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Women Shouldn’t Breastfeed Where?

It amazes me how shocked some people get about the idea of breastfeeding in public. Until fairly recent times, mothers had no other choice. They did not just stay home when they had a baby, yet that’s what some people think mothers should do now if they aren’t willing to give their baby a bottle.

I came across this article about 9 Most Awkward Breastfeeding Situations via Mother Nature Network. The situations and reasoning they have are pretty ridiculous from my perspective.

Don’t breastfeed in church? I like my mother’s description: Feeding God’s creation in God’s house in God’s way. Where does that go wrong exactly?

There’s an article on the subject linked to the gallery on this one. It’s not as bad as the gallery, but some of the comments are depressing, especially the ones who think that women nurse in public to get attention.

No… and if you think you only ever see women nursing in public by flopping her breasts out for all to see, you’re probably right.

They’re the only ones you see. The rest are so discreet you don’t notice them at all. And there are more of them.

Nursing in public is not done to get attention. It’s not sexual. It’s nothing like urinating, defecating or having sex in public. It’s feeding a baby. Not so different from feeding oneself, except baby’s food comes directly from the mother’s breast.

No, it’s not always discreet. Babies don’t always allow that. They pull off randomly. As they get older they move the mother’s clothing around. They don’t all tolerate a nursing cover, nor should they be expected to. It gets hot under those things, and the ability to have eye contact with their mother as they nurse is a big thing for babies.

I truly detest the notion that moms should just stay at home with their babies. It’s usually stated as being in the baby’s best interest, but it isn’t. It’s isolating to the mother and child. It’s also impossible in many cases, such as when the mother needs to run errands. And there’s no reason to expect any human being to be chained to their home 24/7 just because they’re caring for another human being. We all have the right to a social life.

That said, I’ll agree that when possible sick babies should be kept at home. It’s not always possible, and most moms try their best.

Of course, if a mother were to refuse to breastfeed in public and doesn’t carry bottles of either pumped breastmilk or formula, then she’ll be criticized for having a hungry, screaming baby. Breastfeeding is much pleasanter for all. If the mother gets a little exposed, you only need to look away. It takes more effort to get away from the screams of a hungry baby.

Breastfeeding in public has allowed me to take my kids when each was a baby on airplanes and not disturb the other passengers. They just nursed through takeoff and landing, and didn’t need to cry at all. I’d call that a win even for anyone sitting close enough to realize what I was doing, although usually I’d be traveling with enough family that no strangers would be right by me.

Breastfeeding in public has allowed me to run errands even when my babies were small and nursed more frequently. It’s great for soothing babies who would otherwise be screaming as I tried to get things done out of the house. A full tummy solves many problems when you’re that young.

Breastfeeding in public has allowed me to participate in church services. It has allowed me to enjoy a good meal out with friends and family.

I won’t say I flaunt anything, as I try to keep things covered, but do people sometimes see a bit more than they would if I weren’t breastfeeding? Absolutely. You can’t control a baby that perfectly. They wiggle, move and play. They pull clothing aside. They remove covers.

I can limit that and do, but there’s only so much to be done for it. I’m not a mind reader, so there’s no way to know in advance that baby’s going to pop off at a particular instant despite suckling strongly just a moment before.

Moms, don’t let articles and commenters get you down about where you breastfeed. Most states acknowledge your rights to breastfeed your baby any place you’re allowed to be.