At last women are allowed to feed their babies and not just at home in the comfort of their rocking, feeding chairs. Hey, they can even go out to cafes, restaurants, and to work without being asked to leave – fancy that. .
Under changes to the Sex Discrimination Act passed last week by the Federal Parliament, it will be discriminatory for a restaurateur to decline service to a breastfeeding woman, or an employer to refuse to hire a breastfeeding mother.
As I wrote in a previous column
Nobody can forget the hype when Kate Langbroek, breastfed on live TV during The Panel. “Publicity stunt!” cried some. “Outrageous!” cried others. “Oh please!” I cried at nobody in particular. There’s nothing contrived about breastfeeding. If only infants could follow a PR schedule. Have you met a baby? They tend to be rather spontaneous and extremely unreasonable, particularly when tired or hungry which is approximately always. Kate Langbroek was at work. Her baby was hungry. She fed him. It happens. The end. And yet people still talk about it today.
The fact she was working at all is a problem for some people who feel uncomfortable when the worlds of work and motherhood collide. They can’t compute that personal choice or financial necessity makes that collision a reality for millions of women like Kate every day. Oh look, it’s 2009.
With over a decade of breastfeeding on my CV (not consecutively and not of the same child), there’s not a public place where I haven’t breastfed or expressed. Beaches, planes, shopping centres, parks, airports, restaurants, BBQs, offices, cafes, meetings, parties, weddings, funerals, churches, synagogues…and frankly, I couldn’t care less who was watching.