Well-endowed Nursing in Public... What's the Size Limit?

Updated on July 26, 2013
M.C. asks from Louisville, KY
38 answers

I am a 'fan' on Facebook of a motherhood page (it's called the skeptical mother... If anyone happens to be a fan as well, you will know what I'm talking about.) One of the goals of this page is to normalize breast feeding, so they often post photos of mothers nursing their babies.

Today, they posted a pic of a very well-endowed mother sitting against a tree nursing. She had her shirt pulled down on one side, so quite a bit of her flesh was showing. Her baby looks nearly a year old or so, and is smiling around the nipple at the camera (but you can't actually see the nipple...) The other breast is completely covered. Personally, I thought it was a beautiful picture.

Of course, I happened to glance down and see some of the comments, I was a little shocked, considering that the people making the negative comments were fans of the page... There were things like, "she's so exposed, she should cover up!" "That's disgusting." "How do I explain that to my kids?" Etc. etc. etc.

Now, I can understand people who DON'T support nursing in public being like that... It's their opinion, whatever. But these were people who typically do support public BFing. The thing they seemed to be worked up over so much was how much of the breast was showing... Even though the baby's head covered about what a bikini would.

So I am curious... This is for the mothers who DO support public breast feeding... Is there a size when you feel mothers should have to cover up? I know my DD threw a FIT when I tried to cover up (although, I barely have anything TO cover in the first place... Sigh.) so the thought that someone else should have to never really crosses my mind.

What can I do next?

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answers from Kansas City on

Geez, people need to get over it. If their kids ask, they can tell them they're feeding their baby, just like they normally would.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Nope, no size limit. I don't care if or where people breastfeed, no matter how big their boobs are. Go for it. If I don't like it, I don't have to look. That goes for pretty much everything.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I never thought about a size limitation regarding public breastfeeding. My overall attitude about this issue specifically and life in general - if you don't like the view, stop looking.

10 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

ADD: I am currently (6 years after baby) a DDD. Don't know what I was exactly before (probaby a C or D). So I'm by no means small chested and I still managed to be discrete.

And when I see someone in a way too teeny bikini where I'm afraid that if a brisk breeze or a hard sneeze will cause boobs to fly at me in 3D, I feel the same way. I'm just more modest that way. Enjoy your body, be proud, but I'm a big fan of balance.

ORIGINAL: Well, I do support public breastfeeding since I nursed my son till he was 2.5. I nursed at a baseball game, walking down the street in NYC (son was 4 mos old - Ergo baby carrier), on benches, in restaurants, at the park, etc.

They key is MODESTY. I was an under-cover, UNDER the shirt nurser. I wore a nursing camisol and whatever shirt, so that I could lift my shirt pretty much completely up to the breast, latch my child and my shirt would cover my breast to his face; the camisol covered the rest of my tummy.

I was living in Los Angeles, and Dallas - it gets up to 100degrees or higher here, so I don't buy any "oh it's so hot I can't wear..." as a reason to not nurse modestly.

It just takes practice and strategy. Now, once a kiddo 1.5-2 years old, I tended to nurse before going out because our culture doesn't really get nursing toddlers, but I would still nurse where I could have some privacy, even if it was in public.

There is NO reason, in my opinion, to flash your breasts all over - pulling a shirt UNDER a breast to breastfeed is just asking to cause a public display. Breasts ARE sexual objects IN ADDITION to being a food source for children (heck, they're a sexual object BEFORE they're a food source - that's how they got to be a food source LOL.)

It's all about balance. I will respect others' need for modesty, but they better respect my child's need for food

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Sorry, but that photo is gross!! I am a thousand percent FOR breastfeeding but I am really sick of women exposing themselves THAT much!! I don't care what anyone says, a boob is a boob and the world doesn't really need to see them out and about!!

I breastfed my daughter for 18 months; lots of times out in public and I would venture to say, no one ever knew it. There are tactful ways of doing it and that photo is not demonstrating one of them!!

Great question!

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

My cup size is H/I (even before pregnancy, so I wasn't carrying around new jugs). I nursed in public, but I always kept EVERYTHING covered. I think that modesty is key for any public feeding, so I wouldn't have had myself uncovered like that. Women with less to cover don't have to put forth as much effort to keep it covered. I would likely not gawk at it or make negative comments, but I would think it more appropriate to cover herself. And I'm not religious or prudish. Showing what a bikini would show could be appropriate in a place where a bikini is being worn. In a setting where more covering would be expected, I'd also expect more BF covering.

