Speaking about a recent incident in a coffee shop, Helen said: “A girl about my age came to sit across from me. I was feeding quite happily with my blankets and I could see her saying to her boyfriend, ‘Oh, that’s disgusting’.
"How ridiculous! I’m doing a really natural thing.
"I don’t care if someone doesn’t approve of me breastfeeding. I just care about my baby being happy and fed.
"Everyone, when they start breastfeeding, feels anxious doing it in public. So I’m happy to put it out there.”
We spoke to four mums who feel empowered by breastfeeding — and don’t give a hoot what others might think.
'I'd never dreamed I would do it in public'
CIVIL servant Chekira Willis, 24, is mum to six-month-old son DeJohn Jr. She lives in Huntingdon, Cambs, with husband DeJohn, 23, who is in the Armed Forces, and believes working out regularly while breastfeeding keeps her physically and mentally healthy. She says:
"When we had the antenatal tour at the hospital, we were asked if we were going to breastfeed. I honestly hadn’t given it any thought and didn’t know what to say.
I had certainly never dreamed about breastfeeding in public! When I first fed my son, it was such an amazing bond.
Ever since then, he has breastfed on demand. I started going to the gym when I was at university and immediately was hooked.
I found it such a stress reliever. It keeps me mentally and physically sharp.
I wasn’t sure how quickly I’d be able to return to the gym, as I needed to breastfeed regularly.
My motivation came from watching a documentary on Serena Williams. She wore a bra that collected milk while she trained and got back her fitness – all while breastfeeding her daughter Alexis.
I thought: “What am I waiting for?” I returned to the gym in July, two months after giving birth."
'I'll feed him while on Skype calls for work'
SINGLE mother-of-two Alex Kremer, 31, is a full-time parenting coach. She breastfeeds her nine-month-old son Eden at her desk during the day, even while on Skype calls to clients. Alex, of Kings Langley in Herts, says:
"Before I was a mum, I rarely saw images of women breastfeeding in the media, so I assumed it was something I’d do behind closed doors.
Around the time I had my first baby, Rufus, three years ago, I remember seeing gorgeous photos of Gwen Stefani and Pink breastfeeding. I thought they were great and was determined to do the same. It’s really important for celebrities to talk about breastfeeding.
When my marriage deteriorated last year, I decided to change jobs and re-train so I could work at home and look after my children. I remember seeing Canadian Liberal MP Karina Gould breastfeeding her child in the House of Commons. How amazing.
I wanted to follow in her footsteps and started breastfeeding while on the phone, sending emails, even on Skype calls.
Earlier this year I was speaking at a baby and toddler show, breastfeeding my son at the same time. It feels so natural to me and I hope it does to all women who choose to breastfeed.
I’ve had looks before in public and once, in a restaurant, my mum said: “Don’t you think you should go into the toilets and be a bit more discreet?” I just said no.
It’s crazy to think, in the 21st century, there are people who are offended by women breastfeeding publicly."
'Looking glam is an important part of my armoury as a mum'
MUM-of-three Lottie Daley, 35, from Hove in East Sussex, raises her children with builder partner Chris Hind, 33. She thinks the image of dowdy mums breastfeeding is over and says:
Breastfeeding is totally natural. It used to be a taboo, with mums looking run-down when breastfeeding. I always make sure my hair is styled, I have nice clothes and lot of cosmetics. I prioritise self-care because I know that if Mum isn’t feeling good about herself, that will have a negative impact on the baby.
I breastfed my first daughter Mia, who’s now six, for two years. It took eight weeks for my milk to properly flow and in the first year I really let myself go. I didn’t feel myself during that time. Then I started seeing pictures of celebrity mums breastfeeding and looking great.
They showed me breastfeeding doesn’t mean forgetting about yourself. I breastfed my second daughter Lily, who is three, and still do with my daughter Niamh, seven months.
I make sure I have nice clothes and breastfeed while putting on my make-up, giving myself facials and preparing for a date night. It keeps me feeling like me and keeps the spark alive in my relationship. Being glam is an important part of my “mum armoury”.
When I go to the hairdresser, I happily breastfeed Niamh. If my daughter needs a feed while I’m shopping for a new dress, I’ll breastfeed and have the store manager show me the latest styles.
Before I had kids, I took time to go to the hairdresser, always dressed on trend and wore make-up. It’s part of who I am and keeping that aspect of my life has kept me sane. It’s important for women not to feel bad for keeping up those parts of your life.
Whether it’s shopping, make-up, a sport or hobby, none of that means you can’t breastfeed.
'Celebs who feed publicly are ambassadors for others'
STAY-at-home mum Precious Smith, 28, lives with husband Lee, 27, a manager at a lift company, in Ashford, Kent. They have two daughters – Lily-Rose, seven, and Ivy, 13 months. She says:
I’ve breastfed both of my daughters. When I had Lily-Rose back in 2011, I had zero confidence in myself, especially when it came to breastfeeding in public.
If she needed to be fed when I was doing the big supermarket shop, I would find myself sitting in a public loo trying to feed her as quickly as I could. It wasn’t hygienic or comfortable for either of us – but I thought people would stare or I would be asked to leave.
In the six years between my two girls, I’ve noticed a massive change – celebrity mums talking about breastfeeding and posting pictures online of them doing it in public, doing everyday things. I know it sounds stupid but celebrities really are ambassadors for other mums and they stop us worrying. (Supermodel) Chrissy Teigen was a real inspiration for me. She owns the fact she breastfeeds.
I loved it when she called out trolls who criticised her for breastfeeding in public. It really empowered me when she turned on them for their “weird titty-issues”!
When I gave birth to Ivy, I felt so much more confident.
The first time I breastfed in public, I was out shopping. She started crying and instead of wondering where the nearest loos were, I calmly sat down and fed her in the store.
A couple of shoppers turned their head and did a double-take – but I did it and it was a real “moment” for me. When I go food shopping I get comfortable and let Ivy latch on. It’s always a conversation starter!"
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