Why do people get mad when I'm breastfeeding in public??????

Rebeca - posted on 02/08/2010 ( 41 moms have responded )

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Soo... I go to the mall, store, park, restaurant, etc... everywhere I go I get the same reaction from people. The stares, grunts, nasty comments, blah blah blah, whenever I breastfeed in public. It makes me feel so uncomfortable like I'm doing something wrong. Shouldn't I feel free to breastfeed my baby... afterall he is a human being and has to eat too just like everyone else!!!!!!!!! It just gets me soo frustrated that people treat me that way when I'm just doing my job and feeding my baby. What kind of mother would I be if I let my baby starve to death???!!! He has the right to eat just as much as everyone else!!!!!!!!!!!! These people make me feel so bad that I don't even want to go out anymore in public or if I do go out I rush to do everything while he is sleeping and as soon as he wakes up run out the door and straight home so I can feed him calmly!!!!!



Anyone else going through this problem?????

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Jenny - posted on 02/11/2010

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I have mixed feelings about this, I agree with Julie that it shouldn't be used as an excuse to call attention to yourself or make a statement. I read on a previous post that someone was in a mall where a mom was stitting completely topless nursing! I think that's taking it a bit far! However I think people who are uncomfortable with even the IDEA of nursing, as if it's something dirty to be done in a BATHROOM are ridiculous and ignorant!! No, people aren't used to seeing a breast in public, if someone happens to glance at just the right moment, it can be a little shocking, but the more we educate people about how healthy and natural it is, the more understanding they will be. And as a mom of three kids who did NOT like nursing under a blanket, I chose not to spend the last five years of my life at home! I have breastfed my kids every possible public place you can imagine. In that whole time I think I may have accidently flashed a few people, and I'm sorry to have made them uncomfortable, but the pros out weigh the cons by far!! And I hope someday my sons will have been raised to understand what God made breasts for!

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arrrrg , it makes me sick . Specially from old ladies. They look at me like I am doing the worse thing on earth!!! Is not like my boobs are exposed !!! And even if they were , I am a mammal and feeding my baby!!! I just dont get it ! We see crazy things on 10 secs of tv commercials , but feeding a baby is wrong ?! Crazy people. I just tell them a good (pardon my French) F... off !!! IF they can say what they want,so can I !!!

Jennifer - posted on 02/08/2010

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Firstly, kudos to you for breastfeeding openly despite the negative reactions. Just like everything else, the more people see unabashed breastfeeding out in the open, the more normal it will seem and eventually it won't be such a big deal anymore. I'm not suggesting anyone flash some boob unnecessarily, but breastfeeding whenever and wherever necessary, as per baby's needs, taking care to only expose what's necessary will go a long way to reinforcing breastfeeding as the normal act that it is.

Think about all those who see you and don't make any negative comments, think about all the little girls (and boys who will one day grow up to be dads) who see you beastfeeding and think to themselves "hmm, so that's how babies eat" or "that's what breasts are for"

Frankly, if anyone has a problem with it, then it is exactly that: THEIR problem, and not yours.

Katie - posted on 02/08/2010

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I am 6 weeks into nursing my second daughter, and I had forgotten until she came along how much of this I dealt with when my older daughter was still nursing (how soon you forget - it has only been 8 months since I was nursing HER). I have always been discreet about nursing in public, but even when I have had a baby completely under a cover, people still stare and act as if I am doing something disgusting or indecent.
When Janie (my 2yo) was a newborn, I was nursing her at a restaurant during lunch, and a woman at the next table LOUDLY started making very nasty comments. I was angry, but said nothing, mostly because we were with a friend of my husband's and I didn't want to make him uncomfortable by making a scene. I still wish I had been more outspoken. If that happened now, I would never be able to keep my mouth shut! Back when I nursed Janie, even my in-laws were weird about it, and would "offer" to let me use a spare bedroom to feed her. I have always stood my ground on it though - I am not going to tuck myself away to feed my child! I don't expect anyone else to eat while hidden away in a bedroom or, worse, a bathroom, so why should my child have to?

