Breastfeeding in public, more rare or common?

(38 posts)(20 voices)
  1. Hi ladies,

    Since this is my first time breastfeeding I'm really noticing that I rarely ever see other women BF'ing in public and have noticed too several "stares" or odd looks (mostly from women oddly enough...). I am VERY modest and always use a cover/go in a corner....but I have found it incredibly hard (i.e. practically impossible) to not BF my 3 week old in public if I want to have any semblence of a life outside my living room (not to mention my toddlers!)

    So is it me, or is it just more rare that women are BF'ing in public these days?

    I went to get my hair cut and colored last night and found myself Bf'ing my son underneath my cape, that was interesting!

    Brittany

    P.s. Is it also common for babies to be more squirmy feeding in public? I notice my son feeds 10 times better at home/in a quiet place. I swear his goal in life is to expose my boob to the world

  2. i have no answers - but i noticed this too! where are all the BFing mammas at when i am out?

    Hi ladies,Since this is my first time breastfeeding I'm really noticing that I rarely ever see other women BF'ing in public and have noticed too several "stares" or odd looks (mostly from women oddly enough...). I am VERY modest and always use a cover/go in a corner....but I have found it incredibly hard (i.e. practically impossible) to not BF my 3 week old in public if I want to have any semblence of a life outside my living room (not to mention my toddlers!)So is it me, or is it just more rare that women are BF'ing in public these days? I went to get my hair cut and colored last night and found myself Bf'ing my son underneath my cape, that was interesting!BrittanyP.s. Is it also common for babies to be more squirmy feeding in public? I notice my son feeds 10 times better at home/in a quiet place. I swear his goal in life is to expose my boob to the world

  3. I think it may depend on where you live. I'm in NYC and have BF in public a ton and no one bats an eye - the most that'll happen is that sometimes they look over like they can't quite figure out what's going on over there, and then when they realize that the baby is BF, they politely avert their eyes. I haven't covered up w/a nursing cover since she was teeny tiny. I've seen a ton of other women BF in public here too, including a lot of my friends, and it's no biggie.

  4. I always get stares when I b/f in public, it's getting worse now that they are older, and I always use a cover. I should say I attempt to use a cover but my 6.5mo twins seem to think it's more for playing with and have made it their mission to show my goods to the world!

  5. It is rare in most parts of the country. MOstly this is b/c most women do not breastfeed more than a few weeks, many do breastfeeding and bottles and things like that. I nursed my babies in public (not my first one so much, but the rest) and usually I just tried to have a bored look on my face and no one really noticed Also, I think they squirm more b/c we are nervous they will expose us and they sense something different. I nursed my 4th child in public until he was ovr 2 yrs old and by then, most people didnt really know what was going on. He was also smalll

    Dont worry what they think, just go about your business.

    Great job!

    Telly
    DS-7y
    Twin DDs-5y
    DS_3y

  6. I live in the San Francisco area and I have NIP'd here. Although, I mostly felt most comfortable nursing in my car. On the occasions where I NIP'd, I had some people notice (mostly older women) and they gave me encouraging smiles. I do not see a lot of other women nursing in public here but I see enough to think it's somewhat common.

    I have to confess I was a starer myself one time. I was in the Macy's linens/towels department. A very full figured mama planted herself in a chair right in the center pathway that threads through the whole store. She was nursing her tiny, tiny newborn and darn proud of it. She did not attempt any kind of coverup. Her giant boob was out there for all to see, and it was a sharp contrast to the tiny tiny infant. I have to admit, I was startled and caught myself staring! Anyway, more power to her but it was just a funny sight.

  7. I'm in the Chicago area and I nursed in public all the time. I never used a cover. I think just pulling up your shirt and having your baby there covers up mostly everything except when they unlatch or are latching. If someone is looking close enough to see, more power to them I've never really felt judged, but I don't pay that much attention to what others think. I always felt that anywhere that women felt like they could bottle feed their babies, that I could bf my baby. It is the law in IL so that made it easier too. I do see other nursing mothers pretty frequently.
    Jennifer

  8. POPPiIN.. sO YOU SAW ME!!! haha lol no seriously.. i am huge and have bigger boobs. but i have not nursed in 11 years. hopefully next year some time if this all works out! good for you.
    As a student nurse i had to do a lot of bf teaching. Quite hilarious as i knew the biology of it but i myself had never nursed at this point. I was quite amazed at how big womens breasts get when they are full!!! Sue

  9. Hey ladies,

    Thanks for your feedback. Yes, I would actually rather not use the cover, it's a total PITA but it's the nipple issue I am finding; that is....he keeps unlatching/latching and my nipple is out there to the world!

