Breastfeeding in Public

I am going on 9 months of breastfeeding my daughter. I am proud of this fact and I will continue to nurse my daughter as I see fit rather or not you like it.

Breastfeeding in public locations can be a hot issue.

I remember the first time I nursed in public, it was about 1 week after I gave birth in an ob office. I was getting checked for post-partum exam and I struggled using my cover and latching a newborn on. It was awkward but I did it. I sat in a secluded corner afraid of who might see this potential debacle happening.

I think that was the last time I was nervous in front of complete strangers to nurse. She is my daughter and I am nourishing her. I provided her sole nourishment for the first six months of her life until I introduced solids to her. In my book that is pretty amazing!

Nursing in public (NIP) can be intimating and nerve wrecking. I have heard of horror stories of women be chastised for doing something unsexual with their breasts. I have seen worse ads publicized for swimsuits and lingerie then what can be seen by discreet breastfeeding mother. Yet so many women are hesitant to do it because of the fear of being rebuked.

Why should this be? Have we been so brainwashed by the media that breasts are not to be used to nourish your child and must be a sexual thing? Are we are missing the sad fact that we are making women who choose to breastfeed scared and intimated to nurse outside of their home?

We give them this secluded nursing room where they are allowed to have no human contact because *gasp* they are nursing their child. We give them nasty looks because they are doing something natural and using their breasts as intended. We make them feel less than human because they are choosing to nurse them.

We are failing breastfeeding women. We are doing a disservice to them. I have never been prejudiced against until recently. It burns, it makes me angry, it makes me want to cry. If I was new to breastfeeding it would make me question my choice to nourish my child. How dare we do that?! I recently posted an article on my facebook:Breastfeeding in Public and this article makes me think. Every time someone gives a dirty look, mutters something under their breath, or makes a woman go sit in a room with no other human contact that someone could be stifled out of nursing. Someone could end up losing their nursing relationship with their child.

A woman is allowed to nurse anywhere they are allowed to be this is dictated by law. So if you are in the mall you can nurse while you window shop, you do not have to be stuck in a stuffy secluded nursing room. If you are in a restaurant you can nurse at the table you sit at, you do not need to go cower in a bathroom.

A nursing mother has that right but yet so many people with “good intentions” make a woman feel less than everyone else who formula feeds. If I have to go sit in an office/room/closet/bathroom to feed my child then I feel like every formula fed child should have to go sit in that same place to eat their bottle. If I need to hide myself then they need to hide themselves. If my child needs to be removed from a situation so that they can eat so then should a formula fed child.

I for one am tired and sad that other women are feeling less than a formula fed mother who gets to have their child fed anywhere. How is this right?

I have full confidence in breastfeeding in front of strangers. I still find it (9 months later) awkward and intimidating to breastfeed in front of people I know. When I nurse in front of strangers I do not use a cover. You honestly cannot see a thing. I walk around stores and it simply looks like I am holding a sleeping child.

When I nurse in front of people I know I try to find a quiet place to quickly put my cover on and nurse her under it. A cover is awkward and hot to wear. When I find a place to nurse her I do not cower in a bathroom or a nursing room. I want to be able to hear people and interact. I don’t want to be treated like a piranha. If I wanted to be secluded then I would have just stayed at home–at least there I have television to watch. Even with all this in mind I barely have the nerve not to use a cover when I am around people I know. There are very few locations that I feel comfortable not using a cover when there is someone I know. What a shame!


3 thoughts on “Breastfeeding in Public

  1. Well said. It is so disappointing that we have to hide. You see way less breast then some low cut shirts I’ve seen. I say we take a stand. Resist the uncomfortable feeling from the stares and dirty looks you get and breastfeed your baby so that you are both comfortable. Good job on breast feeding for so long! It’s hard work!

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