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Mollie - posted on 02/16/2010

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My inlaws (esp. MIL) have kinda been funny about me bfing in the living room with the family. Even after 14.5m of this, 2 days ago my MIL STILL offered me a blanket to cover with! Whatever....I've nursed at the Memorial Day parade last May, in a chair on the sidewalk! :) I nursed at my family's reunion in August (no blanket, just an over-sized t-shirt and my sister STILL asked "Don't women usually cover up to nurse?" I said "Not really". :D ) I'm pretty modest, but my son doesn't like to be covered up either. I tried to nurse him during a church service, but he fussed and had wanted to be walked instead. I think I accidently flashed a couple people that time! I have some nursing tank tops (Glamourmom) and nursing tops that really help with the modesty thing. However, I also know my son is easily distracted. I'll try to have a little privacy (a booth in a restaurant) if I'm in a place where he'd be unlatching every 10 sec. Also, my husband's uncles are the type of people who WOULD oogle and stare and make comments even if I was covered with a parka. I'm not comfortable nursing in front of them, so I don't. Thank goodness we only see them 2-3 times a year! If it makes you feel better, wear a top that's a bit big and lift from the bottom-baby will hide what little bit you expose. Good luck!

Rebeca - posted on 02/16/2010

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Thanks everyone!!!!!!!!!! I just have to overcome this!!!!!!!! I haven't gone out in public ever since my last bad incident but I know I'm gonna have to go out eventually and face this again. But now I will be more confident and stronger!!! I know I have the support from my husband and I got the law on my side!!! Thank you ladies!!!!!!

Nicole - posted on 02/13/2010

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i nursed my daughter until she was 4, and i would just smile and think to myself "i am so sorry that you did not get this kind of love, maybe next life for you" and just let it all go. don't let them get to you, you have a beautiful and special bond with your child that our repressed nation just doesn't get yet....keep up the GREAT WORK MAMA!!!

Victoria - posted on 02/12/2010

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I feel the same way, I always run home to feed my baby. Its making me isolated and I don't like to feel that way.
I wont stop breastfeeding my baby because some selfish stranger decided to bully me about it but i don't know what to do to take control

Erika - posted on 02/12/2010

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I think it is all in the attitude, not that I think mine is special I've just never paid any mind to the others around me much. I've even gotten a few "you go girl"'s from other women while nursing and shopping at the same time (can't do that anymore, she weights 20lbs!) I have found that people notice less if I just wear a sweater or sweatshirt and expose from the bottom up versus a button down shirt where you have to expose completely. Which helped too because my daughter completely refuses to be covered up (shawl, blanket, etc) can't say that I blame her, who wants to eat in the dark?! Much luck to you !!!

Anneke - posted on 02/12/2010

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This angers me, poeples reactions ,. I think when you see someone bottle feeding from a tin you should recoil in horror and spit at them or something. Its a choice, the better one of the two yet so many look down on it. How else did they feed babies before the money scroungers got in and made tin milk look better than breast milk. Infast when I was growing up i didnt even know about breastfeeding because my sister was bottle fed and thats how I thought it was done. Goes to show yuo how little breastfeeding was promoted over the last 20 years and replaced by what was suppose to be the right thing. Hey my baby is healthy and will continue to be and thats all that matters, I have no time for ignorant people and feel sorry for their kids as I dobt they will have been rfed right. And before anyone says not everyone can breastfeed, some choose it like their dinner would they like tea or coffee, its not just like that. And thgis is to the ones that sneer and look down on mums who want the best for their kids and have at least tried to do so.

Ashleigh - posted on 02/12/2010

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I didn't feel comfortable breastfeeding uncovered, but that's just me. Even breastfeeding while covered people get so offended, which is so stupid!!!!

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Have you ever thought about covering yourself up? This way NO ONE can say or make comments. I have 3 kids and one aon the way in about 8 weeks and I always covered myself up with a blanket just for the simple fact that I didn't want myself exposed.

