To think a sit down breast-feeding protest is a pointless and exhabitionist?

(252 Posts)
WhiteTrash Mon 12-Dec-11 19:07:36

Totally prepared to be flamed for this.

Im from sunny Brighton and a post on facebook recently did the rounds regarding one women breastfeeding in a cafe to be approached by several 70 year old women who told her she should have been more descreet.

Yes they're out of line.

Next day theres posts going round about a sit down breastfeeding protest in town that Id been invited to.

My first thought was why?! I come from a very open minded, accepting, earth-mother (aka middle class hippies)ish town. To have a sit down breastfeeding protest is purely exhabitionist 'look at me! Im breastfeeding, in your face- ACCEPT ME. SEE ME.' bullshit.

I feel I (we) make far more a point by simple breastfeeding 'normally' around town as and when we need to. Why the need to get a group. Of women together for boob time?

Hullygully Mon 12-Dec-11 19:10:44

Well why not wear a hula skirt and hula hula then?

5318hoho8 Mon 12-Dec-11 19:10:56

do YOU think that a mother BF in public is exhibitionist?

OpinionatedMum Mon 12-Dec-11 19:11:56


It's not acceptable to be harrassed about breastfeeding. They are right to protest and annoy the prudes.

Serenitysutton Mon 12-Dec-11 19:12:31

I don't know how that is a protest about those elderly ladies (who prob don't exist- they never seem to when alls said and done)

baubleybobbityhat Mon 12-Dec-11 19:13:57

Its always Brighton isn't it?

SuePurblybiltbyElves Mon 12-Dec-11 19:14:17

elderly ladies don't exist? Excellent, that will make getting a seat on the bus much easier wink

CarefullyAirbrushedPotato Mon 12-Dec-11 19:15:36

I don't think several women breastfeeding in public is any more exhibitionist than one woman breastfeeding in public.
People need to get over themselves.

DamnYouAutocorrect Mon 12-Dec-11 19:15:51

Think the use of 'exhibitionist' in your OP displays some dodgy attitudes that you may not even be aware of. What does 'exhibitionist' even MEAN in the context of bf??

As to 'why the need to get a group of women together...' - probably because there are plenty of women out there who feel very unsure about bfing in public and need the moral support. I know Brighton pretty well and bf'd my babies there, and felt uncomfortable at times. just cos it's a hippy town (in some pretty well-defined central areas) doesn't mean it's universally accepting IME.

StrandedUnderTheMisltoe Mon 12-Dec-11 19:16:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Serenitysutton Mon 12-Dec-11 19:16:14

Ho ho ho

GypsyMoth Mon 12-Dec-11 19:17:34

How did they know the group of women were ALL 70??!

Meh, I managed to breastfeed for over a year in a shitty town without any hassle.

Never felt the need to drape my boobs everywhere, nor did I hide in the loos.

LovesBloominChristmas Mon 12-Dec-11 19:18:46


LovesBloominChristmas Mon 12-Dec-11 19:19:25

Btw I've had positive comments from little old ladies.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 12-Dec-11 19:19:33

Agree wiith you, OP. Making a point doesn't really do much for the cause. It's just a retaliation. Women being rude to other rude women... hmm

GreenIceAndChristmasHam Mon 12-Dec-11 19:21:10

Perhaps they were quintuplets, all wearing "Happy 70th Birthday" badges

ahhyesiseeyouvepooedonyourfoot Mon 12-Dec-11 19:22:58

grin green

LeQueen Mon 12-Dec-11 19:23:36

Is there anything more dreary than the whole 'BF in Public Shebang' hmm I bored me shitless, and I was the one doing it, let alone having to talk about it to other people. Dull. Dull. Dull.

I have several friends, who like Apoc BF in public with zero hassle whatsoever...they also happened to be pretty low-key, laid back kinda people. I also know of several women who (apparently) received no end of dirty looks, and disaproving comments for BF in public...and, yes, these were women who were generally pretty uptight anyway and more than a teeny bit self absorbed...

unfitmother Mon 12-Dec-11 19:26:23


DamnYouAutocorrect Mon 12-Dec-11 19:28:31

Talking about 'exhibitionism' and 'draping your boobs everywhere', in the context of mothers talking about other mothers, is so bleeding mean-spirited and disappointing. And yes, a bit uptight.

MillyR Mon 12-Dec-11 19:29:40

I am very self absorbed and I have never had negative experiences of breast feeding in public, Lequeen.

So OP, your point is that you think that these women are collectively breastfeeding in public, not to make a political point as they claim, but to experience sexual arousal by exposing their breasts to the general public?

It sounds rather implausible to me.

MrsChemist Mon 12-Dec-11 19:35:48

Surely the best protest is to simply continue to feed in public without comment.

It normalises it.

Get0rf Mon 12-Dec-11 19:37:54

I lovedt he little old ladies when I BF in public, all I seemed to get were nice ladies nodding and smiling in approval.

Serenitysutton Mon 12-Dec-11 19:41:21

The thing is, what is the protest about? I think sometimes, tbh, women who organise things like this don't get as much attention as they want so kind of self create it. I've known women express disappointment that noone ever challenged them or made negative comments, because they had their clever responses "all rehersed and ready to go" I get the impression they gt quite surprised when try realise noone is actually looking at them or caring what their up to, and maybe it makes them realise they aren't quite as important to other poeple as they thought. Then hurrah, it happens to someone else and we can all go off and do a mass protest (against?...)

The unfortunate thing is recently it's been proven time and time ago the incidents triggering the protest never happened (possibly by women so very disappointed to not be challenged they end up making it up) people don't take it seriously anymore as a protest or anything else, so they seem attention seeking and pointless.

