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Breastfeeding in public
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Breastfeeding in public

I'm not meaning to offend anyone on hear so please don't take this personally if you breastfeed in public.    
Today I was with my 6 year old son and we went to a local restaurant for lunch.  Seated at the table next to us was a woman with a child I'm guessing about 2 1/2 to 3 yrs of age.  The little boy said to her "mommy I'm hungry"  she said "come here" lifts up her shirt and detaches her bra and he began to nurse right there in front of everyone. You could clearly see her breast and she made no attempts to cover up at all. My son's eyes became so big and he asked me why she was doing that.  I found this to be a very uncomfortable situation and my son and I left.  What are your opinions on this?
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It think breasfeeding is wonderful, even in public! However, it is the norm to show some respectful discretion, especially around other children!  I would be upset if my child had seen that. I feel the woman should have at least covered her breast with a light towel or scarf.
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I def think she could have been much more discreet. I plan to breast feed but I am sure going to be private about it. I have no desire for the world to see my boobs nor would I want to place anyone in public in an awkward uncomfortable position.
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Avatar_n_tn
I guess leaving was your only option, if you felt you couldn't keep your eyes off her.
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i agree with you. i don't think it's a problem to nurse your child in public - i don't think a person has to run home everytime they need to nurse, but i do think that there is a way to go about it so that everyone around you doesn't have to see everything. there are things called baby blankets or jackets or something to cover up a bit. you don't have to completely envelope the child, but to at least cover up yourself a bit would be appropriate. i also have my own views on nursing a child who can explain that they're hungry and want to eat, but that's really my own opinion and the truth is i don't have kids yet so who knows maybe my views will change. i'm not judging anyone for nursing their kids as long as they feel they need it, but personally i feel that once the child really understands where their meal is coming from and can state that they're hungry so clearly(and i don't necessarily mean a 1 yr old or 1 1/2 year old who tugs at their mothers shirt or says something that sounds like "hummy" or "nursie" or something like that) then it's probably time to give them a cup of milk or something. obviously there are times when a child still needs to be nursed (can be soothing) and each case is different, but again this is my opinion and in no way am i judging anyone who nurses longer than what i think is necessary. i hope nobody takes offense to my opinion either.
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I work in the natural products industry and boy have I had some huge shocks in the last six months.  I went to a work gathering at someones house recently and one of the wives did the same thing with her 2 1/5 year old right in front of everyone, including my husband.  I was embarrassed.  My bosses wife also still breastfeeds her 2.5 year old boy and he sleeps with them still too.  My personal preference is to cover up while breastfeeding because I dont' want people to see my boobs and I will not have my young children in bed with me every night.  We asked him how he and his wife spend "time" together and he says "Oh we just do it on the opposite side of the bed".  I think that is disgusting.
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And I am probably going to speak against popular breast feeding opinion, but why not tell your 3 year old that it's not the place for it. I'm all about breast feeding in public, trying to be as descret as possible. I know it's hard...I've accidentially exposed a breast a time or 7 while trying to feed my infant.  

I took a biology of women class in college, and we had the Lelacha leauge in for one lecture, and they were just too over the top for me.
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Good grief, I'm all for breastfeeding in public but with zero effort to be discreet about it?!  There's a thing called class, or tact, that I like to abide by.  

And the kid was about 3 years old?  That's just wrong.
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Avatar_n_tn
Lets not equate breastfeeding in public, to the act of child abuse implied by the fact two adults have intercourse right next to a child who is old enough to be aware. You don't say what your professional title is, but if you are a health care provider of any type, you are a mandatory reporter, and this is a reportable incident, having sex in the presence of a child that old.

