Public Breast Feeding

Breastfeeding from Birth and Beyond

Basic Nursing Bra Tank Top perfect for Public Breast feeding for discreet breastfeeding. Only $28.99!

Public breast feeding helps mothers breastfeed their babies longer.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical groups recommend that babies should be breastfed for at least 12 months. More than 70 percent of new mothers in the United States breastfeed their newborns directly after birth, however hardly 16 percent of mothers choose to breastfeed their babies by one year.

There are abundant reasons that mothers refer to for bringing the breastfeeding relationship to an end. In a modern society that often doesn’t embrace the natural and superior way to feed infants and toddlers many women feel uncomfortable with public breast feeding. At questionable times when you may need support and encouragement most the alternatives to breastfeeding could appear easier and more practical.

Feeling Comfortable With Public Breast feeding - Anytime and Anywhere

It’s not easy to feel comfortable with public breast feeding within populations where breastfeeding is uncommon. When a mother feels self-conscious or uncomfortable feeding her baby outside of the home it becomes burdensome after a while. Inability to feed in public sets restrictions on the freedom to leave the house or obliges the use bottles when in public. Such limitations can leave a mother feeling frustrated and isolated by her choice to breastfeed. Modern women breastfeed in a culture where breasts are used to sell cars and beer and where the number of women who artificially augment their breasts has snowballed to nearly 600 percent from the early 90’s to present day.

Formula companies use advertising to suggest that breastfeeding is an intimate and private event furthering the belief that public breast feeding is somehow inappropriate. White women wearing white nightgowns or negligees usually seated in a rocking chair in a dimly lighted baby's bedroom nursing newborns or very young babies. Images in the public media of women nursing infants out of the home setting; at the mall, out and about, or in public are rarely presented.

“Why not just give the baby a bottle?”

Pumping breast milk and delivering it to the baby in a bottle is often suggested as a solution to the public breast feeding debate. There are hidden obstacles in the seemingly “easy” option. Women who are unable to nurse when out and about are in a vulnerable position of delaying feeds. This can increase risks of full and sore breasts, lowered milk production, plugged milk ducts, and at worst breast infection. It is especially true in the early weeks after having a baby. Extra time and care is necessary to express, store, and carry milk safely. Milk that is not as fresh loses some of its nutritional and health benefits. Babies may develop nipple confusion and have trouble switching between the breast and an artificial nipple. These risks have potential to cause the baby to wean, or have such serious difficulties that the mother may need to seek professional help. Should even one mother or baby to have an increased risk of discomfort or illness just because someone doesn't want to see it?

Of course the challenges of pumping and use of bottles on public outings can be overcome. However the end result is that it’s less complicated, healthier, more efficient, and easygoing to fit breastfeeding in with all every day activities, including public breast feeding, than it is to add occasional bottle-feeding in with breastfeeding.

No breastfeeding mother should be told that she has to use bottles, anymore than a bottle feeding mother should be told that she has to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is a feeding choice, and mothers should be allowed to choose for themselves how they want to feed their baby.

Public Breast feeding, Modesty, and Fear of “Exposure”

A common reason for discomfort with public breast feeding is the fear of exposing breasts. Some attitudes confuse physical and emotional intimacy of breastfeeding with sexual activity and when observing a woman using her breasts for their most basic function; they confuse it with something that's sexual and should be done in privacy.

In a variety of cultures throughout the world people aren’t reluctant of seeing a mother breastfeed her baby. Most world cultures do not sexualize the female breasts. Breasts are perceived as feeding devices for babies and young children.

It’s interesting to reflect on history and old attitudes towards the female body and pregnancy. Many years ago, it was considered inappropriate for pregnant women to even be in public. Expecting women were referred to as, “being in a family way”, and were hidden from sight. Perhaps today’s opinions about breastfeeding stem from such attitudes of the past. Maybe this is a subconscious acknowledgment that breastfeeding carries over the physical bond between mother and baby which, began in pregnancy.

