opinions on breastfeeding in public?

Sharna - posted on 05/29/2010 ( 113 moms have responded )

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i recently got into a debate on facebook regarding breastfeeding in public. my post recieved over 140 posts!!! some people say that it should always be done in private, while i believe it should be more accepted and done where ever and when ever ur baby needs it. also... should the age of the baby make a difference? i feed my 14 month old in public (very discretely i might add). any thoughts?

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I believe also it should be accepted in public. Babies gotta eat. Grown ups eating in public all the time.You see more boob on tv & in stores, or at the pool at the YMCA. I don't think the age of the baby should make a difference. I know people are probably alot more accepting to seeing a small baby nursed, and tend to frown more on bigger babies- they can listen to my 18m old scream 'boooob' or put up with me nursing.
The more we do it, the more acceptable it will be. I think of it as my public service announcement that breastfeeding is okay and normal and hopefully I can convince a few women along the way to try it, to stick with it, etc.

Bershelle - posted on 05/29/2010

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I do it, at church I use a cover (hooter hider is the name) but I do mainly out of my hubs saying cover that thing up lol.
To me it is the most natural thing a mom can do, its ok for us to give birth to them (via vagina) and have that aired on TV but if we breastfeed in public we are "exposing" ourselves? WTF! Women can walk around nipples hanging out and thats fine?

I just get so P*ssed off because its not like we are saying here look at me, we sit down and feed, how is our fault that someone looks over or is embrassed by what we are doing. A very touchy subject but I am all for feeding in public mama... You whip it out and do what you gotta do! ^,^

Kassie - posted on 05/29/2010

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my baby is only 12 weeks- so i havent gotten to the BIG baby stage but i also feel like you gotta do what you gotta do. i will say i feel more comfortable being around certain people- and i try to excuse myself if im somewhere where i can but have and continue to nurse in public if i have to. the people who say it should be done in private and only in private obviously dont have a baby yet- or they didnt breast feed. its a VERY demanding job- most breastfed babies esp. in the beginning will nurse anywhere from every 1-3 hours- i dont know about you but im not going to try to make schedule around that!! i wish more people would realize the kind of mom it takes to whip out her boob and nurse her starving child even while people are looking at her like WHAT IS SHE DOING??? i mean isnt that why God gave us these boobs?? ♥

Ramona - posted on 06/01/2010

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Who made them sexual? Men! Why? Because anything they can play with is "sexual." They were meant for food long before they were meant as playthings for men!

Sarah - posted on 08/10/2010

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I hate that if a woman gives a baby a bottle in public, nobody bats an eye. I'll breastfeed my child when she needs to be fed whenever or where ever we may be. I fed her at the table at Olive Garden just this past weekend and not even the waiter seemed the least bit uncomfortable.

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113 Comments

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Tyasia - posted on 08/10/2010

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people are stupid, i am still breastfeeding my 15 mo old son in and out of public, never use a cover and dont care, some people are stupid. besides i for one am not at all ashamed or embarrassed to nourish my child.

Danielle - posted on 06/17/2010

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I say when they gotta eat they gotta eat. I nurse my 3 year old in public if necessary, and I never cover up. I get comments sometimes or looks and i say "if you don't like it then look away". I'm not a shy nursing mamma. I wouldn't leave the dinnertable EVER to feed my kid in the bathroom.

Tracie - posted on 06/17/2010

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I am totally in favour of breast feeding and fed all my three girls and they have grown upt to be healthy and happy and I feel that I have a special bond with them that only breast feeding can give. But I do remember when I was breast feeding the limited amount of places where you could go to do it in comfort. I have to be honest I didnt care where I did it, if my baby was hungry then I fed her. But it would have been nice when out shopping if the shopping centres and other public places had spared a thought for breastfeeding mums when they were designing these buildings. How nice would it be for there to be a nice warm room with pillows and cushions and a tv or soothing music playing, with possibly some toys, if you have toddlers with you to keep them occupied whilst you get on and feed baby, and also a nice clean washroom to change baby and to freshen up yourself. I know that I there were times I would have welcomed somewhere like that to go to feed my baby in peace, then both baby and me would be all nice and fresh ready to hit the sales once more lol!

