(Closed) Breastfeeding in front of others…

posted 11 years ago in Babies
Post # 47
5789 posts
Bee Keeper

I’m happy to hear that breastfeeding is now the preferred choice,but it certainly wasn’t when I had my children. I had to argue with the nurses in the hopital to NOT give my babies a bottle. With my first,I was the ONLY nursing Mother in maternity when I delivered and I had to get special permission from the hospital to have what they called ‘rooming in’. Essentially,I had the baby in the room with me almost exclusively, which didn’t make my visitors very happy when they came to see me. Oh well. I was only in a day after delivery and they could spend time with us once we were home.

The reason I had the baby with me was to have as much time as we needed to begin this mysterious (at least to me and my entire family) way of feeding…breastfeeding. I had exactly 2 friends who were pregnant the same time I was and all our families gave us grief! We took all the prep classes together and were determined it was going to be the best we could do for our babies. If I had one more person try and push a bottle down her throat I was going to scream! lol

After a few rough first weeks it was a breeze. I remember calling my girlfriend in tears as we were all trying to follow the LaLeche mantra of feeding on demand…no matter if it was 20 minutes since the last feeding or not,our babies were getting fed. It was just one of many ‘growth spurts’ and she settled in fine. Not the easiest thing to endure,especially when your Mom would tell you it REALLY was disgusting that a baby had to eat so often,and why didn’t I just let her get some bottles & formula and ‘fix’ the problem! UGH.

My husband’s cousin is one of those who gave breastfeeding a bad name. She DID whip her boobs out (both at once too!) AND at the dinner table no matter who was there. Then again she gave birth at a birthing center and invited her whole family to watch…brothers,Fathers and uncles…it was really too much. Somebody like that is really only going for the shock value,and I believe she actually liked making people squirm as she walked around exposed.

I never found it isolating at all. If you follow your instincts and are in tune to other people’s comfort levels with it,you can find a way to be part of the action while making sure everyone is comfortable with what you’re doing. I went back to work full time when they were 6 weeks old,and managed to breastfeed each for 8 months. If you want to do it,it can be done. Breastfed babies work themselves into a 4 hour schedule for feedings just like bottle fed babies do. I was fortunate to work a short disrance from where she was and could go see her on my lunch hour,but also had frozen breast milk available should she need it.

I can’t wait to see what my daughters decide to do when the time comes!

Post # 48
2560 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Well … I am an NICU nurse, so my thoughts on it are coloured by the fact that I teach and asses the efficacy of breastfeeding, so I see breastfeeding in its most exposed state all the time.

I think that the suggestion that women go breastfeed in bathrooms, or isolate themselves at home while breastfeeding is disgusting. We promote breastfeeding to the point where women are made to feel guilty for opting to bottle feed, then we tell them to spend their time tied to their houses, or to go where people void and defecate to feed their child. If you suggest that someone goes to a bathroom to breastfeed, then you should lead buy example and go eat your dinner on the toilet.

I think that the vast majority of women who breastfeed in public use a cover, and then if they use a blanket or “hooter hider” and you aren’t comfortable being around it, that it is on you to avert your eyes or leave the area. I do believe that if they are feeding exposed you do have the right to request they use a cover, but if they don’t, then again I think it is on you to avert your eyes or leave the area. Some babies do not accept nursing covers (my friends son was like this – he would tear the covers away) and he also would not eat from a bottle – so his mom was really stuck, she did her best to feed in a car, or in a corner, but if your baby is hungry and you can’t get away – they need to eat.

I understand that most of the opinions on not supporting public breastfeeding come from the social tendency to view breasts as sexual, but once a mother makes the decision to breastfeed, the breasts become a form of nourishment for a child, and people need to be more supportive of that change.

Post # 49
2143 posts
Buzzing bee

I have no problem if a mom is breastfeeding in public if she’s covered. I do feel a little uncomfortable if I happen to see boob but I generally just look away. I guess I feel this way in part because I was just brought up around my aunts and mom breastfeeding in front of me, but they never exposed themselves. I don’t forsee myself hiding out in a bathroom just to feed my child in the future, but I wouldn’t be whipping out a boob or anything. I don’t really judge other women who do, I just personally feel uncomfortale and try to ignore it. Discreet is key, imo.

