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Standing up for breastfeeding mothers

Standing up for breastfeeding mothers

Mrs Kelly Robinson, Nuriootpa describes herself as someone who doesn’t offend easily, but has zero tolerance for rudeness, bullying and discrimination.

She was tested at approximately 2.15 p.m. last Wednesday at the Black Bird Coffee House in Tanunda, when she was scrutinised for breastfeeding her four month old daughter Sophie.

Kelly started feeding and within the first few seconds noticed a couple of ladies, possibly in their late 60’s, looking at her from the table a few metres away.

One lady was absolutely ‘glaring daggers’ at her like she was committing some sort of crime.

“I thought, oh surely she doesn’t have a problem with me breastfeeding and I just ignored it,” said Kelly.

“A minute later however, I looked over and she was glaring at me again, obviously aiming to intimidate me. That’s when I realised it was because I was breastfeeding.”

Kelly was shocked, but was even more astounded at the fact the two ladies proceeded to engage in a very loud and rude conversation regarding why Kelly would ‘do that’ there, and questioned why she didn’t turn around or cover herself up with a sheet.

This is despite the fact that Kelly was wearing a proper breastfeeding bra and top, which she went out of her way to purchase in order to be discreet in public.

The ladies then continued to talk about mothers and breastfeeding in general.

Kelly explained that the whole thing was intended for her to hear it, adding that since she was in shock she didn’t say anything, even though she usually defends herself.

After the incident Kelly’s son, Dylan and mother, Rhoda who had been shopping returned to the table, but because Rhoda wasn’t there at the time, the two ladies may have jumped at the opportunity to display such rudeness.

Reflecting back on the day, Kelly explained that she was really disgusted, particularly as she was being completely discreet. 

But ultimately, there is no rule that you have to cover up when breastfeeding and she was only doing what nature intended her to use her breasts for. 

The Australian Breastfeeding Association states that in Australian Federal Law, breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege, and under the Federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 it is illegal in Australia to discriminate against a person either directly or indirectly on the grounds of breastfeeding.

“You hear the occasional story about mothers being judged for breastfeeding in public and you assume it isn’t something that happens very often – but it is quite common,” said Kelly.

“It is so unacceptable and exactly the kind of thing mothers do not need to deal with. I have now even heard stories from other mums in the area who had also experienced this kind of shaming, and as a result one mum actually switched to formula, which is really sad.

For the full story see this week’s edition of The Leader.