    On another note, I have been taken aback by how many women want to "look", I mean come up and take a peak when I am BF'ing (only family and friends, but still!). My husband too, nothing sexual, he just really enjoys seeing me breastfeed. All so new to me? How funny

    Brittany

  10. I am a total car nurser or I'll pump and feed a bottle in public. I just can't BF or "perform" as well unless I'm relaxed. I feel too self-conscious in public.

  11. growler, i was too! i used to sit between my twins in the backseat on long rides and they could nurse if i just leaned over them. I certainly have the passers by something to talk about on the highway.

    i was huge. Now i just SAG!!!!!!!!!!!

    I had a sil who was so freaked out by nipples (her own mostly) that she used to cover them up with band aids under her swim suit. HER children were all bottle fed. Once when her oldest was 2 and my oldest was a newborn he came over and asked "what's she doing under there?" When i told him she was drinking milk he slapped his leg and said "you're joking" He truly didn't believe there could be milk in my breast. lol sue

  12. Meeeeeeeee tooooooooo!

    I also would sit between the twins in our the back seat of our Jetta and nurse. It took some skill. My dh even bragged to our pediatrician once. lol.. It was too funny.

    I nursed just about every where just by lifting up my shirt. I am still nursing my 19 month old and feel more awkward about it in public. Especially when she says stuff like... "I got you boobie", "tickle, tickle boobie". lol
    Truly she says stuff like that.

  13. This is kind of off topic, but I went to a talk once with a priest who was talking to teens about sexuality and pornography. He said in the talk that more women should bf in public, because it shows us what the breasts are intended for instead of always being sexualized. I never thought about it that way, but it made me bf in public even more "proudly". I always try to smile at woman nursing in public, because I know it is hard for many women.

    One other thing I want to suggest is take a picture (when baby isn't popping off). I didn't with my DS and regretted it. I did with DD and am glad to have that as a memory.

    I nursed until 16 mo and 18 mo with my kids, but I didn't nurse in public much past 13-14 mo. Most of the time at that age, they were just nursing before naps or bedtime or in the morning and we were home at those times.
    Jennifer

  14. My friends and I have all nursed in public. I think formula feeding is fairly common here, but I see a LOT of nursing moms.

    I also think that if you're nervous about NIP, then you may think people are staring when in fact, they really hardly know what you're doing. KWIM?

    I commend you on getting out of the house with the twins and a newborn! You're doing great!

    Michelle

  15. i'm curious too about whether more or fewer women are nursing in public. i read a stat recently that only 16% of babies are breastfed till 6 months of age- something really low like that.

    anyhow, i nurse in public whenever wherever. don't even own a coverup. i figure its a public service and i have had little ones who were bottlefed come up and watch and ask what's happening- and i tell them. at our swim club, the only people who can join are from our little college town- and its very common there- but i see less of it at places like the mall or the zoo. i get plenty of smiles from other women when they realize that's what we're doing- and also lots of stories-- it's like you're in a little club together....

    mine definitely nurse less well in public than at home, though

    pilma

  16. pilma, I have heard that same stat, the numbers are really low (which surprises me, but then I realize most people I know don't really last that long BF'ing....).

    The reality is that it is much more convenient to bf in public than bottle feed, simply because I have the twins with me and all their sh*t to lug around I also don't want them to get too cooped up, which is already happening since it's going to be in the 100's very soon, yikes!

    Brittany

  17. I try not to NIP now that my DD is getting close to 2 years old, but I've done it everywhere in the past two years without ever covering up. No one has ever said anything negative to me. I did nurse her in public last week when we were on vacation. Whenever I see someone doing it I try to say hello or something encouraging.

  18. i figure its a public service

    This is exactly why I like you so much, pilma

  19. Just thought I would add that I saw a woman today in the food court at the mall nursing. There are so many places to nurse while out. My favorite is dressing rooms and they people at Target are great.

    I am very proud to be a nursing mother and nursed my ds until 15 mos. and I am nursing twins right now and my goal is the same. My mother once asked me I was embarrassed to bf in public and my response is I would be embarassed to been seen feeding my babies bottles in public.

