It is such a crazy thought that in this day and age that a woman could be told to cease breastfeeding by a doctor! That's what I thought. However this happened to a friend of mine (photo credits Belle Verdiglione Photography). Here is her story:
My baby and I needed to go to the doctors this morning and after a pretty lengthy, wait my other child was starting to get unsettled so rather than subjecting a full waiting room to her crying, I decided to feed her.
Not long after I was called in to see the doctor who took one look at me and told me I needed to take a seat back in the waiting room whilst I finished feeding her or feed her after he had seen me.
I was there about my eye, yet he didn't even give me the chance to tell him what the problem was.
There was no way the fact I was feeding her would have been in the way of my consult (in fact me feeding her would have made my consult quieter and easier).
I am fuming and can't believe this discrimination still happens. This is not only wrong on so many levels but I am pretty sure its illegal too!
I wanted to share my friends story because I am saddened and angry that this is happening.. Let's all work together to normalise breastfeeding. Shame on this Doctors surgery. I know that they have been sent a letter of complaint already.
We need to get the word out there that it's the law that women can feed their babies anywhere. Yes even in a Doctors Surgery!
The irony is that even the ABA suggests you seek support through your GP if abused for breastfeeding:
What can mother do if she is verbally abused for breastfeeding her baby?
Thankfully this type of incident is uncommon, but if it does happen, it can really rock a mother's confidence. It may be essential to normalise breastfeeding again after the incident. To normalise breastfeeding, a mother may like to consider:
finding emotional support through your family, your GP and/or counselling
calling the Breastfeeding Helpline- 1800 686 268
attending her local ABA group meeting.
The ABA quite clearly explains the law:
What is the law?
In Australian Federal Law breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege.
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. Direct discrimination happens when a person treats someone less favourably than another person. For example, it is discriminatory for a waiter to decline to serve a patron who is breastfeeding.
I plan to add updates to this story as I hear them and I really look forward to a positive outcome from the surgery involved. I applaud my friend for speaking up and for writing a letter of complaint.