Friday, 4 October 2013

Why I hate the 'Boobie Beanie'.

I really hate nursing covers. I mean, in an ideal world no-one would feel the need for such a thing, they're a total faff and to me they just draw attention to what you're doing.  I dislike an industry built up around the notion that breastfeeding is shameful, BUT I totally defend a mother's right to use some sort of cover if *she* prefers to. At least these products serve some sort of function.

Lately I've had a number of posts on the wall - and also private messages to my personal account - showing pictures of the 'boobie beanie'. 

I think the folk who shared the 'booby beanie' with me thought it would be right up my street - after all, I am a BREASTFEEDER (!)... Well, please don't send me any more links folks, I'm putting it on record that hate the darn things. Ok, initially they may look a bit amusing - for about a minute. But to me they actually come across as pretty smug and perhaps even offensive.

If a person is going to be offended or upset in some way by the sight of a woman breastfeeding (!), then it seems very likely to me that they're going to be even MORE offended when you put a fake 'breast' on your baby's head. Are they likely to need reminding that your baby is being breastfed? Are they likely to appreciate it? Is your baby some sort of 'weapon' in a war? What is the function of your boobie beanie?

Even if you're not putting the hat on for any other reason than because you think it's cute and amusing, can you see things like this might make breastfeeding into a BIGGER deal? Something even *more* unusual than it already is... To me it's the woollen equivalent of standing up in the middle of a coffee shop and shouting
 'Look at me everyone, I am a BREASTFEEDER!'.... 
I KNOW you have probably overcome huge challenges to breastfeed. Medical, cultural, perhaps emotional and physical too. I know. I know. Ok? I know how hard it is and I AM PROUD OF YOU! I think you're wonderful. But...

If you want to put your baby in a hat, why not buy something cute and unlikely to cause offence like this?

I know some people are likely to be annoyed by this post - sorry - but I needed to get it out there... I've been breastfeeding for a long time now (nearly 5 years!). I have seen the highs and lows and I've seen how rubbish our healthcare system and culture is at supporting women to breastfeed. As a peer supporter and now as a doula, I've seen other women struggle with family pressures, emotional issues and major physical problems in order to try and breastfeed. I've completely understood when it all became too much for them... More often than not they knew nothing about breastfeeding to start with, they probably didn't get the right help in time (perhaps after a tough birth), and they've completely lost faith in their own abilities. They might have started out fearing they were likely to fail, and then they had their confidence knocked further by a difficult start. Our culture does this to women ALL. THE. TIME. Those women didn't want to end up formula feeding, but it happened. 

And then there you are with your breastfeeding baby and your boobie beanie and - rightly or wrongly - it doesn't help.

We need to break down the barriers to breastfeeding which exist for all women, and for me that means making a point of treating breastfeeding as normal. No gimics, no covers, no big deal, no need to apologise, shout, explain or gloat.  Just feed your baby.

x anne

NB - this blog post represents my personal opinion - I know not everyone in the DBM facebook group will share my view. I'm fine with that - I'm just putting it out there.


  1. At times when it can feel like its the world vs. breastfeeding moms, the beanie feels like a fight back. I don't personally own one, but love the idea.

  2. I agree with you for the day-to-day public breastfeeding. However, I think they get their point across at nurse-in's and breastfeeding events. They're adorable.

  3. Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for saying it.

  4. I agree with all that you've said, thank you, I thought I was the only one!! They just seem so crass to me. Bit like the Baby on Board car signs!

  5. Its crass, offensive and ridiculous. But its also a great big up yours in the direction of those who try to shame women out of breastfeeding and for that i love it. people keep sharing it with me too. i think its been taken in good humour...could be wrong tough

  6. Breast-feeding should ideally be continued for six months to a year. If mother's milk is not adequate or of good quality, or if the mother is unable to breast feed for whatever reason, a baby formula from can be used. Fortunately, it is possible to compose a formula that closely resembles mother's milk.

  7. They make me feel more comfortable in public so I like them.

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