfortable pulling out their breast "anywhere, anytime”. 

“Women shouldn’t even have to second guess or think, 'Should I ask for permission, should I be concerned about the people in the environment around me, are these people comfortable with me feeding my child in front of them',” says Tyson.

She also says mothers shouldn’t have to feed their babies in public parent rooms in places like shopping malls.

“You go into parent rooms and half the time they’re not the best smelling rooms. They’re stuffy and it smells like a normal bathroom. You may as well go into a normal bathroom.  Would you want to eat your food in there?” she says.

Ever since their three-month-old baby was born, Tyson has felt comfortable breastfeeding around family and friends, but when she’s out in the public it’s a different story.

“When I go out in public I just think the same and it’s not until I actually pull it out an I’m feeding baby and I look around me and I’m thinking there’s a different vibe in the air, and then I realise that vibe is because my breast is out and I’m feeding my child.”

Parents Tamati Tiananga and Lou Tyson with their baby boy. Source: Lou Tyson. Facebook

Support online

Since Tiananga posted a photo on Facebook sharing their message, members of the public have showed their support.

Facebook user William Beazley wrote on the post, "Nothing wrong with breastfeeding chief. He kai te kai."

Arohaina Jarrid wrote, "You hear people say go to the toilet and do that, well are you gonna eat your quarter pounder combo in the toilet too. Yeah I don't think so."

David Graham Both said his children were breastfed as well.

"Kai time everywhere even visiting me at work in the crew room lol. Wasn’t an issue then but it is these days not sure what changed," he commented.

Breastfeeding mum told milk could contaminate swimming pool

Another similar incident was in 2015 when a mother, Angella Smith was breastfeeding at Hanmer Thermal Springs when she received an insulting response by a member of staff and the manager.

“They didn't like me breastfeeding my child in the pool. That was their main concern,” says Smith.

She was breastfeeding her youngest child Koare while sitting on the steps but in the water. It was up to her waist at the time when she was approached by a staff member.

“They said that if some of my breast milk was to drip into the water, that the milk would contaminate the pool. I said, only a small drop will come out if that was the case. Hanmer Springs told me that that was the food and drink policy.”

Smith is an expert on baby care and she believes that all mothers should be able to breastfeed anywhere, anytime.