Breastfeeding In Public – Yes or No?

Breastfeeding for mothers will now be a little easier at work thanks to the newly passed Obama Healthcare bill.

Nursing mothers will now get additional support, thanks to page 1239 of the health care bill that President Obama recently signed into law. It requires employers to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” Only companies with less than 50 employees can claim it’s an undue hardship. [Source]

Personally, I think this is a good thing. Any measure to help mothers raise healthier children is a positive, in my opinion. Although breastfeeding is not an option for all mothers it is indeed healthier than the alternatives, i.e. formula and cow’s milk. You can read the numerous studies done on the matter but here is a short condensed list of benefits [Source]:

Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of these health problems in children:

  • Ear infections
  • Stomach viruses
  • Diarrhea
  • Respiratory infections
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Childhood leukemia
  • Sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract in pre-term infants

Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of these health problems in mothers:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Postpartum depression (PPD)

Despite all the positives, I have always found it odd some people’s negative reaction to what should be a very natural part of life. Some people show utter disdain for mothers breastfeeding in public.

With her 5-week-old daughter crying in a bathroom at Nordstrom, and not knowing how to get the baby to latch on to her breast, Garima Nahar found herself surrounded by other women. Some offered tips, but one woman told the new mother to cover up or turn the other way. [Source]

Prudes? Or just assholes?

I did witness, first-hand, a 3-year-old patting her mother’s chest and she pulled out her breast and let the child feed. This was at a birthday party for an adult. Now….THAT was BIZARRE! LOL

Where do you stand on the issue? What is your reaction to mothers breastfeeding in public? And what is the cut-off age? Should a 5-year old be tugging  on mom’s teat at the local Wal-Mart or Starbucks?

20 thoughts on “Breastfeeding In Public – Yes or No?

  1. I didn’t breastfeed unfortunately/fortunately I didn’t produce any milk for the boy…

    When I worked at NCR they had a breast pumping room…it was in a room off the ladies room on the main floor…you had to have a special pass to get in there…I don’t know what it looked like in there but I always thought it was really nice of NCR to have a room like that…

    as for breastfeeding in public….doesn’t really bother me as long as children are not around…if there are kids present then the mother should cover herself so as to not expose her breast to a young child…not every child is going to understand what is going on…

    as far as when should a woman stop…I don’t know some say it’s ok to let a child feed as long as they want…but ummm I’m not having a walking and talking child trying to get at my boobs lol

  2. I am all for breast feeding, However, there is nothing wrong with the mother covering herself as her child feeds. I personally don’t want to see your breasts. I would not want to see them if you just pulled them out and I don’t need to see them as you feed your child. Your birth to one year old( anyone older is weird) can eat. A modest blanket over your shoulder is not too much to ask. I’m just saying. I’m a woman I plan to breast feed and I will cover my breast if I’m in public period!

    1. All I can say then is turn your head as politely as I can. Anyone who makes a nursing mother feel ashamed, be it by words or ugly looks, should be the ones ashamed. And a blanket is too much to ask if it is uncomfortable for the mother and/or child. IMO

      I do agree though children with teeth who talk and are still breastfeeding is BEYOND strange to me. 😉

  3. I couldn’t give a damn if a woman breastfeeds. It is, as you say, a natural thing to do, and we ought not to be so dumb as to allow our society’s prudishness to intrude. I don’t even mind if kids are about – I would expect the woman to already not just be dangling the boobies all over the place. It’s feed time not a day out for the local strip bar. All my female friends who are mothers have breast fed, and don’t seem to find it too difficult to do so with a modicum of modesty.

    1. Oh, and the weird things at the end – it’s not the breast feeding that’s weird in those instances. Again, even at a party for an adult, if those adults can’t understand breast feeding and deal with it accordingly, then I’d struggle to call them adults…No, the weird thing is the ages. 3!? Are you sure? That, for me, is entering the realm of the creepy (as far as I know 1-2 years is the max really)……and 5!!! Don’t, please no…….

  4. I breastfed both of my boys and I don’t see anything wrong with it at all. I hated covering up in the Summer because they would get hot and sweaty, but I didn’t want to flash people either. In some cultures, women don’t even bother covering up and no one cares either way. My husband is from Europe and he thinks that Americans are Victorian when it comes to this. Sure, I had men gawking at me as if I’m putting on a show, but that is their problem, not mine. I am guilty of maybe breastfeeding too long with my younger son. He was about 18 months before he gave it up and even now, at 4 he pats my chest, but I tell him the well dried up a long time ago.

    1. My husband is from Europe and he thinks that Americans are Victorian when it comes to this

      I’d have to agree with your husband on this!!

      LOL @ the “well dried up a long time ago”. FUNNY!

  5. I breastfed both my children. One until he was 1, the other until he was 1 and a half. I personally didn’t like nursing once they got multiple teeth and grabby-demanding, so 1.5 years old was my limit. However, I see nothing wrong with a mother nursing her child for as long as she and the baby are comfortable (although I’d probably think it a bit strange once the child is 4 or up).

    About having to cover up the breasts or not. Personally, I find it strange that anyone would find exposed breasts offensive or inappropriate for children to see. If a child doesn’t understand about breastfeeding, I think they should be educated about it – it IS after all a natural thing to do and it is what breasts were meant for. Breasts are not genitalia. I don’t like the idea of a baby having to having to eat under a stuffy blanket (my babies would also slap the blanket away – they wanted to see mommy while they nursed, it is part of the bonding), at the same time though I didn’t want to disrespect anyone’s preferences regardless of whether or not I agree with them. So what did was made sure my children were well fed BEFORE we left the house. If it was going to be likely that they would get hungry while we were outside of home, I pumped my milk and carried a bottle.

