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Herald readers respond

I have never been pregnant and am not a mother but I defend any woman's right to feed her child however she pleases, wherever she pleases.

Let's get a little perspective. The mother mentioned in Ms Mackle's article was feeding her child. Nothing more.

If Ms Mackle is so full of hate because of a feeding child, I would suggest she has little to be worrying about.

In a world where children die of starvation every single second of every single day, I would have thought that the sight of a beautiful, healthy child receiving nourishment would be something to be celebrated.

Karen Dunne, Celbridge

There is nothing wrong at all with needing to feed your child regardless of where you are. She is the one who has an issue with the mum feeding her baby and with her wording, she wrongly gives the impression that everyone else at the lunchtable did too.

To anyone who breastfeeds, you are not responsible for the emotions and feelings of random strangers in public locations. There is no need to even consider whether they are embarrased or not. The only objective and aim is to give your baby the nourishment they require. If anyone has an issue with it, like Marisa, it is their problem. Leave them to it.

Aileen Rohan, by email

Marisa Mackle is absolutely entitled to her opinion about breastfeeding in public but to say that a 'fun' lunch was ruined because a friend breastfed her baby in between courses would seem like a complete over-reaction.

Her piece does however highlight the issue of 'visibility' of breastfeeding. Increasingly, more Irish mums are breastfeeding in public and why shouldn't they?

Surely Marisa is not suggesting that breastfeeding mums be confined to their own four walls?

I would ask Marisa whether she would have been as embarrassed if her friend produced a bottle of formula and fed her baby.

Reading between the lines, I guess the real issue at play is that a baby was unexpectedly at the table when it was supposed to be a girls-only thing, but it provides an easy opportunity to take a sideways swipe at breastfeeding.

Seven years ago, I was that breastfeeding mum on my first big lunch outing with the girls since giving birth. The first of my friends to breastfeed, I can still remember their initial embarrassed reactions when I fumbled to discreetly nurse my little person. I felt a little bit wobbly but ultimately I was proud of myself.

You are right Marisa, we are not all 'Victoria's Secrets' pros' like Miranda Kerr but I'll bet your glass of chardonnay that she was feeling the same as any new mum when she released the pictures of herself feeding her newborn (and lovely pictures they were too)!

Rebecca McLaughlin, PR Cuidiy -- The Irish Childbirth Trust