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Thread: Breastfeeding in Public: Why is it still so taboo??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    1

    Unhappy Breastfeeding in Public: Why is it still so taboo??

    Hi everyone!

    This is my first time posting. I'm a new member, so I apologize if this top has been brought up a million other times already.

    I'm really excited that my baby boy (8 months old, born 8 weeks premature) took to breastfeeding. His older brother did not, no matter how hard I tried to make it work. I think I had a much better lactation consultant and support with this second baby.

    Anyway, it's super hard for me to want to take my baby in public. For example, we love to experience Disneyland together as a family as often as possible, and even my baby enjoys it immensely! But I feel odd breastfeeding even at a place as diversely populated as Disneyland. I RARELY ever see another mother nursing in the park, unless it's at the baby care center, where they have a private area partitioned off for nursing moms. The thing is, the baby care center is over by the entrance of the park, and on busy days/nights, my baby doesn't want to wait for the hour-long shuffle to the other side of the park for his meal. So I discretely as possible, find a private-ish spot, and I keep as covered as possible, to nurse my little man.

    Seems totally normal, right? Last week, though, we stopped by Goofy's playground, meant for small children under the age of 5. I thought that would be a safe spot. My husband even helped me stay covered up as I sat and nursed my baby on a bench, while my older child played.

    Maybe it's because I'm a larger lady with large breasts that it creeps people out? I'm not as smooth as other moms when it comes to "whipping it out" and getting a good latch. But when I looked up to watch my older child play, I noticed one grandma just a few feet from me, glaring and shaking her head at me. I ignored her. Later, a couple came into the park, and the husband could NOT stop staring. It was so awkward! What the heck, people?! Did you all not breastfeed your children?!

    Does anyone else feel ashamed while nursing in public? I REFUSE to nurse my baby in a bathroom stall... but it is getting harder as my baby gets older and he wants to pop off the nipple so he can see what is going on around him!

    Reassurance I'm doing the right thing? Thank you so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Breastfeeding in Public: Why is it still so taboo??

    Most definantly! My DS is still little so the 'he is too big for that stares' haven't started yet. But when we were looking for DCPs my son was HUNGRY and of course the first place with an appt was at a church center. Needless to say the secretary was horrified and couldn't get her jaw off the floor. I had him latched and completely covered. If you look at statistics most people don't BF so we can't expect them to all be used to it. But I just smile and look them right in the eye to acknowledge I know they are staring etc. And to let them know I'm not uncomfortable (even if I am). I also like to think they are like I was pre baby. I saw it so rarely I was looking to see how they were doing it for tips.
    Married to the best husband ever since Nov 2009
    DS born 1/7/12 at 36 wks after PROM and Gestational diabetes happy and healthy ~

    Taking it one day at a time.

    Currently and !!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,353

    Default Re: Breastfeeding in Public: Why is it still so taboo??

    You're doing the right thing. Ignore the haters. Someone is always going to be judging your parenting choices,no matter what they are, and the only way to survive with your self-respect and dignity intact is to decide what matters to you and your children, focus on that, and be proud of yourself. If people stare, so what? It's not your problem where they choose to put their eyes.

    I know it can feel awkward when you're a large-chested mama, or a larger person in general. You always feel like people are staring and judging even when you're simply minding your own business and walking down the street. But try to love the skin you're in! I don't care what size you are- a good mommy is beautiful if she's a size 2 or a size 20.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,906

    Default Re: Breastfeeding in Public: Why is it still so taboo??

    I never felt ashamed nursing in public, but certainly have felt uncomfortable, but that is due to my own feelings, I have never had the experience of being glared or stared at. (Or anyway I did not notice.) But I have talked to moms who have been treated horribly for nursing in public.

    In California the law is clear, you have a right to breastfeed your child anywhere, public or private, that you would normally be allowed to be. (Except someone’s private home if they object.) So that includes Goofy's Playground and anywhere else in Disneyland. So if you are ever challenged by an employee or anything, the law is on your side. The law says nothing about covering up or the age of the child-and yes it says child, not baby.

    The fact is we live in a culture that is not breastfeeding friendly and thus it is still unusual to see mothers nursing their babies in public here. It’s a serious issue, I have talked to many moms who feel trapped in their homes due to being nursing mothers. I am sure this leads to premature weaning and unnecessary bottles all the time. It’s very frustrating!
    The only way to fight this on a cultural level imo is for breastfeeding moms to keep NIP as much as we can, to normalize it.
    So yes, you are sooo doing the right thing!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern NM
    Posts
    712

    Default Re: Breastfeeding in Public: Why is it still so taboo??

