Breastfeeding in Public: Do You Do It?

Breastfeeding in Public: Do You Do It?

I am an avid enthusiast of breastfeeding. I'm not quite among the ranks of the "breastfeed or die" ladies, but I'm pretty big on it. Jasmine was breastfed for the first 14 months of her life. It was a bit of a tumultuous journey for both of us us. I can't tell you how many nights I laid awake sobbing, "I can't do this!" in the beginning, but we made it through.

On those rare occasions that we were out and about and the munchkin got hungry, I would typically head back to my car and just sit in the backseat to feed her. Mostly because it was actually more comfy for both of us. But there were a few times that I did feed her in public. I always did it in a low traffic area, with a cover-up, because I'm still a bit on the modest side. But that's just me.

Having been a breastfeeding momma, I have nothing against mothers breastfeeding in public. If I have any input at all (which I really don't because it's a personal decision) I would just say, be a bit modest about it. Let's face it, as beautiful and wonderful of an experience as breastfeeding is, not everyone wants/needs to see "the girls".  And let me clarify, by modest I don't mean that you always have to use a blanket, because in the summer months it can get to be a bit hot under there, besides some babies (mine included) are squirmers. What I mean by modest is not, overtly popping the girls out and leaving them hanging out for all to see while you burp, change, and play with your little one.

Every momma I have seen breastfeeding in public so far has been modest, and that's what makes it beautiful. When you're respectful to to other people, people tend to return that kindness and grant you respect as well. Well at least they should be. Unfortunately I found out that's not always the case...


Anyhow this weekend James, Jasmine and I had a family day at the mall.  While I went off in search for the perfect hair accessories to go with my adorable new Liz Claiborne sweater, James decided to walk Jasmine around for a while to tire her out. After a pretty successful trip to Forever 21, I decided to sit down at the food court for a minute to give my tired legs a break while I was waiting for my hunnies to return.

That's when I noticed the woman off to the side, with a blanket thrown over her shoulder. I looked a bit closer and realized that there were a pair of adorable chubby little feet peaking out from beneath the blanket. When the momma looked my way, I gave her a smile and head nod, as if to say "you go girl." She gave me a quick smile back and continued on about her business.

Then I heard the conversation taking place next to me by two ladies in their mid-to-late 20's.

Ignorant lady number 1: "Ewww is that lady doing what I think she's doing?"
Ignorant lady number 2:"She is! That is so nasty! I'm trying to eat!"
Ignorant lady number 1: "Geeze there's a bathroom right there."

At this point, I glanced back at the momma to see if perhaps she had just taken off the blanket, whipped off her top and decided to pop out both of the girls to let the baby decide which one he wanted. Because obviously she had done something pretty horrific to offend these ladies.

Nope, she was still quietly feeding her child with her blanket still in place.




The ignorant ladies off to my side continued their discussion about how unsanitary that was. I finally had enough and swiftly gathered up my belongings and marched right up to the breastfeeding momma gave her another smile and said "Good for you. I breastfed my daughter for 14 months." Then I asked her how old her baby was. She told me 4 months. We had a brief conversation and as I turned to leave, she said "Thank you."

Apparently she had overheard that entire conversation taking place between the two obnoxious ladies next to me. I gave her another smile as if to say "you're welcome" and headed out of the food court, but not before passing by the two ignorant ladies who were still sitting there refusing to make eye-contact with me. When they finally did look at me, I gave them my sweetiest smile, and wished them both a good day.

I could feel their eyes boring into my back as I walked away. Silently trying to figure out what I said to the breastfeeding momma. Had I ratted them out? Had she heard them? It gives me a perverse sense of pleasure to know that somewhere in Charlotte, North Carolina those two ladies are still trying to figure it out.

So my question to you ladies today is not a new one. It's been asked millions of times before. Even so, I ask you today, what are your thoughts on breastfeeding in public? Have you done it before? How did people react? Is there any advice that you would give a new breastfeeding momma. Sound off in the comment section below.

Photo creds: 1) multiculturalfamilia.com 2) aabreastfeedinghotmail.com
 XOXO Reese



10 comments :

  1. I follow your sentiments exactly! I still breastfeed my daughter and yes, sometimes I do it in public if I REALLY need to {not so much anymore since S just turned 1 and she's super wiggly}, but usually I'll go into the bathroom or my car if I'm out. I do think mamas have the right to feed their babies in public though--being modest is key!

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    1. It's crazy that we're still having to fight against this type of ignorance. My own family wasn't too keen on my breastfeeding, and heaven forbid I even mention the possibility of me doing it in public...

      You're doing an awesome thing for your baby girl. She will thank you for it one day!

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  2. good for you for supporting that mom! I hate that ignorance that you heard! I nursed all my kids and did it in public when necessary. My baby (age 2) still nurses but only at home now!

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    1. Wow 2, I wish I would have made it that long. You're doing amazing :) I still kick myself for giving up at 14 months, but I was literally a wits end going back to school and trying to pump on campus. It really threw a monkey wrench in my plans.

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  3. I breastfed my little one until she about 13 months. (about 54 weeks to be exact) I only did it in public it I absolutely had to. I bet those two ignorant women don't even have kids. You begin to think differently about things like BFing once you're a Mom. Good for you for speaking to that Mom! I bet that calmed her nerves and reaffirmed what she already knew was completely okay!

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    1. You're right, you do think differently about things once you become a momma. Before Jasmine came along I had absolutely no plans for breastfeeding. Then I started reading up for it and decided it was the way to go. Sadly though, there were two kids sitting next to the ladies. Hopefully they weren't listening to what was being said and already beginning to form negative opinions about breastfeeding.

      Congrats on your 13 month journey by the way!! It's really a great thing to look back and reflect upon :)

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  4. I think breastfeeding in public is fine. By now most women know that they need to modest about it and are. I breastfed my first and am currently breastfeeding my second. I do breastfeed in public and to be honest, I don't really look around to see if other people are noticing or trying to guess at what I'm doing underneath my cover.

    It's none of their business. I'm glad that NC has passed laws about breastfeeding that make it easier for moms to breastfeed in public and at their jobs. Hopefully, as more states jump on board we can see a decrease in the ignorance displayed towards breastfeeding in general.

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    1. The crazy thing is every time I read a discussion board about this topic, someone is talking about how some woman just popped out both of the girls and walked around while she was waiting for her baby to work up an appetite. I've NEVER seeing a momma do anything remotely brazen when it comes to breastfeeding. However, I've seen women wearing mini skirts that are smaller than my 17 month old daughters headbands.

      I agree, I hope things get easier for breastfeeding mommas. No matter how many times women tell people that there are laws that say that you can pretty much breastfeed anywhere under the sun, every time I turn on the news I see another case of a woman being asked to leave a restaurant or store because she was feeding her child. Get with it people. We're here to stay.

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  5. kuddos to you for blogging about this! it really blows me mind that people find it offensive, let alone gross... because a boob is involved but yet huge cleavage is fine? so i loved that cartoon you chose and the sign, i always think about that too, no one wants to eat in a stinky bathroom let alone sit there trying to feed a little one! i cannot believe you overheard that conversation... wow. i wish there were a way to completely change this part of our society but I guess it starts w/ little posts like this : )
    http://dusanabotswana.com

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  6. I did breastfeed in public, but I was discreet. In this day and age with cameras, cellphone cams, perverts, etc, I just would buy them special breastfeeding shirts where there's a flap that could be lifted.

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