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Why Breastfeeding IS NOT LIKE GOING TO THE TOILET

Why Breastfeeding IS NOT LIKE GOING TO THE TOILET

You know when you read something that really winds you up?!

That’s what happened to me last night. I was looking on my phone just before I went to bed and stumbled across a link which to be perfectly honest I wish I hadn’t clicked on as I spent a good hour tossing and turning in bed unable to sleep afterwards.

The link led to a blog post about breastfeeding and was full of things I personally disagree with which is fine because we are all entitled to our own opinions but there was one part I couldn’t ignore. They were words that I was shocked beyond belief to have come out of the mouth of a mother, I honestly believed the only people to say this were men who like to ogle over page three or the newspaper that publishes page three.

I certainly never thought that someone who has given birth to a baby and knows how important it is to you know, KEEP THEM ALIVE BY FEEDING THEM could make the comparison.

The part I am talking about basically went along the lines of breastfeeding being natural just like going to the toilet but people don’t do that in public.

That one sentence fills me with equal measures of sadness and rage. Going to the toilet is unhygienic and a process that needs to happen to expel waste from your body. For women who exclusively breastfeed the act of doing so keeps their baby alive. How are those two things the same in any way?!

Every woman has the right to choose how to feed her baby and every woman should be allowed to make that decision without being made to feel uncomfortable about it. No-one should make bottle-feeding mums feel bad about their choice and no-one should make breastfeeding mums feel bad about their choice, there doesn’t have to be such a big divide on how you choose to feed you baby, they should be treated equally but how can that happen when so many people believe that one is fine to do in public but the other isn’t?

I am aware that no matter what I say I won’t be able to change the views of some people, that’s not my aim. I just feel like as bloggers we have a certain responsibility in what we write and for new mums who are planning to breastfeed reading an overly negative article by a blogger they like might put even more pressure on them when feeding in public or even question their decision altogether.

Which is why I feel like I need to write this. I’ve had lovely comments on my breastfeeding posts from people who have said I’d helped them feel more confident about feeding in public and that is why I feel like I always need to write something positive to follow up a negative despite the fact I’m not breastfeeding myself anymore.

I never had any problems breastfeeding in public and I spent two and a half years of my life doing so. I never went to sit in rooms that offered more privacy, if I go out to eat with my friends / family I’m not going to go and sit in a quiet room by myself for most of the meal! Babies have the right to eat at the dinner table like everyone else.

I never took bottles out to make other people feel happier, Cherry never took one and I never even tried with Tiger because I didn’t see the point. I know some people think that giving a bottle is an option for all babies, it’s not.

And as Mr C always said, would people prefer to spend their meal listening to a baby screaming?!

The law covers us to breastfeed anywhere and that’s the only important thing, that law doesn’t come with ridiculous clauses like needing to put a tablecloth over your head or going to sit in a corner on your own to stop other people and their weird views on feeding a baby feeling uncomfortable.

I’m breastfeeding in both these photos, would you ever know that?!

breastfeeding

breastfeeding one

I personally would never wear a low cut top revealing my cleavage (not that I have one!) but I wouldn’t try and stop anyone else doing it, I would never write a blog post making people who do choose to do it feel bad about their choice nor would I expect them to go and eat their meal in a corner.

If I didn’t like it, I just wouldn’t look.

Here are some of my other breastfeeding posts…

I wrote a post about my top breastfeeding tips.

About breastfeeding when your baby is no longer a baby.

Why breastfeeding past six months isn’t pointless.

The story of how I stopped breastfeeding Tiger.


  1. Alison

    14 December

    I agree that as bloggers, we have a responsibility and we need to look beyond just having our say on a topic, and think about how our words might affect other people. I am totally with you that it’s crazy to compare breastfeeding with going to the toilet and it saddens me that pregnant mums or new mums who are worried about reactions of others when breastfeeding, might read negative blog posts and articles, and worry even more! Let’s be supportive of other mums, other women, rather than creating negativity.

