It's no surprise that a Spanish court's recent decision to punish a mom for breastfeeding her 15-month-old on demand is causing an international outcry among moms. Authorities in Spain recently removed a 15-month-old girl from her mother, according to the UK Guardian because of "chaotic" breast-feeding, a.k.a. nursing on demand. The officials claim the mother is using breastfeeding as a pacifier and a toy, "offering her breast any time the girl cries and letting her take it anywhere, no matter the time and context."
Many Circle of Moms members believe, as Mandy Y. does, that feeding on demand is the healthy, natural thing to do, and that the health benefits of breastfeeding on demand far outweigh any rumblings that it might not always be socially unacceptable. She feeds her 3-month-old daughter "when she wants."
But the headlines are bringing a touchy issue to the forefront: the social challenges of nursing in public. Tanya N. who nursed on demand and felt it was the healthiest thing for her to do for her daughter, but reports that it was awkward sometimes. "I nursed my daughter and my son whenever and where ever they needed....discreetly of course, but if I was doing groceries and they were hungry, I fed them. Would people rather have listened to a wailing child in the store or see a little bump under a blanket? The people who are SO OFFENDED must also not see National Geographic magazines or watch any television. I can't believe people who feel it is okay to tell you when and where you can feed your child."
She's in good company. Many Circle of Moms members feel that how and when they nurse their children is no one's business, and they are concerned about disapproving attitudes. Emily C. fed both of her kids on demand, but never really called it that "because...‘demand' has bratty connotations." For her though, the issue is simple: "Babies require feeding."
Kathleen M. advises Circle of Moms members who are nursing to "hang in there," and ignore other's opinions about breastfeeding on demand. "I have a 10-month-old and I still breastfeed on demand," she says. "It gets better!...it is the best thing for your little one." Christina H. agrees. She is "still feeding on demand at 17 months," and believes "it is my job during this time to meet his needs, not his job to fit around mine. Breastfeeding doesn't last forever."
The consensus is that it's worth dealing with the negative comments because breastfeeding on demand is the best thing for babies. And some Circle of Moms have figured out how to settle the criticism with humor. "I tell people who say anything that my baby has the right to eat whenever and wherever," says Amber K. "I also tell them they are lucky I am covering it up. And then I ask them if they've ever eaten under a blanket."
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