Keshia - posted on 02/11/2010

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When I use to breastfeed my son some people could never tell because I made it look like I was putting him to sleep but even if I they could tell I didn't care. Some people don't understand because they never done it or try to do it. I was giving by baby what he needed and I did it with pride and confidence because this is what I wanted to do for my child. Some places have private areas but sometimes I didn't want to go there or I could make it there but my baby got what he needed. So when they stare and make comment ignore the ignorance because you are giving your child something that some mother just can't do or are not able to do and I commend you for breastfeeding that's the best milk to give your child anyway!

Julie - posted on 02/11/2010

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I mostly breastfed in private, mostly because I'm large breasted and it's not easy with a cover and I don't want to be stared at. It is an intimate act between me and my baby and I don't feel comfortable doing it in public. Also I do not feel right forcing that on someone else. If I were going out to have a nice relaxing dinner, I don't think that is what I'd want to see. I have no problem with anyone who is being discreet, breastfeed all you want in public, just don't use it as an excuse to expose yourself. Respecting someone's rights and space goes both ways.

Amy - posted on 02/11/2010

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I do agree with many posts above, people are simply embarrassed and don't know how to properly act when it comes to the human body. It's sad that people don't know how to act like "grown-ups" when it comes to breastfeeding a child. If there were a cure for ignorance and stupidity....oh I get all giddy just imagining less stress in the world if that ever happened. I wonder if you could tell them that you're not feeding your child just so they can ogle your breasts and if they're uncomfortable by it then they can turn their head and mind their own business.

Chris - posted on 02/11/2010

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because everything is sexualized here. Just do what you need, love, want to do for your baby!!!! I felt the same way when I breastfed, as if I were a social outcast, and couldnot spend time around others or be in public while feeding my precious gift from God! there were so many times I went and nursed IN THE RESTROOM! HOW imabalanced is THAT?!!! but now that I am older, and realize that it is EVERYONE ELSE'S problem, not mine. not yours!!!! - I would definitely feel comfortable doing it in public now. I would carry one of those light blankets, or a shall to be discreet in some public places, but you know what? if you gotta whip a breast out to feed your baby, they certainly don't have to look. and it's always the WOMEN who have an issue with it, right? Sweetheart, you need to look inside yourself and your connection to God... you don't need ANYONE else's approval, esp in this! with much love, Christina! BREASTFEEDING ROCKS!! I salute your decision to do what is best for your baby!

Danielle - posted on 02/11/2010

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????well excuse my language but what the f***!!!!??????
i see no problem in breastfeeding in public!!!not everyone wants to pump and it's something that isn't accepted anymore and i really don't know why
but you keep doing what your doing!!!

Tiffany - posted on 02/11/2010

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Ignorant and rude describes these people. I haven't experienced this myself, but soon will have to apparently. Maybe I should just post a sign on my nursing bib that says, "Don't be rude, it's only natural!" or something like that. I am very outspoken and I'm positive I will make a scene if these people get rude with me!

Lisa - posted on 02/10/2010

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You want me to punch them in their faces. They have no right to get mad. Just ignore them. I don't know where you live but where I am from you can pull your whole breast out if you wanted to.....I don't I am discreet but I don't use anything to cover up....someone would have to be trying to look to see my breast...so f@#$ them.

Claire - posted on 02/10/2010

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Hi I am in the UK and have been lucky enough not to have been made to feel uncomfortable though for some reason, though when I took my son in to work to show him off :o) , i did feel the need to go somewhere priviate. Don't know why, no one asked me to but I suppose I felt the need to separate my home life from my work life to some degree. I can't explain it really. I used to think I would feel self concious but my son was premature and I felt so luck to breast feed and proud of my son that when the time come I didn't feel at all self concious - though I was always relatively discreet I suppose. Certainly with my son being prem and seeing other mums not able to breast feed because of premature births I feel very blessed that I was able to do this for my son and that all Mums, if they are able too, should cherish their experience and not let others bring you down. X

Jenny - posted on 02/10/2010

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Lauri B, I can't believe someone complained at church!! Good for you for going to the pastor! We have a nursing room at our church with rockers. It's kinda like the water cooler at work, where we all meet to chat! You should use this as an opportunity to get a nice cozy place to nurse. Ask the person who complained for the first donation!!!

