Being told to respect others by closing my curtains in hospital when breastfeeding

Tina - posted on 09/22/2010 ( 22 moms have responded )

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I do not understand this!!
When i gave birth to my third little boy just 11 months ago i was praised for breastfeeding, but next morning i was sitting in bed in hospital breastfeeding when i was told could i close my curtains when breastfeeding as it will affended some people, especially if ladies partners are in there!! I was disgusted and completely speechless!! We are constantly told we should not be embarresed or shy about this natural way of feeding but then told to cover ourselves up. And men should not look in a sexual way anyway!!
I am expecting my new bundle of joy in nov and want to say something this time if asked to cover up again but sometimes the midwifes are really moody...do i or not??

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[deleted account]

That's weird... The nurses at the hospital where I gave birth always closed the curtains behind them and the door was always closed. To be honest it would creep me out more then someone else if anyone other then my husband where to see me breastfeeding out in the open.

I use a cover now, but when my daughter was first born it was really hard to nurse we were both learning. I often nursed without a cover, I would just go behind closed doors. At the hospital I had lactation consultants and pediatricians checking in what felt like every hour. It was impossible for people not to see.

Even I feel uneasy when seeing a woman lift up her shirt and nurse her baby with out a cover, especially when they are talking to me.

Catherine - posted on 10/01/2010

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Honestly, I'm with Heather on this one. Should people be offended by it, no they shouldn't, but the reality is that they are. Breasts are so hyper-sexualized in our culture that it can be a big deal if someone's partner (or 12 year old son) is there and sees you. I always cover up when I nurse, or go into another room when one is available. I think in the large scheme of things, it's simply easier to cover up.

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Kristy - posted on 10/14/2010

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I think the issue here is that you were in the hospital and asked to cover up. That is simply rediculous. I can perhaps see in a place like a mall or something but you are in a nursery ward....babies are born there and will feed there too. I would TOTALLY say something if it is mentioned again. BF is a natural function and there should be no embaressment.

Laura - posted on 10/14/2010

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also... u are in a hosbpital... come on if u come in a birthing wing or what ever. U got to expect to see a mommy feeding there baby. If u dont want to see it... Then dont freaking look.

Laura - posted on 10/14/2010

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i am an ass.. and i would have held out my tit and waved it at the person telling me that...

Keara - posted on 10/14/2010

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My thinking is that with the baby there they aren't seeing anything more than if you were covered... so if they don't like it don't look... the only thing they might see is the belly that normally isn't very pretty after u have a baby but i've seen some pretty ugly bellies in bikinis at the beach... especially some little string bikini's that barely cover anything at all so whats the difference... if u don't like the bikini u just don't look so if u don't like the breastfeeding then don't look... i'd speak up, but i'm fairly outspoken anyways... i don't have a filter between my brain and my mouth...

Melissa - posted on 10/14/2010

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Brittany: It seems you're the only one with this opinion here so maybe you can help us all understand. Can I ask WHY it is that you feel uneasy? what exactly about it makes you uncomfortable? Everyone feels differently about this Im just very curious :)

Dara - posted on 10/14/2010

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I would ask them if they eat behind closed doors or a blanket over their heads, and then go about my own business. They don't have to look at you, or be there...After all, it IS a maternity ward....What do they expect, flowers, clouds, and rainbows? Babies get hungry just like everyone else...

Melissa - posted on 10/13/2010

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Do what YOU'RE comfortable with! If you want to nurse without covers and curtains and smoke and mirrors then go for it! Its a hospital for goodness sake, breastfeeding is probably the most natural thing going on in there! When I had my little girl a year ago I was verrry shy and unconfident about breastfeeding (young first time mom, lack of support, lack of true understanding etc) but now? phht I'll breastfeed anywhere, no cover.

Being told people may be 'offended' by breastfeeding is absolutely rediculous (them feeling that way, I know a lot of people are) and the part about 'especially if their partners are there? really? I wonder why that is. My husband is my biggest supporter and has been to several baby classes with me and about 10 other women who ALL breastfed uncovered and I did not have a problem with it in any way. What are they thinking? 'oh maybe women wont like the idea of their husband being able to see another womans breast? If thats the case theres a problem between the husband and wife and NOT you feeding your child!



We live in a hyper sexualized society and the womans breast is very sexualized. This time if they ask you to close your curtains I would ask them why? and if they give you the same answer of people being offended I would say something like

'if anyone is offended I think it would be great if you gave them some reading material on breastfeeding so they can educate themselves, Im sure being a hospital that promotes breastfeeding you have a lot of it'

or

'my rights come before others opinions'

or just simply

'Im more comfortable with the curtain open thank you'

A woman can breastfeed anywhere (in Canada, I know some states still arent protecting nursing mothers) but a hospital is the place your breastfeeding relationship will begin, and it should be encouraged! Good Luck and Congratulations Tina!

