Breastfeeding in public

[deleted account] ( 22 moms have responded )

Hi all I am new to this community. I am currently pregnant with my second child. I plan on breastfeeding him. I breast fed the first but not as long as I should have (exigent circumstances). I remember with my first being out in public and having to feed her and covering her up with a blanket, and how she would get hot or I would worry that she was uncomfortable, or suffocating. I have been thinking about it and I don't think I want to go through tha't with this one. While I will be discreet when "situating: us once he's latched on, I think I am going to let him be. However, I live in Alabama, prig central. There is an Al law that was passed in 2006 protecting a moms right to breast feed in public or private or any place that she is lawfully authorized to be. I am just nervous about the whole thing I guess. Have any of you ever had negative experiences while Breast feeding in public and if so how did you handle it? I haven't brought it up to my husband yet. He is fairly conservative, and I am not sure how to get him to see my point. I mean unless your the one breastfeeding and you know what its like to stifle yourself and your infant with a blanket in the Alabama sun and humidity, you may wonder exactly what the big deal is. Stories? Suggestions?

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Jeramie - posted on 05/05/2010

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I live in Chattanooga, very close to Alabama, and I gave birth last May. Learning to breastfeed in the summertime can definitely be hot! My baby's head would get very sweaty, along with my chest and shirt. I have never had anyone react negatively to me nursing in public. No one has ever said anything rude to me and I have never noticed any mean looks, although I could have missed those, because I usually am looking at my child, not watching the people around me. My daughter hated having her head covered with a blanket, so I only used one when I was wearing a shirt i pulled Down to breastfeed. As a Muslim man, modesty is very important to my husband, but he encourages me to breastfeed wherever our child needs to eat. Even conservative people can be practical. You don't have to flash the room to feed your child. A lot of people don't even notice when I am doing it. The only way society is going to become more accepting of it is if more women do it, so be a trend setter!

Chantal - posted on 05/05/2010

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It's natural to feel nervous. I've breastfed in public more times than I can remember and in certain situations I still feel nervous. You can buy breastfeeding tops which are very discreet. I've got a couple which I wear when I go out. Ebay has a lot of really nice reasonably cheap ones.

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After my third child I found a special "blanket" that is specially made for breastfeeding in public. It is called a HOOTER HIDER. I LOVED mine. It is made of light weight material, so it will not cause the baby to over heat. It has a adjustable strap that goes around the neck, so you don't have to worry about it slipping off. Also, the best feature, It has boning on the top edge that causes the blanket to curve out slightly so that the baby can see you and you can see the baby. It cost about $45, I think, but is was well worth it.

Jennifer - posted on 05/08/2010

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This was a huge stress for me but I have just come to the realization that it is a part of life and anyone who is offended needs to just let it go. Feed your baby and live your life and don't trap yourself in your home because of fear of what others may say. Cover up only if it makes you more comfortable, don't worry about others and feed your little one whenever necessary. I had myself so stressed out about how to do it that I felt trapped in my home for a couple of months, now that I have let it go, we have a life outside of the house and it is a much more enjoyable one.

Amber - posted on 05/08/2010

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ive been nursing for 8 weeks now and the worst thing thats happened to me wasnt really even that bad! i was at walmart and my mom went through the line for me so i could feed the baby. i went to the bench at the front of the store and covered up with a receiving blanket. it was only about the second time i had tried to do it in public and i was having trouble getting the blanket to stay in place while i latched the baby on. a woman at customer service ran up to me and pulled the blanket over my shoulder more. i dont know if she was trying to be helpful or spare everyone else a free peek, but im glad she did it! lol



oh and a couple tips....when you go out to eat, get a booth instead of a table. its a LOT easier to be discreet that way. also, whenever i go out i try to feed her in the car because i dont have to cover up as much and its SOOOO much easier than feeding her while shopping (which i have had to do at least 5 times!).

Brandi - posted on 05/08/2010

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Isla will absolutely not nurse under a blanket. She gets frustrated and unlatches and cries. So it's either ignore my boob or listen to my kid scream her head off.

Theresa - posted on 05/08/2010

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My SIL gave me a great coverup that is lightweight and cool. She had gotten one and loved it. I used and loved my a lot too. They are called Bebe au Lait and you can order them online (Hooter Hider is the other name they go by) at www.bebeaulait.com. I did find them in a specialty baby store once too. They have an openin in the top that allows you to see down into the cover so you and baby can even maintain eye contact during nursing. They come in several really cute patterns.

