In the recent controversy surrounding breastfeeding in public, Leanne Quinn asks her fellow student's their thoughts on the matter.
A woman from South London was recently handed a huge napkin by an anxious but polite waiter, and asked to ‘cover up’ while breastfeeding her 12-week-old daughter at a renowned hotel in central London.
 
Intrigued by the story, I sought after students’ opinions of breastfeeding in public as I, myself, believe it’s perfectly natural and at the same time highly discriminating to ask a woman to ‘cover up’, not to mention that it is illegal in some places to request so.

In the UK as well as Ireland, the right to breastfeed in a public place is protected by law, however worryingly it seems that there are a lot of issues surrounding this topic, even in this day and age.
 
“It wouldn't offend me, but I could understand how it would bother someone else,” said one student.
 
“No, they should not be allowed, it's disgusting and no one needs to look at that,” said another.
 
“As long as it’s done appropriately and discreetly, I guess.”
 
There were those that agreed that “it's perfectly natural” and that, “a woman should be allowed feed her baby wherever she wants.” Some even said that those people that are offended by a woman breastfeeding, “should just get over it.”
 
Interestingly enough, it was more males than females that had a problem with it. Why is this? I can’t seem to understand why it is such an issue. Is it the act of breastfeeding? The same amount of breast, if not more, could be exposed in a particularly revealing dress and I doubt that it’s in any public place's policy to ask those people to ‘cover up’.
 
Why is it such a problem when it is one of the most intimate acts of motherhood that helps the mother-child bond develop.
 
In a society that claims to be one of the most open, diverse and accepting ones, yet breastfeeding in public, a natural method of feeding a new born baby, still stirs and divides public opinion.
 
The NHS has stated that breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed a baby and the HSE claims that good health begins with breastfeeding.
 
No woman should ever have to apologise nor be expected to cover up while feeding her baby; if a woman is breastfeeding her child so as to give it as healthy a start in life as possible then who are you to be uncomfortable with it?
 
If it offends you, puts you off your food or has any other particular effect on you, it is perfectly ok for you not to look.
 
There is no shame in breastfeeding, there is only shame in the ignorance that surrounds it.

Photo: Oscar Castañón Barragán/ Flickr