    1. If a child doesn’t understand about breastfeeding, I think they should be educated about it – it IS after all a natural thing to do and it is what breasts were meant for. Breasts are not genitalia.


  6. I cannot say what’s the deal on public breastfeeding. I have no problem with it, either way. Whether a mother chooses or refuses I believe it’s something that no human being should ever be turned off by. Two of my three daughters were breastfed and I always remember reading how quality of a situation it was for the child.

  7. I personally think the mother covering herself with a receiving blanket is a good idea. And I think once ur kids have teeth the breast feeding is over! I don’t get to feed Jassy breast milk anymore because of my blood pressure meds but I wanted to. But when I was feeding her I was in the hospital and then fed her one day at home before i went back in to the hospital. But if I were still breast feeding her I’d carry a light receiving blanket and let her have at it whenever she was hungry.

  8. I think it’s ’bout gawt d@mned time that America opens up it’s sexual limited and closed azz minds about nudity, the body, and a woman’s blessing to nurse her young. We don’t have problems seeing animals nurse but let a woman pluck out a tiddy and ^$@$%&^&! Just like boyz in high school and hell breaks loose.

    But violence in movies and video games? Bring it on! Put a tiddy in a video game? This shyt got to stop and place a NC17 on it!

  9. Personally I don’t see what’s the big deal. Our society is too quick to act protective when it comes to our children seeing a boob or two, yet it’s ok for kids to play with toy guns. In comparison to our European compadres we are sexually repressed and starved here in the U.S. It doesn’t bother or offend me to see a mother breast feeding, and I really don’t think it should bother anyone… especially since most of us did it as a baby.

  10. Okay… gotta’ comment on THAT BABY (in the image)! TOOOOOO CUTE!!!

    Although breastfeeding is a very natural thing, there’s something about that special private moment between mother and child that my old fashioned azz still thinks is best suited for a more private setting.

    And the way my mind works (in today’s world), I wonder about perverts too. A pervert can easily become a predator.

    1. Having been around infants we know that they don’t decide to get hungry when it’s most convenient to be in a private setting. Life happens and many mothers find themselves in the midst of circumstances of the day, which might be in the lounge of a ladies room at Macy’s or a restaurant, or a train station, or the airport. When this happens she shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed when she has to feed her baby.

      Oh, and the pervs will be pervs regardless and will find something to fixate their perverted thoughts on…that shouldn’t stop you from living. IMO 🙂

  11. Hi there!

    Absolutely… babies get hungry ‘when they get hungry’ and it’s never the right moment for any mom. I don’t think anyone who has tact or decorum would frown when witnessing. Booing on breast feeding moms is not okay nor my point.

    I’m the kind of person who doesn’t actually believe in feeding a baby anything outside of my control so I’d never be in a restaurant/mall or whatever, with a nursing baby (even if that youngest baby had older siblings).

    I also don’t believe in ‘gatherings’ for a child (including birthdays) under the age of about 3 years old. They aren’t completely ‘aware’ of what’s happening around them for those initial 2-3 years. I also don’t like that so many assimilate to THAT (birthday gatherings) ‘norm’, when it may not be ‘normal’ at all. Our young ones don’t really begin to develop a long-term memory until around the ages of 4-5 years old.

    And the pervs… well. ‘the pervs’ have a completely different mind than I can’t fully relate to. My caution about pervs– they are defenseless cowards when we spot them before they spot ‘us’ (as a target). But– we should never underestimate what will set a pervert ‘off’. I personally feel it’s better to not give a pervert their ‘highs’ at any turn. Sad as it is to say, a pervert can be ‘turned-on’ by the simplest of things including a mother doing what comes natural– breast feeding her child.

    I remember the feeling that came over me while watching a (girl) friends’ last newborn child (born in 2000) as she breast fed her child in front of me. I felt that I might be intruding upon their ‘bonding time’ (somehow, some way). When I fed a bottle to that child months later, well, babies (at that stage of life) have a way of looking at you that is entirely intimate and personal. I guess that’s what I took away from that experience. Babies may not feel that great about sucking their moms’ teat in public but they are too young to have a voice– they’re just hungry. (smiles)

    For me, it’s not about sheltering myself with fears of some pervert– it’s about diverting the pervs attention in the first place. In other words, if I were breast feeding a child now– in the millennium… I’d feel very vulnerable and exposed so I’d simply not do that natural act in a public place.

    Breast feeding a child in public is not BAD but– there is an eliminate that says; ‘she was inviting harassment or an assault on her (or her child) or even someone being offended. Right or wrong, the mindset does exist. No mother should ever feel ashamed for breast feeding their child and no crowd should make them feel that way, but… there are other things to consider (is all I’m sayin’)

    I really do understand your point of view Chocl8t, but also hope you’ll understand mine. Great post and the makings of a great debate. You must know by now that I love a gooood debate. 😉


  12. I breatfed my children up until they were 6mths, I think it’s a beautiful thing. I would keep doing it for a few more months but with each of them I return to work, and not being around them 24/7 I dried up. There was no where for me to pump at work. So the milk just went away.

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