Parenting 2.0

Breastfeeding in Public

Posted on: October 28, 2009

BreastfeedingCartoonAll things considered I would say Canada is a society where the rights of women are advanced and for the most part pretty much on par with those of men. That said I am curious to see how most women or for that matter men, feel about women breastfeeding in public. This is a perfectly natural phenomenon: babies need to eat and this is feeding in its most natural form. But, do women feel comfortable breastfeeding in public? As a new mom, I am certainly not there (yet). And now that I think of it, I really don’t see (or maybe I just don’t notice) any women breastfeeding their babies in public. But does it happen? Are women comfortable?

My sister Carolyn, who until recently lived in highly conservative (and hot) East Timor, where women do not even swim or wear bathing suits or show much skin in general, told me that although women for the most part remain covered up, once they have a baby it is socially acceptable for them to breastfeed openly in public, sans blanket, just out there! This really does make sense: babies needs to eat and they feed them. Why then does it seem difficult for women to do this in emancipated North America? Or are these just merely my viewpoints and feelings toward it?

In talking with a friend (and new mom) over coffee today she told me she has breastfed in public once, but only when the positioning was right did she feel comfortable. (I think she said her back was to a wall and she was in a booth at a restaurant.) Well kudos to her for going for it! However, today, in the wide openness of Starbucks this was not happening and her baby got the bottle.  (I too had a bottle packed in my diaper bag, just in case…) As my little Niko  snoozed away I couldn’t help but wonder, will I ever breastfeed in public? As it stands right now, I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it, but if faced with a crying and hungry son, my feelings could change. Perhaps I would resort to feeding him in my car… 🙂

What is it that makes us feel uncomfortable? Is it because of “women’s rights” that women don’t feel comfortable? Is this just a little too intimate a thing for equal rights women to be sharing in public? Or I am just too modest and thinking about this too much and most people actually do feel comfortable? Hmm…see the polls below.  I think women should breastfeed in public, but so far I am just not ready to take the plunge!

 

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7 Responses to "Breastfeeding in Public"

well – i was and am still comfortable (well not so much to my ‘older’ baby anymore in public!!!!)
i found that, being ‘smaller’ than some women, it may have been easier to nurse in public — less to see — i could practically hide the baby under my shirt or in my zippered hoodie (with a receiving blanket at times if needed) — but you can get creative and just make sure your sweatshirt / coat covers you at the side of your torso. i also had great latchers and don’t think i ever exposed my skin !

as for where ??? the mall, the car, restaurants(!), on a park bench, on a plane, in my family and friends’ living areas and kitchens!!
… it is the most portable kind of food and i believed in feeding anywhere i needed! ( i never felt anyone gave me the hairy eyeball either!).

great suggestions mar! i guess it is just about going for it really………………

I wonder who your friend was? She must be very beautiful!

I think I will set a goal for myself…once a week I will try to BF in a public place. I think I will try to go to an “old people” mall like Carlingwood or BillingsBridge.

One thing that makes me nervous about BF in Nursing in Public (NIP) is seeing a student. Gahhhh….

What to do!

hahha…old people malls…hopefully you won’t run into any students there…

[…] getting up in the wee hours of the night, entertaining a newborn, and (drum roll, please…) breastfeeding in public! Although I can’t say for certain I’ve honed breastfeeding in public to perfection, I […]

[…] 10 month old. One, among many, major factors in parenting is feeding. First it’s: Will I breastfeed or formula feed? Then it’s: Will I make my own baby food or buy store bought? And I suppose […]

[…] Despite all my qualms about breastfeeding, after 10 months it seems to have come to a natural end for me and Niko. […]

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