To the lady sitting at the table next to me in the cafe today, I needed to write this letter to you as I didn't get chance to say what I wanted to say.
I was there with my 5 month old baby, having coffee with a friend I hadn't seen for ages. My baby started crying so I did what any mother would do and fed my baby. And that's when you said it. The sentence that has filled me with so many emotions today. You said to your friend:
My heart started to race and I started to feel embarrassed and flustered as I realised that you were referring to me discreetly feeding my baby. I didn't quite know what to do or what to say. You see, you went about it in an underhand way, sharing your opinion with your friend loud enough for me to hear but not directly to me. It made it difficult for me to respond, so I didn't. I am not one for confrontation either and didn't want to make a scene. Instead I've come home and felt disappointed that I didn't stand up for myself, I'm cross that I let you upset me with your ignorance. I've read about people like you but didn't actually think you existed and I'm grateful that in my 4 years as a mother, feeding my babies, that I haven't come across you before now. I hope this means that you are in the minority.
Here's my answer to your rhetorical question. I 'feel the need' to breastfeed in public for one reason only... My baby needs feeding and I can't hide away at home just because people like you 'don't need to see that'. The fact is this was the first bit of 'me' time in such a long time. I am also the proud owner of a 2 year old and a 4 year old and had just half an hour to catch up with a friend. You almost spoilt it but I won't let you. You did however make me feel upset and angry and I feel like you need to know that.
I also have some questions for you. I wonder what you were hoping to achieve with your comment? Was it designed to make me feel bad or did you just not think? What do you expect breast feeding mothers to do? Hide away out of sight in case we should offend you? Because that just isn't practical, or fair and quite honestly why should we? I'd like to say at this point that this isn't a 'breast is best' kind of rant, I have no opinions whatsoever on how babies are fed. This is how I have chosen to feed my baby and I will feed her any where, any time if that's what she needs.
Breastfeeding is really hard work and mums need encouragement rather than being berated. I'm a confident mother and breast feeder with this being my 3rd baby and still you have knocked my confidence with your thoughtless and selfish comments. I dread to think of the impact your passing comments may have had on a new mum still finding her way.
You are of course entitled to your opinions but this is a situation where you could have kept them to yourself, you could have just looked away. Quite frankly there is more breast on display on the magazine racks in the newsagents down the road. If it's not the sight of breast that offends you but the act of feeding a baby from one then I have no words, as I can't for the life of me find one offensive thing about it.
I didn't 'need' to hear your obnoxious comments this afternoon so please think about that next time you 'feel the need' to go out in public.