J.K. asks from Kalamazoo, MI on February 09, 2012
Breastfeeding in Public - Kalamazoo,MI
Im not sure if Im just noticing more because Im nursing, but it seems this subject has been in the news a lot lately. Breastfeeding in public has never been my favorite thing to do but unless I dont want to leave the house for the next 6 months its just something I have to do. I have never had anyone say anything to me, but sometimes I can tell it makes people uncomfortable. I guess my questions is why?? Breastfeeding is totally natural and people dont seem to be upset by bottlefeeding or people drinking cows milk from glasses so why would nursing bother them? I even heard there was a city where they were trying to make it illegal to nurse older toddlers in public, which I couldnt believe since the WHO recommends nursing until the age of 2 for the health of the child. TIA, Im interested to hear ideas/opinions on this.
So What Happened?™
Thanks everyone for the responses! I am definatley in favor of being modest when nursing in public... which is getting harder for me since I now also have a 2 1/2 yr old dd who thinks its time to play peekaboo everytime I try to cover up the baby to nurse him, lol. I asked my dh for the man perspective on this, he says people are uncomfortable because they are immature and need to grow up... which is feel is probably pretty close to the truth.
C.J. answers from Milwaukee on February 09, 2012
I was never a fan of doing it out in public but I did. My son HATED to be covered up so hence the problem for me.
I bf him for two years and was TOTALLY worth it. He's almost FIVE and never gets sick (KNOCK ON WOOD!) so it was time well spent. :)
I think we're OVER bonded now because of the extended breastfeeding. If that's even possible.
3 moms found this helpful
T.J. answers from Fort Walton Beach on February 09, 2012
I preferred to be modest for two reasons: for one, that is who I am - so I would cover up and two, I don't want people seeing my fat rolls when I had to pull up 1/2 my shirt. I think we are leaning more and more towards BF and that more and more will relax over it. I respect a mother more when she does BF in public, but does it discretely.
This is not directed to you, but in general is - what is the big deal about being a little modest?
But don't get me started on drinking milk from another mammal. :)
1 mom found this helpful
T.M. answers from Tampa on February 09, 2012
I was never comfortable breastfeeding in public. I don't have a problem with anyone doing it discretely. However, I would prefer not to see someone's entire breast displayed. I realize that this is probably not the proper answer, but it does make me a bit uncomfortable. I DO believe that women should breastfeed as long as they can though....
☆.A. answers from Pittsburgh on February 09, 2012
Personally, I couldn't care less.
But it could be said that "picking your nose" is "natural" as well, but I think we would all agree that it's better if done in a discreet, tasteful manner, with an eye to modesty and decorum, correct?
And NO I'm not comparing feeding a baby to getting rid of a booger--but I think the principle applies to anything of a personal care nature, whether it's yanking out a wedgie, picking your nose, blowing your nose, clipping your toenails, etc. You just don't do those things in the middle of a crowded public area with NO sense of privacy.
I think humans have an innate sense of knowing when something they are doing might make others uncomfortable, and try to minimize putting that out there.
Why would breastfeeding be any different?
I don't think I'd use BFing as an example to "make a point" or "put it in people's faces" by using my child.
9 moms found this helpful
A.V. answers from Washington DC on February 09, 2012
I've never had an incident, ever, with a mother being way over exposed. Toddler, infant, etc. What I see is a lot of respect for others and mothers who are nursing babies in weird corners to go out of their way to keep out of "public". I found with DD that if I just smiled and went on with my business (I chose to use a cover. My friend did not. We both nursed our children past 1 yr.) people just went on with theirs. Most people would rather the nursing child vs the screaming one. There are collage images out there showing how much breast is shown in ads and on the fronts of magazines vs how much the average nursing mother shows. The ads show more.
I think we need to keep nursing appropriately - in general, militant action or stupidity (like the woman blocking the floor in a store) just begets more anger when going about your business and not bothering anybody will help people see that it's not worth yelling about.
Edit to add, that a nursing toddler needs to be taught manners. By the time DD was 2, she was nursing breakfast and bedtime only. You probably would never have known she still nursed. By the time she was old enough to pull on my shirt, I was teaching her that was rude. If people allow their children to disrobe them, then that's a different issue than simply nursing a toddler. Further, nursing my toddler wasn't about me. I weaned when I weaned because it was right for us, and I nursed that long because it was right for her. I'm not saying there aren't exceptions, but I also get irritated about being lumped in with some subset of people who have issues when nursing a 2 yr old isn't an evil thing. Implying that everyone who nurses longer than a year or encourages nursing is militant is just as much part of the issue. I respect that formula is a choice. The main reason I encourage people to nurse is that you can stop, but you can't start 5 months later. That opportunity is gone. If you want to try, you have to try right at the start.
