Divided opinions – Breast Feeding in Public

I honestly fail to see why some people have such a problem with breast feeding in public, and by that I don’t mean the mum’s who are feeding their precious little bundles – I actually mean those around her and her child.

As a mother who breast fed both of her children in public it is the most natural thing in the world however with it brings mixed opinions sadly.

For a new nursing mum it does take a lot of practice and confidence to feed in public – believe me for some feeding doesn’t come naturally and self confidence is an issue already without the hushed comments you may get from others while you are actually doing your best to keep your child happy, contented and quiet too.

I have experienced both sides of feeding in public – the good and positive comments and the negative comments too.

Harry feeding – 2 and a half weeks old
While feeding Emmy in a corner booth of a pub awaiting my lunch with friends on one of our first solo outings I was loudly tutted by an elderly couple who started discussing loudly how ‘that sort of thing shouldn’t be allowed in here’.  It was quite obvious they were talking about me and it was very upsetting. 

I had especially dressed for feeding Emmy in a breastfeeding top and I had an over sized muslin draped over both of us – you couldn’t see anything at all – even my friends siting in front and next to me couldn’t see.  The couple behind definitely couldn’t. 
I didn’t feel I could say anything but it was upsetting, it didn’t deter me though.  I was able to breast feed my child so that’s what I was going to do – besides all the health benefits it was cheap!

I’ve also been in coffee shops feeding and had people (strangers) come over to me and strike up a conversation with me, often joining me to keep me company if I was alone, I’ve even had a few buy me a refill.  It’s actually very nice and warming. 
Babies need feeding be that with a bottle or with a boob – either way if you don’t feed them they will cry, then scream!  Now I wonder how may people would complain if you sat eating your meal ignoring your screaming baby?
That would bother people a lot more than your happy and contented baby who is being fed discreetly by their mother in the most natural way.  You would be surprised though – a recent survey carried out by www.myvouchercodes.co.uk shows that one fifth of people think that breastfeeding in pubs and restaurants is inappropriate.

A researcher for the online voucher code website found that 21% of people think that anywhere you eat or drink is not an appropriate place to breastfeed.

Now this is where I completely disagree – I think if you are allowed to eat and drink somewhere then your child should be able to too – and that counts for babies too – why should they be left out because of their age? 

I have NEVER seen a mother breastfeeding who exposes their breasts to do so – a nursing baby will cover the nipples of their mother and the mums clothing covers the rest, and many will then use some kind of cover up too – their feeding will have no impact on your meal whatsoever – you most likely wont even know they are doing it even – so just why it bothers so many people I will never know.

500 people were surveyed, males and females to find out how they felt about women breastfeeding their children in public places.  They were asked “Where is it inappropriate to breastfeed?”

These were the results of that question:
  • Pubs and restaurants – 21%
  • Public Transport – 18%
  • Recreational areas, e.g. public swimming pools – 18%
  • Town/city centres – 16%
  • Shops – 1%
However the survey also showed that 67% of people are happy for breastfeeding mothers to feed their babies anywhere in public.  This story was also shown in the Daily Mail where is shows 70% of Brits are comfortable with women breastfeeding in public even in pubs and restaurants.

Have you even encountered problems or comments when breastfeeding in public?
Would it stop you from doing so?

I’ve seen many posts of support on Facebook supporting breastfeeding – where someone has been asked to stop and to even leave an establishment – later that week a breastfeeding demo of support has been set up where that establishment has been over run with feeding mums – I have to say – good for them!

Feeding Harry at a family party

I do remember one time feeding Harry while out to lunch with Emmy and being asked if I could “that that and continue in the restroom as it was making others feel uncomfortable” – of course THAT meant Harry who was being breastfed.  Of course I didn’t – I mean why would I? 

Would you be happy to eat your meal in the restroom?  Emmy certainly wouldn’t and so why should Harry?  Besides Emmy was still eating her meal and I was not about to uproot her.  I was covered up – more so than usual as I was using a breastfeeding cover up.  It was actually a customer who had asked me to stop – I refused to be rude to him, as he was being to me and I asked if I was making HIM feel uncomfortable, to which he replied yes.  I then asked him why?  He couldn’t answer or look me in the eye.  When turned to walk away, Emmy had taken that moment to talk to him – she said “That’s my Harry, he’s my baby brother”, in that moment the man turned around to Emmy and smiled, patted her on the head and apologised.

I sincerely hope his opinion was changed then and he never asked anyone to stop again.


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One thought on “Divided opinions – Breast Feeding in Public

  1. I would never make a rude comment at a breast feeding mother and i definitely don't think it's 'inappropriate'!!
    The only time i have a problem is when (& super rarely) a mother is feeding and she has her whole breast out for all too see, I think it's totally unnecessary and makes it awkward!!
    I certainly don't believe a baby should have to eat under a cover or in a toilet, I just believe that breast feeding should be done respectfully and discreetly!! & before anyone throws virtual eggs at me, no I don't think it's ok for women to walk round with their cleveages out or to be exposed in magazines….but such is life in 2014!!

    I don't think you'll ever change everybody perception or feeling towards it and I think especially the older generation are still stuck in their ways where everything inc clothes where much more modest and you did anything like that in private!! The world is much more liberal and I think it's great women feel more comfortable but it doesn't harm to be discreet!!

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