Breastfeeding in Public
by Susie Hamilton
Breast Pumps Direct
Many women often feel uncomfortable when it comes to breastfeeding in public because of the way that breastfeeding is viewed by many people in our culture. Many people feel that breastfeeding should be done in the privacy of one’s home because it involves the mother’s breast.
Those who are opposed to a mother discreetly nursing her infant in their presence are usually unaware that breastfeeding is the best possible way to provide nutrition for a baby. Some even believe, as strange as it may sound, that breastfeeding is some how related to sexual activity since it involves a woman’s breasts. Advertising for formula companies also feeds into the negative thoughts about breastfeeding and leads people to think that babies should be bottle fed.
Since our culture often casts a negative light on breastfeeding mothers often forego breastfeeding and begin to use bottles to avoid dealing with any negative attention. When this happens the mother and child give up the special bond that is developed through a breastfeeding relationship.
Options to consider when breastfeeding in public:
- Using a cover up or blanket
- In your vehicle
- A ladies’ fitting room
- Rooms provided for nursing mothers
Using a cover up seems simple enough, but they often draw more attention to the fact that you are breastfeeding. Feeding your baby in your car can work as long as the weather is neither too hot nor too cold. Back rooms and fitting rooms offer the most privacy for those mothers choose not to nurse in front of others. Some people may suggest that you go into the restroom; however, a public restroom is not a sanitary location for feeding a baby. Just as it would not be a suitable place for another adult or child to eat a meal. You can check out these Nursing Covers if you choose to breastfeed in public.
Although being very discreet while feeding your baby may help your day go more smoothly some breastfeeding advocates feel that being too discreet may hinder the progress of gaining the acceptance of public breastfeeding. They believe that breastfeeding mothers shouldn’t have to make excuses or special arrangements for feeding their children.
Just remember that when you nurse in public it is important that you are comfortable with the situation. As long as you are relaxed and confident while breastfeeding your baby most people will not even notice that you are nursing.
If you are interested in finding out more about breastfeeding advocacy consider visiting the Promotion of Mother’s Milk, Inc. and the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy. Both of these groups are dedicated to increasing the acceptance of breastfeeding. Additionally, the La Leche League International is also a great resource that provides support for breastfeeding mothers who choose to feed their babies in public.