WhiteTrash Mon 12-Dec-11 19:44:54

Me too Serentiy. Several of the comments on the invite said 'I wish I was approached, I knew exactly what Id say.'

And as for the sexual link to them getting their breasts out.... How?!

I didn't flap them everywhere, I wapped them out without any bother when needed and certainly didn't hide in corners I was just discreet.

And I never had any hassle off anybody. Never. Not so much as a glance. And I do think there are people out there who will look for an issue, any at all will do, it brightens there day, gives them something to rant about

If that makes me a bitch I don't chuffin care. I am happy to be a bitch over what is, as LeQueen said, the worlds most boring subject.

SlinkingOutsideInSocks Mon 12-Dec-11 19:47:41

It does sound a tiny bit futile. I mean, it'd be one thing if it was a cafe or restaurant owner who complained to a b/feeding mother. But a random 70-year old or two?

The only comments i ever received when b/feeding I public were lovely, positive ones - never had any negative ones, but I accept people obviously do.

I get that people with hang-ups around it probably wouldn't do if it was more normalised. I guess let them get on with it if they feel passionately about it. I would find it a bit too cringey, but then again, I had no qualms whatsoever about breastfeeding in public (and like I say, never had any negative comments), so don't really feel the need to make the point.

I do honestly think that the message would be far better put across just by more individual women getting on with their lives and breastfeeding in exactly the same way the bottle-feeders do (I'm sure many do; but the average passer-by just doesn't even realise what they're doing!), but I also accept it's a bit chicken-and-egg and that many women simply don't feel confident enough to do it and that maybe this sort of thing does help in its own way.

DamnYouAutocorrect Mon 12-Dec-11 20:01:18

I understand the point about 'normal' feeding possibly being more constructive. But I guess that's the point with any activist movement: you have the vast mass of people who just get on with whatever 'it' is, and a minority who want to make a bigger fuss. Basically I'm constitutionally inclined to think 'good on you' about any kind of lawful protest, even if I don't agree with the ultimate aims; I think it's constructive and empowering to get together with a bunch of like-minded people and do something about whatever irks you, so long as you're not intimidating anyone.

And - at the risk of inflaming the thread - I don't believe that people think bf is all that boring. I don't think people would bother to come on a thread like this and post at length about how tremendously bored they are by it, if they were actually bored by it. I'm really, really bored by the idea of goldfish. I literally never post on goldfish threads. BF gets all mothers going, one way or the other - you did it, you didn't do it, you loved it, you hated it, you tried, you succeeded, you failed. Not one of us really doesn't give a crap about that.

krustyloaf Mon 12-Dec-11 20:12:08

Personally I'd just tell them to piss off if anyone commented and let that be my protest. If I was in a cafe or restaurant then I'd complain to the manger and expect them to sort out the problem, most would because it's bad PR not to. I understand some people struggle to be that assertive but I've come to realise that if you're going to bf then unfortunately, for now at least, people will always have an opinion and you have to be ready for that. It winds me up but ignorant knob heads breed ignorant knob heads.

missorinoco Mon 12-Dec-11 20:16:05

I'm wincing for them Stranded. Have a virtual tube of Lansinoh.

coronet Mon 12-Dec-11 20:19:13

When I was a breastfeeding supporter, this was suggested. I didn't want to do it because I felt my breastfeeding was a private matter - and certainly not something I wanted to do to make a point. I also didn't want to ask new mothers to do anything other than just concentrate on their babies.

So, I don't think it is exhibitionist exactly but I do think it is distorting the purpose of bfing, which is a wonderful bonding experience between mother and child as well as a source of food.

Luminescence Mon 12-Dec-11 20:21:09

Eat my norks.

Feminine Mon 12-Dec-11 20:22:27

I have breastfed all 3 of mine in public...

Nobody noticed or complained.

The state I live in now, is banned (its illegal) from asking a woman to stop or move while B/feeding.

With my 3rd (that I gave birth to here) I was all ready for a little chat wink should anyone object ...they never did! grin

Serenitysutton Mon 12-Dec-11 20:22:36

Also don't really get what they're going to do- surely all their children can't want to feed similtaniously for as long as the "protest" takes? What are they going to do? Force the child on the breast? Sit their half naked until their baby is hungry?

gamerwidow Mon 12-Dec-11 20:23:04

I would like to see bf normalised but I think these kind of protests are counter productive as they make bf seem militant rather than just a normal act.

I agree with the OP that the best defence against bf ignorance is to breastfeed your child in the same way as a mother would bottle feed a child. i.e. as and when required and without embarassment or fuss.

PoppadumPreach Mon 12-Dec-11 20:25:19

I BF in public. I didn't have any hassle. I was discreet. I was also ready to politely debate with anyone who told me it wasn't appropriate.

My feeling is however that whilst the women who told the OPs friend off were wrong, it seems to be a futile response to arrnage a mass public BF. I think this only serves to fuel the opinions of those who are against BF in public in thinking that it cannot be done discreetly and those doing it are confrontational, mad, liberal women void of any morals (WHICH IS NOT HOW I VIEW THEM - I'm just saying a typical DM reader, for example, may possibly hold this view)

I think the best response to this is just to carry on. It's a bit like being gay - it's no big deal, it's just natural and it's up to those who are offended by it to change their opinion, not those who are doing it.

<await flaming>

PoppadumPreach Mon 12-Dec-11 20:26:43

gamerwidow x-post however you put it far more succinctly (and militant was the word i was looking for!)