Nicole - posted on 06/09/2010

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People need to be exposed to nursing women/ nursing images continuously until they get the memo about the fact that nursing is the biological norm. Anything else(formula) is substandard. Not only the norm but every child'd birthright. This (by Sundae Horn) Sums it all up:
Indiscreet Breastfeeding Manifesto

I will nurse my child anytime, anywhere, no matter who is present or what I am wearing.
I will bare my breast with pride and confidence.
I will not apologize for nourishing and nurturing my child.
I will not smother my child with a napkin or blanket.
I will smile at everyone around me and ignore rude stares.
I will know that I am giving my child the perfect infant food from the most efficient, ecological, and economical delivery system.
I will know that I am giving my child the healthy start that is his or her birthright.
I will set an example for women and girls, educate the public, dispel breastfeeding myths, desexualize the breast, and make the world a better place, all through the simple act of feeding my child.

Beth - posted on 06/08/2010

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I have always breast fed in public, in private, in church, at home- wherever I am when my babies get hungry. No one would think of questioning a baby receiving a bottle, while should it be a problem to receive the breast?

Amy - posted on 06/08/2010

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I think breasts are sensual. Any part of the body is, potentially. It's mainly in America that there's a strong focus on breasts and genitals. If you watch any European or Asian movie you'll find that they often show breasts and genitals without a second thought - non-sexual nudity like someone getting out of a shower - and it isn't the breasts, nor even the genitals that make a sex scene. Uh, that's why we raid the film festival section, they have much better sex scenes ;-)

Jo - posted on 06/08/2010

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Breastfeeding a baby is the single most natural thing in the world so i'm not going shy away from feeding my daughter whenever or where ever she needs it. If people look & complain then its theres mind that is seeing the breast as a sexual object. there problem not mine

Maggie - posted on 06/06/2010

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I believe if we have the right to eat in public so do our children!

I do in public so long as its a nice quiet place as my son gets very distracted by noises. Yes ppl look at us and thinks its wrong but its natural.

Some of the clothes young girls wear these days are more revealing than breastfeeding!

Jessie - posted on 06/06/2010

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it should be accepted anywhere bottlefeeding is accepted... anywhere. its not a matter of shame, maybe in public cover up the essential bits... but with all the propaganda out now advocating breast over bottle there is no reason we should have to cower in corners to feed our children.

Lisbeth - posted on 06/06/2010

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do it were ever and when ever you want covered or not. Why is it ok for women to sun tan topless but feed a baby is completely in appropriate. Soooooooo to all the breast feeding mothers feed on.

Amy - posted on 06/06/2010

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There shouldn't be any caveats about discretion or the age of the child. Breastfeeding in public is fine - end of story.

Tiffany - posted on 06/04/2010

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I think that if people have a problem with women breastfeeding in public then they should not look. It is natural and why should we have to fed our babies in private, we don't have to eat in private. As far as the age I think you should breastfeed for as long as you feel comfortable doing it, or until your baby self weens.

Erin - posted on 06/04/2010

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I don't think there is anything wrong with that I am nursing myself and when my son get's hungry I will feed him whenever,wherever people don't like it no one asked them to look anyway's they should put a blanket over there head. I think it's great your still nursing at 14 months WTG all the power to you if it don't hurt you keep going as long as you can. Us nursing mom's should not half to hide feeding our baby's. Do bottle fed baby's have to hide NO so why should we hide our nursing baby's it's perfectly natural.

Joanna - posted on 06/04/2010

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Breastfeeding in public is not a crime! But some do act as tho you are committing a horrible crime!

Leyla - posted on 06/04/2010

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do it discreetly and remind people that draw attention to you that THEY are the cause of the negative attention not you.....

i'm still nursing an 18 month old with H cups....i'm as discreet as i can be.....lol....some people will appreciate it and some will disdain it.....either way you are doing whats best!!!!

Lori - posted on 06/04/2010

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I find it very encouraging when I'm bf my 14 month old in public and another child comes up and watches, or talks about how they breastfed, or their younger sibling does too.

April - posted on 06/04/2010

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The way i see it if the baby is hungry then do what you have to do... people look at us funny either way... they either think "shut that baby up" or "OMG look what shes doing how dare she whip her boob out and feed that child in public" so really either way we go they talk! why not take care of what needs done rather than keep letting them complain about the crying! LOL

BobbiDee - posted on 06/04/2010

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I feed my 17 month old son in public my opion is if they dont want to see it dont look... i am always covered and try to be discrete about it but he is 17 months old and likes to look around and i am not going to make him and by porxy me uncomfortable by trying to cover him... i think women should be able to feed any where they want and need to!!!!!!!!!!!!