Jessica - posted on 05/07/2010

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i have never had any negative experiences with breast feeding in public. i do it very discreetly and the only way you can tell she is eating is if you are eyeing my like a hawk anyway. which is illegal. the way i do it is i always carry a short cardigan with me and when she gets hungry, i put it on over my tank or whichever top i happen to be wearing. i button the top buttons. with the cardigan covering the bottom layers, i tuck the tank and bra under my breast. then i bring lulu to my breast and then i lift the cardigan as much as she needs and then i rest it just above her nose. nothing shows and no one can tell :)

or you can get nursing tops that make it super easy. gap.com has really good sales :)

and i know all about humidity... i live in louisiana!!

GL!!

Emily - posted on 05/07/2010

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I've never had a negative experience breastfeeding my babies in public. People tend to look the other way or just not bother you.

Kristin - posted on 05/07/2010

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I never had any problems or really got any looks. I did carry a light, light blanket for when I couldn't find an out of the way place, but rarely needed to use it. I did choose to stick with child and family friendly locations though. Anything that seemed too grown up, I just decided it wasn't worth the potential hassle. I absolutely took advantage of dressing rooms, family restrooms, and children's stores all for the A/C and the additional privacy.

Talk to your husband. His support in this will really empower you to stand up for yourself. His support will likely show some of those "prigs" that this is what's best for your family. How is he conservative? Because it all boils down to breastmilk is the PERFECT food for a baby. That is the main function of a woman's breasts; to feed her children. It doesn't matter where you fall on the whole evolution or creation spectrum, that's what boobs are for. You can always bring your husband literature on breastfeeding or have him come talk with the pediatrician about it or even your doctor. Encourage him to ask questions. He may be more open to this than you know. There is also always the cost breakdown. Breastmilk being free and formula being pretty spendy.

Get nursing tops or not, do what's going to be comfortable for you. A light cover up/shawl will help while mastering the latch and then you may not need it any longer.

Good luck.

Sarah - posted on 05/07/2010

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nursing clothes are expensive, and babies hate being hidden under a blanket once they are old enough to wiggle. i came up with a system to breastfeed in public. i nursed my sons till they were 3 years old, and brought my youngest to work with me daily, which is a construction office. i wore a tank top under a looser shirt, and usually wore a light, large scarf as an accessory. this way, i could pull up the over shirt, and still have my body mostly covered, with the option of brief extra privacy with the scarf, if we needed it. usually i could blatantly nurse with no on even noticing i was doing so.

[deleted account]

Been breastfeeding in public for 2 years (well, public feeding is quite rare now) and never had anyone say anything to me. I only used a cover the first few times while I was getting used to doing it. :)

Maryann - posted on 05/07/2010

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I love Katies quote * Dont think of it as your right to breastfeed, think of it as your babies right to eat*!!! I feed my child where ever and whenever he needs to be fed!!!! People can deal with it!!! There is NO LAW in this world that states a mother CAN NOT nurture her child in public.
I nurse my son in the mall all the time....People glance and give me the disgusted look all the time.... ...I simply smile and say....*U interested cos I have a spare!!!*...they quickly shuffle off and don't look back!

Sara - posted on 05/06/2010

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I plan on breastfeeding in public like my mom did with me. I can tell you what my mom told one person that may at least bring a smile to your face. When she was feeding me at a burger place (don't want to give free advertising for them ha ha) someone told her to cover up....and she told them I will when you learn to eat with your mouth closed. ha ha

Ashley - posted on 05/05/2010

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i have breastfed my daughter in public, and haven't had any negative experiences yet. I do not cover her with a blanket, it is too awkward to keep her covered without her getting too hot. breastfeeding is a natural and motherly thing, I think most understand. You don't have to fully expose yourself while feeding, many times i dont think people even noticed that i was feeding her. Now I have seen mothers that fully expose themselves, and leave their breast exosed, which i felt uncomfortable seeing-since the baby wan't eating I didnt think it was necessary for her to expose herself like that. but regardless, i'm 100% for breastfeeding in public. we all know breastmilk is better than any formula, i believe it's important to breastfeed for the sake of your child.

Celia - posted on 05/05/2010

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I breastfeed blanket free anywhere my son asks to be fed. If you feed on cue it make no sence to whip ot a blanket every 5 minutes sometimes... it just isent logical.
I can understand the pressures to cover up, I was just asked to leave the warming pool when I was feeding my son at the pool a few weeks ago and now I am in the middle of waging a Human Rights battle with the local pool that I'd hate to have to take to the tribunal but if it comes to that and they say they are sticking by their lifeguard I will take them to court... period.
Breastfeeding is a human right and in Canada it is protected just like it is now in Alabama but just because its protected dosent mean there is still not a battle to normalise breastfeeding with the general public.
The fact that mothers are shameful or embarassed about feeding their babies in public stops babies from being breastfed at all in some cases. My friends son stopped breastfeeding under covers... hated it! So she stopped breastfeeding him and turned to formula. That just makes me sad.
The more breastfeeding we can do without shame in public the easier it will be for other women to choose breastfeeding cover or not. So I say whip it out girl! And talk to your husband about the reasons why.