Post # 50
570 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2009

I’m curious if those who object to breastfeeding in a restaurant mean uncovered or covered feedings.  Is it a problem if women are covered?

Post # 51
273 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

I have 2 “whip em out” friends and I really HATE it.  They just don’t care, and I don’t know if I’m supposed to act like I don’t care either and keep looking at them while talking to them, or look away??? And one of them always says like, “oh look what he’s doing!” (like something not amazing at all)  while he’s sucking on her boob. I am definitely NOT gonna be whipping mine out in public without some sort of cover. I just can’t imagine ANYONE (besides Fiance and of course the baby) looking at my boob, not even my own mother!!!  I guess I’m just shy about exposing my boob,  and I don’t need to see anyone else’s boob either.

Post # 52
1212 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I live in Australia, and while I have heard that the American culture generally oversexualises breasts, I didn’t realise this was such a big deal to so many people.

In Australia it is against the law to discriminate against a nursing mother, a few years ago there were a few high profile cases in the media where restaurant owners were punished for asking mothers to cover up, or leave, or cease nursing their babies.

In my family, my mother and all my aunties breastfed their babies without covering. And we are a pretty good representation of the average Australian family. It is quite common to see mothers nursing uncovered in cafes, parks, libraries, etc.

Personally I don’t see the big deal. The baby’s head covers most of the breast while its nursing, and you might see a bit of side boob. When the baby is latching on or off you might see a quick flash of nipple.

I think the more that women breast feed in public, the most socially acceptable it becomes, and the more mother do it. This is certainly the case in Australia since the government changed their health policies to promote breastfeeding, as the breastfeeding rates for new mothers are rising slowly and steadily each year.

When I have children I will definatey nurse in public uncovered, Nursing tops make it easy to access one breast at a time, and if people don’t want to see the side of my breast while my baby has lunch then they don’t have to look!

Post # 53
1756 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I eat in my living room, in my dining room, and at the table in restaurants. I see no reason why other people’s babies should have to eat in the bathroom. Women who are breastFEEDING are feeding their children, not whipping out their boobs and fondling their nipples. Plus, I would much rather the outcome to a baby’s hunger be “getting fed” rather than “screaming their head off”.

Post # 54
14181 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

Well, in America breasts are sexualized so you can’t just ignore that factor, and when I see men take a look at my DD’s no matter WHAT I’m wearing, be it a dress shirt or a polo, THAT makes me self conscious enough to want a cover up. We can all say that breasts shouldn’t be sexualized, but seriously, how does your husband feel about YOURS?! Men love ’em, plain and simple, lol 

The idea of bigger breasts being on display, even feeding a child, makes me uncomfortable. Even if ONE man is like “aw yeah!” about that, that is enough for me to want to be modest about it. I’m sure not WHY some guys think it’s sexy or hot, but some do and it’s CREEPY.I used to work with a guy who’d fantasize about pregnant women. The fact that there are people out there just like this is enough for me to up my modesty content! And i’m not really modest, lol

I will try to pump as often as possible in order to feed my baby in public. This is why they make breast pumps! I’M uncomfortable with the idea of doing it in public.

Post # 55
424 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

@amandopolis…totally in agreement with you.

If I’m in a public situation where I needed to nurse, I would. Restaurant, hockey game, Tupperware party. There’s a way to be discreet. Nursing bras are beautiful things (well, not really, they’re super unsexy). I figure it’s better than having a screaming, hungry baby for people to bitch about.

And btw, it’s pretty amazing how 2nd nature nursing becomes to a woman after a while, and you’d be pretty amazed at what she can accomplish and concentrate on with a baby latched on! Vacuumed, done it. Loaded a dishwasher, done it. Fed my other kid, done it. had a conversation or did a crossword, done it.

Post # 56
2530 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

my Future Sister-In-Law will just whip out her boob no matter where we are infront of anyone. It can be very uncomfortable. She just assumes that all in the room (including her brother, father and brother in law) are okay with it – and it really makes them feel weird seeing their sisters/daughters boob. Im definitely not against breastfeeding by any means, but I think its only appropriate to either cover yourself before you do it in front of others or to say “hey the baby is about to feed just an fyi” so that anyone that is uncomfortable can leave the room (as opposed to the mother leaving the room). Yes, I understand that the baby needs to feed but it is still a breast and that makes some people uncomfortable.