If you or anyone is uncomfortable to see an exposed breast while a mother is nursing a child of any age, turn away or leave as the original poster did.  Don't look.  I hardly think she came up to the table and thrust her boobs under the noses of the other patrons.  Just look away.
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I have never seen anyone breastfeed so indiscreetly, or to an older toddler. I think it's fine to nurse for that long, but most people do it less often during the day, she is obviousley into the attatchment parenting! Which is the most bizzare method I've ever heard of. You just hold the baby all the time and nurse all the time, which seems normol for a newborn...but they grow up eventualy! You have to put them down sometime! If her breast was out I would have told a manager. Although, she may have gone crazy if they said anything, making another show for the world, is that her point? I think breastfeeding is awsome, but attatchment parenting is a bit much for me, espesaily when people do it in that way. You know, if you are a decent person aware of our culture you would cover up! I am being judgmentalwith this comment...I would say she is prideful and maybe gets a rebellouse thrill to go against the flow. Rude, but justified because who cares about anyone but her lucky little nipple noodle! What do you think he learn from this, the world revolves arounf ME!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
nipple noodle?!!? that's funny!!
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Grow up.  Nipple noodle?  Way to have an adult discussion!  

Would you rather have someone right next to you picking their nose, or breastfeeding?

To each his own.  Look away.
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I thought "nipple noodle" was funny and saw nothing childish about that stmt.
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I am all for nursing, I nursed both my boys and plan on nursing this one as well. I do think a woman should try to be discreet, bowever, I feel it is up to NO ONE else to tell her what she is doing is wrong or rude and certainly have issue with people saying a woman who is nursing should ahve to do so in a bathroom or at home. As someone else mentioned, look away, I feel it more rude to have someone stare at me while I am nursing than risk the blanket slipping off. I equate it to the young couple making out at a dining establishment, while I do not want to see it, I have eyelids and full control over where my eyes focus.

Good grief is right. Relax ladies.

Andi
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Avatar_n_tn
i dont want to see nose picking or breast feeding. little babies is one thing, but if your kid can walk up and ask for it, then hes too old. we arent feral bushwomen foraging for food- hes old enough for chicken strips, for petes sake!! unless your at mardi gras, keep them boobs covered.
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Avatar_n_tn
c'mon - it was just a funny way of saying it - i don't think she meant any harm with it. you know what - we can use some laughs in this place - too many heartaches to not laugh a little. for me seeing that was probably the first real smile i had on my face since i got my af on saturday - so i appreciate the humor in it.
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I don't work at all in the health care industry.  I work for a company that manufactures organic and herbal supplements.  I do marketing for them.  The thing is, all the people I work with are completely in to being "free" and are basically hippies.  I think breastfeeding in public is fine, even at the age of 2.5 but I think it's appropriate to cover yourself somewhat.  I certainly wouldn't stare at a woman's exposed breast. I would absolutely turn away but I think there are young boys and others that are around that maybe wouldn't and here they are staring at a mothers breast.  I don't know--seems weird to me.  

As far as the sleeping in the same bed--I agree it's totally inappropriate to have sex in the same bed that your 2.5 year old is sleeping.  I do know that my boss absolutely adores his children and would never intentionally harm them.  I think the people I work with have a completely different mind set about how to live and what's right and wrong when it comes to parenting children.  They also believe in always holding your baby and not using strollers or swings or anything.  I could go on and on.
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Avatar_n_tn
Whatever.  Life is too short.  A lot of things offend me more than breastfeeding.
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I breastfed in public with my last child but a blanket to put over as not to offend anyone.  I beleive it is your right to breastfeed in public but I also believe that descretion should be used.  I can almost bet alot of these women would also get offended if someone were to whip out their breast in front of their child.
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Sleeps in the same bed as his parents at 2.5 years? Are you kidding me? Cut the strings people. Damn.
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I am shocked...I had no idea people still breastfeed their children at 2-3 years old. That seems perverse to me, but that is just my opinion and I haven't had to nurse yet..
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I did not continue to stare at the woman who was breastfeeding. My son was sitting very near her and at 6 years old he is not going to look straight ahead and completely ignore her, that is why I chose to leave.  Never before had I encountered a woman so indiscreet about it and if the child is old enough to say he's hungry, he's old enough to wait for the food to arrive.
I found the term nipple noodle hilarious.
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Avatar_n_tn
i'm still laughing about it - i look like a real dork sitting at my desk with a goofy grin on my face - yeah i guess that is a little "immature", but i don't really care - it's the first real laugh i've had in a while. so ha-ha!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Wow, I did breastfeed, but I was too shy to do it in public.  It doesn't offend me either, but I would have been upset in the situation described in the original post.  I respect a nursing mother's right to do so in public, but I don't want have to worry about my child seeing an exposed woman feeding a toddler his age, how would I explain that.  At least with a baby you can explain that the baby is eating.  To each their own though,but at that point I don't believe that the child benefits from nursing anymore and should really be working on those eating skills with utensils and cups and socializing with everyone.  At almost 3 my son has given up the sippy cup, although he does use sports cups with a lid (for my sake).
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I thought your comment was funny too :).