MrsWifty Mon 12-Dec-11 20:33:54

I'm taking part in this. To answer practical questions, I will probably offer DS a feed, but it won't be a problem if he doesn't want to as it's not about flapping your norks about (there are plenty of people without bfeeding children coming too). In fact, quite the opposite - although it was prompted by an unpleasant incident (which did happen - I know Claire), it's being billed as more positive and celebratory. A cheeky tongue out and "So there!" rather than a fist back in the face.

(Also, it's due to be very cold and wet, so I doubt anyone wants to get too much out in any case.)

Who knows what bfeeding haters will make of it - hopefully it might demonstrate that public bfeeding is easy and discreet though. Plus we'll have a laugh and it will make Claire feel loads better after being shaken by a horrible experience.

Whoever said it's so horribly Brighton though, can't argue with that grin

DamnYouAutocorrect Mon 12-Dec-11 20:34:11

This insistence on discretion is so damaging to many women's attempts to bf in public, though. Not everyone can be discreet. If you have big tits, big nipples, very strong supply, an active baby or toddler who pulls off without a moment's notice... you're not necessarily going to be able to be discreet. And why should you be? It's just a breast that's feeding a baby. It's not like you're wanking in public.

FaverollesWithBoughsOfHolly Mon 12-Dec-11 20:35:37

There was a post about this last week in the BFing topic.
I think a sit in is completely the wrong approach. Anyone who, for whatever reason, has a problem seeing mothers BFing their babies is going to feel totally justified in their opinion when an army of mothers make a big song and dance over it. These are the sort of things that end up with words like Militant, and delightful Nazi comparisons hmm being flung about.

BFing needs normalising. This isn't the right way to do that.

(I BF in public, I have no issue with anyone feeding their baby how they want to, and where they want to)

MrsWifty Mon 12-Dec-11 20:38:15

Faverolles - as I said before, I take your point, but just to correct one thing - it's not a sit-in. We've chosen a venue with steps and seats, but for practical purposes only - we're not planning on refusing to move on.

TCOB Mon 12-Dec-11 20:42:25

OP - YABU. The sit-in is exhibitionistic in the way that most public protests or demonstrations are i.e. the whole point is to make a point and doing it by hiding away somewhere sort of defeats the point. If everyone sits round at Vera's house eating cake hidden away BFing their kids it's not really making much of a statement is it?

runningwilde Mon 12-Dec-11 20:47:35

All th old ladies who came up to me when I bf in public were extremely positive! Those elderly ones you mention sound like arses.

Serenitysutton Mon 12-Dec-11 20:49:03

I agree with faverolles, it's just conforming to the stereotype rather than challenging it.

FaverollesWithBoughsOfHolly Mon 12-Dec-11 20:49:10

Fair enough MrsWifty, but I still feel that it is pointless.
The people who have an issue will still have an issue, people who are on the fence about it may be swayed to thinking a BFing not-quite-sit-in is militant behaviour.
So what's it going to gain? Perhaps publicity that will bring out Daily Mail readers by their droves, is that really going to help "the cause"?
The thing is, the law is already behind BFing mothers, I don't understand what this sit in is hoping to gain?

PoppadumPreach Mon 12-Dec-11 20:50:11

Damnyouautocorrect - I do agree that ultimately we need to abandon this idea of discretion however I think we need to go in steps. Also, my definition of discretion is not "absolutely no bit of nipple or boob must be seen" - but rather just get on with it in a kid of no-fuss manner (and try to not go around sporting the amazonian look for too long!)

I choose to use a muslin to cover me up so I was totally discreet however I most certainly wouldn't want anyone think they had to do that - but perhaps more people would BF (which i think is an important aim) if they realised it could be done ultra-discretely?

Caveat: For those that have chosen to FF and who may be reading this - please don't pick a fight about the fact I have said improving BF rates is important. I respect your choice (and realise a lot of you didn't have a choice) but I think a lot of people are prejudiced against BF so they don't do it - that's all.

peace be upon you all.......

MrsWifty Mon 12-Dec-11 21:12:57

A not-at-all-a-sit-in. If you prefer, an assertion of our existing rights (a right which not everyone does realise exists, come to that, which is also part of the point.) I think I'm going to call it a ya-boo-sucks-in smile

AnotherMincepie Mon 12-Dec-11 21:21:17

YANBU. There's no need to "protest" about something which is already legal and normal. It's not going to change the mind of anyone bigoted anyway.

tralalala Mon 12-Dec-11 21:23:09

They did one in my local cafe that was good because the owner had asked someone to stop feeding.

But against people in general seems a bit pointless.

MenopausalHaze Mon 12-Dec-11 21:24:08

Was this reported in the Evening Argus or is it just Facebook hysteria?

Goldenbear Mon 12-Dec-11 22:13:52

I am from the same place and do see your point regarding the necessity of this protest in such a liberal city but as someone pointed out that is in very specific parts. Indeed, my DD is 8 months and breastfeed but I still feel a bit awkward. It is still not a normalised to the point of people not batting an eyelid. I've never had anyone tell me that I wasn't being discreet.but I have had 2 experiences of men glaring at them!

MenopausalHaze Mon 12-Dec-11 22:17:38

Whether it's Brighton or the Northernmost one horse town in the back end of beyond you cannot legislate against people having a crafty stare - absurd to assume otherwise. And actually - wherever you are - precious protesting like this does nothing to further whatever cause you perceive that you have. Just bloody breastfeed and get on with it - it's nobody's business but your own is it?

exoticfruits Mon 12-Dec-11 22:19:59

I think that everyone just breastfeeding normally is much the best idea so agree with OP.You have the right so don't need to pay any attention to people is cafes. I wouldn't go on a group protest-they tend to be organised by fanatics with their own agenda.