    Think about this: there were about a bazillion people there who never realized you were nursing. Or other nursing mothers that were cheering you on inside. Or other people who realized what you were doing and just didn't care.

    And maybe the grandma was judging the way you were parenting your older kiddo. You never know with nosy old biddies.
    I am Erin--happily married to the nerd of my dreams for 15 years
    High School Science Teacher
    Mother to: Thing 1 9/23/01, bf 15 mo, diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma 1/29/02, officially cancer free for ten years in August 2012
    Thing 2 6/6/05, bf 12 mo, obsessed with dynamite
    Glowworm 2/18/11, bf 15 months and counting

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Breastfeeding in Public: Why is it still so taboo??

    I know I feel on edge more than anything. Like I'm waiting for someone to say something. But it hasnt happened (yet). For the most part, people don't even seem to notice or care. I don't look around though, I just do whatever I was doing (eating, talkings, reading, etc.).

    My biggest issue so far was with my boys. They are 16 and 12 so a baby was a surprise to begin with, but throw in nursing and it was really weird for them at first. Especially when I'd nurse in public. They were embarrassed for me? Or maybe themselves? They asked a lot of good questions and I'd explain how it works as well as the health benefits. They seem to have gotten over it now and we can even joke if I spring a leak. Its our new normal. Besides, I'm always covered when they are around and if they arent around, I keep something close by to throw over us in case they come running in all of a sudden. Their friends don't even seem to notice or care.

    I like to think this will help them be better people/men, haha!

    But don't feel ashamed. Let people stare or give you dirty looks. You are doing whats best for you and your baby! Be proud of that!
    Mom of 3- Two boys ages 17 and 13 and one sweet baby girl, born 1/19/12
    Pumping once a day and nursing whenever we're together

  7. #7

    Default Re: Breastfeeding in Public: Why is it still so taboo??

    You definitely should not feel ashamed. You are doing the right thing momma.
    Just to put a different spin on it, I was unsuccessful in breastfeeding my daughter and felt ashamed to bottle feed in public and timed my outings around feedings. It is not just nursing mummy's that have issues feeding in public.
    Feel proud about what you are giving your baby and do what pp said, stare right back. After all you don't know these people and will probably never see them again.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    219

    Default Re: Breastfeeding in Public: Why is it still so taboo??

    Two words: You rock. Don't feel bad, ever. Look the haters straight in the eye, and SMILE. As sweet as you can.
    ---Josie

    Proud mommy of 2 boys and a baby girl!

    DS Owen, DOB 10/28/6, 6 lb 4oz, adopted from Guatemala, home forever 8/1/6 (we met him at 4w old! Mommy lived w/him in Guatemala from 5/28/6 till he came home!)

    DS Ian, DOB 8/6/8 via C-sec., 9 lb!
    BF for 22 mo.

    DD born via vbac 11/25/11!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: Breastfeeding in Public: Why is it still so taboo??

    Some of the nursing tops available allow you to cover up quick if baby pops off, you can quickly cover the exposed nipple lol. They also allow for extremely discrete nursing, most people won't even know what you are doing, looks like snuggling. They are a little expensive, so I only bought a couple and wore them when I knew I needed them. I am also bigger breasted and this strategy worked. My DD would not tolerate being under a cover, and I also refuse to sit in a bathroom stall.

    Don't feel nervous, nurse when you want where you want. Just give them the stare down right back!
    Mirkka

    Mama to DD born September 7, 2010, and DS born October 28, 2012 and Wife to DH July 5, 2008

    We love and love

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
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    533

    Default Re: Breastfeeding in Public: Why is it still so taboo??

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*pookiesmum View Post
    Just to put a different spin on it, I was unsuccessful in breastfeeding my daughter and felt ashamed to bottle feed in public and timed my outings around feedings. It is not just nursing mummy's that have issues feeding in public.
    Exactly. All moms have to deal with strangers judging their parenting and giving out "the look" of disapproval. There are endless things about parenting that people can (and will) criticize.

    Ignore them, and go about your business.
    My little man was born 12/17/2010.

    Baby girl was born 4/30/2014.

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