What I think of a DJ and his views on mothers breastfeeding in public

I breastfed my 3 children. It was good. It was easy. I was lucky. I developed some nifty techniques for breastfeeding discreetly but feeding on-demand did mean that frequently I had to feed my babies in public places: coffee shops, on park benches, on public transport, one memorable moment at the side of a busy road. Pretty much everywhere. I did it because I believed it to be natural, healthy and good for my children and me.

Now I hear a DJ called Alex Dyke seems to believe breastfeeding in public is ‘unnatural’ and ‘must be stopped’. Because he feels so strongly he felt it was OK to tell his listeners how he felt. I’m sorry Mr Dyke but I think you are mistaken. It’s not unnatural but about as far away from that as you can possibly get. It shouldn’t be stopped but instead it should absolutely be encouraged and all those who wish to feed their babies this way, actively supported in doing so. You, Mr Dyke, I’m afraid to say, are very very wrong on this issue.

Having started I now feel duty-bound to make sure you leave with a full understanding of the other areas in which you are going very wrong. Firstly, you seem to suggest that the only women who would choose to breastfeed in public are those you deem unattractive. Your exact words: only ‘librarian-type moustachioed’ mothers would do this, while ‘yummy mummies’ would avoid it as it was ‘not a good look.’ A couple of problems here. By choosing the term ‘librarian-type’ , you are using your position in which you have a certain influence over a large number of people to suggest that there is something undesirable about being a librarian. Nothing wrong with librarians though. I’d be very sad and a little surprised if you hadn’t had a library card as a child and hadn’t found some sanctuary in library spaces and had not been transported to other worlds through reading books borrowed from a library which had been specially selected to appeal to children like you by a trained professional librarian. Librarians are an important part of a child’s life. Don’t encourage people to despise them or stereotype them.

‘Moustachioed’ is just moronic.

‘Yummy mummy’ is an offensive term in my opinion but I want to draw your attention to a slightly different point. You said ‘yummy mummies’ wouldn’t breastfeed in public because they knew ‘it was not a good look’. If that were true, why do you think that might be? Could it be because bigots make it clear that to them breastfeeding is something ‘unnatural’ and those who choose to do it publicly are ‘unattractive’ and lacking in some way? Do you think that perhaps someone saying such things on a radio programme might influence mothers? And are you happy with your role there? Would you be happy knowing that your views might affect a baby and their mother negatively? The baby may have lowered immunity or lower IQ or bond less effectively with their mother because you felt it was ‘unnatural’ for a mother to breastfeed in public. Are your sensibilities more important than that? No, they are not.

Mothers can choose to feed their babies in the way they feel most comfortable but it is not your place to influence in one way or another. It is absolutely not your place to tell a mother she will be viewed as less attractive or as a nuisance should she choose to breastfeed in public.

Next and final point. You said, ‘a classy discreet mum’ breastfeeding would be OK but ‘fat chavvy mums with their boobs out on buses’ were not OK. When you say ‘classy’ and ‘chavvy’ I’m guessing you are referring to socio-economic distinctions. I think we can say that is horribly discriminatory and again really not something you should be saying in public.I could point out that an awful lot of effort has gone into encouraging those from lower socio-economic groups to breastfeed their babies but I doubt you’d care. When you make special mention of ‘fat’ we whizz back to your feeling attractiveness is an essential ingredient here. If the mother looks appealing to you, she can breastfeed; if not, she can’t. I need to tell you that the mother is not choosing to breastfeed for your delight and delectation, her choice is around the baby in the main as well as herself. You do not feature there. You are only important in that you’ve decided that you have the right to pass judgement publicly. But you don’t.

I’m glad you were suspended. You should know better.


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