As the mother of six children under the age of six, including twins, actress and author Madeleine West has experienced it all.
While many would think a celebrity would be immune from the kind of criticism many new mums face when it comes to breastfeeding in public, the Wrong Girl star has opened up about her embarrassing and awkward firsthand experience in a new blog post for Kidspot.
The 36-year-old, whose partner is celebrity chef Shannon Bennett, details the challenges of juggling two hungry babies with the public scrutiny that comes with exposing a little skin in the process.
The star was encouraged to share her own experience after witnessing a woman feeding her own infant while perched on a dirty public toilet at a local market – her only refuge away from prying and disapproving eyes.
‘Early on in my career as a freshly-minted “double-feeder” (feeding singletons has its hurdles, but feeding twins is a whole new track-and-field event) I had a similar experience,’ she wrote.
Walking through her local park, her twins soon began fussing for a feed, leaving the actress with no option but to take up residence on a park bench for the duration.
‘I was obliged to perform the juggling act of feeding both with a haphazard assortment of rolled up jumpers, baby blankets and wishful thinking. I managed to be discreet with an artfully placed shawl but there are limits,’ she explained.
But when a ‘middle-aged couple’ walked by, Madeleine admits she was made to feel bad and judged by the woman, while the man took the opportunity to have a not-so-subtle perv on her!
‘I copped a gawping load of evil eye from her. She then turned to her husband to share her disgust only to find he had craftily slipped on his reflective sunglasses to get a closer look at my boobs undetected.
‘Now, I’m not stupid, and neither was she, his intent was pretty clear. He received a sharp elbow to the ribs for his trouble and she stormed off, leaving him to throw me a sheepish smile,’ she continued.
‘It never ceases to amaze me that naked breasts are welcome everywhere: billboards, magazine covers, in the paper, on the TV, to sell everything from racing cars to shoe polish, except for when performing the very function for which they were designed.
‘It is an absolute disgrace that some idiots feel it is their right to pass judgment on the parenting choices of complete strangers, knowing nothing of their background, their beliefs, their situation, or their struggles.
‘These cretins actually believe that by admonishing, embarrassing, and abusing frequently frazzled and frightened first-time parents, they are making the world a better place.’