And in no way did I feel that the earlier comment about the boss sleeping in the bed with her/her child in anyway indicated child abuse....and a mandatory reporter warning. Lots of parents have children asleep in their beds at night, it does not indicate in any way that a  parent exemplifies any negative/abusive "activity" in bed when the child is there and this is coming from a mandatory reporter (I am licensed maternity nurse and licensed teacher).
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I think the concern was the part about the couple having sex with the child lying next to them in the bed, not the part about the child just sleeping there.
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THanks, I thought it was funny to!)
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Avatar_m_tn
It is just a boob for heavens sake. I think reacting in a negative way to it is more damaging than a child seeing a woman's breast. It is INTENDED for that use, she was using it for that purpose. Maybe she should have been more discreet in a restaurant but it was an opportunity to let the child know it is just another body part. Big deal, this society is so repressed it's ridiculous. Women don't even wear tops at all at the beach or at work in many countries and nurse their kids when and where it is needed so kids see boobs all the time and think nothing of it and do not sexualize just seeing a breast or deem it offensive to use it for it's intended purpose.


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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the backup.

If your kid asks questions, you just tell him/her that's how some women feed their babies/toddlers.  Then you tell them not to stare, it's not polite.  Then you pass the deep fried chicken strips.

As for the child abuse, people having sexual intercourse in the same bed as an almost 3 year old would probably not be received nicely by social services.  

This board gets totally worked up about breastfeeding.  You'd think it was an issue or something.
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Avatar_f_tn
The people who think it is inappropriate also have a right to their opinion.  I think it's totally inappropriate.  An infant, sure, cover with a blanket.  I can't believe anyone could nurse for that long.  That woman obviously has the luxery of not working.
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sorry, but i disagree with your idea. you're right it may just be a breast, but i'm sorry just b/c other countries (and i'm sorry to say the good old U.S. of A at times) deems it perfectly fine to walk around basically in your birthday suit does not mean that it's appropriate. it actually means more that our world has become so ridiculous in this department and has taken freedom to a whole new level. It may be natural to nurse your child and that's just fine, but it doesn't mean everyone has to be exposed to your breasts (and i don't mean exposed to the nursing i just mean the actual breasts). and regarding not sexualizing breasts: first of all ask any man if breasts  symbolize sex and sexuality and i think we all pretty much can guess the answer to that. second of all people not appreciating women's breasts being exposed to children (or adults for that matter)doesn't mean they're repressing anything and i don't think we have to delve into the psyche of women and how medieval it is to not appreciate nudity. can't anything be private these days or does everything have to be out there? i don't mean to put you down i just don't agree with your idea and while we're all expressing ourselves here thought i'd add in my thoughts.
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After reading everyone's posts and seeing everyone's opinions i just wanted to say regarding the people who agreed with have 2 kids (original poster) about covering up your breasts in public when breastfeeding i think that most are not saying it's wrong to breastfeed in public or something to be shamed of, but that the appropriate thing would be to cover up your actual breasts so everyone around doesn't have to see - adults and children alike. obviously more to the children, b/c as others have stated it's more difficult for them to not stare. even if you teach your children it's natural and i think nowadays being that so many women breastfeed children do understand that it's for feeding purposes and perfectly normal, it doesn't mean they'll stare less or completely get the concept. Listen, my niece (she was probably about 4 or 5 yrs. old), looked at me, pointed to my breasts (and they were completely covered - wearing a crew neck t-shirt) and asked me what i have those for if i don't have any babies. i told her that when she gets older she'll have them too - it's what girls get. my nephew piped up it's for when she has kids. now my nephews and niece do not grow up in a "let's chat about everything with our little ones" environment - definitely more sheltered, but they understood that breasts are used to feed babies and nurse. so really i don't think that our society's problem is that kids don't understand this concept. i think it's perfectly fine and normal to teach it to your kids, but it doesn't mean they have to  be exposed to it at every corner. it's also important (in my opinion) to teach your children privacy and appropriateness.
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There are benifits from feeding your baby longer than 11 months, an adult could benifit from breast milk cause it's just good for you. But I weened both mine at that age. But I know that the baby's brain is still growing and developing up until atleast the second birthday and that breastmilk optomizes brain growth. If only they could market the stuff. I wouldn't want to be the cow though. Beyond that, woman like to feed for comfort, they feel like the longer the child feels secure and close the more confident he will be. The idea makes sence, minus the breastfeeding beyond age 2, but the extremes people take it to seems to be counter productive, they never let go, baby can do no wrong and the world mommy creats revolves around them!
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Avatar_f_tn
I did not say that there was anything wrong with the woman being a "home mom."  Good grief -- people are way too sensitive around here.  I merely said she obviously has the "luxery" of not working.  If you work in an office setting you know it is difficult to manage the breastfeeding thing for 6 months, not to mention two and a half years!  I think it is great if a woman can stay home.  I would love to stay home myself because of the benefits to the child.  Unfortunately, student loans make that an impossibility.
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Avatar_n_tn
i personally think that a child shouldn't be breastfed at that age in public.  i think that if they are old enough to ask, then they are old enough to wait and be fed in a more private area.

