Breastfeeding in Public
Most mothers know that breastfeeding is the most
natural and healthy option for their baby. The problem is that
nowadays mothers need to work, shop, take their other children
places, and do a thousand other things; it’s hard to always be in a
private area when your baby is hungry. Social norms make many women
feel uncomfortable feeding their children in public areas, but don’t let
this stop you. You just don't have to put up with people telling you
that you must feed your baby in a dirty
bathroom stall or put a blanket over your
baby's face. Would YOU want to eat like
that? You should not let people stop you
from doing what’s best for your child.
Feeding a baby is not shocking, but
necessary. Unfortunately in some cultures,
particularly in the Western world, feeding a
baby at the breast IS seen as something
shocking, even vulgar by some. To be fair,
many people are simply unaccustomed to
seeing a woman breastfeeding and so feel
some discomfort around a nursing mother. For
others, breastfeeding is an activity that
belongs behind closed doors.
One the one hand, some proponents of
breastfeeding feel that the only way to
normalize the activity and affect a change
in the collective consciousness is to
proceed normally, and not behave as if
nursing is something that needs to be hidden
Others feel that they can't do much to
change the opinions of uninformed
individuals. They may decide to avoid
offending others by using some sort of
nursing cover up when feeding their baby. No
approach is right, it depends on the
situation and the feelings of the mother.
The fact of the matter is you have every right to breast feed in public. In fact, many areas
laws protecting the rights of breastfeeding mothers. However, you should
steps to respect the wishes of others and be as discrete as you can. Since many
places haven’t yet set aside areas for private breast feeding, you
may have to be creative. Here are some tips for discrete feeding:
• Wear clothing designed for breast feeding.
They make special
clothing just for this purpose, or you can improvise or modify
• If possible, find a secluded area. If you can find a spare chair,
great. A spare dressing room or hidden corner is even better. If you
are in a restaurant, you can ask to be seated in a confined area or
simply be seated near a wall and face your back to the crowd.
• Use a nursing cover. While many women use a baby blanket, you can be even
more discrete by wearing a jacket or large shawl to cover your baby.
• Practice. While it may seem silly, the best way to learn to
your child in public is to practice in
front of a mirror while
home. Try different positions and different coverings. This will
know which positions are the best for feeding without showing too
• Ask for somewhere private. If you need to breastfeed at work, it’s
unreasonable to ask for somewhere to do it. Many employers would
rather you feed in a break room or secluded area rather than in the
middle of the office. You can also look into laws in your area
related to workplace breastfeeding.
While it’s normal to want to be respectful of other people, you do
rights. There are certain things you should never do.
• Never feed your baby in a restroom stall. Outer sitting areas in
restrooms are fine. They are generally more comfortable for you and
your baby; however, the actual restroom is not. Bathrooms are dirty
and usually have an unpleasant smell. Adults don’t have to eat in
restroom stalls; neither should your child.
• Don’t let people intimidate you. No matter how discrete you are,
inevitable that someone will still be offended that you choose to
breastfeed. Inform people politely that you have a legal right to
feed your baby in public. If you feel inclined, you can also add
some of the damaging effects bottle feeding has on children. If you
feel uncomfortable saying things to strangers, there are
breastfeeding rights groups that can provide you with cards to hand
out to people who object.
Breastfeeding may be difficult, especially when you need to be in
but keep in mind that it’s the best option for having a happy,
healthy baby. And if it feels right for you and your baby then trust
If you bottle feed check out
natural glass bottles!