Breastfeeding: Taboo in Public?

in Babies,Blog,Breastfeeding,Parenting

Did you breastfeed or bottle feed?  While I’m pro-breastfeeding and breastfed both of my biological children for over a year each (still breastfeeding my 15 month old a few times a day), I think it’s important to support those in your life who are not breastfeeding.  I feel like society puts so much emphasis on “breast is best” and I agree with that.  However, there are many reasons that some moms simply can’t breastfeed.  Sometimes their bodies don’t produce enough milk.  Maybe the baby is not a good sucker.  Maybe the baby got off to a bad start by being in the NICU and being fed by a feeding tube.  All of these things can work against a mom who really was looking forward to breastfeeding.  You can see a lactation specialist to help with different problems, but in the end, your goal should be a healthy, happy baby and mother, no matter how your baby is getting his nutrients.  If you were not able to breastfeed or simply chose not to from day one, don’t beat yourself up.  There are plenty of babies who live and thrive on formula and grow up to be super stars!  I’m sure there are plenty of people around you that snub their noses at you for not breastfeeding, but don’t let them bother you.  You have to do what is best for you and your family situation, no matter what others think.

For those of you who did choose to breastfeed, you can probably vouch for me saying a lot of times it’s not easy!  I was very fortunate to have 2 babies that sucked well and breastfeeding came naturally to me and my babies.  With my first, I didn’t run into too many problems other than a bit of sore nipples.  However, with my second, I did have some more breast issues to deal with and now have a much better understanding why some moms stop breastfeeding.  I had sore, cracked, and bleeding nipples at first and then about four weeks into breastfeeding, all was going really well, but I ended up with a bout of mastitis.  That was one of the most painful things I ever experienced!  It makes you feel kind of like you have the flu; rundown, feverish, and tired.  Plus there is excruciating pain on the infected breast at the slightest touch and when trying to feed the baby.  They say to feed as much as possible on the infected side to help, but wow, I literally cried every time I had to put my daughter there!  Thankfully, with a couple days of antibiotics, it cleared up.  All that being said, I can see why some moms are “scared” to breast feed in the first place because as you know, the minute you tell people you’re pregnant you get all these horror stories thrown at you about birthing and parenthood!  I’m surprised we actually get pregnant in the first place after hearing all our friends talk about how painful everything can be!  LOL

For those of you who chose to breastfeed, did you do so in public places such as at restaurant tables or on benches at the park or in the mall?  If so, what kinds of stares did you get from people?  This is a subject I get really fired up about!!  Many people are disgusted that you would even consider “whipping it out” in public, but yet no one is disgusted by the scantily clad models pictured just down the hall at the mall in Victoria Secret!  Victoria Secret models are showing WAY more skin than a breastfeeding mom peacefully feeding her baby, so people, get real!!   There is nothing bad about breastfeeding in public if you’re willing to look at and let your kids see the Victoria Secret models!!  Most moms choose to also use a breastfeeding cover-up, so you don’t actually see any skin anyway, so I really don’t get why some people are disgusted by it (you people with this philosophy, please give me your comments because I would really like to know why you feel this way)!!  If bottle feeding is an acceptable form of feeding at a restaurant table or somewhere else in public, then what is wrong with also breastfeeding there?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Megan Triplette November 25, 2012 at 2:20 am

I never breastfed my first child in public due to being uneducated to the discreet methods, as well as not much support. My second child (who is my current nursling) and I have been breastfeeding for 3 months now and we have done so in MANY public places. This time around I learned ways to dress to keep my nursing sessions discreet and less noticeable as well as occasionally throwing a blanket over my baby as well (not too often do I use a cover though). When people do happen to notice I get sort of a wide variety of responses; some men will do a “double-take” and then quickly look away, while other men will continue to interact with me but doing as best as possible to avoid looking down at my nursing baby. Women have given me a few glares here and there but most of the time, so far anyways, they have been supportive and offering to help me grab a burp rag from my diaper bag, or do I need some water to drink. The rudest comments I have received was from a family member on my husband’s side who insisted that she was a supporter of breastfeeding HOWEVER she did not believe that a woman should do so in public, or that if a woman did breastfeed in public it would need to be done completely covered and in a semi-private location. She also proclaimed that it is considered polite and mature to think of others and just pump milk to take with us if we really need to leave our homes! I didn’t realize that if you chose to breastfeeding you needed to do so along with bottle feeding or else stay cooped up in your house until the baby is no longer nursing. Needless to say, me and her exchanged quite a few choice words. The only other time I have been judged or criticized for anything involved with breast milk is when I made the decision to donate my breast milk to babies in need as well. My in-laws’ side of the family was completely grossed out by this decision and said it was the most wrong thing I could do. They said it was weird, creepy, and gross to give another baby my “bodily fluids”. I explained to them that it is no different than them drinking another animals milk (i.e. COWS MILK!!!) and that I am helping a mother give the very best to her child. I’m sure though that those words along with any other words of mine went in one ear and out the other for them, but oh well I’m not too concerned about it. I did find a wonderful family though that i exclusively donate to and will continue to do so until I am no longer able to. Overall I have been very blessed in my experiences with other people witnessing my NIP (nursing in public) but its only been 3 months so there is still plenty of time for someone negative to share their ugly opinions with me.

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