Andrea - posted on 05/05/2010

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I am very PROUD of breastfeeding, and never care if someone knows what I am doing, but I have always been very shy with my body, so I don't like people to SEE what I am doing :) But honestly, if you wear the right clothes, you wont have anything to worry about. They do make a shall like cover now that allows you to still see your baby - but non-the-less still hot. I usually wear a nursing TANKTOP instead of a nursing bra, so that my belly is always covered - then I wear another tanktop or shirt over that. I bring the top layer up (which covers the top of the breast) and the nursing tank gets unsnapped and comes down, and the baby goes on - and nothing shows. I feel better, and don't have to worry. I also have a generic wrap that helps me hold her up so my arms don't get tired, and that usually covers her face for the most part anyway. You could try those.

Kate - posted on 05/05/2010

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It can be difficult if you don't feel you have your husband's support, however it is ultimately your choice. I am very lucky I breastfed my daughter in public often and never got any negative comments. I tried using a blanket a few times but it never stayed in place and just annoyed me anyway. I think that because I was confident in feeding my daughter and I never hesitated in doing it no matter where I was (restaurant tables, couches in coffee shops - even a couple of times on a seat in the mall during the summer!) it sent a clear message to those around me what type of response they would get if they did say anything to me! That being said I was always clear with myself that if anyone did say anything to me directly or indirectly I would tell them that if they could eat in public so could my child and they could keep their narrow minded opinions to themselves because I wasn't particularly interested in what they had to say. Good Luck I hope you find a situation that suits you : )

Natalie - posted on 05/05/2010

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I too am nervous about breast feeding in public. So far i've managed to feed my baby girl before we go out and haven't had to feed in public but i know i might have to sometime.
Like katies post, it is legal where i live to breastfeed in public, but if there's a mothers room i will choose to use it:)

Katrina - posted on 05/05/2010

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My hub is very conservative and he supports me 100 % breastfeeding in public. I have gotten stares and heard what ppl have said but I don't let it bother me. I have a nursing cape and when I don't, I carry a knitted blanket with holes in it ( not torn holes ). You may think people can see through it but they can't. Hey you have to feed your baby too! There are some places I don't like to nurse so I excuse myself that has a better, more private area. I do feed in restaurants, church, Mall, car. You name it I will try to do it as long as I am comfortable and have something to support my back up against. I have caught men looking and trying to see if they see a boob. So I start laughing at them. This is the way I feel.. Your whole body is seen by your OBGYN and about 10 other ppl while delivering, so what's the difference of breast feeding in public. Don't let it bother you. I wish you the best and good luck on your next baby!

Barbora Milena - posted on 05/05/2010

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u should not worry abou it... u r not obliging anybody to look at you, if they do so, its cuz they want...feel free to breastfeed in public, there is nothing to be ashamed of... if u feel nervous, wear a shirt with buttons, so u dont have to undress to much n ur boob can be covered by ur baby while eating n the shirt... i have 6months old daughter n i bfeed in public all the time...just remember to dont be stressed, or the baby will feel it n get nervou as well n the feedin will get difficult n messy...

Katie - posted on 05/04/2010

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I love the quote I saw - dont think of it as your right to breastfeed, think of it as your babies right to eat.
It's great the law was passed in your state.
I haven't had anyone ask me to stop.
I wish they would. I would tell them that they can call the police if they like, if they think I am doing something wrong, cos I know they have no right to stop me, (Queensland, Australia), as we too can breastfeed anywhere that we are lawfully allowed to be too. And they'd probably be too embarrased to call the police.

I found that with a sometimes fussy feeder, I like going to the mother's rooms at the shops. And when I am there I dont mind if she falls off and flashes to people in there. some mother's room have private rooms too. but I dont feel the need to be that private about it.

I have covered with a cloth only once, and felt weird not being able to see bub, to see if she was attached properly or not. So now if I feel the need I just use cloth to cover my shoulders, not bub.

I dont really feed in public much anymore, as she doesnt attach properly, even if I can tell she's hungry.
So I just feed her before we go out, and she feeds when we get home. We're out for 4-5 hours at the most, with playgroup and going to get groceries.

Best of luck with your discussion with your husband.
Remember Breastfeeding is NORMAL. Best of Luck.

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