Breastfeeding in Public

Breastfeeding in public – such a hot topic lately.  Or maybe it just seems that way as my news feed contains several stories each week pertaining to breastfeeding. Some are beautiful photos or cute stories, while others are cases of intolerance and ignorance towards breastfeeding.  Let me just say, I strongly believe in and support breastfeeding.  However, I know there are many reasons why women do not breastfeed, including being unable to or having great difficulty.  If you’re feeding your baby in any capacity, you’re a good momma!

breastfeeding

photo by Stephanie Cotta Photography

I’ll be the first to admit: when I was younger (say, high school) I would have been grossed out to see a woman breastfeeding in public.  Now, ten years later and having a baby of my own, my thoughts and feelings could not be further from those immature, shameful thoughts.  I think there is nothing wrong with breastfeeding in public.  I think it should be allowed, tolerated, supported, and embraced.  And I’m talking about breastfeeding with no cover up.  Let’s think what breastfeeding in public actually means.  ITZ A WOMAN FEEDING HER BABY!

Some people feel women should use a cover or go someplace private (like a bathroom – EW!) to nurse.  I disagree.  Do bottle-fed babies have to eat with a cover over their head?  Would you like eating in the dark underneath a cover?  Would you want to eat in a bathroom?  I know I wouldn’t.  So why should breastfed babies?  They shouldn’t.

Have I breastfed in public?  You betchya!  My breastfeeding journey hasn’t always been easy; it definitely took us some time to get the hang of it.  The first time I tried to use a cover up I became frustrated.  Breastfeeding is very natural, but doesn’t always come so naturally.  For me, I needed to see exactly what I was doing and what was going where.  Now that I’ve figured out breastfeeding, I still don’t use a cover.  Don’t get me wrong here; I do use discretion when choosing to breastfeed.

For example, there are nice lounges at the mall that I will go to nurse.  But if there isn’t a clean, designated spot, then I will try and find someplace a little more private.  I nursed at the airport when traveling last month.  I simply went to a nearly empty gate, turned away from where a few people were sitting, and breastfed with nothing covering us.  Also, the more comfortable I’ve gotten with breastfeeding, the less revealing it is because I can simply pull out what I need to and put him on.  The time that my actual nipple is exposed is extremely limited.

Strangely enough, I’m almost more comfortable nursing in public compared to nursing in front of people I know.  I don’t mind breastfeeding in front of my mom, grandma, sister, and girlfriends, but the men in my family or my guy friends are a different story.  I don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding in front of them even though I would feel comfortable nursing in a more public setting with complete strangers.  Not quite sure why that is.

One more thing, I’m PROUD to be able to breastfeed!  Itz pretty amazing when you think about it.  William has grown from just a tiny (adorable) five pound baby to a thirteen pound (adorable) hunk in just three and a half months.  Do you know how?  From me!  I’ve kept this little baby alive and fed him on a daily basis from my breasts, and he’s thriving. Proof:

william 4 months

my beautiful, growing baby boy

Bodies are amazing and breastfeeding is impressive, in my opinion!

This week, August 1-7, 2014 is World Breastfeeding Week which prompted this post.  There are so many benefits to breastfeeding, yet it can be such a challenging time during this new phase of a momma’s life, I just hope we can all be a bit more tolerable and supportive regarding breastfeeding.  I know I appreciated all the support I received and continue to receive when nursing my baby, whenever, however, wherever I prefer.

So let’s talk: What are your thoughts on breastfeeding in public?

30 thoughts on “Breastfeeding in Public

  1. First of all, I love, love, love the first photo in this post!

    I breastfed my first for 2.5 years, never with a cover, but always trying to be discreet, and even though we had a rocky start, it turned into a great time.

    Now I’m nursing my second boy, who was born two weeks ago, whenever he’s hungry/wherever we are, no problems so far. Just yesterday we were at his check up and i decided to nurse him before putting him in his car seat. There was another mom in the pediatrician’s waiting room, and she asked me if I needed anything, like a bottle of water, or anything. I was so shocked and happy at the same time! To me it’s totally normal and I hope that this is becoming less of an issue eventually, because, really, why do some people even care?

    Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

  2. BEAUTIFUL photos! I am exactly like you – don’t mind breastfeeding in public but not in front of most of the men in my family. Don’t mind my dad (he’s a doctor anyway) but shudder at the thought of my brothers or father-in-law haha. I try to use discretion in public too more for ME than for others.

  3. I think it’s great women breastfeed when and where they want. I will admit I always used a cover but that was for my own personal reasons not because anyone told me too. And I am right there with ya, I breastfed anytime in front of female relatives and friends but any man other than my husband?!?! No way! 🙂

  4. Yes it is such a huge topic! I don’t mind breastfeeding in public either! I wish I wasn’t always on defense though when feeding the baby in public. I look around ready to pounce on anyone who says something.

    What I have discovered, is that the biggest critics are other women. I had a negative experience a few weeks ago. I was nursing my daughter early in the morning on a local boardwalk (lots of walkers, runners, bikers out). A woman walked by pushing a double stroller, looked at me, rolled her eyes, and then said to her husband “do you see what’s she’s doing, ugh!” I was SO upset and so angry that another mother would be the one to say something like that. None of us have a clue what we are doing and should provide ongoing support to one another, not knock us down.

    Another example: last week I was in the Outer Banks and my friend was nursing her daughter on the beach. A young girl (maybe 10-12) asked her mom what my friend was doing? Her mom said to her “don’t look at that!” And pushed her head down. That move right there will skew her view towards nursing in public. What could have been a wonderful teaching moment (I.e. she’s feeding her baby that’s how some babies eat) it passed on the view that it should be shamed.

    I am going to make sure I teach my kids that it IS normal and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it!

    Thanks for this post, it has been on my mind a lot as well!

  5. Love this! You know I do!
    I think the uncomfortable feeling with doing it in front of your family is just like any other thing we do in public. When we’re in public with people we don’t know, we know we won’t see them again and that they don’t really care who we are! It’s easy to do wild things we’d never do at home!
    Anyways, I love you! Love him!

  6. I know it’s such an experience to be able to breastfeed your child! i know that from the ‘norm’ people have shunned it making it all hyped up to be something that isn’t even that big of a deal to most of us who experienced it growing up.

  7. Since reading more blogs, it’s definitely changed my mind about the acceptance of breast feeding. I guess as we get older our views change. Not sure why it’s so taboo growing up. Good for you, Linz! William looks so happy and healthy!

  8. I’m not going to lie… before I had my son, (when I was pregnant) just the thought of breastfeeding or someone breastfeeding made me uncomfortable. I didn’t grow up around it. My mom never did, and neither my aunts, cousins, no one in my family did it. It was very odd to me. The day after my son was born something in my heart wanted to but by that time I was having a hard time with everything post partum. My milk ended up drying up and I felt like a terrible mother. I decided with Scarlet that bottlefeeding was the best for my health. I don’t regret that. With this new baby coming I’m still on the fence on what I want to do. I think breastfeeding is wonderful but for me personally it still seems uncomfortable. Breastfeeding in public? I say you go girl.

    • Thank you for being so honest, Ashley. I don’t have kids yet, but I feel this way too. My mom didn’t breastfeed, and I still don’t have the desire to do so at 26, so I’m not sure if I ever will. I admire women who do it and respect their choice to do so, so I hope that if I do decide to bottle feed someday, they’ll respect me too.

  9. What a beautiful picture! I breastfed both of my boys. It was a struggle with both of them but it feels so good knowing you are nourishing your baby. There is nothing wrong in my opinion with breastfeeding in public. I think it’s a beautiful thing. William is sooo precious!!!

  10. I’m on my third baby and I’m FINALLY brave enough to nurse in public without a cover. Mostly it was because it was eleven billion degrees outside and my baby was sweating and there was no way I was going to put a cover on her head! It took me a long time but I’m finally confident enough and secure enough. I have been posting breastfeeding photos on my instagram and have received a lot of support!