do you live in the U.S.?  the only reason that i ask is that my health nurse was in Vegas and was nursing her baby with a blanket over her and someone reported her (the baby was like 3 months old).  2 security officer's came over to her and told her that she would be removed from the building (she was on a bench in the mall) if she didn't stop feeding her baby immediately.  she thought that it was a joke, but they were serious!  she was completely ticked off and had to go back to her hotel to nurse her baby.  i can't even believe that a restruant would allow a women to openly show her breast.
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actually my info on the nutritional value was from a dietitian (sp) that also believes in the long term feeding, but the value depletes after the 10/11 month mark. i think its cool to do whatever you want as i wouldnt want anyone to tell me how to raise my son. as far as the confidence issue goes who knows, my son is QUITE confident lol. he feels he is right always!
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"luxury of not working" Holy cow, spoken like a person who has never been a stay at home mother! Not working? You're kidding me right? I have two young boys, ages 4 and 2, and am expecting boy #3 in October. I worked full time as an NAC while attending school full-time to become a nurse and can tell you I had far more "my time" then than I do now as a stay at home mom. Not working, by gosh I must be doing something wrong, time to go rustle up some bon-bons and lay my lazy tush on the couch.

Sheesh!
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Avatar_n_tn
i think breast feeding is a wonderfull thing but, it dose not have to be done in such a matter as to affend people, that is not only crude but indecent, they have restrooms every where you go there was know reason that she couln't have gotten up and gone to the bathroom. Lazy hussy, i niether condone or approve of that kind of behaveiour,yes it is a free country but people using that to this extent is why the world has come to it's present state, it is natural for you to feed a child from your breast, it is not natural to pull down your top pop out your titty and feed your 2 or 3 year old child ,
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Would you eat your dinner in a public restroom? Probably not- because that would be gross..
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unless a womans breast is as dirty as a public restroom, thats not a very good argument. and if thats the case, the kid has way more problems coming down the road.
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I'm sure you'll all be delighted to hear this, but my sister breast-fed both her sons until they were past three years old.  (Of course they were 99% on other food -- well past the chicken strips -- by the time she decided to wean them.)  That all said (and to the family, yes, this was a bit extreme), I never once saw her exposed boobie at any family event, casual time, or anything, and I know she nursed then.  She was just conscious to keep from embarassing anyone, and to keep from flaunting her beliefs (and boobs) in others' faces.  Did anyone see Brittney Spears chewing gum through her recent interview with Larry King (I think it was)?  She shows so much of her boobs all the time with this pregnancy, like she thinks it is sexy, but I can't imagine it really is to guys; to me she just looks sloppy and a little gross.  That is, to my mind, a lot higher on the offensiveness scale than someone subtly nursing a baby.
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In a restroom, huh? That is a classic argument from someone who has never nursed. Am I then, within my own right, to say that I think someone bottle feeding should have to do so in a restroom because I am offended by the sight of a child drinking formula from a bottle? No, it is ridiculous. If it offends you, YOU go and take your plate to the nearest restroom and eat there.