3inABIRDsnest Mon 12-Dec-11 22:46:55

yabu. protest is fun! What harm will it do? Even if it WAS made up, maybe it will encourage more timid women to feel more happy bfeeding. If nothing else it will be a nice outing for those involved.

AnotherMincepie Mon 12-Dec-11 23:05:49

And what of the formula feeders who get comments/glares from those who think they "should" be breastfeeding? Will they protest too?

LynetteScavo Mon 12-Dec-11 23:12:04

I love it.

One mad old bat makes a comment and the result is a protest.

I'm moving to Brighton. And when I'm old I'll see what mischief I can make. wink

demetersdaughter Mon 12-Dec-11 23:15:54

BF is normal and should be encouraged EVEN in public.
But I have to draw the line at having an exhibitionists titathon.

Albrecht Mon 12-Dec-11 23:26:02

What Damnyouautocorrect said. Ds even as a tiny baby would never put up with a muslin dangling near his head. It would make him arch and pull off and scream even more until he could grab it. So its not possible for everyone to feed ultra discretely. Threads like this with all you discrete feeders always make me feel like an exhibitionist for just feeding him.

HoneydragonAteCliffRichard Mon 12-Dec-11 23:37:45

If you HAVE to do something discreetly that means it is considered unacceptable in public.

After all people don't have to face a wall and hide under a shawl to eat a Greggs sausage roll, or eat one in the toilet or in a designated Greggs cubicle.

AnotherMincepie Mon 12-Dec-11 23:46:45

grin Unless they're an MN-er

"hide under a shawl to eat a Greggs sausage roll"

himynameisfred Mon 12-Dec-11 23:55:19

it's a great idea, most people are to embarassed to breastfeed in public, so doing it together means doing it at all.

I recieved negative comments for it, only a few. But those few knock your confidence massively.
And having a crying baby you're too embarassed to feed is a fucking pity, that is a real shame on society.

I'm considering stripping off from the waist up completely when breastfeeding my next baby just to give people something to really bitch about, because I quite angry that I was made to feel so embarrased as a new young mums those years ago due to idiots, when I was desperately trying to be discreet. Even with a baby getting fussy puching the top back up repeatedly.

So why not just wop them out completely next time.

Whose the most important person here? the baby.

Watch me.

splashymcsplash Mon 12-Dec-11 23:56:55

I breastfed my dd for 14 months until she self weaned. I fully support breastfeeding. I think that a sit in like this sends out the wrong message. I breastfeed my dd to feed her, not to make a point. Creating a show out of breastfeeding is completely counter productive IMHO.

himynameisfred Mon 12-Dec-11 23:57:12

hahaha @ honeydragon

himynameisfred Mon 12-Dec-11 23:58:47

I breastfed out side of the mother and baby rooms,
as if I was to duddle and bond with my baby right next to a shit bin, packed up to the rim with dirty nappies that many people don't even wrap in nappy bags first, no thanks

splashymcsplash Mon 12-Dec-11 23:58:48

In short YANBU!

himynameisfred Mon 12-Dec-11 23:59:34

what is wrong with my keyboard?

(correction) 'as if I want to cuddle and bond with....'

MillyR Tue 13-Dec-11 00:15:00

OP, you mention how there can be a sexual link to people getting their breasts out. Presumably you are the one who should be explaining that as you are the person describing people collectively breast feeding as exhibitionistic.

Here's the wiki link in case you are unaware of the connotations of the word you have chosen to use:

pinkyp Tue 13-Dec-11 00:19:00


Pandemoniaa Tue 13-Dec-11 00:30:31

It is Brighton. I'll say no more because I might be covering it.

exoticfruits Tue 13-Dec-11 08:20:32

it's a great idea, most people are to embarassed to breastfeed in public, so doing it together means doing it at all

I don't think that this it at all true.I fed anywhere and everywhere and never had a detrimental comment. There was no way that I would have been prepared to do a mass breastfeed and get used by those with their own agenda.
One ignorant, elderly woman made a comment-I expect the next 10 would have been supportive. Take no notice and carry on.

marriedandwreathedinholly Tue 13-Dec-11 08:43:01

When DS was a baby I'd have loved a disapproving glance from an old lady but bf was a total disaster - I felt the disapproving stares from all the yummy mummies watching me give him a bottle and tried not to feed him in public because I felt so ashamed sad. Still hurts and he's almost 17!

GrimmaTheNome Tue 13-Dec-11 08:51:50

>They did one in my local cafe that was good because the owner had asked someone to stop feeding

That has a point, a cafe owner should have known better. But having a feed-in because a random group of people tutted (and even then, complained about the discretion rather than the act per se, from what the OP said) is a bit OTT. Its making an issue about something that should just be got on with as naturally as possible.

Have to say I never had a problem BFIP oop North!

TestAnswers Tue 13-Dec-11 09:16:50

The protest sounds awful. I BF for what many would consider a long-time and the thing that embarrassed me the most about BFing in 'public' (I always covered up and had no negatives comments at all) was being thought of as one of 'those BFing mothers' - cringeworthy. I saw a lady BFing whilst sitting in a very crowded picnic area at Longleat a few years back (I was BFing, too) - she had her entire breast out. No need for it at all - just making a massive fuss and show for the sake of it.

mrsravelstein Tue 13-Dec-11 09:29:57

i've fed 3dc, 2 of them for over a year each, so have done an awful lot of b/feeding in public: in parks, at school sports day, in restaurants and cafes, and have never ever had any sort of remark, negative or otherwise, made to me about it.

i did a bit of artful arranging of muslins, one over my stomach since i was frankly more embarrassed about revealing my muffin top in public than my tits, and one in my hand to catch drips and give me a bit of privacy while i re-bra'd once dc had finished.