I think that people who opt not to cover are sensationalizing, maybe exaggerating for effect, like extremists in any other cause. I just don't understand the need to get completely naked just to pop a nipple into the kid's mouth. I believe that a baby should be fed anywhere, and I did it, but I believe it should be in accordance with the societal modesty "laws" for dressing. I think that having naked "feed-ins" is for crusaders. I get the passion, though.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I am ALL FOR breastfeeding but it is just rude to let it all hang out whether you are a B, DD or a J. It is just common courtesy to keep things covered. Some people are just inconsiderate and don't care if they make someone feel uncomfortable.
Some will say, oh but breast feeding is beautiful and natural. What's the big deal. They are boobs. Well, having sex is natural and beautiful, too but I don't want to see that happening on a park bench, either.

ETA: I DID nurse in public. I have no problem whatsoever with BF in public. I have had to tell my kids that a woman was feeding her baby. No big deal. I just don't think it is appropriate to expose everything.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I was not a BF'r by choice but I do support any mom who chooses to BF. However, I feel there are many moms out there BF'ing in this manner with children old enough to be weaned, exposing themselves more than necessary, etc just for shock value and attention.

I didn't see the pic, I wouldn't want to see the pic. I don't like seeing someone BF but that is her choice. Just don't throw it in my face.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Roanoke on

I think breastfeeding is breastfeeding is breastfeeding. Doesn't matter the size. We all come in different shapes and sizes. Those women are feeding their babies, which is natural and admirable and beautiful. There's nothing disgusting or unexplainable about it.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Well, I never got that damn 'size' memo. I was an "F" when I was nursing. I wore nursing bras or nursing tanks and pulled my shirt up. I think that is likely the culprit... pulling the shirt down. I have a neighbor who will nurse in the middle of the street--I am not joking-- with her neckline pulled down,which is far more exposure.

Ultimately, people who want to be offended are going to be offended. I don't really think there is a magical size limit to breastfeeding in public. Personally, once my son was busy looking around at people, I tried to find quieter, out of the way places to nurse when we were out and about so he wouldn't be distracted and would just get the job done. I never covered his head--he wouldn't have liked it. I believe we are all capable of being responsible for ourselves-- if I don't like what someone is doing/wearing, I have the choice to look elsewhere. Everyone else has that same capability.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I don't think there's a size limit when it comes to nursing. Mothers are feeding their babies. There's nothing dirty or wrong about that which needs covering.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think it's discriminatory (not to mention illogical) to say that women of a certain size should be able to BF freely, and women of other sizes have to live with all kinds of restrictions. There are all kinds of immature comments on FB. I don't think they're a good basis for decisions on child nutrition.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Covering up is the nursing mother's choice. Period.
We all see things that we ourselves find in questionable and poor taste, but we don't get to tell people what they should cover. I personally find "tramp stamps" in very poor taste, but hey, if you've got one and choose to flash it, so be it.
I personally find very large women in very tight clothing very distasteful. But, you know what? Not my business.

Trust me, I'd rather see a nursing mom's exposed breast tops than an obese woman's exposed muffin top. Just sayin'....

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Am I the only one that thinks posting pictures of breastfeeding on FB is just plain stupid. it does NOTHING to normalize breastfeeding. Guess what!! People who ALREADY breastfeed are the one's that like that picture and like that page. You can share it out the wazoo, and people who don't want to see it, aren't going to look. Pointless, so very pointless.

Look, women should be able to breastfeed wherever. I agree with that. I just don't think a woman's whole jug needs to be flopping free to the world. MOST women I see (even with very large breasts) feeding their child, do not have everything showing, really without even purposefully trying. (Meaning they don't tent their kid with blankets or wear those modesty tops.) The women that have their whole breasts exposed, do it on purpose. All they usually try to shove breastfeeding down the throats of everyone. Breasts are NOT just one thing. They are NOT just a food source. They are also an erogenous zone, and a sexual body part. Using them for one function, does not mean the other disappears.

I don't think anyone needs to cover up, but I do think women take it too far. You do NOT have to have your breasts totally hanging out to feed a child.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

There is no size limit. She's feeding a baby, not dancing on a pole.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I saw the picture. There was nothing wrong with it. People need to lighten up.

Breastfeeding is NATURAL. It's been going on since humans started and oh my gosh!! animals do it as well!

Personally? I would keep my breast covered - lift up my shirt for my child - or put a blanket over my child's head - LIKE A TENT - not ON their head.

For those that took offense to it? They need to get a life and lighten up.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

It's not an issue of size. Every baby needs to be fed, no matter what the mom's breast size. I'm not huge, and I didn't love BF in public but I did keep reasonably covered. If people are looking at a Facebook page for a group that supports the normalization of breastfeeding, then they should realize that's the type of photo that will be posted there. Funny how when most people look at swimsuit models, they don't think that breasts are disgusting then.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

It isn't about size but coverage. Sorry but I have big boobs and I wouldn't wear a bikini either because they just don't cover enough. I think that is the point you are missing, those women would react the same way to that same woman wearing a small bikini, even if they wore bikinis themselves.

Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do it in a crass way. People like that anger me because no one remembers the women nicely nursing their child, not making a spectacle, not drawing attention to herself, the woman going about her business of nurturing her child. Nope, they remember the militant breast feeder who intentionally did it in a way to make people uncomfortable. They did it for attention, not to nurture the child, they hurt the cause.

I nursed all four of my kids and I do so on occasion in public. I never had to cover up but I also never made people uncomfortable by exposing too much when it really isn't necessary.
Okay went and looked at the picture, saw nothing wrong with it. I do find it kind of strange that someone would hire a professional photographer to take pictures of someone nursing but whatever...

Perhaps part of the problem is at first glance it looks like she has no top on at all and her hair is covering her other breast.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I think the photo is fine. The problem is not breastfeeding. The problem is there are a lot of people who think the naked human body is shameful or gross. There is a lot of prudish nature in our American culture...it's sad.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I have a bigger chest and have BF on a bench at Disney World many times. The baby care center is WAY to hot inside to be comfortable. I have seen pretty large chested women BF-ing as well. I don't think anything of it. Even my son doesn't give a second glace. He has told women that they must have healthy babies though 😊

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I went from a perfect little C all the way up to a G cup when nursing. I felt like a cow. My boob was bigger than my baby's head. Ugh. Anyway, I always covered up in public. If I'd been smaller-chested, I might have gone without covering up, I don't know. But I just felt like I was sooooo freakin' huge that I would be like a circus sideshow if I didn't cover up. :( For the most part, I tried to nurse in private (dressing rooms, the car, etc) because then I didn't have to worry about it, but if worse came to worst and I didn't have anywhere I could go and the baby was hungry, I'd just throw a receiving blanket over my shoulder, and use that to cover up.

I find it kind of silly when people say things like, "What am I supposed to tell my kids?" Umm, tell them that woman is feeding her baby! Duh! For me, it was more an issue of not wanting men to feel like they had to avoid looking in my direction or somehow try to ignore the spectacle of the giant boob, out there for all the world to see. It doesn't bother me to see other women nursing in public. Babies have to eat.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

I found the pic also, it's beautiful and honestly I see more cleavage then that just walking around town. This was also a professional pic, so for all those haters know she is a little more covered in public.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It's not about size but coverage. Why would she have her shirt pulled down? That's borderline flashing. I always pulled my top UP to nurse and even though it was obvious what I was doing nobody could see my boob. The baby covered the lower half and my top covered the top.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

I don't give a damn if they take their shirt off and expose both breasts. I would never ever tell a mother to cover up, and those who don't want to look at it should put a blanket over their heads.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Alright, I went to go take a look at the photo (I've not heard of this page but I see a friend of mine that is a Doula is a "friend" of it and may just have to friend it myself).
I see absolutely nothing wrong with that picture and think the kid is really cute like that! If you look at the top the lady is wearing you can tell that you would see exactly that same amount of cleavage without her having pulled it down that little bit more in order to breastfeed. The bra cup and shirt is covering the other side so you can tell. So people are only taking issue because there is a child attached to that mound of flesh. That is the only reason people are screaming to cover up a mound of flesh you'd be seeing anyway because of the scoop neck shirt.
There is no breast size limits that suddenly make you have to cover with a tent. That child is absolutely, positively NOT to old to be breastfeeding! World Health Organization (WHO) recommends until *AT LEAST* 2 years old, longer if mutually desired by the mother/child pair. Even the American Academy of Pediactrics (AAP) now recommends 2 years or longer if desired. In countries where child led weaning is the norm it is not unheard of for a child of 7 to be nursing. Average is around 5 years of age in child led weaning. It is society, not biology that has come up with the artificial age of 1 year, or even worse 6 months. That is one of the things that really needs to change.
The only explanation you need to give your child if they see it is that child is drinking milk, that human's make milk because they are mammals.
I never have used a cover when I breastfeed and I am really rather large on top. I personally choose to lift my shirt from the bottom because I don't like having my shirts all stretched out in the neckline and I feel like I am covering what I prefer not to show. I'm not wearing a bunch of layers to make sure every inch of my flesh is hidden. But if others find it easier to pull their shirt down from the top than they have every right to do so.
I have to look at people shoving bottles in their baby's face. They should have to look at me breastfeeding my child as nature intended.
To tell a funny story that turns the tables on the "How do I explain that to my kids". Until my niece was born premature and was in the NICU, my kids hadn't seen babies bottle fed. In our circle of friends it wasn't normal. They all asked what the bottle was. They thought it was a sippy cup and could not understand why a baby was using one when sippy cups were for big kids and breasts were for babies. I had to have the very awkward conversation explaining that some people choose not to breastfeed or that they use a pump to get the breast milk out and put it in a bottle.
I support breast feeding anywhere and everywhere you are. I do not feel there is any shame in it. That photo is beautiful and that is one lucky little girl to have such a wonderful mama!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Size shouldn't matter. If a woman is nursing, she should do it in whatever way is comfortable for her, assuming she's at a place like a park. If she's in a fancy restaurant, I think a little more modesty is necessary. It all depends on the environment, not the size of the breasts. I think a woman can nurse any time, any place, but think covering up is sometimes best. I nursed both my kids for over a year and usually used a "hooter hider" but that's mainly because I was uncomfortable being exposed.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Yeah, those top heavy ladies rarely have hungry children...