  11. I breastfed my daughter for 9 months. I did it everywhere, but I always felt more comfortable in a supportive chair and those aren’t everywhere. All the malls near me have “lounges” next to the bathrooms, so I usually found refuge there. I wish more public establishments had something like this available.

  12. This is awesome! And so well put. I too love breastfeeding my baby! She’s to the point now where I don’t need to breastfeed in public (she eats every 3-4 hours), so it’s not an issue, but I usually do nurse with a cover. But that’s for me & my reasons, not because I am ashamed. I love being able to feed my daughter this way!

    I think it’s other women who tend to shame mothers–either in the way of breastfeeding or formula feeding. I think we all need to just be kind to one another! so thank you for sharing such awesome awareness in a really great post! <3 xo

  13. Great post!

    I just recently stopped breastfeeding my daughter — she kind of quit on me at 20 months, although I was ready to be done as well. We nursed EVERYWHERE and happily so. I am not all that private a person, so that probably helped, but I was just so focused on my mission: FEED THE BABY, that I didn’t worry too much about people watching us.

    I never had any mean comments…only nice ones from men and women, so that helped as well.

  14. Yay for breastfeeding. I have exclusively breast fed all my babies and luckily never had to use a drop of formula- like you I am super proud of that! I was definitely more reserved with my first kiddos but now with #4 I am way more comfortable about nursing in public. I am like you and try to find quiet places, away from people but I do it for me, not them. I still use a cover at times, but again I’ve always been on the modest side so just prefer it that way. I feel very lucky to have such success feeding my babies.

  15. I’ve been a reader of your blog for awhile now, but the beauty of this post compelled me to post my first comment on here. 🙂

    We are trying to get pregnant at the moment, and the societal issues surrounding breastfeeding in public is on my mind on a regular basis. Thank you for reminding me that it is a beautiful and natural act that should absolutely be supported and encouraged. After all, is breastfeeding not the entire point of having breasts?

    By the way, your sister takes AMAZING pictures! In addition, I don’t recall ever seeing artistic pictures of breastfeeding before. I only wish we lived closer so that I can hire her to do my photos!

  16. I’m not against breast feeding in public but it does surprise me and I try not to stare because it never really happens around my area. I applaud it, really – and when I have my own little ones (hopefully sooner than later), I too will be breast feeding if I can. Baby William is so adorable. Love the photos you’ve been posting!

  17. William is so cute! This might be because I’m no where near having kids, but my best friend and I talk about we feel like breast feeding will feel so awkward! Doing it in public, or just having something latching on to you in general. I’m clearly clueless about it! But I tell her the same thing you said – it’s to feed your child and it has to be done to help your baby be healthy. She’s adamant she won’t breastfeed but we’ll see haha. Thanks for sharing this!

  18. You gotta do what you gotta do. It’s a very personal and natural thing. I can’t speak for anyone, and I would never try. There are so many circumstances that come into play on a topic like this… there is always an instance where it is appropriate, as well as inappropriate. It can be both.

  19. This is a subject that has most certainly been on my mind seeing as I would like to breastfeed our babies. For me personally, I don’t think I would feel comfortable breastfeeding in public or even around my own family. I’m a very modest person and I’m pretty certain it would bother me and feel awkward. I would rather go in my car, use a cover, etc.

    Love the photos!

  20. Beautiful pictures!

    I love breastfeeding my baby whenever and wherever! It’s such an easy and practical way to feed 🙂

    I’m talking about the same thing on my blog this week. Happy World Breasrfeeding Week!

  21. I have nursed in public more with each child. My first I always covered. Now my third, I am discrete, but if you don’t want to see don’t look. My older two still drink my extra pumped milk too, I get some comments there but again,, who cares, it’s so good for them. They breastfeed their baby dolls when playing house and just know it as the simple way to feed a baby. I was recently told I couldn’t breastfeed by the pool because if some dropped they’d have to shut down the pool, like ts a poison or something. So weird why its a taboo subject.

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