Geez, what a lame argument ladies. Teach your children it isn't polite to stare, teach them that nursing is as nature intended, research the AAP for their latest recommendations (which BTW encourage nursing for as long as the MOTHER and the CHILD are comfortable and do see benefits in nursing beyond the 2 year mark) and live and let live. There are plenty things I see in public that repulse me, but just as you feel they shouldn't have a sense of entitlement, neither should you.

Andi
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Well then, all of us that think it is inappropriate for people to whip the boob out and feed the 2 year old (without a SCRAP of material to cover) are just uneducated slobs that could never achieve your great height of higher education. I applaud you for raising the MOST tolerant of children. Us, the lower class, should take a lesson in such fine child rearing.


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How did higher education get into this?  :)
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Avatar_n_tn
oh, so you know me? yes, i did nurse. but i was tactful about it, and respected others. i did it discreetly and, if needed, in a restroom. you are awfully defensive about this topic.

in your words, "relax, ladies"
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm all for breastfeeding anywhere, but I'd have to say I do feel a little awkward when the boobage is hanging out for all to see.
I do think its strange though,that in the U.S. where sex and nudity is all over the TV and movie screens and doesn't seem to raise much of anything, but there is this huge controversy over breastfeeding in public.
I lived in Africa for one semester in college and I'll tell you everyday I got on the bus there would be numerous women whipping out a boob and feeding their babies. The only people that would stare were the Americans. I don't remember ever seeing an African man sit and stare at a woman while she was breastfeeding (...and it was all hanging out). Different cultures, I guess. Sometimes it does make me wonder why we are so focused on the breast.
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wow i needed a good chuckle! i breastfed my baby till he was 7 months, when he thought it funny to bite! i didnt do it much in public and simply went into another room if at a friends house. i am not bothered but find it beautiful...if a baby. a child doesnt get any nutrition from breast milk after (if memory serves) 11 months or so. i am guessing that mothers who feed into the 2 or 3's are doing it for themselves mostly. im not sure why. i worked in a dental office and my patient (while i was working on her) had her 3 yr old daughter come over pull up her shirt and suck away! eewww, i simply got up and left and came back when she was done. if there are any long term nursers out there shed some light on why you feed into the toddler age. lol maybe ill ask my dh if he wants to be my nipple noodle :}
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Avatar_n_tn
I agree with your comment. We are extremely repressed in this society. That is what breasts are for. Look away. Teach your children to understand that is what breasts are for.. and that it is rude to stare. And to the commentor who stated that BFing woman must be a "home mom"- whats wrong with that? What a benefit for her child(ren) to be able be home with them.
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Avatar_n_tn
Can't say I blame you for leaving because you were with your child. If it were you and another adult, looking away and enjoying the rest of your meal would have been appropriate. But a child cannot control their impulses to look if something seems really out of sorts to them and that is a little strange. I bf my dd in public till she was one, but I did cover up for the sake of others comfort too. Although more than once she got really good at grabbing the blanket off in an instant and I'm sure some got a little show....oh well!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Okay, that was too funny!  I agree though, my pediatrician also said there was no benefit after a certain age, I think it was around 11 months or so too.  I'm curious to hear if there is a good reason or a benefit I don't know about.  My poor little guy made it to 3 months and I dried up.  I found out later I wasn't eating enough to keep producing.  I would've stopped around that time anyway, once he got onto the solids he didn't care much about anything else.
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