(i have had a few mad old ladies commenting on various aspects of my parenting, but i just shrugged them off as mad old ladies, which is what the OPs friend should have done)

MollyTheMole Tue 13-Dec-11 09:35:57

yanbu its ironic that these bfers dont want bfing in public to be a big deal so what do they do???

Stupid and daft and just turns it into a joke. silly silly girls

LeQueen Tue 13-Dec-11 09:42:36

Can't help but suspect there are certain women out there who are just longing to be confronted whilst BF-ding, and are acutely disappointed when no one else even bats an eye hmm

It's probably one of their few chances of some kind of attention and the chance to triumphantly claim some pseudo-moral high ground type thang...


TandB Tue 13-Dec-11 09:50:33

I don't really see the point of this protest. If it was a public body or a restaurant or shop that had taken issue with someone BFing then I would fully support everyone descending on those premises and BFing to make the point that it is fully legal and stop it happening again.

But what is the point of protesting against random, judgemental old ladies? They are everywhere! If I had organised a protest everytime a random, judgemental old lady harassed me about carrying DS in a sling I would never have got anything else done. All this will do is cement those particular women's opinions - if they even hear about it. Everyone who was already OK with it will remain OK with it and everyone who was judgy about it will probably get more judgy.

I agree that the best way to normalise BFing is to normalise it - just get on with it. Challenge ignorance when confronted with it, by all means, but don't make a song and dance about it.

HoHoOpotomus Tue 13-Dec-11 09:59:59

biscuit biscuit

it's attention getting yes, but surely that is the point?
It's hardly exhibitionistic though - do you think they are waving their boobs around "look at me, look at me"???? Er no - they are feeding their babies, collectively - making a point that BF is normal, and Mums should be free to do it, without harrassement, anywhere their baby needs a feed.

HoHoOpotomus Tue 13-Dec-11 10:02:14

There are reasons why the UK has one of the lowest rates of BF in Europe you know. These women are confronting one of them.

choceyes Tue 13-Dec-11 10:03:18

Completely agree with Kungfupannda!

I can't see what it will achieve. I agree with those that say it will just make the BF mothers look militant, rather than just getting on with feeding their babies and carrying on as normal.

Why is this woman (Claire I believe) even care what an ignorant 70yr old woman as said to her? She knows she is in the right, so why even care? I'd have just rolled my eyes at her, and if she's ask me to stop BF, then just say, I'm not going to.

I BF my 16 month old DD everywhere. Nobody has ever said anything negative to me.

choceyes Tue 13-Dec-11 10:05:08

making a point that BF is normal, and Mums should be free to do it, without harrassement, anywhere their baby needs a feed.

Ofcourse it is. Anyone with an ounce of brain will know that. Those that don't, this it not the way to sway them IMO.

Serenitysutton Tue 13-Dec-11 10:18:05

I'm not sure, I think it's the reputation bf has here, tbh. It seems like in the states bf is associated with anjelinas and Miranda kerrs, beautiful women back in their skinny jeans weeks after birth, bf in the office, Getting on with fabulous lives with good hair and sparkly eyes whereas in the uk it has an assocation with overweight unmade up stragily eyebrowed hippies in Jesus sandals wooping their boobs out in cafes with 13 of their best hippy mates to make some bizarre protest and get attention for "the cause"

LeQueen Tue 13-Dec-11 15:41:30

HoHo but there's Bf-ding and there's BF-ding. I know (and I'm sure most people are the same) women who manage to BF in public in a normal, fairly low-key kinda way. It's just a functional process to them.

But there are also women who manage to turn BF-ding into some sort of event with much kerfuffle and 101 teeny-tiny gestures proclaiming - GoshLookAtMeI'mBreastFeedingAren'tITheNuturingEarthMotherBondingWithMyBabyWhilstSimultaneouslyChallengingDatedParochialAttitudes... Hear. Me. Roar.

Yeah, right, whatever, Sweetie...

At the end of the day you're lactating FFS...not bringing about World Peace whilst curing cancer hmm

exoticfruits Tue 13-Dec-11 19:04:05

Well said LeQueen. smile

LeQueen Tue 13-Dec-11 20:20:05

[kisses exotic under the mistletoe...]

I just don't get the whole kudos surrounding BF-ding... (and I speak as someone who both BF & FF) like it's some sort of Motherhood Holy Grail, the Golden Ticket, the GetOutOfJail though it's the Pinacle of Achievement...

Is it such an achievement? Really? Really?

Maybe it's me...but I have done things I'm far more proud of and consider far more of an achievement than just BF-ding hmm

NinkyNonker Tue 13-Dec-11 20:53:46

Many people on here consider it an achievement as it is something that they find very hard, painful and in that respect yes I would agree with them. Many are told to stop being martyrs on here, if they choose to continue for the good of their child then I see that as an achievement in a way too. Many proclaim it to be hard etc, so it obviously seen as something to overcome.

However for me, it was the opposite. Easy peasy, never had an issue. Not because I am some awesome earth mother, but because DD had no problems latching and I had no problems producing! But for some, yes it is an achievement, and with DC2, who may be different.

I've also never had an issue BF-ing in public, and have done so in many different situations. Likewise I wouldn't bat an eyelid at anyone else, although I must admit to never really having seen anyone doing it. I have known someone who was on the receiving end of a few odd looks apparently, but apart from that no issues round here.

I can udnerstand people wanting to make a stand if they are on the receiving end of such odd attitudes, however this prob won't work. Just going back again and carrying on as normal would probably be more effective.