    • Jessica Cherry

      14 December

      Totally! I just can’t understand why such a negative post had to be written. Mums should support each other and I think that’s why I was so shocked to hear the toilet comparison! x

  2. Carie

    14 December

    well said!! It’s crazy in some ways that we’re still having to have these sorts of discussions it does make me wonder whether the message will ever get home that breastfeeding is not something to be hidden away or ashamed of. I’ve been lucky too to never have a negative comment and I hope new mums know that most of the time everyone barely notices 🙂

    • Jessica Cherry

      14 December

      I know, I have a feeling we won’t ever get the message home. People who are against it are never going to change their minds and that’s fine but I just wish they would accept that there is no point sharing their negative views. If people hate it that much then they just shouldn’t bother going out to eat! Or leaving the house for that matter 😉 x

  3. Zoe

    14 December

    I couldn’t have said this better myself!
    Great post, it saddens me to think that there is such negativity towards breastfeeding out there and the pressure on new mums is ridiculous. I never had any negative comments when I was breastfeeding and hate to think that there are mums out there who are made to feel awkward about breastfeeding in public. Makes me mad!

    • Jessica Cherry

      14 December

      Me too!! So mad, if people don’t like it then they should just avoid places where there are kids. I mean how do people think they fed babies before formula was invented?! It’s madness. I see so many women with low cut tops and their boobs spilling out during the summer months, all I can do is not look. People who are against people breastfeeding their babies where they choose should do the same x

  4. I have a feeling that I stumbled across the same blog post and I have to say that I was lost for words. Sure, we all have our own opinions but the simple fact is that whilst going to the toilet and breastfeeding may well be natural things to do, they are not comparable in any way shape or form! I go out of my way to avoid confrontation especially when it comes to these sort of subjects as the cynic in me thinks that they are partly written simply for a reaction. I couldn’t help myself when it came to this though (if it is the same blogger of course!) but she promptly unfollowed me across social media which seems so petty but hey ho! I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said here x

    • Jessica Cherry

      15 December

      Yep fairly sure it was the same one! I can’t believe she unfollowed you, your comment was lovely you were literally just pointing out how ridiculous what she said about comparing feeding a baby to going to the toilet was! She hasn’t approved a lot of people’s comments either which is odd, if you are going to write a post like that you can’t expect people not to disagree! I try to avoid any confrontation too, especially over the internet as it’s not like you can sit down and have a proper conversation but when it comes to breastfeeding I can never keep quiet as I feel so strongly about it! I totally accept that not everyone wants to do or see it but when comments like that are made I see red!! x

  5. lucy

    14 December

    Its crazy that people make such comparisons. It makes me cross and sad in equal measures. I breastfed both my children and I did it whereever I was. Dinner, shopping centre, church. Most of the time people didn’t even realise.Some people reveal more with tops they wear than most breabreastfeeding mothers.

    • Jessica Cherry

      15 December

      Yep exactly the same here! Second time round especially I felt so much confident and had my comeback ready for anyone who said anything, they never did though. I only had positive feedback from people x

  6. Steph

    14 December

    So glad I haven’t seen the post you’re referring to, it would give me the red mist! It’s an absurd, and really bloody lazy, comparison to make. Completely agree with what you’ve said. Xx

    • Jessica Cherry

      15 December

      It honestly would have made you see red, it was full of ridiculous comparisons although one of them was quite literally so ridiculous it did make me laugh. The underlying issue is just so concerning though and I can never stay quiet about it! xx

  7. Donna

    14 December

    I think it may have been me that shared the link you then read last night – so apologies if it was my fault you couldn’t sleep as a result.

    I didn’t agree with all of the post and I think the toilet part could have been worded better – I understood what she was trying to say but knew the way she was saying it was bound to cause debate.

    The main reason I shared it was because she was right in the fact the lady wasn’t asked to leave, stop feeding or even move and for that reason I do think the Claridges breastfeeding protest was all a bit much and often breastfeeding is pulled into the media more often than it should be – in cases like this – which don’t help making breastfeeding the norm. I also think being discreet is important, as your photos show, often when feeding you can’t see anything anyway! x

    • Jessica Cherry

      17 December

      Haha don’t be silly, it was my own fault for clicking on it! I mean I personally didn’t agree with one bit of it but of course we are all entitled to our opinions. The whole post was full of the most ridiculous comparisons and I just don’t really know why it had to be shared. Claridge’s might not have asked her to leave but they clearly thought she was doing something wrong by asking her to move or cover up, I doubt they would have done the same had some woman come in with her cleavage on display which is everything that is wrong with the world. At the end of the day the law doesn’t only cover women who are being discreet, it covers them no matter how they need to breastfeed so I still strongly believe they were in the wrong and nothing should have been said to the poor mum who no doubt felt incredibly embarrassed by it all x

  8. Support is one of the main factors in a breastfeeding journey. lets support and embrace!

    Half hearted opinions like the one in that blog can be making new mothers feel the need to be on edge when feeding in public, this is completely awful. if they don’t like – don’t look. Do they really think it would be ok if we took away their paper that included page three naked models? I think not.