Jenny - posted on 02/09/2010

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I wonder where all of you live, I have to say I live in Iowa, smack in the middle of the "conservative" midwest, and I have never had a bad comment!! I usually get lots of positive ones. I'm curious if it's different in different parts of the country, and is just us backwards Americans :) who have a problem with it or do you moms in other countries face it too?

Lorie - posted on 02/09/2010

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Your breasts are made for feeding your baby.
To be frank, you have to be a bitch and tell people were to go if they have a problem with you feeding your baby. Its the best thing for him/her.
So you be proud that you are doing the best thing you can do for your little one. Good job mom and keep uo the good work. :)

Lorie - posted on 02/09/2010

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You know what, I had the same problem and I learned very fast to tell people that if they don't like it/ want to see it then don't look.
I breastfeed in the summer and winter months and I always say do you have a problem and 99 % of the time they will walk/look away b/c they are not expecting you to say something.

Marney - posted on 02/09/2010

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Sorry you have encountered so many rude people! I nursed my son until he was 19 months (at which time he self-weaned), and the only comments I ever heard from strangers were positive. I was pleasantly surprised to have some older folks come up to me and tell me that it was wonderful what I was doing for my child. I was discreet for my own comfort, but I never covered his head, I just laid a thin blanket over the top part of my breast.

Good job feeding your baby the perfect food! Keep it up! You are being a good example to people of all ages by nursing your baby whenever/ where ever he is hungry. :)

Casey - posted on 02/09/2010

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Wow - can't believe people have that reaction! I've never noticed any negative comments, etc, but maybe I'm not that observant. :) Keep feeding and taking care of your baby! Good for you!! Ignore the idiots!

Lauri - posted on 02/09/2010

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The biggest problem I had starting bf in public was my own shyness. I am a very modest woman, and I was so afraid of accidentally exposing myself! I always use a nursing cover, and I have never had someone walk up to me or say something rude in my earshot. In fact, some people have actually walked up to say that they think it's great that I am bf'ing! But.... I actually had problems at church! Someone complained to someone who then brought the complaint to our (parenting) Bible study teacher. I went through a lot of angst over that--here I was covered from head to toe and being told that it was unseemly to nurse in a mixed group. I don't get it!!! My husband and I finally went to the pastor, and we got permission to nurse whenever, wherever around the church.

Paula - posted on 02/09/2010

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It's shocking in this day and age that people can react to a woman feeding her child, but remind yourself that it's them who are showing ignorance. I, too, have found myself bfing in changing rooms and the car to avoid stares in public places, and am ashamed that my country, Ireland, has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe. The law here however, allows you to insist that a person is removed from a restaurant, for example, if they bother you while you are breastfeeding. Small blessings!

Nicole - posted on 02/08/2010

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they get mad because they are stupid. never hide- it is their issue to deal with, not yours!
Food for the thought:
The 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.

Ashley - posted on 02/08/2010

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There is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. Breastfeeding is a completely natural thing. The people who are chastising you for nursing in public just don't understand and probably choose formula over breastmilk. I've had a few people behave poorly towards me for nursing my children in public. If they started staring and making rude comments I simply told them to take a picture it will last them longer. I'm very discreet about nursing in public but I don't use blankets to cover my son up. If someone were to suggest that I go and feed him in a bathroom I would tell them to try eating in a bathroom. It's not sanitary and nobody would ever opt to go and eat their meals in there so you shouldn't either. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. You are making the best and healthiest choice for your child and there is no shame in that. Don't be discouraged or feel like you have to rush around in public. Cutting yourself off from the world for fear of other people is wrong. The people that don't understand are the ones that are being ignorant and haven't ever actually looked into all the benefits a mothers milk has for babies. Your baby is going to have a stronger immune system, less likely to be obese or have asthma and allergies, etc. If you find one place in particular being rude to you for nursing you could always get all your nursing friends together. Then go back and have everybody nurse at the same time. I'm proud of what I did for my daughter and what I'm doing for my son. I'm giving them the best start in life and I refuse to let other people discourage me for doing that. Take pride in what your achieving because way to many people aren't brave enough to do it. Good luck and don't let them get to you.