Post # 57
226 posts
Helper bee

I completely agree with teaadntoast.  I am a very modest person, but when I have children I will breastfeed them, if they’re hungry when I’m out in public I will feed them.  I’ll do it discreetly, best I can, but babies don’t come out nursing pros like some believe.  It takes time to get used to breastfeeding and some babies wont let you cover them.  Breasts have been so sexualized, I think sometimes we forget the whole reason they’re there.  Between the seuxualization of breast and the increasing acceptance of formula, it’s no suprise how shocked some of us are when we see a woman whip out her breast to feed her child. (I’m guilty of being uncomfortable too)  The only way people will be used to breastfeeding and accept breastfeeding, is if people *do* do it public. 

Post # 58
374 posts
Helper bee

I haven’t read the other replies but I must say, I’ve breastfed Madison since day one, and she just turned 16 months old.  We’re still going at it! 

Here are my thoughts:

At first, I was extremely, extremely shy with breastfeeding in front of family, let alone public.  But, once you become accustomed to breastfeeding your baby and understanding their hunger needs, it no longer becomes an issue of modesty.  Baby is hungry, feed baby. 

I vividly recall judging a mother for breastfeeding her child in a restaurant a few years ago.  Mind you, she was fully covered with nothing exposed whatsoever but I still scoffed at the situation nonetheless.  To this day, I still feel guilty for passing such quick judgment on her, especially because I had never walked in her shoes before so in reality, who was I to talk?  Now, I realize what it’s like to be in that position and I’m sorry for the negative thoughts I put out that day.

I’ve had to breastfeed in public on a few occasions but have managed to do so in a covered and (what I consider) tasteful manner.  We practice breastfeeding “on demand” and even then, I’ve been able to strategically plan our days so that public nursing is kept to a minimum.  I always nurse before we leave the house and in the [parked] car between driving to a new location.  While I really don’t mind breastfeeding in public, I’m honestly not relaxed and comfortable when I am.  Any breastfeeding mother can tell you, a tense position doesn’t yield happy-baby results!  Milk flow is totally affected…at least for me. 

While at this point, I no longer care about privacy, I do respect the others’ feelings and would hate to offend anyone for whatever reason.  I’ve been able to meet my daughter’s needs while keeping covered, thankfully

Post # 59
10846 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’m on the pro-breast feeding side of things for sure. It’s inarguably healthier for mom and baby. I’m also on the side of the discreet factor though. Throw a napkin, blanket, something over that puppy please. Yes it’s a wonderful, natural, healthy, beautiful thing, but that doesn’t mean I want to see your wares. I agree that in our culture breasts are so sexualized, we’re uber-sensitive to what we see. I would be uncomfortable seeing my friend whip her ladies out to feed, especially if my Fiance was there.

Which brings me to a funny story. We were at a wedding last summer, seated at a table of 10, including good friends of mine, and my parents. The remaing 2 couples were people I went to high school with and have not seen in 10 years. One couple had brought their daughter was about 18 months old. This little girl was walking, talking, eating solid food, etc. Dinner comes and doesn’t mom whip out a boob a feed the not-so-little-one while we’re all eating. I turned to say something to my friend next to me, see the boob, and the little one just staring me straight in the eye from down the table. Totally creepy. This kid literally took two turns on each boob. Now I get that when we’re eating, so should she, but she was eating cantalope just 15 minutes before dinner! Is the full boob display multiple times while at a wedding sitting at a table with 8 other people really necessary?! It was crazy! Seriously, just throw a napkin over your shoulder, that’s all I ask. It was so uncomfortable and honestly one of the few notable things I remember from the wedding (sorry bride and groom!).

Post # 60
14181 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

This is a no-no for public breastfeeding, lol.

That, my friends, is a can of Coors from the 80’s.



Post # 61
429 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2008

@ejs — wow, I would NEVER be like that mom!!


…I prefer to drink Leinie’s while I’m breastfeeding. Sealed

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