Breastfeeding In Public

Breastfeeding In Public

I Am More Uncomfortable Than You Are While Breastfeeding In Public

Imagine you have friends over at your house and you feel like eating a snack. You go to your kitchen and grab something to eat. You then sit down to enjoy whatever snack you took and eat it while still visiting with your friends. Does someone tell you that you can’t eat in front of them? Do they make you cover your head so they can’t see you while you eat? No… that sounds ridiculous right! So why do we do this when it comes to breastfeeding. While breastfeeding in public, some moms are made to feel bad about feeding their babies and insecure because it is “gross and unnatural” to some people.

Well, I can tell you that as a breastfeeding mom, it is the most natural thing in the world. “Normalize Breastfeeding” has become a big movement and I believe that it is very important for women to be able to breastfeed in public as they need. It should not be anyone’s business what a mom does to care for her child. We see more skin in a lingerie ad or more nudity in an episode of anything on HBO than you will ever see while a woman is breastfeeding. However, I can also tell you that while you may be uncomfortable seeing me breastfeed my son (completely covered mind you), I am even more uncomfortable than you are! I know that some people really are not modest and they don’t care if they whip out a boob for the world to see; which is their right to do so and kudos to them for the confidence. But I am very modest, and I do not want anyone to see me, even if it is to feed my baby! To anyone who may feel uncomfortable watching a woman breastfeed, let me assure you, I am more uncomfortable to be breastfeeding in public than you are watching.

Whenever I go out with my son, I plan my trip around his feedings; I exclusively breastfeed, so when we go out if he is hungry then we breastfeed. I try to plan simple errands between his feedings so that I don’t even have to worry about it when we are out. For longer outings, I try to plan ahead and stop near or at places that I know I can feel comfortable feeding my son. When it comes down to it, I will feed my son anywhere I have to if he is hungry, period. But, I will try my best to make sure that I can have convenient and private places I feel comfortable nursing in already built into my schedule when I go out. For example, many malls and shopping areas have a nursing room, family area, or baby room. You may actually be surprised to learn how many places have a nursing room for moms, something I never knew until I started looking and asking. And there is always the fall back of nursing in the car (when it is not too hot outside); that is the one portable nursing area I can take with me.

Of course it is not always possible to have a private area to nurse in. There have been a few times when I had to breastfeed in public that made me uncomfortable (even though I am sure no one cared). The first time I found myself in such a situation was while out with a fellow mom and friend for lunch. I was in the middle of a delicious meal and enjoying some grown up company when little man was hungry; he went from zero to sixty really quick, he wanted to eat NOW… So I sat at the table with a blanket covering me and nursed him while I visited. We were in the back of the restaurant and there were only a few tables next to us, but it still was uncomfortable for me.

So the next time you see a mom breastfeeding in public, before you start to feel uncomfortable, remember that she may be even more self-conscious and uncomfortable then you ever will be. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable seeing a woman nurse, and that is okay… Simply turn your head, no one is forcing you to watch! She will probably prefer she not have an audience anyway.

40 thoughts on “Breastfeeding In Public”

  1. I don’t know about other people’s feelings on the matter, but I for one never liked people looking at me while I was breast feeding… and they do look, sometimes stare. Pumping for those out and about times always helped.

    1. You are right, they do stare and I don’t know why! Do they want to get a peak, do they think it is gross, are they just curious? I hate it when people stare, it is so uncomfortable… Those are the times that I wish I did pump; I exclusively breastfeed so no bottles for little man.

  2. I do think there is a much better awareness and I think we are slowly getting to where seeing women feed their babies is normal. (OMG just saying that out-loud still seems so stupid, right?) Keep doing what you are doing – and it is OK!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Rachel! I know, it is stupid to have to say it is becoming normal to see breastfeeding!

    1. I think a lot of women are. The focus is always how the person having to see it feels, but no one remembers to think how the mom feels.

  3. I’m not sure where I land on this. I agree that you have every right to feed your baby wherever you might be, but you are discreet. I was in a public place, a mall, and a woman exposed her breast for nearly three minutes before putting the baby up to eat. It was shocking and people got up and moved away from her. Awkward.

  4. I was unable to breastfeed, so I never had to worry about this, but I it was something I wish I could do. I give big kudos to all those moms who are comfortable to do this!

  5. Ah….I don’t know much on the subject, but I see it all the time, and I think so think it’s okay to breastfeed in public. I would just hope moms hide most of their boobs – that’s all. But baby hungry, baby should get fed.

    1. I agree, you should try to be modest about it if you can (sometimes my little guy pulls off the nursing cover…) but if baby is hungry he/she needs to eat!!!

  6. Moms have it better these days! My daughter is only 4 but I remember 4 years ago people freaking out about breastfeeding where as today, yes some people may freak, but it’s more accepted. Thank god!!

    1. When you put it like that it seems like we have come a long way in 4 years! I think we still have a way to go but we’re headed in the right direction 😉

  7. The comfort level is always important. I’m pretty sure you’re a little hesitant at first, but it’s a natural thing beautiful thing. The best thing you can do for your child, good luck and congrats.

  8. I can definitely understand how breastfeeding in public can make moms feel uncomfortable, especially if you’re more shy or modest. I hope people can learn to be more understanding when encountering new moms who are trying to provide for their young ones.

  9. Breastfeeding in public is certainly something that takes a great level of comfort. I was not there but I am so happy for you that you are!

    1. I don’t know how comfortable I am with it… I try to breastfeed in private areas whenever possible, but sometimes you just don’t have that luxury!

  10. I have no problem with moms breastfeeding in public. I totally understand how it could be uncomfortable though, thanks for sharing your thoughts and opening up others to the flipside!

  11. I completely agree with this, though I prefer to have a cover over baby just to avoid baby getting distracted by surroundings when out I think it is completely normal for anyone to breastfeed. When your baby is hungry, they got to eat…

    1. My baby gets really distracted too! It is impossible to get him to feed in one sitting when there is so much excitement going on around him 😉 He also gets distracted with the cover too, apparently it is a cool toy…

  12. My baby girl sometimes refuses to take the formula supplement and I just have to whip out a boob for her comfort and this happened at an outing to the zoo. Even though I am quite comfortable with feeding my child (anywhere) I looked for a more secluded spot so I wouldn’t feel like I was being stared at by a bunch of children and grown ups. I even had my husband stand watch as if he was one of the secret service men for the president…. all that was missing was the ear piece for communications between he and I. Thank you for writing this little piece, it really is a great explanation in regards to how we feel as breastfeeding mommies.

    1. Hahahaha!!! I can totally relate. I will have my husband do the same thing if he is with me. I also try to find the spot as far removed from other people as possible. I am so glad you liked the post!

  13. I’m modest and shy, and did the same thing when my son was a baby. Over time, I got more comfortable. Now, I nurse my daughter wherever we are. I like to keep a nursing scarf (basically an infinity scarf) in my purse to help cover up. Wearing her in a baby carrier also helps. I just wish breasts weren’t so sexualized that this is even an issue.

    1. Great point Tiffany, I agree. Breasts are seen only as sexual objects and so when they are serving their true purpose then people find it “gross”.

    1. I know exactly what you mean. Especially when you are a new mom trying to figure out what to do it is hard having to add an extra worry of needing to cover up or finding a private area to nurse in.

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