LeQueen Tue 13-Dec-11 21:03:35

NN but what I disagree with is the inference that by BF-ding you are somehow being better, trying more, working say yourself 'if they choose to continue for the sake of their children' - does that imply that those who don't continue aren't considering their children as much?

I dislike this inference that BF-ding somehow magically trumps all other parenting endeavours. You could get a Mum who BFs, but who never bothers to listen to her child read. Whereas, you might get a Mum who only FF but spends 30 minutes every single night conscientiously listening to her child read...which one is the better Mum?

LadyBeagleBaublesAndBells Tue 13-Dec-11 21:14:22

YY to LeQueen grin.
My opinion exactly, and I did both too.
No one even noticed when I was BF, and I never had little old ladies tutting at me, though little old ladies tutting seems to be a permanent feature on MN.
The whole Brighton thing is ridiculous.

skybluepearl Tue 13-Dec-11 22:31:56

breast feeding is simply a baby having its food. I wouldn't call you an exhabitionist if you were to eat your tea in front of me. there is nothing preverse or rude - breast feeding is what nature intended. BFing
is lovely

exoticfruits Tue 13-Dec-11 22:46:44

Of course it is just a simple thing, so there is no need to make it anything else. No one ever noticed me. The only comment I did get was when I was a bit self conscious on a train and a lovely woman said that she bf on a commuter train in Surrey in 1950's in an old fashioned carriage full of men with bowlers and brolleys and they just opened their newspapers and ignored her. People have always managed-you don't need the militant making a huge fuss.
It is only a very small part of mothering and no one knows or cares a few years on. I agree with LeQueen-there are much more important things such as hearing your DC read every day.

Laquitar Tue 13-Dec-11 23:30:34

grin @ LeQueen 15:41:30. So true!

MrsChemist Wed 14-Dec-11 10:01:15

I've been old lady confronted (there was a thread). I stood my ground, but I'd pay money for it not to happen again. I hate confrontation and now I'm just that little bit more self-conscious about BFing in public, and that makes me angry. Angry with her and angry with me, for letting it get to me.

Having said that, she's the only one. The rest have been lovely. Indeed, many people jumped to my defence when the woman was horrid to me.

I wouldn't dream of protesting. It was just one bigot out of hundreds of positive people.

AnotherMincepie Wed 14-Dec-11 10:48:21

True British manners and courtesy - wonderful smile

"an old fashioned carriage full of men with bowlers and brolleys and they just opened their newspapers and ignored her"

HoHoOpotomus Wed 14-Dec-11 11:00:38

But there are also women who manage to turn BF-ding into some sort of event with much kerfuffle and 101 teeny-tiny gestures proclaiming - GoshLookAtMeI'mBreastFeedingAren'tITheNuturingEarthMotherBondingWithMyBabyWhilstSimultaneouslyChallengingDatedParochialAttitudes... Hear. Me. Roar.

Seriously, I've never encountered any of these women!

But BF'ers are very much in the minority. Out in London with my babies I notice the very rare other Mum BF'ing - it's much more common to see babies bottle fed.

I wonder how many of those babies having a bottle are having breast milk expressed in advance of the outing because the Mum feels uncomfortable BF in public?

GrimmaTheNome Wed 14-Dec-11 11:13:51

>True British manners and courtesy - wonderful

Well quite. If you don't want to look at a woman feeding her baby just don't look.

NinkyNonker Wed 14-Dec-11 11:34:38

No not at all, I am talking of their motivations...fairly obviously. If they choose to overcome significant personal difficulties for the benefit of their children (perceived or otherwise, yadda yadda) then they can feel they have achieved something in my opinion.

Like I said, bf was no achievement for me, nothing to be proud of and I never understood those who told me it was when dd was 1yr plus...simply because it was the easier option for me. I stopped when dd was 15 months because I was pregnant and it was agony... I didn't persevere through anything. However for my friend who is still bf-ING post one yr after suffering an undiagnosed tongue tie, repetitive mastitis and then blocked ducts for about the first 3 months to have persevered is an achievement. Persevering with anything tough for perceived 'selfless' ideals is always something to be proud of in my book.

Doesn't mean I think this sort of protest works though!

exoticfruits Wed 14-Dec-11 11:43:43

Seriously, I've never encountered any of these women!

You are very lucky! The reason that I wouldn't get involved with a mass bf is that they would be out in droves!

GreyGardens Wed 14-Dec-11 11:49:45

Agree with lequeen and other voices of reason...
A Brighton titathon... good grief!
I was another one who discretely breastfed and never got a negative comment or even a second glance. Breastfeeding wasn't actually the be all and end all of my life, thank god.

TraceyI Wed 14-Dec-11 12:54:12

I have been reading all the posts on this thread and a few things jumped out at me to make me want to comment.

I am a Brighton mum whom bfs very discreetly, for those of you that have never run into the negative attitudes i'm really happy its great news, But this isnt the case still for to many women still.....even with the changes in law to protect bfing mums.

I am a quiet shy person and in the summer I was told to move by a very rude duty manger at a establishment in Brighton whom told me it was indecent. I was with both my children and was a very difficult thing to deal with,
complaints to the company afterwards resulted in the company involve being made aware of the law, and that the behaviour of the manger was unacceptable. They now have BFing friendly sign and better trained staff as to regards of the rights of bfing mums.