7 moms found this helpful
J.W. answers from Lexington on February 09, 2012
Maybe I am oblivious (I know I tend to focus and not really notice other people), but I never had any feeling of discomfort nursing my baby in public. Never noticed anyone else being discomfited but then, I also wasn't looking for it. My husband, I and friends would go to restaurants, and I'd nurse with a light cover thrown over baby and one shoulder. If anyone else even noticed, I don't know... I was awash with love, pride, and hormones.
6 moms found this helpful
E.J. answers from Lincoln on February 09, 2012
I agree that it should not be a big deal. We see more breasts in the media that one really sees when a mother is nursing. Nursing is the true reason we even have breasts; they weren't designed as a bonus turn on point.
Have you seen the boobie beanie? It's SO funny!!!!!
6 moms found this helpful
S.T. answers from Washington DC on February 09, 2012
i think it's just plain stupid to objectify breasts so absolutely and hysterically that everyone slobbers and pants to see one in a bikini top but is disgusted and outraged to see one feeding a baby.
they're just breasts.
it also used to be cause for outrage to see a woman's ankle.
5 moms found this helpful
L.U. answers from Seattle on February 09, 2012
Why does it make people uncomfortable? IMO it's because the US has made the breast out to be a sexual thing instead of what they are made for...feeding our babies. So there are moms and dads out there who remember the feel of a lovers hand or mouth on their breasts and can't get over the fact that a babies mouth can go there too and it has nothing to do with sex.
Does it make me uncomfortable? Nope. I have nursed three children in private and public and I dare anyone to say something to me about it. And one woman did!! She couldn't get her mouth to stop about how disgusting it was, how gross it was that she had to SEE SUCH A THING, that my breasts didn't need to be seen by everyone (which they weren't at ALL) that they were just "hanging out!". It made me so mad I am sure my son was drinking curdled milk. So, as we were leaving I pulled my shirt down, right next to her, and swung my breasts around and said "THIS is my breasts hanging out! Breast feeding while covered is normal. Get over it" And walked away. My husband was mortified but I felt better!
5 moms found this helpful
K.F. answers from Salinas on February 09, 2012
Why is it OK for women to wear low cut tops, bikinis etc. and
display their boobs but not OK to let anything show while feeding a baby? If it makes you uncomfortable can't you just remind yourself that you're a product of an uptight, over sexualized, patriachial society and it's backwards to look at breastfeeding as gross? Whenever people are offended or "grossed out" they just need to itellectualize it a bit and remind themselves that breastmilk is the most helathy food for a baby and that food comes out of boobs.
What I find really gross is the constant barrage of images of boobs and other female body parts displayed in a sexual way everytime my teenage daughter turns around. I find it gross my 9 year old could not comfortably watch the last music awards show because of the over the top sexual content of at least 1/2 the acts. She was waiting for Taylor Swift and kept looking at me saying "Oh no, more sex, don't they know kids are watching?"
Why is it that Sport's Illustrated Swimsuit issue and Victoria's Secret Fashion Show are wildly popular but a woman nursing her baby in public and not being discreet enough is gross?
Americans need to get their priorities straight and stop judging eachother for something that's positive, healthy and should be encouraged.
5 moms found this helpful
A.F. answers from Fargo on February 09, 2012
Breastfeeding in public doesn't bother me, UNLESS the mom is doing it because she has some axe to grind with society.
Once my husband was waiting for me to get done with an appointment and, just as I was exiting the office, a woman came and sat next to him, flush against his side (hello, can you say personal space violation???? haha!), turned toward him and started nursing with her whole breast in view, all the while staring at him. Boy was she pissed when he didn't react! I watched all this happen and my husband and I had the hardest time not laughing in her face! She picked the wrong guy to try to offend!
I was disgusted, though, because she wasn't *just* feeding her baby. She was setting out to try to make a man uncomfortable just so she could prove that she could excercise her rights. The women who are itching for a fight are the annoying public breastfeeders, the rest are just mamas feeding their sweet babies. :)
I guess I am a fan of modest breastfeeding, plus those Hooter Hider nursing cloths are just so cute!
I had opposite pressure from militant nursing mom friends.
People attempted to shame me for being a shy public breastfeeder but they didn't get that I was trying to hide my tummy more than my breast!
Also, I was publicly berated for supplementing formula on numerous occasions, including a woman screaming, "Poison, poison......" at me. So, I guess no matter what you do, someone will be upset or uncomfortable so you should just do what you need to do! :)
Be confident, mama! Most people aren't bothered by breastfeeding in public. Cater to your comfort level, not the public at large.
5 moms found this helpful