    Love these pictures btw x

    • Jessica Cherry

      17 December

      Totally! I just feel as mums especially we should all be supporting each other and she’s basically saying she wouldn’t have wanted to sit next to this mum incase she got a ‘side order of breast’, it’s so ridiculous it’s almost comical. And yeah the whole thing about being discreet does me head in when you can see far more flesh on a woman wearing a low cut top x

  9. Ah Jess! How infuriating!!! I mostly covered with a muslin or similar when I breastfed my two…but that’s for the sole reason that I’m body conscious. I think the whole world needs to chill out. It’s a baby that needs feeding, what is the big deal? I’ve certainly never seen a breastfeeding woman purposely showing off excess boob or trying to look sexy and seductive. Can you imagine? Hahaha. It’s a boob and a hungry baby, for goodness sake – who cares? For new Mums it’s so important to make sure their decision to breastfeed or bottle feed is informed, rather than based on fear and ridiculous things in the media.

    Those pictures are so stunning! xx

    • Jessica Cherry

      17 December

      It’s crazy isn’t it?! I was always discreet too because that was how I felt comfortable but if it’s hot or a woman has latching problems and can’t be quite as discreet then people just shouldn’t look if they don’t like it. There is far more flesh visible on a woman wearing a low cut top, with breastfeeding you only have one boob out!! xx

  10. Tia

    15 December

    Well said! I found myself getting in a bit of a night time rage over the whole claridges thing this week, a friend said there was the argument that it is their establishment and therefore their choice. I bubbled away over that for ages to myself! Why should something so simple, natural and ubiquitous be so debated?! Tia xxx

    • Jessica Cherry

      17 December

      Ah I know! I don’t let most things get to me but anything negative about breastfeeding makes me rage!! Say for instance all the formula companies disappeared how do people think we would feed babies then?! Stick them on a cows udder instead, I expect some people would find that more normal!! 😉 xx

  11. Couldn’t agree more! While I’m definitely pro-choice, I hate the way that in recent years it has become increasingly ‘ok’ to make breastfeeding mothers feel like what they are doing is somehow disgusting or antisocial, in a way that we would never criticise a mum who who bottle-feeding her baby. I breastfed all of my 3 babies in public; in restaurants, on the beach, in the park. Funnily enough the only person who suggested I should cover up was my mother-in-law (that didn’t help our relationship at all). Well done for writing this! xx

  12. Jessica Cherry

    17 December

    It’s so sad! And it really would have made your blood boil, it was utterly ridiculous!! xx

  13. Laura

    18 December

    I was really shocked when I heard about this comparison and it’s simply crazy that we even have an issue with breastfeeding at all in the UK. It’s the most natural thing and it’s terrible that there has been what I consider negative press about it lately and it is worrying, especially since I had a few unpleasant comments when I was feeding Mr A in public which was done in an extremely discreet way. I think the UK really is a society that loves to complain or have something to say about every little thing – while in South Africa it’s pretty normal to breastfeed and people don’t really comment on it, what is wrong with the world!

    Laura x

  14. Sam

    19 December

    Thank u for writing this. I also read this post and it left me feeling angry for several days after. Also not usually one to get involved I had to comment this time. She really can’t have thought very hard about what she was saying. Surely any mildly intelligent person can see it’s ridiculous comparing breast feeding with going to the toilet. What also upset me was that as a breastfeeding mother it actually made me feel a little self conscious until I read everyone else’s comments disagreeing with her as well. Yes people can have they’re views but I’m glad people are able to question them.

  15. fritha

    21 December

    well done for writing this Jess, I wholeheartedly agree! It blows my mind that a women could make the comparison between breastfeeding and urinating!!! x

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