[deleted account]

I get into debates with people on Facebook about breastfeeding in public and my stance on the subject will always be the same: If you don't like seeing a mother doing the most natural thing she can do for her baby then, DON'T LOOK! It's not as if we're just whipping them out for all to see, feeding your child is not obscene. Don't listen to the naysayers.

[deleted account]

When I had my son I was always too nervous to feed him in public, but now with my daughter (4 months) I am fine, I usually keep a spare blanket in my bag so I have it but at the moment in the UK it has been really hot so she fusses under the blanket so i tend to wear longish tops to help. This time I knew that I don't really give a damn what people think, if my daughter is hungry I will feed her, she needs to be fed just like everyone else does so why should I stop just cause they don't like it?! x

Cassie - posted on 06/04/2010

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I'll breastfeed wherever I want WITHOUT a cover. My son hates the cover its hot and annoying and he always takes it off. Plus, he's 8 months, he's more aware he just moves it over!

Kay - posted on 06/04/2010

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im a bf mum and i bf my daughter in public well as long as shes coverd i wouldnt just be like woooo hoo look at my boobies hahah that would be kinda weird. so yayyy for us mommas who are brave enough to do it . you gotta do what you gotta do your not gonna let your baby cry and cry .

Sarah - posted on 06/04/2010

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We are doing the best thing we can nutritionally for our children, people who don't want to see it can look the other way. It took me a while to feel comfortable nursing my son in public but if I didn't do it my outtings would always be restricted time wise, and really when people don't like it they should consider the option, if I don't feed my hungry baby s/hes gonna scream...not too mention do these people think it would be better if I didn't feed my baby at all?

AUDRA - posted on 06/04/2010

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Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world! Most people understand but some think it's wrong to breastfeed in public. Don't be embarrassed if someone is gawking at you while you feed your little one! Hey it's a lot cheaper than having to buy expensive smelly formula!! It's the best thing for your baby also. Just use a light blanket to cover one side while you nurse. Another word of advice that I tell nursing moms, don't eat spicy food while breastfeeding because it causes the baby to be colicky... After all, Breast Is Best!! I hope you can continue nursing without problems!!

Mara - posted on 06/04/2010

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A child should be able to eat wherever they are at.... No one has issues with a bottle fed baby, should they be foreced to do it in private? I do think there is a level of discretion a BFing mother should have while BFing in public... for example in an area where they are a lot of young children present, it may be best to cover up as the body is a hard topic to discuss with children, but regardless, no mother should be belittled at all for breastfeeding in public. We are choosing to do what is nutritonaly perfect for our children and in no way should we be punished for that.. .if the # of people breastfeeding would rise and everyone who did it would BIP then it would just be normal to see that in public. My heart goes out to any mother that has been chastized in public for BFing their child.

Rachel - posted on 06/04/2010

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I think there are definately right and wrong ways to go about bf-ing in public. It shouldn't be a stigma!!!!! If your baby is hungry feed them, but be aware of what you are exposing to everyone around you. I once saw a woman "nursing" a boy in a store. The boy was probably almost 2 and more interested in looking around. The woman paid no attention to the fact that her son was not nursing and left her breast exposed. Completely exposed!!!!!! I nurse in public without a problem, but I am aware and pay attention. I respect the other people in the store enough to nurse discreetly, but my baby comes first :) I nursed my DD for 22 months and my DS for 18 months and counting. Age only becomes a problem when they are not interested in nursing!!

Rachel - posted on 06/04/2010

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I breastfeed my almost 5 month old daughter and plan to until she is 1 year old. I have a nursing cover and use it when out in public. I dont care what people think, they cant see what my baby is doing under there and Id much rather give her what she is suppose to eating instead of formula. People take everything to the extreme these days, of course people get offended if you arent covered up and your sit your baby up to burp them and your boob is still hanging out. Cover up and people shouldnt bother you about it!