Mandy - posted on 02/08/2010

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Or just go sit in your car a feed real quick and then go about your business... lol.

Mandy - posted on 02/08/2010

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I'm bf my third little one and i think I've had only a few negative remarks. Could be simply because after the first or second one I stopped caring what anyone around me had to say or the looks i got or the stupid little smirks simple minded people want to give. I do however think that some women are a little to careless (couldn't think of the right word) when breastfeeding. Those people who are doing negative things are due to a society that isn't accepting breastfeeding as a natural form of feeding our young. They, however, have the same rights I do and we (as breastfeeding moms) need to respect that. I think trying (not always easy) to keep as covered as possible should be a high priority when in public. Not just to keep from getting negativity from others but also because humans are very sexual beings and in public there are boys and girls of all ages who don't need to experience that yet.... don't think I said it very well but that's my opinion and if ya have a question holla back at me... i gotta go bf my youngest, he's calling;)

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Wow, this really surprises me! I'm especially surprised to see that you live in Canada! I live in Vancouver and for the 14 months that I have been nursing my son, I have only had one person say something. And it wasn't even that rude. She just tried to get me to go nurse in the "family room". Nooo thank you! I'm so sorry to hear that you are facing such negativity. I hope that you can learn to ignore it though, or even speak up and defend yours and your baby's right! Don't let the tiny minds of those silly people influence you. You are doing the best thing for your baby and you know it:) That's all that really matters.

Rachel - posted on 02/08/2010

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I remember having these things happen and am so blessed that during those times, I had VERY outspoken family with me. Either my husband or my sister, and they could be VERY vocal right back. Lol..still get a chuckle out of a few instances. But what I learned was that these people are embarrased and don't know how to react so they act repulsed and rude. Their ignorance causes them to overreact to a very natural situation. Now, with my second, i can only hope someone isn't stupid enough to say something to me, cause I'll vent this time around! What gets me too is when people make comments about your child being loud crying or vocalising, etc. If it disturbs them, it should go away. Not very humanitarian! People will comment about your child through every stage of their lives! As a parent I say...breasfeed! Let your child throw a tantrum and don't give in from embarrasment...other parents will understand and sympathise, and let your child vocalise..they are learning to communicate! If THOSE people wanna comment, let 'em. When your child grows into an amazing, intelligent and articulate individual, you can pat yourself on the back and give those people the..HMPH look! :)

Gen - posted on 02/08/2010

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blankets are hard to keep on so what i did was buy a whole buch of nice shawls that i can wear as part of my outfits (if i wanted to). they stay on while you are nursing and are stylish and affordable!!

Gen - posted on 02/08/2010

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i used to get the stares and even the direct comments from strangers and i used to get upset at first too. after a while i just learned to ignore the rude comments. i knew a mom who actually got kicked out of her older childs soccer game and the ymca cause she was nursing. She is now suing the woman who asked her to leave because it is 100% legal to nurse your children in public and NO ONE has the right to ask you to leave if you are in a public place. just remember you are doing your best for your baby (who will be a genius because of your breastmilk). oh also, did you know that humans are the only species on the planet that offer another animals milk to their babies as a substitute for their own!!

Olivia - posted on 02/08/2010

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I feel he same way sometimes. I tried to cover with a blanket, but my son would get upset and pull at it. I am very busty so its hard to cover lol I finally became comfortable doing it infrot of my fiances family. Just ignore and remember that they are ignorant and rude. Its perfectly natural and your not doing it to show off your breasts. Some people are just stupid lol

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