Should Public Breastfeeding Be Allowed?

Have we discussed this here yet? Boy, I’m almost afraid. I’ve gotten into some nasty stuff with this subject but seeing Paul’s reaction to this made me want to ask because he’s of the age that this really bothers him but it’s nothing personal. We just grew up differently.

Do you think breastfeeding should be allowed in public? This is my opinion. Obviously I think it should be allowed. Stuff happens. But I do have several “problems” with some of these woman and this new story.

This WCCO-TV reporter Lindsey Seavert said “When you’re in public, it’s really tough to find that best situation. When your baby cries and screams and needs to eat, you panic, you freeze, and you just want to run to the nearest, safe spot to breastfeed your baby.”

Has she not thought of packing a diaper bag and pumping and having a bottle or two on hand? Like moms like me who weren’t able to breastfeed? I’m sure there are many more parents like me that had to do that too. Carry a diaper bag so you’re prepared for the emergencies having a baby create. You do know your baby is going to have to eat in so many hours. Why wouldn’t you be ready for that? Prepare for that?

The other problem I have with this story is that sex was brought into it. What in the world does sex have to do with it? What does showing a Playboy magazine and breastfeeding have in common?

This might just be me but here’s how I fed my boys. When they were brand new and even for probably 3 or 4 months, I’d find a nice quiet spot (rocking chair in their bedroom usually) and just feed them and talk or read a story. Sometimes I just read the book I was reading at the time to them out loud. Or I’d sing softly. I didn’t go into the middle of a mall where there were people being loud and coughing and sneezing and the lights are harsher than harsh when my baby needed to eat. I didn’t go to a restaurant during happy hour and think OOPS, time for the baby to eat.

Didn’t most of you think ahead when you were going out or am I in the minority? Keep in mind, I didn’t bottle feed in this manner either.

I can’t stand these “nurse ins” or riot like things these zealots are doing now. Women are now doing them in stores and restaurants. I think not long ago they did one in The American Girl Doll stores. An Applebee’s not long ago and now Target.

People who do this don’t realize it’s making things worse. They think that drawing attention to it in a mob like setting is helping bring awareness. Bring awareness? Seriously? Like we don’t know you have to feed your children? Bring awareness to who and to what exactly?

There is a certain age when people get older and I think it’s most likely men who feel uncomfortable around this. It’s got nothing to do with sex. It’s also people with much younger children who may not know what’s going on and then you have to explain things (when your eating a meal or out grocery shopping) you’d rather wait to explain. It’s not that you want to hide it but it’s too busy right then. Then zealots say you should tell your children but who are they to tell you that? Then aren’t they forcing their beliefs on you? It’s like anything else you wait to explain until kids are old enough to get it or the explanation doesn’t mean anything.

Isn’t this using your baby to prove a point? What is the point? So if you “stage” a nurse in, is your baby “really” hungry or are you just forcing your breast in their face? How can hundreds of babies need to eat at the same time and if that’s the case, why wouldn’t you feed your baby in the privacy of your home?

I just don’t get it. I know so many woman who’ve breastfed and you’d have never known. They go into a nice quiet spot to feed their baby. Nobody I’ve ever known has just whipped it out in front of anyone let alone strangers. Why wouldn’t YOU want that privacy for you and your baby? I think these woman (or most of them) just want to cause a stir or problem because you can feed your baby anywhere you want. Even at a table at a restaurant if you choose. We’ve been doing it for years. Just feed your baby. Why make the fuss? In my opinion, if you feed your baby is a crowded restaurant screaming *look at me, look what I can do*, you’re just itching for someone to take offense. It just makes sense that someone would in that kind of crowd.

I’m not against breastfeeding for crying out loud. I’m totally for it and wished I could have done it. I’m just for not having to get on a stage to do it. It’s not about being uptight or it being sexual. It’s about feeding your baby in the best place for the baby. If you KNOW your baby will need to eat in half an hour, why wouldn’t you just wait to go out? I had no choice and had to bottle feed and I waited. It was best and private for my baby and that’s what came first. Not what I could prove.

We can’t all breastfeed and I take offense at the way they make “formula” feeders feel. I think in general a lot of these women just want to cause problems. I say just feed your baby and leave all the publicity out of it.

What did you do? How do you feel?

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15 Responses to Should Public Breastfeeding Be Allowed?

  1. Jenny says:

    I see no problem with breastfeeding in public. However, if you are in the public I don’t think you should just whip it out, be kind to others and just cover up. I’m fine with just covering the baby with a blanket. I don’t know why people are grossed out over it. Yes maybe if they’re not covered. But it’s a natural thing. I wanted to breastfeed, but it never worked out. So I did the pumping thing for 9 months straight. It’s healthier & cheaper! I know the mall in St. Cloud has a breastfeeding room you could go in and nurse in private.

    • Joy says:

      I’m not against it either. I just think the people who do it for a reaction is stupid. I wish I could have done it too and I do know many MANY people who did it but never right in front of anyone. How is a “feed in” helpful?