Kelley - posted on 06/04/2010

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I am sick of society acting like breastfeeding a child is something dirty. The whole reason we have breasts is to feed our young. Formula isn't natural it isn't what humans are supposed to eat, it is a last resort if a mother doesn't have enough milk. I breastfed my youngest and at first I was uncomfortable about doing it when there were people around and fumbling with a cover to hide what I was doing was awkward and made me feel shameful. Most clothing stores will let you use a fitting room to feed your baby so you aren't stared at. But IMO we need to find a way to educate people so that the attitude that breastfeeding is dirty will go away.

Kelly - posted on 06/04/2010

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im not currently breast feeding i am pregnant and do plan on feeding my baby girl myself when she is born (hopfully any day now) just wanted to read up a little and get some advice befor i started... i got into an argument with my husbands dad a few months ago about this subject, i personally believe that if a baby is hungry then they need feeding and the same people that tut and give u funny looks would be doing the same thing if he/she was screaming coz they were hungry. i am self conscious so if i can i will be feeding my lil girl in feeding rooms or my car but if its the best thing for her i dnt mind lobbing it out and feeding her... cant wait till we visit his parents with her and she needs feeding they live on a narrow boat and the only place thats private is the bathroom and i wont be feeding my baby on the toilet so that should be fun lol

Jennifer - posted on 06/04/2010

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If people can eat in public then so should our babies... even if we have to breastfeed them. It is our natural duty as moms to feed our kids no matter how it's done. If you're breastfeeding then that's what u have to do. I would see how it could be an issue if it was done openly, but now a days we mothers do it under a feeding shawl or blanket. We're not flopping it out for the whole world to see!
The age difference becomes a thing when u have your 2 yr old jump on your lap and grabbing at your breast in public.... other than that, kids can be breastfed up to 7 years (if you'd really go that far tho?)
We should do whats best for our children and not care about what other ppl think.

Renee - posted on 06/04/2010

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I think it should be encouraged and accepted more! My baby is almost one and i still breastfeed in her public, but also do it discreetly and i watch the stares i get!! However, told one lady who commented under breath, that i should feed in the change rooms, and i responded that if she had ever smelt the change rooms, she wouldn't want to eat in there either.

I think it is sad that mum's are discouraged to feed their babies and not helped gain the confidence to feed their babies. WE were all brought up on breastmilk, so why the negativity now!! I just don't get it!!

My whole pregnancy was fantastic, and i remember telling my husband that i would be devastated if i couldn't feed Charlotte when born.

I think people need to grow up and deal with it, and be more open minded.

Miranda - posted on 06/03/2010

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I don't feel like breastfeeding in public should be taboo! I agree that is should be more accepted, especially due to the fact that we are using our breasts as a food source and not a sex object! Which is why I feel that there is a "stigma" to breastfeeding in public....I did use a cover while I nursed in public, but I did that for myself. However as my child got bigger using the cover was a little more difficult! My son is 15 months old and I still breastfeed and I will continue until either one of us is ready to stop! :0)

Heather - posted on 06/03/2010

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People need to mind their own business and let moms take care of their babies. Good for you for taking care of your baby and not letting others dictate your mothering.

Amanda - posted on 06/03/2010

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i just have to say you go girl...hold your head up high and keep doing it....if us b.f. moms keep doing what were doing then one day it will be accepted and not looked down upon!! I feed my 7 month every where and any were except in the car for safety reasons...i do cover most everything so it always looks like im holding her..but thats my comfort zone...i dont think i could be like some moms who show all..brave women but not for me....Congrats on b.f so long!!

Lisa - posted on 06/03/2010

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Hi there, I have a 16month old that is still breastfed. And I feed him where ever I am. I do not bother finding somewhere where no one can see me, I have feed him where ever I want. I dont care if there are people seeing. If my boy is hungry I feed him. I dont even do it discretly. I have no shame in breastfeeding,. It is so natural and why should I be singled out because my son is hungry and I am doing the best I can for him. And I think every mother should feel the same as me. I love breastfeeding and times have changed.

Elysia - posted on 06/03/2010

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as far as i can see, we eat in public and bottle fed babies eat in public so whats the difference. I breast fed my son where ever and when ever he wanted, even in church on 2 seperate occasions, 1 for a chrisetning and 1 for a funeral and not one single person was put off or offended. im now pregnant with number 2 and fully intend on bf again and will again do on demand so baby lays the rules it wont matter where we r.