I fully support this Flash Mob BECAUSE to many people are not aware mums and babies have protection by law that harassment of bfing mums is not acceptable behaviour in this day and age of political correctness.
if the flash mob makes just one more person aware of this FACT. Then it has done its job. Then that one less mum to face the horrific feelings I went through in the summer.

exoticfruits Wed 14-Dec-11 16:12:31

I do wish that someone would make a complaint in front of me so that I can support them but although I see plenty of bfeeding I have never heard a negative comment.
I wouldn't mind a flash mob if I knew who else was in it Tracey, but it is generally hijacked by the type of mother that irritates me.(the sort mentioned by LeQueen)

DamnYouAutocorrect Thu 15-Dec-11 10:46:11

I see we're in the Guardian - nice article, Claire.

Maybe it's true that women who are proud to have breastfed have certain unexamined attitudes - but I think women who get very angry/irritated by lactivists have unexamined attitudes too. Including (but not limited to) discomfort with the dual role of breasts, alienation from their roles as mothers, need to fit in with what broader society expects of them (broader society being hugely hostile to the day-to-day business of mothering IMO), fear of being seen as feminists, etc etc.

Kookookichoo Thu 15-Dec-11 16:36:28

yabu. I live in a town where it is totally acceptable to breastfeed in public, every time I have to feed outside my little bubble I am shocked at how uncomfortable I am made to feel, nobody has ever made a comment directly to me but I have had lots of sideways glances, people moving away from me and whispering to each other. This has made me cover up on ocassion, which is absurd, why should breastfeeding women have to pander to other people's perverted sense of what a breast is for? Anything that makes us more visible should be applauded, you should thank her for trying to make a difference.

Kookookichoo Thu 15-Dec-11 16:57:15

Reading comments from those who say that negative comments should be shrugged off and get on with feeding, it's great that you all have such confidence that you can do this but what about those that don't? A large part of society does still frown on it and that does put people off breastfeeding, anything that brings it to the public's attention is one step in the right direction, why do you all feel the need to be so negative and assume that just because you found it easy to feed in public that others do too?

LeQueen Thu 15-Dec-11 17:08:56

If the thing you are most proud of is lactating, and you are Hell-bent on informing everyone of the fact, whether they want to know it, or not...well, then I think you've led a pretty mundane life smile

For some women, it's the one thing they can feel superior about...they might have screwed up at school, have only a passing acquitance with lipstick, only wash every third day, live in a pig-hole and have the social skills of a duck ...But. They. Have. Breast. Fed. And, ergo...That. Makes. Them. Better. Than. You.

Yep, of course it does Sweetie...of course it does... hmm

LadyBeagleBaublesAndBells Thu 15-Dec-11 17:19:07

grin at LeQueen, well said.
<runs away now as this has become another bf thread, and they can get scary>

runningwilde Thu 15-Dec-11 17:43:56

One of the things I am most proud of in my life is breastfeeding my kids - although I dont shout it from the rooftops... I dont think there is anything wrong with that, but like anything you are proud of, it's not something to use as a superior tool!

marriedandwreathedinholly Thu 15-Dec-11 18:07:19

I agree totally with LeQueen and would also extend her comments to the perfect, unassisted birth. BF and natural childbirth are both very small constituents of being a mother and children remember neither. They do, however, remember being loved, being supported, their favourite dinners, mum's safe arms on the first trip to a&e, dad yelling from the touchline, fun times on holiday, touching moments, their first day at school, their first detention and reasoning it through. All far more important imo.

exoticfruits Thu 15-Dec-11 18:08:46

I think that in a long list of accomplishments as a mother it comes pretty low. I am pleased that I did it but, once I had got the hang of it, it came easily-a lot easier than faffing around with bottles etc.

SlinkingOutsideInSocks Thu 15-Dec-11 19:00:12

Odd that those who think the topic so mundane and banal actually have more to say on it than anyone else.


runningwilde Fri 16-Dec-11 07:26:55

Lol at slinking's very accurate observation!

AlpinePony Fri 16-Dec-11 07:43:59


In this very instance, unless all of those babies were hungry at exactly the same time (by miracle of coincidence or starving them earlier in the day), then it was exhibitionist and simply "that type of mother" getting her Tits out in public, which, i think fulfils the criteria.

londonlottie Fri 16-Dec-11 09:28:49

You know, I've never met a woman who breastfed who is smug about it, or who thinks she's somehow 'superior'. You can be proud of having done something without it being anything to do with how you feel about other people. I am inordinately proud of the fact I managed to breastfeed my twins, but that says TONS about what I think about myself (I never thought I had it in me to succeed at it) and fuck all about what I think about other people.

The thought of a BF protest makes me shudder. It does nothing to normalise breastfeeding; in fact all it does is polarise those who do even more from those who don't, or didn't, or didn't succeed at it. BF'ing mothers are not all lunatic extremists, we're normal people doing something entirely normal. I've never wanted to turn my ability to breastfeed my children into a political statement. There will always be occasional oldies freaking out about ANYTHING, roll your eyes and leave them to it.

NinkyNonker Fri 16-Dec-11 09:32:35

I've never seen a BF mother 'getting her tits out' either.

Yankeecandlequeen Fri 16-Dec-11 10:39:20

I've seen a BF mum getting her baps out & I though it wasn't nice. Didn't say anything to her but it made me cringe. If you do it, do it quietly & don't make a fuss.

I hate those who want to tell the world by proclaiming in the streets "look at my tits - baby hanging off them".

Just do it somewhere I can;t see.

Trills Fri 16-Dec-11 10:45:23

How is it "exhibitionist" to do something that it is perfectly normal to do in public, in public?

Is it exhibitionist to drink a cup of coffee in public?


1Catherine1 Fri 16-Dec-11 10:55:19

I agree with you OP although a lot of people are picking on your wording I know what you meant.

The most effective protest would just be to carry on BF as and when you need to regardless of whether people object. Not to all meet up and feed those babies regardless of whether they want feeding or not confused seems a little odd to me.

