7 weeks in and I finally spot someone else breast-feeding in public, in the City of all places. Leon on Cannon Street is clearly where we feel most comfortable (no wonder with the lovely staff and brownies in there).
Of course I’ve seen lots of boob in the parents’ room of John Lewis (lovely) and some in House of Fraser (awful, not enough room to swing a cat) on Oxford Street but bumming around East London as I’ve been doing since my son arrived there is not a nip in sight. I still can’t believe how rarely you see ladies breast-feeding in public compared to how many babies you see, the ratio is seriously out (unlike the nips).
I feel passionately about this (which is something I never thought I would say). So many of my friends have stopped breast-feeding before they were ready because, frankly, it can be hard. Tricky to get your technique right, tricky to find appropriate clothing and tricky to skilfully whip your boobs out in public and not expose yourself. And the less ladies we see doing it, the more likely we are to feel awkward and embarrassed about it. Yet it’s the best thing we can do for our babies. No wonder so many ladies stop breast-feeding and then feel guilty about it. As if there isn’t enough guilt involved in motherhood as it is.
On the subject of breast-feeding in public, two places deserve a special mention. Selfridges, for being breast-feeding heaven: bright spacious area, big comfy chairs and foot-rests. And Tramshed in Shoreditch for breast-feeding hell: we were directed to the first table as you enter the restaurant. This was in my early nervous days – week 3 – and so I enquired as to whether there might be a more discreet table in case I needed to breastfeed during lunch. The lady suggested I use the disabled loo. A quick peek inside and the disabled loo didn’t even have a lid on the toilet seat. I wouldn’t fancy eating my lunch in there – appalling. Lucky the salted caramel fondue was good.