Moms Shouldn't Have to 'Hide' When They're Breastfeeding in Someone Else's Home

Rant 61

breastfeeding rightsIt may not always feel like it, but there are laws in the United States designed to protect breastfeeding moms from being shamed for nursing in public. Unfortunately, when you step inside a private home and want to breastfeed, all bets are off. Your dingbat mother-in-law, cranky neighbor, or puritanical PTO mom has the right to tell you to head into the bathroom if your baby wants to get his eat on.

So moms, what are you going to do about it?

Out at a shopping mall or on a park bench, we can talk a big game about the law. Inside a private home, we just don't have the ammunition. The owner of a house gets to choose what happens inside it, and fighting it can cost you a friend or at least get you left off the guest list of future parties.

But that doesn't mean it isn't worth fighting her or him on the issue.

I didn't last very long as a breastfeeding mom -- for a million reasons. But I remember having to go hide in my daughter's nursery or my bedroom because my father-in-law was visiting, and I wasn't comfortable with him seeing my breasts.

No one specifically told me to leave, and yet I remember the feeling of being isolated from everyone else. Yes, it was a nice time to cuddle with my daughter, but it also made me feel bad about myself and about what I was doing even though I was doing something GOOD for me and for her. 

More From The Stir: Letting Your Daughter Breastfeed Her Baby Doll Isn't Gross!

There might be more comfortable places to go in a private home than out at a mall, where a breastfeeding mom is stuck in a public bathroom, but that doesn't mean the feelings of isolation and shame are any less. 

Private home or not, asking a woman to hide in your house while she breastfeeds is rude. You wouldn't accept being told to take your paper plate of barbecue fixin's into the bathroom or spare bedroom to eat, would you? So why should someone do that to your baby?

Would you breastfeed in someone else's house if they were uncomfortable with it?


Image via _shward_/Flickr



To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

middl... middleroad

It's someone else's home.  They get to say what goes there.

nonmember avatar blh

I would never feel comfortable BFing in front of random people, especially if it included men. Besides, you need to respect other people's wishes. It's not your call to make what happens in other people's homes.

LostS... LostSoul88

It's not their home, why should the home owners feel uncomfortable in their own home? If baby needs to eat excuse yourself and ask if there is a room you can sit in while you feed your baby. 

LostS... LostSoul88

BTW having your boob hang out in front of people and bringing a paper plate to a BBQ is completely two different things. Its stupid you compared the two.

nonmember avatar Anna

FYI: In the third paragraph, I think you mean "private home" not "public home."

It is important to be considerate if you are a guest in another person's house. They may have valid reasons not to want you breastfeeding just anywhere in their home--like teenage boys in the house or a history of childhood sexual abuse, just for a couple of examples. Everyone, even those you know well, has skeletons in their closet. They may or may not be ready or able to explain their situation to you.

Also, think about how you would feel if a guest felt entitled to do whatever they pleased, wherever they pleased in your home. They might not feel like something they do or say is a big deal, but their actions might force you to explain things to your kids that you aren't ready to or might just make you feel uncomfortable/trigger difficult memories.

My point is that you should extend the courtesy you expect for yourself onto others. The whole "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" deal.

MamaT... MamaTo2b2g

Sorry, but if pro-choices can constantly ram " my body, my choice" down my throat then I say my house, my choice.

mande... manderspanders

I guess I think it would be awkward to whip out a jar of baby food and feed my baby in someone.else's living room. Although I understand not everything can be anticipated or planned, as a breast feeding mother, I'd at least make an effort to plan around feedings, and to be respectful of the home that I am in.

With rights come responsibilies; and being in MY home vs. Public vs. Another home...the "unwritten" rules are all different.

keelh... keelhaulrose

I wouldn't stop someone from BFing in my home. But that's just me. When I am a guest in someone else's home, I would never presume it's okay for me to breastfeed wherever I want to. They hay have their reasons why they don't want me to breastfeed, and as it is their private home I would never assume I am allowed to do whatever I want.I wouldn't walk into a friends house and strip, saying I'm going through a nudist phase and I should be allowed to sit around naked. Yes, it's not the same, but to some people it is. They feel very uncomfortable with a naked boob around, and as a guest your job is to respect them and their home.

keelh... keelhaulrose

And if you retreated upstairs in your own home because you felt uncomfortable BFing in front of your father in law, that's on you and not him. He shouldn't come into your home and ask to you take it upstairs, but if you don't feel comfortable doing it with him in the room and feel the need to remove yourself that's on you, not him. If he asked you'd have every right to say "patio's over there if you're not comfortable being in the room with me".

jalaz77 jalaz77

I breastfeed and have/had many friends that do as well. We have nursed in front of each other but keep in mind it was just babies and my friend and me of course. NOW, we have had parties and the moms were not comfortable breastfeeding in front of other people so I offered them the nursery with privacy and a glider. I don't know about everyone else but I LOVE that quiet bonding time with my baby. My friends have done the same for me. My 7 year old daughter brings her friends over and I just ask the girls to stay out of the living room when I nurse because its not my job to educate other people's children but if they ask, they have walked in before, I tell them this is how my babies eat. My 7 year old already understands women's breasts are for feeding babies and our 5 year old son knows its the milk for babies and my 3year old says "BOOBS"!

I also hang out mostly with breastfeeding women, I don't seek those women out, it's worked out that way! I have friends that formula feed too...

1-10 of 61 comments 12345 Last