    I know breast feeding isn't for everyone and it can be hard in the beginning but it is so worth all the benefits. I know I am preaching to the choir here but just so glad to find people that agree with me.

    By the way, we had a weight check today and one girl has gained 13 oz. in 2 weeks and my other girl has gained 20 oz. in 2 weeks so there to all those woman who say I don't know if my baby is getting enough to eat and that is the reason they give for not breastfeeding.

  20. The BEST dressing rooms to nurse in are....

    Nordstroms
    Macy's

    Probably any upscale department store b/c they have really comfy chairs inside the dressing rooms. Plus, it's entertaining to hear people talk to themselves or each other about what they're trying on.

  21. This is exactly why I like you so much, pilma

    aw, shucks! right back at you!

    it occurs to me now that i saw the 16% stat on a facebook group that JD here alerted me to- let me see if i can find it again (while both kids are sleeping, if you can believe it).

    Brittany, i don't know how you stand the heat. today its going up to 86 i think and i'm already cowering. dh put all the window units in yesterday. too hot!

    pilma

  22. the group is called Best for Babes and here's what they said:

    Help us "Beat the Booby Traps" so moms can succeed at breastfeeding!

    Start Date:May 29 End Date:August 2 Moms are being urged to breastfeed but set up to fail. While 77% of moms try to nurse, 60% don't make it to their personal breastfeeding goal . . . and a whopping 89% don't make it to the minimum 6 months recommended by every major medical organization in the world. Moms are being undermined by hospitals, doctors, employers, insurers, poor maternity leave, and a culture squeamish about nursing. Help us RAISE AWARENESS of the "Booby Traps" that are tripping moms up. Help us cheer on, coach, and celebrate ALL moms, whether they breastfeed for 2 days, 2 months, or 2 years. Moms don't need more pressure, judging, or guilt--they need Best for Babes to shine the spotlight on and remove the barriers so they can achieve their personal breastfeeding goals, have a wonderful, successful nursing experience, and feel fabulous about whatever choice they make. Because of the "booby traps," women and babies are suffering unnecessarily, and breastfeeding has been made much harder than it needs to be. With your help, we CAN reach and educate more moms on how to navigate the barriers. We CAN put pressure on those barriers. We CAN elevate breastfeeding to be a cause on par with all the diseases it protects against, and lower the risk of those diseases too! Help us raise funds to "beat the booby traps" in time for the kickoff of World Breastfeeding Month on August 1.

    pilma

  23. This little discussion reminded me i wanted to attend a nurse-in if i can find one. but did you guys know about world breasfeeding week aug 1-7? you can find events in your states here:

    lllusa.org/wbw/calendar.php#pa

    lamely, there is nothing listed in philadelphia area. will have to contact my LLL leader.

    pilma

  24. pilma, yes the heat is pretty unbearable at times, mostly through July. Nice though that it's at least predictable (I'm from Oregon, so I melt here!)

    Doesn't Nordys have one of the best nursing lounges? Our mall now has a family lounge that includes a TV with cartoons for the kids AND private rooms if you want to be more private about it.

    While we're discussing.....can anyone tell me what would happen if I replaced, say the 10am feed with a bottle consistently? I don't have the need yet, but will be returning to the gym maybe next week and think that will be the time I will need to give Brennan a bottle. Will my body just adjust if I am nursing him every-other feed throughout the day/night? Also, if I introduce a bottle, is it nessesary to do it frequently to avoid confusion?

    Thanks!

    Brittany

  25. Hmmm...my 18 month old is still nursing and I think I got more "looks" when he was a tiny guy than I do now! Nowadays it is very rare that he needs to nurse while we are out as he does so much less frequently, but once in a while he wants to and I'll gladly do it.

    It always surprised me that, yes, it seems you get more odd looks from other women. Kinda rude, but I find that women are to women much too often anyway. Once in a while, I get a nod and smile. Very nice. Usually its someone close to my own age.

    I LOVE places that have nice nursing rooms, just so my son is less distracted. Babies R Us has nice nursing rooms and I have met some great mamas there! Nordstrom is really pretty sweet, too. Very comfy!

    Otherwise just wherever, whenever, I just whip out my hooter hider (aren't you glad I finished that sentence!! ) The boy's gotta eat!!

    Definitely vote more rare!

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