In reality, a breastfeeding woman usually reveals less of her breasts when feeding a baby than fashion models seen in common advertisements. Ironically, the sexual representation of breasts has become the norm while the traditional purpose of breasts – breastfeeding – has become the taboo. Conceivably it is the act of feeding a baby from the breasts makes some people feel uncomfortable, not the exposure.

Discreet Cover up During Public Breast feeding

Some mothers feel most confident and discreet when breastfeeding their babies under the covering of a small light blanket or cloth diaper. In addition there are shawls and other cover-ups made to keep breastfeeding under wraps. Nursing shawls and covers serve as a polite signal to bystanders as if to say, “I’m nursing my baby, please give me privacy “.

Babywearing or using a sling to breastfeed modestly is another option. Breastfeeding in the sling just before nap time helps satisfy your baby emotionally and physically and with your baby already in the sling you can continue your errands or shopping effortlessly.

When wearing appropriate clothing it can be easy to breastfeed discreetly. A free or flowing shirt or top that can be easily lifted from the waist allows you to feed without revealing your breast. Your nipple and lower breast will be covered by the baby. Nursing bras that can be fastened and unfastened with one hand make modest nursing easier. Clothing with hidden slits for nursing can also be sewn or purchased for this purpose.

One homemade option for a breastfeeding mom is to cut slits in the front of a t-shirt or tank top and wear it under a larger shirt or top. When you pull up the top layer to nurse you still have the t-shirt or tank top covering up most of your body.

Undetectable public breast feeding is a learned skill that becomes much easier with practice. Before venturing out to a public place, you may want to practice in front of a mirror. This will give you a preview of what others will see and you can make changes in your positioning to gain the level of modesty that suits you.

Where to Feed a Baby

Generally, you can find a comfortable place for public breast feeding without a hitch when you anticipate and take notice of your baby's hunger cues and avert a screaming hunger crisis.

Though it may be tough to find an absolutely private spot to nurse in when faced with the urgency of a hungry baby, many moms will settle on a place that is adequately sheltered from view.

The car can be a calm, relaxed place to nurse your baby if the outdoor weather isn’t too hot or cold.

It would be considered outrageous to take your lunch break in a public restroom toilet however it is commonly acceptable to suggest that a breastfeeding mother nurse her baby in the “privacy” of a public toilet stall.

Some malls and stores provide accommodations for breastfeeding and young children to play in. Some women have benefited from nursing in a furniture department rocking chair! The privacy of a fitting room is sometimes a decent option for breastfeeding in especially in a maternity or baby clothing store. When completely at a loss for where to breastfeed your baby you may be able to find a quiet well-situated spot to sit on the floor. Position yourself so that you’re facing away from possible spectators while you latch the baby on. As soon as your baby is nursing, most people will not even notice what you are doing.

Breastfeeding With Certainty

Some moms gain confidence by breastfeeding in friendly settings as in the company of other breastfeeding mothers. Even if people are aware that you are nursing, you may find comfort in reminding yourself that what you are doing is feeding your baby with the best milk available. You are using your breasts for the ultimate purpose! Self-assured of the reality that you are providing your baby with the gold standard of baby milk might give a boost to your confidence – parents are willing to overcome many challenges to give their child the very best!

Many women have been pleasantly amazed by strangers who see her breastfeeding and actually applaud her or offer encouragement via personal stories.

Submit your photo to the public breast feeding photo gallery.

You may choose to view public breast feeding as a public service. Every mother can make her mark and influence a positive change to the opinion of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding and the Law

Recently the media picked up a story about a woman in Houston, Texas was told to leave a restaurant for breastfeeding there!

Mothers have a right to breastfeed even in public. No one has the right to tell a mother how to feed her baby, especially a way that increases the risk of illness to both mother and baby! Legislation has been passed in nearly one-half of the states in the U.S. in order to explain this right, and protect mothers told to stop breastfeeding. Hopefully legislation will help show that breastfeeding is proper and something that respectable mothers can feel free to do in public.