  2. Phyllis says:

    I don’t understand what all the hoopla is about. Breastfeeding (for those who are able and have the desire) is a natural thing. That said, the mothers should use common sense and take others feelings into consideration. I’ve been at gatherings where a baby was breastfed and no one was even aware. What’s wrong with using a blanket to shield the baby while he/she is feeding? It is a private choice and the baby should have privacy. Baby’s should be allowed to have some peace. Moms should have some sense. I think you’re right, Joy, that if it’s almost time for a baby to eat the mom would be better off timing the trip to suit the baby’s schedule.

    These women are being ridiculous in my opinion. What’s next? What are they trying to prove is the question I find myself asking.

    Breastfeeding being “sexual”???? Oh, come on! No one can convince me that men automatically think of sex when they see a child being breastfed. If they do perhaps it’s time for them to mature a little.

  3. SKL says:

    I agree with you guys. I grew up around breastfeeding and it certainly isn’t “gross” or sexual to me. But the way I grew up, feeding a wee baby was done at a place and time that’s comfortable for the mom and baby. That usually meant sitting down someplace where people won’t get in your face. I have never seen a breastfeeding mom “whip it out” in public. I have seen moms discreetly feeding their babies in public without anyone really noticing, because if you don’t make a big show of it, you won’t stand out. People really do have better things to do than investigate what you’re doing with your boobs.

    Because I’ve grown up with women who breastfed and never had any of these “difficult moments” of a screaming starving baby in Wal-Mart, I have to believe that this drama is being invented by people who thrive on drama. Some people are just waiting for people to give them a hard time so they can tantrum about it. It’s like Joy said – don’t you kind of know in advance that your kid is going to need food in the next x minutes (give or take)? Is there something awful about planning around it? I mean, I could see it if you’re traveling cross-country or something, but in general, a sudden desperate “need” to whip it out in public is a choice on the part of the mom.

    I recall one online “discussion” of this matter. Some municipality wanted to make it illegal to breastfeed a child over two years old in public. At that age it weirds a lot of people out, and you really can’t say it’s a “basic need” all day long. One woman declared that offering the breast was the only thing that could mitigate her kid’s disruptive public tantrums – so everyone else just needs to suck it up (no pun intended!). Really? That just seems all kinds of unhealthy to me – but if that’s what works for your family, fine – do it in private. Where do they plan to draw the line? Age 12?

    Personally I did not breastfeed. I would have liked to, and did research on adoptive breastfeeding. I decided it was impractical once I decided to adopt two babies at the same time. Even otherwise, it would have been a complex matter.

    However, I can kind of relate to the “baby in immediate desperate need in public,” as I was potty-training my kids before they could walk. However, there were no public scenes of “OMG everyone needs to kiss my rear because my kids have a biological need RIGHT NOW.” I planned ahead and we did the needful at the appropriate time and place. My kids also did not eat wherever and whenever the inclination struck. Granted, they were not tiny infants, but even before they were off formula they ate on a schedule and when out & about, we had our meals (including their bottles) at cafes and such. Unless there is a medical need or a very young baby, no, one kid’s immediate desire does not trump everything else on the planet. And in the case of a very young baby, it’s pretty easy to be discreet.

    Joy, I had the same question you had – if these protestors’ babies really nurse on demand, what if the mood doesn’t strike them during a “nurse-in”? That just seems weird to me, to stick your breast in the kid’s face when he doesn’t want it, just to put on a show. Eew. THAT is gross.

  4. Laura says:

    Adding my voice to the group.

    I DID breastfeed, for six months, give or take. And THAT statement right there is enough to set off the Lactivists, too. Heaven Forbid, I quit breastfeeding before he’s two, or three, because that’s what they do in Africa!! Anyway, I can shed a little light on the “need to feed RIGHT NOW OMG RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND”…

    It only happened to me a few times, but each time that stands out, I was in an inconvenient situation. One was an ill-timed drive home from the in-laws house. One of those “let’s go… let’s go… let’s go” situations where you’re saying it for an hour, but they just keep striking up new conversations. So by the time we DID leave, we were seriously infringing on Josh’s schedule. I thought we could make it home, but we didn’t. He started crying, and my milk started letting down. I couldn’t stop it, and he was in a frenzy. We had to stop right there – at ten o’clock on a Saturday night, in a not-so-great neighborhood, and I climbed in the back seat and fed him. We all survived, obviously. Not convenient, but reality.

    Another time, I was in church – again, at the behest of others – and the sermon lasted about as long as Job did. So when the time came, I picked up my child and my paraphernalia, climbed into the balcony (where my friend was the choir director, and the only one in residence this particular evening), and fed my son. Under a blanket. And nobody but Dan saw me. And even he only saw the blanket.