Aymee - posted on 06/03/2010

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I mean it's not like you're topless. It amazes me how breasts can be so coveted for sex, shoved in our faces through media everyday, and yet when there is a baby at the other end, it becomes indecent. What a world we live in. Ugh!

Theresa - posted on 06/03/2010

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I say YES to feeding in public! I agree with you I have done it discreetly but I would never not do it! No one would think or look twice if I took out a bottle and fed my son.

I am working on Making a Breastfeeding Awareness Calendar for 2011. All the images in the calendar will be of mother's feeding in public places. I'll let you know when I have the associated website up and running ;)

Janine - posted on 06/03/2010

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When your baby is hungry you feed it....simple! i would rather know someone was discretely feeding than listen to a baby screamimg any day of the week! i once had a couple leave their lunch in a resteraunt because i was feeding my daughter, pathetic, i have a plan...stop looking at my boob and get on with your bloody lunch. ha x

April - posted on 06/03/2010

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Breasts are meant for feeding your baby. They're only *secondary* sex characteristics, not primary! If someone is offended by seeing a mother nurse her child, I automatically assume that their parents brought them up thinking that breasts are for men - something I highly disagree with!

Jessie - posted on 06/03/2010

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I feel you should feed you baby any where you happen to be if he is hungry, no body would think twice about a mother giving a baby a bottle or snack bar why should breast feeding be any different, as far as the age it shouldn't matter

Jennifer - posted on 06/03/2010

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I have 4 children. I breastfed all of them for different amounts of time. The longest was 2 yrs, although by then it was only at bedtime. I always breastfed in public, but I wore a tank top with an overshirt, or a t-shirt, because I preferred not to show my goodies to the world, but that's just me. I never had anyone tell me anything. I doubt most people even knew what I was doing.

In fact, once, while feeding my 2 month old son, my husband's very conservative cousin came for a visit. I had my son under a blanket when he walked in and he stood there talking to my husband for several minutes. I reached under the blanket and fixed my shirt, and it was when I removed the blanket that he realized I had been nursing. He totally freaked out, apologizing. lol I just smiled and told him it was fine, that's what the blanket was for. Apparently, he was uncomfortable with his wife breastfeeding in front of people as well.

If my 5 month old was still breastfeeding, I'd be doing it in restaurants, walmart, at the park, in church or wherever I might be at the moment. I agree with the poster that said that maybe if more mothers breastfed in public then maybe it would be more accepted.

Jamie - posted on 06/03/2010

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Feed your baby wherever and whenever you need to. Of course it depends on the comfort level of the mother, but there is no instance in which it is inappropriate to feed an infant. Anywhere the child can be, they can be fed.

As far as age of the child, i myself probably wouldn't feed my toddler in public unless i had a more secluded area to do it in, but that's about my comfort level, not the comfort level of anyone else.

Jessica - posted on 06/03/2010

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I think you should feed your baby when where and how you like, and if someone has never seen a baby and Mommy doing what's best for them both its about time!

Casey - posted on 06/03/2010

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It's been a while, but I breastfed both of my daughters(didn't with my son, long story short, young mom no support), when I did, I used a cover early on, but when they hit 6 months or so, cover was not an option! So we just fed and went about our business. I live in an area of the US where people are not comfortable with BF in public, but if my baby was hungry, she got fed! I did have some people say something about it, and my reply was, "How do you think Mary fed Baby Jesus?" a bottle?! LOL! You can't imagine the looks on people's faces when it dawns on them!

Farah - posted on 06/03/2010

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I have had this debate with many ppl, especially since I am intent on nurse any children I have or may have until the ripe old age of 2. I feel that if you are out and about with your child and they need too eat at any age you should feed them, if your 10 year old wants a hot dog, would you buy it then run in the bathroom to feed it to him/her NO, they would eat it in public, so why should mother who nurse be retired to a stinky old bathroom or some other seedy little nook to give their child food, because lets face it that is what breast milk is for babies. All that being said, I also think there should be some modesty that goes along with nursing in public make sure you cover yourself atleast, bring a blanket or nursing sheild with you if you feel that you will be feeding your child while you are out.

Sara - posted on 06/02/2010

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it is a shame that it is an issue at all....we really should be evolved enough to openly feed in public since we all openly eat in restaurants, in parks, on beaches or where ever we happen to be...why not extend the same freedom to babies? And a boob is a boob...just think of it as a subway footlong for a baby JEEZ....ha ha

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