Breastfeeding in Public: Most People Don't Approve

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baby in sling
Photo by BabyDio
I breastfeed both twins at the same time. A feat only accomplished at home and with strategically placed pillows. I have breastfed in public, one at a time. But so far it's only been in parks and once outside a restaurant. I felt too on display inside. I usually just time my eating out around my babies' feeding schedule. Or I don't eat out at all.

But I support breastfeeding in public. I mean, it seems silly that it's even an issue. If I had one baby, I'm sure I would do it a lot more often.

I'm also friends with a very pro-boob milk group of women, so that's why I was shocked to learn that 57 percent of Americans don't approve of public breastfeeding

ABC News set up a public breastfeeding scenario in their What Would You Do? series. Location: New York City. The manager and breastfeeding moms were actors. The baby was a doll. But the customers were all real.

Each scenario featured a different mom (young, older, white, black). All the managers wanted the moms to stop breastfeeding in the cafe. They were loud, even using the words "hooters," "porno," and "jugs" -- for effect, of course. Though by the way some people reacted, and real stories of nursing moms being forced to breastfeed in a bathroom, it could have been real.

One woman told the nursing mom, "I have two small kids and I wouldn't do that out in public."

Okay lady. So don't. But why make another mom feel she's doing something wrong?

Some people came to the mom's defense. One woman said, "Actually, what you're telling her is against the law."

Public breastfeeding is a debate that's been going on long before I was even born, and isn't going away. As nursing moms begin to feed their baby (or babies) in public and are met with scowls, more lactivists are born.

I'm just shocked that the majority of Americans -- 57 percent! -- do not approve of the very natural act of a mother feeding her child. And come on! It's just boobs. Are we all really that uptight? I guess a lot of us are.

What do you think of public breastfeeding? Did you see the What Would You Do? show?

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ashle... ashleybgarcia

I breastfeed my son in public. I cover, but I dare someone to tell me I am inappropriate for feeding my child. Get over yourselves America!

RanaA... RanaAurora

Anyone who has a problem with it needs to address their own personal problem.

Jarla... Jarlaxe85

I used to breast feed in public and no one ever knew. I covered up. I plan on to do it again. And I dare anyone to come up to me and tell me I'm wrong for it. It isn't illegal in any state.

mom2j... mom2jcakas

I nursed all of my babies, and I breastfed in public. Most of the time people didn't seem to have any idea of what I was doing. Luckily I never met anyone who was rude about it, but all I can say is, If you have a problem with it don't look. My baby isn't going to go hungey for anyone! LOL

TippyD TippyD

100% agree with NIP. I agree with the first poster, I DARE someone to tell me to stop NIP:D my dd's college will be paid for:P lol..  in all seriousness, as long as a mom is being discreet with or without*MO is that without can be mroe discreet* a cover more power to her! WTG NIP mamas!

Iyemo... IyemonCha

I am an American living in Japan.  I wish America would be more like Japan in this case because for 1)  here,  people think you are crazy if you do not breastfeed 2) breastfeeding in public is accepted EVERYWHERE 3) women here do use wraps and cover up.  It is not a flamboyant show of the breast, it is preformed with decency 4) departments stores and train stations go out of their way to make a special environment for mothers and babes.  These rooms are AWESOME!  You walk into the main family room where there are soft daiper changeing beds, vending machines with daipers and wipes, measuring scales, and best of all. . . .a special curtained off room with comfortable chairs for a nursing mother to retreat to if she wants to take a break from shopping or just relax.  What is nice is each of these room is different.  some are painted in soothing colors, some have relaxing music to sooth the nursing baby. . they all vary.  But I love how breastfeeding is promoted here in this culture and encouraged.  I think this is one aspect that Americans should should include into our culture as well.  Breastfeeding is natural, not evil.  It is a way of life.  Not something that should be hidden just because of old fashioned morals.

ethan... ethans_momma06

I support it 100% even though I never felt comfortable enough to reall do it. I was ashamed about what people would say and how they would feel about it.


I'm really not that suprised though... apparently Virginia (or some other state) recently re-did their state seal to cover up the expose breast on Lady Liberty (or something like that). I think that really reflects the change on how this CURRENT society feels about breasts, functional or not. And that's a real shame IMO. Never before in history has a woman felt ostracized for feeding her child, but that time has come and we need to REALLY think of the repercussions that has...

hopin... hopinforanother

My husband hates when I nurse in public so I am twice as uncomfortable. Today, I decided to pump and bring a bottle. My son doesn't like to use the bottle unless he is REALLY hungry and VERY tired....so I I feel glaring eyes because I'm the one with a fussy baby in public and I'm trying to force a bottle on him. It's a trade-off. Either I feel uncomfortable with a crying baby or I get criticism from my husband for NIP. My son is ONLY 9 months but I've noticed people (including my husband) are less and less accepting of nursing because he "looks" big. It's sad. Now I understand why so many extended breastfeeders are "closet nursers".

Wheep... Wheepingchree

I also agree with the first poster - I am so not a confrontational person, but if someone dared say that I was being inappropriate for nursing my baby, I would tell them off in a second.  Screw these people, what am I supposed to do - sit in my damn apartment all the time?!  I wear a tank top under my shirt & use my shirt to cover myself, so someone would really have to be looking at me to notice any of my breast & at that point, I would call the police for them being perverted.

Iamgr... Iamgr8teful

I am totally in support of public breastfeeding.  It's ridiculous that it's even an issue, yet we are constantly seeing women dressed so immodestly that the only thing we don't see is nipples.  The message is that it's okay to show your breasts to look sexy, but it's not okay to use them for their intended purpose (unless you hide out so nobody is offended).

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