Breastfeeding in public December 26, 2006Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Culture, Saudi Arabia, Sweden.
There is a debate is Sweden right now about the right to nurse your baby in public. We do of course have that right only some restaurants are asking women to sit in a special room as oppossed to by the table when nursing.
Swedish writer Linda Skugge ( I won’t call her a journalist since I don’t think she is) recently visited a fancy restaurant (Edsbacka värdshus) when she was asked to sit behind a screen (in a comfortable armchair) and nurse her baby. The place was especially design for women to sit and nurse in but Linda felt it was both unfair and humiliating having to sit there. She made a big drama about it in the restaurant and later wrote about it in one of Swedens leading tabloids Expressen. After this article she has received emails from people all over Sweden both supporting her and opposing her argument. People supporting her are asking what happened to equality between men and women and if women nursing are assumed to stay at home.
I am wondering, do you see any men sitting with their shirts open in 2-star Michelin Guide restaurants? And what is this urge to sit among people with the risk of exposing your breasts? Personally I would ask for the right to have a clean, peaceful and safe place to nurse in, in any restaurant I visit. I really can’t understand people asking for the right to nurse in front of other people. And how is it related to equality between men and women (please do enlighten me) . Then again the fight for equality has a long time ago gone haywire in Sweden in my opinion. It has gotten to the point where most people are confused. Many men are acting as if being helpful will get them a prison sentence and women are asking for things and making drama about things that has nothing to do with equality.
Here in Khobar, Saad Hospital have just started a Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign in order to get women to feed their little ones in a natural way. They are handing out information leaflets about the benfits of nursing your baby and they have also changed some of the “Womens waiting rooms” to “Nursing areas”. A really good initiative in my opinion. It would be interesting to know how if restaurants and malls here have special areas for this purpose. I am imagining it should be common here to find such rooms.
To Swedish women wanting to breastfeed by restaurant tables I say, go ahead and do it but also remember that other people are entitled to their opinions on this matter just like you are. If it cannot be done in a discreet way then you will just have to take that discussion with people around you. Buhu.