Breastfeeding In Public

I was recently reading this story about breastfeeding in public (found via Twitter) and the comments that followed. The second comment on the story was:

“I think there needs to be some compromise in this matter. Yes breast milk is best, there is no argument there, but does it really hurt to place a blanket or light scarf over your child when feeding in a public place?”

Why yes, commenter, it does hurt to put the cover over my daughter’s head when she’s feeding in public. She kicks me, she hits me, she pulls off without unlatching, she even cries sometimes. She pulls at the cover and wont actually eat. Nevermind the fact that it’s hot, a hassle to carry around, and the fact that my baby screaming as I dig through my bag to get it is probably more disrupting than me simply putting her on the breast and being done with it.

What is so obtrusive about me breastfeeding my baby without a cover? At first, I felt very awkward around my father, my husband’s friends, etc. and I’m sure they felt awkward too. Guess what, they simply look away. That’s the end of it.

I have a (male) friend that once told me while I was pregnant that he “hopes I wont be one of those women breastfeeding in the middle of the restaurant” and I assured him I wouldn’t be that woman. I was convinced I would just pump if I needed to leave the house or at least time my errands around feedings. Another commenter had this to say:

“There is no reason why you can’t pump your breastmilk into a bottle when you know you will be out in public. You should cover it up while breastfeeding if you are not able to pump it prior to.”

I have one–very justified in my mind–reason why I can’t pump and take it with me… it’s a pain in the ass. If you’ve had to pump before, you know how much of a hassle it is. You have to have someone else watch the baby while you do it, get your milk to let down, sit there for twice as long as a normal feeding because it’s not as efficient, and this isn’t even going into storing the milk, bringing bottles with you, etc. I don’t want to pump! I’ve even sacrificed leaving the baby with a sitter because I don’t want to go to the effort to pump. Also, what do I do when I get engorged because it’s time to feed and baby is on a bottle? And pumps are expensive!

I thoroughly believe that a mother can expose any amount of skin necessary to breastfeed. Though most don’t. I personally wear a breastfeeding tank top and pull up my shirt. Most people don’t even know that my baby is breastfeeding. What is so horribly offensive about my non-skin showing? Not to mention that almost every state has laws allowing women to breastfeed in public.

We have officially stopped carrying around the Bebe au Lait with us. We feed without a cover anywhere and everywhere.

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2 thoughts on “Breastfeeding In Public

  1. Amen and amen.

    I'm a big believer in the nursing tank myself (to hide my tummy!), but I've just made my own, by hacking boob-holes in some cheapo underwear-style tanks.

    I suspect very few people have any idea that I'm breastfeeding most of the time.

    And I AM breastfeeding most of the time! 😉

  2. Good for you! Your baby is way more important than that guy in the restaurant.

    So he has to use an extra muscle to turn his head, who cares? You, on the other hand, would have to find a blanket, position the blanket, re-position the blanket, position the baby, re-position the blanket again, juggle the baby, your shirt and the blanket, call everyone in the restaurants attention to the fact that you are breast-feeding, stop the baby from pulling the blanket down, unsuccessfully stop the baby from pulling the blanket down, at which time all the guys who know KNOW you are breast-feeding at who are looking right at you because your baby is screaming, have to turn their heads anyway.

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