    So it can be done. Sometimes you can’t schedule around it, and if you’re like me, your child REFUSES a bottle (Josh was bottle-free for the first 3 1/2 months of his life. Wouldn’t take ANYTHING but me. That’s another adventure for another day), you must breast feed. So you find a place that looks comfy, you pull out a blanket, pull down your bra and latch the kid on.

    You DON’T plop down in the middle of the aisle in Target. You DON’T just whip out a boob and expect everyone around you to fall to their knees in adoration. You go about your business, respecting others as you expect them to respect you. And you be discreet. Nobody will be any wiser. Except, occasionally, there’s a jackass. Then you confront his jackassery with class, and expose him for the worm he is. And then you move on.

  5. Pingback: Should Public Breastfeeding Be Allowed? | Us Girls..Our Views | Diaper Earth

  6. Joy says:

    Okay you guys. This is what I’m talking about. Are these people NUTS? Who does this kind of thing? How can you plan something like this? What if you haven’t even had your baby yet or *sh*sh*sh* what if you plan to stop before that date? I’m so tired of reading about this.

    • Sue says:

      At least the majority of people over there agreed that the march was over the top. There are normal people left in this world! LOL!

    • SKL says:

      Anyone else feel that dragging a wee baby onto the DC Mall in August heat and forcing her to eat there just to make a freakin’ point is borderline child abuse?

      I do agree that some people need to realize that women DO have the “choice” to breastfeed in public. There still are some people who are horrified by accidentally noticing discreet public breastfeeding – they need to get a life. But that doesn’t mean women need to flaunt it or use their kids as pawns in this ridiculous game.

  7. mssc54 says:

    First of all electronic breast pumps can be a bit pricey (I prefer the manual pumping). Really the only women who should need to pump are the mothers who work. Pump those six ounce bags and stick them in the freezer.

    Why should mothers be segregated to darkened rooms to feed their babies? I’m all for breast feeding! Unles of course the kid is old enough to walk up to mommy and throw her blouse up and begin chowing down. That’s just wierd. THAT mom needs to pump!

    • Jenny says:

      I only worked part time and pumped all the time. Every 3-4 hrs I was pumping. I kinda take offence for you to say that only working moms should pump. I wanted to breastfeed, that didn’t work out for me. So I did what was best for me and the baby. It was also great for Jason to help with the feedings. It wasn’t all just me, me, me. Pumping is very hard work and very time consuming! So I was very proud that I did it for 9 months! Not every woman can breastfeed and they have other options. Just need to find the right option for the mother and baby.

    • SKL says:

      There can be many reasons for a mom to pump. I think most would rather do it the natural way if it were feasible. My sister had to pump when her baby was in the NICU. Some people pump because they produce too much (they can save it for later or donate it). Some pump so the night feeding can be done by Dad. It’s none of my business. I agree with Nikki, too – my kids are awfully healthy for victims of “poison” as some lactivists call formula. Who comes up with this stuff? Some people really need to find something interesting to do with their time.

    • Joy says:

      Okay Mr. Grumpy Pants, I never said mothers should be put in a darkened room or be segregated in any way. Show me where I said that. I said feed your baby if you need to but do you really need a stage to do so. I said absolutely breastfeeding should be allowed in public. It’s these stupid “nurse ins” that bother me so much.

      Secondly, I agree with Jenny. I’m a little but offended when you read that the “majority” of us here weren’t able to breastfeed and it really bothered us. Back when I had my boys there weren’t all these options so I just formula fed but Paul got to feed the kids and grandma’s and whoever could. Had Nikki and Sue not pumped, I couldn’t have fed my grandchildren. How can you deny that feeling to someone? Especially the dad. I’m kind of hoping you didn’t mean that or hadn’t thought of it that way.

  8. Nikki says:

    First, I’ll address what you said about formula feeders. You’re right, some babies don’t take to breast feeding. Mine didn’t, even though I wanted to so badly. I couldn’t stand when I heard snarky remarks about breast milk being the BEST thing, and there’s no way they’d give them formula. Well, my son was very healthy, and still is. Point, not taken. Those women need to stop that! It’s rude, and insulting.

    Breast feeding in public. If anyone sees a mother breast feeding their baby and has some sort of sexual reaction to it, has some issues. In a public place, I do think covering yourself with a blanket would be appropriate. I think private rooms are great, for women that aren’t comfortable, but that should never be required.

    And to address mccs’s comment about the only people who should pump are working moms. I disagree with that. That is an incredible way to bond, and great for fathers who want to feed their breast milk fed babies. Had I breast fed, I would have also pumped, for that reason. A girlfriend of mine breast feeds her 2 month old (new mom) and doesn’t feel comfortable doing it in public, so she pumps.

  9. Laura says:

    What it comes down to, is those women planning these stupid “nurse-ins” are all about themselves. THEY want the attention, and they see this as a way to get it while appearing “socially responsible” and being an “activist”, which seems to be the in thing right now. What they don’t get is that the majority of moms outside of their little activist-lifestyle circle just look at them and shake their heads while walking away and getting on with their lives.

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