Rachel - posted on 10/13/2010

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I'm a fairly modest person and when I nurse in public, I don't use a cover but between my shirts and the baby's head, you can't tell what we're doing (I've lost count of the number of people who come up to see the "sleeping" baby and never realize it is actually "eating" baby :p) but after just having a baby and being in the maternity wing recovering and being all hormonal and tired and stuff, I just don't care. Its a hospital. There are half-naked people (hello, hospital gown!) everywhere and seeing my boob while my infant eats is not a big deal :p I think if they told me to "cover" to keep from offending people, I'd shoot back that I was offended that they'd suggest I hide ;) Of course, I also was the person to yell at a nurse for sneaking a can of formula into my suitcase after I'd repeatedly told her I did NOT want it and would never use it.......Hormones are lovely, aren't they?

[deleted account]

I nursed day and night in the hospital while janitors, nurses, techs, and everybody that I knew on the entire planet came in and out. No one ever said a thing. I didn't try to hide, because I figured they should expect a newborn to be nursing. If you have the option, perhaps you could find a more nursing friendly hospital.

Tina - posted on 10/13/2010

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thanku for ur comments... it is highly fustrating that people should think like this. Breast Feeding is natural and thats what breasts are for xxx It certainly has not put me off breast feeding so thanku again for comments

Jennifer - posted on 10/01/2010

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Definatly say something ... look up "Baby-Friendly Hospitals". It might give you some information, ammunition, and strength to stand up for what is right.

Jodi - posted on 10/01/2010

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I had to giggle at this as I went through something similar with my first pregnancy. I was never told to close my curtains, but if a nurse or midwife or even LC walked in and noticed I was nursing, she would quickly swing the curtain around. What really amused me was that I was in a single room!!!! lol
I would say something, I told them everytime I prefered the curtain open so I could see who was coming in and it didn't bother me to have anyone see me nurse. In my case, I think they were trying to look out for my own comfort, not that of others, but still, if I had wanted the curtain closed I would have done it myself! :)
Absolutely do not be scared to stand up for yourself and your child and your pride in breastfeeding this time around. You do not have to hidden behind closed "doors" for the way you choose to feed your child! Best of luck and congrats!

[deleted account]

Sorry, but I find this kind of attitude in a MATERNITY WARD absolutely shocking! If you can't be at ease breastfeeding there, then where the hell can you?! And covering up can really mean anything - pull the curtain, shove your baby under one of those apron things, wear a breastfeeding top, turn around, hide in another room. I'm sure Tina wasn't sitting there half-naked, flaunting her post-pregnancy body. I very much like that statement 'if you don't want to see, put a blanket over your own head'. Humorous yet to the point. Hope you are having a better experience this time, Tina. Good luck

Rebecca - posted on 10/01/2010

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In Illinois BF moms are protected by law, so we don't have to cover up if we don't want to I simply tell people if they say something to stop looking at me then. You might want to try to find out what the BF laws in your area are before you decide.

[deleted account]

Well, I've never used this statement, but I know someone who replied to an objection to her BFing, "If you don't want to see it, put a blanket over your own head!"

Ashley - posted on 10/01/2010

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I live with another couple while my husband is at army BT and my friends husband never gets bothered by my BF. Both of them know that it is natural and don't get offended by it and I actually have BF my child in public, at a store, at a restaurant and I live in Idaho which is actually one of the states where it is NOT legal unless you are covered. I usually do cover myself since I am in public but I never get criticism or stares from anyone.
I would say "this is a birthing center/hospital and I feel that I should be able to feed my child without criticism from anyone."

Tina - posted on 09/22/2010

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The way i see it, is it is natural!! People should not be affended by it! How did people cope before formula was invented is what id like to know.

Heather - posted on 09/22/2010

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Aaaah... to cover or not to cover... the eternal debate. I'm afraid I have nothing to offer, and I do believe in covering myself as a sign of respect for others. Whether it SHOULD bother other people or not is irrelevant, some people are bothered. You can still take a pro-breastfeeding stance (and people still know what you are doing, even when you are covered).
Just a thought from another perspective.

Kayla - posted on 09/22/2010

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I'd just say- "Wait, here you are all praising me for Bfeeding but yet you expect me to cover myself?!? Why are you praising me if you dont wanna see?"

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