Why aren’t nursing rooms mandatory in every public place?

in Breastfeeding

So I’m out the other night with some friends and my new 2.5 week old daughter who is exclusively breastfed. As we arrive at the restaurant and my daughter is frantically rooting around, the controversial question arises, should I breastfeed in public at our table or not? Going to the car, which I sometimes do was not really an option this time because it was in a parking deck a few blocks away. With our location being a bit more on the fancy side I opted to head to the bathroom in hopes it would have at least a comfy chair to sit in. I get to the bathroom and am met with no comfy chair, only some empty stalls with toilets that have no lids. So it’s either stand or sit on the nasty toilet (thank goodness they were not the automatic flush kind)! I chose to save my back and sit, all the while “enjoying” the flushes of the many other women coming in to use the toilet for what it is meant to be used for.

Why must a breastfeeding mother isolate herself in a bathroom, car, or other strange place just to keep from offending others by breastfeeding in public? Sure, they have the “hooter hiders” and various other nursing cover-ups, but that almost draws more attention to yourself than just simply feeding with no “hooter hider”.

Shouldn’t it be mandatory for all public places to have some kind of designated area for nursing mothers (or at least a comfortable chair in the bathroom) to go to for a little comfort and privacy? Thank you Babies R Us and a few other department stores for providing such a place!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

JD May 16, 2011 at 9:16 pm

It’s so true. We all know breastfeeding is best for both baby and mom, and it’s the most natural thing in the world… so you’d think it would be more acccepted and “out and about” in our society.

nk May 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I breastfeed in public all the time. Even as my children approached toddlerhood and beyond. The normalization of breastfeeding was more important to me than any uncomfortable feelings I experienced by nursing in public. I do completely understand not wanting to nurse in front of strangers because of the unwanted stares, yet, after one time of trying to feed my first born in public with a bottle I realized how ludicrous it was that our culture doesn’t embrace the natural needs of infants. It is nice to have a quite place to nurse your child, but many smaller businesses that do not cater to new moms are not financially able to provide adequate space to do so. Congratulations on your baby and I do hope you find more comfortable situations in the future!

Sarah May 16, 2011 at 10:47 pm

I don’t worry about offending others in public (udder cover or no) while breastfeeding. In my book, if they are offended, they need to look the other way and deal with it.

If my son were formula-fed, no one would even bat an eye for giving him a bottle in a restaurant (ok, except maybe the people who know how much better it is to breastfeed!). Why should they be offended if I’m feeding him naturally?

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