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I don't think there can be a size limit to public breastfeeding. The law says everyone has a right to do it, so it's just whatever each mama is comfortable with. Someone's going to have a problem with it, no matter if it's an A or a double D.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Large women breastfeeding is vulgar but large teenagers with their fat hanging over their too-tight shorts isn't?

My opinion on the matter is that there are people who are more modest in nature, and they will be offended by breastfeeding in public as well as other things.

Others are much less modest and it doesn't bother them.

If you're going to breastfeed in public at any size, know that you WILL offend some people and there isn't anything you can do about it. Anything you do in public is subject to scrutiny and varying opinions.

As long as you're okay with it, then do it. And if you're going to post a picture of yourself breastfeeding in a public forum, be prepared for all types of comments.

People have a right to their opinions on modesty. Personally, I'm sick of the breastfeeding debate. Do it in public if you're comfortable and be prepared for others not to like it. You can't please everyone!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't see that size should be an issue. People bottle feed in public, people eat in public, people should be able to breast feed in public. I would much rather my son see a woman breast feeding her child than see someone smoking or feeding their child fast food.

ETA: I looked at the picture. First thought - beautiful pic. Second thought - I bet her back hurts.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

no limits.
breastfeeding is not limited to small-breasted women.
anyone gets to feed their baby any time that baby is hungry.
when i am queen, anyone who has a problem with that will be summarily deported to the Republic of Gilead.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If people don't like it, they can turn their heads and stop staring.

I don't personally care, obviously. I guess people could put a blanket over their large, nursing breasts so that they don't offend people with delicate constitutions.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Sorry to go outside of request for only moms who do support public breastfeeding, but it's just a matter of taste. I'm a painter who lived in Europe and have no problem with nudity and open sexuality and nature.... but for whatever reason, I'm no fan of public breastfeeding at any size. I nursed three kids and only did it in public in emergencies, in bathrooms. I just didn't feel like being watched by strangers while I nursed. My weird father in law once said, "Don't feel self conscious to nurse in front of me" when I stated my preference to leave the room. EWWWW!!!!!

I also don't like watching people nurse, but I'll put up with it of course when people who enjoy nursing in front of others pop up. To each their own. But normalizing it will never happen because the ONLY people who will ever enjoy watching other people nurse are SOME women who nurse or have nursed. The rest of the population just isn't into it. It's an intimate thing between mother and child that's never going to appeal to the entire population to watch and that's OK. Just like lots of other things are natural and unsightly to many, but we all have to put up with it.

It is interesting that the pro-nursing community was put off by the photo, but maybe those commenters were just snooping the page and not really into public nursing.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Don'tcha know? Only skinny, tiny, young moms are pretty & sexy and only pretty & sexy is okay in public.

Roll. Eyes.

If feeding your baby is okay for a supermodel with size AA chest, then it's okay for a fat chick with gozanga boobies, and okay for an older mom with wrinkles, and okay for a burn victim, and okay for ANYONE with a hungry baby.

Because that's the purpose of nursing.

Not making other people feel good looking at you.

But to feed a hungry baby.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Spartanburg on

I support public breastfeeding and size doesn't make a difference.
Honestly, a mom could have both breasts uncovered, showing nipples, etc while nursing and I wouldn't have a problem.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I say more power to her if she's comfortable nursing in public. I was always a little nervous but my kids wouldn't let me cover them either. My friend came over the other day and asked if it was okay if she fed her 3 month old in the living room or if I wanted her to go to a bedroom. I told her it was fine as long as she was comfortable. My kids were sitting out there with me (they're 9 & 6) and I was telling them that I used to feed them like that too.

I didn't see the picture but from what you describe it seems like she wasn't trying to flaunt or anything.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I had to go look, I do support BF, and I think I've settled on it being a beautiful pict. but my initial reaction was whoa! and if it's the right pict, a brunette and the baby has a white top and maybe a headband?

It was not the amount of skin at all, it was the baby's smile and her little hand kneading the breast, that bothered me. but i'm over it.

I do think being modest is probably a slower but surer way of normalizing breastfeeding in our society. but i'm a modest person.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Men walk around shirtless all the time with bigger breasts than most women. I think if a baby is hungry , feed the baby. I could care less what is showing. It's the human body and it's beautiful.

2 moms found this helpful
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