I understand the need for less confident women to get used to it around others. To get together to do this is a complete different matter and a need for most. I know it helped me to meet up with other new mums for an afternoon catch up and feel confident that I could BF, struggle a bit but not feel under pressure of anyone possibly questioning me on it.

YANBU but if it has knocked that woman's confidence then it would be nice if you are her friend to go out with her, just for moral back up.

I don't understand why it has to be exhibitionist.
On 2 occasions I was breastfeeding my LO and people were at my shoulder talking to me and not realising what I was doing.
One was my Husband! shock
The other an older lady.
Chatting away, when she asked to have a wee look at her face, I had to say 'In a mo, she is feeding just now'
She was completely thrown because she obviously hadn't been aware.

So, if I can BF without someone, standing right next to me, noticing, why can't everyone else??
Problem solved.

I was not using any attention seeking shawls or anything else.
Once was tucked into a couch at a cafe, the other was on an open seat in a different cafe.

kelly2000 Fri 16-Dec-11 10:59:22

I think it depends on the situation. If the mother was breast feeding discreetly than that is fine, but I have been in a cafe where a woman got out her breast for about five minutes before feeding the baby. She just sat there with it hanging out for about five minutes. Would not have believed it if I had not seen it! That sort of behaviour is out of line. I should also say this woman was just a pain, and insisted on bring her buggy into the cafe, and then insisted on sitting in front of another table and blocking the aisle, so no-one else could use the other tables, and refused to move it when asked to let people pass. I really do not know what her issue was, but people like her make all mums look bad. I think rushing to breastfeed in protest because one person asked someone to be discreet is rather stupid. Apart from anything feeding your child should not be used as a form of protest. I have heard plenty of people be unpleasant to bottle feeding mothers, without hearing of a bottle feeding protest.

exoticfruits Fri 16-Dec-11 11:02:02

How is it "exhibitionist" to do something that it is perfectly normal to do in public, in public?

Is it exhibitionist to drink a cup of coffee in public?

On both counts it depends on how you do it. Most people manage both without drawing attention to it, they just treat it as a normal, everyday happening.

kelly2000 Fri 16-Dec-11 11:04:42

What do you mean they made you cover up, were you just feeding with your boobs sticking out? And why did you think it was a sexual thing? Just because someone does not want to see your boobs does not mean they think of your boobs as sexual. I think it gets very annoying when breastfeedin women who hang their breasts out insist that if people do not like this it is because they see their breasts as purely sexual, as if it never crosses their minds someone might just find it unpleasant to look at whilst they are eating.

entropyglitter Fri 16-Dec-11 12:09:06

I dont think a sit in is useful unless it was the staff of the shop that caused the issue...

On a separate issue I just made the pro vice chancellor of my university rearrange a meeting so I would have a slot to express....

not sure if I am chuffed or terrified....

kitstwins Fri 16-Dec-11 12:12:47

I am sh!t at breastfeeding - first time round I had twins and they had synchronised feeds and had I managed to pull myself off the floor and get breastfeeding established they not been largely bottle fed there is no way that I would have attempted a tandem feed in public. In my experience, you end up largely naked from the waist up <<waits wearily for some gung-ho breastfeeder of quads to come on thread and froth about how they breastfed all four in the middle of Paddington Station without showing a hint of nipple...>>

Second time around with a singleton I breastfed but I was still totally sh!t at feeding in public, so I found it stressful. My boy was heavy and a lazy latcher and I had an aching c section scar so feeding him wasn't effortless and required cushions and all sorts of faffy props for the first month or so. I exposed myself to most of London at one point or another and always felt rather mortified about it. Breasts have a dual role in my life. Yes, they've been for feeding but they also have a sexual function. Although I'm very body confident and have no problem with nudity with nearest and dearest, I wouldn't go topless on the beach for example. I wouldn't feel comfortable showing my breasts to strangers. And because I was an hopeless breastfeeder, feeding my baby in public did usually involve a flash of nipple/breast at some point, although I tried my hardest with faffy, drapy scarves, etc. I cringe at the memory of exposing myself to an entire and packed bookshop/coffee shop when my scarf slipped and my baby decided at that point to latch off. Awful. No one said a word though. They probably saw how flustered I was.

I think if people feel strongly then they should protest. I do think there can be a prevailing attitude that it is something that should be covered and concealed and done 'privately' so in that sense, anything that breaks this attitude is a good thing. If that involves a bunch of slightly mad-eyed women feeding in sub-zero temperatures on a Brighton pavement then all power to them. My theory is that the more we do something the more we normalise it. If people get used to seeing women breastfeeding in cafes and on park benches and on trains then it becomes everyday and less shocking, less eye-catching and that in itself makes it 'easier' for everyone. Easier for the mother doing it, who might not be that comfortable with the process of public feeding, and easier for those out there who feel a bit awkward when they see it. It's precisely this reason that made me go out there and feed my baby in public, when my instinct was perhaps to go and hide in a cramped public loo.

So yeah, I admired them for getting fired up about something and making a stand. It's easy to write them off as breastmilk nazis who view feeding their child as the acme of personal acheivements but I doubt many/any of them are actually like this. it's easy to throw a lentil-weaver tag on them, to compartmentalise them when in fact they're acting on something they feel strongly about. That has got to be applauded, right? The more women who get up and protest the better in my humble opinion. Better than grumbling at home over a packet of jaffa cakes anyway. Besides, I loved their faces in the photos. You could see the charge and adrenalin that comes from doing something positive, something for other people; the cohesion of a good and common cause.

squeakytoy Fri 16-Dec-11 12:18:14

How is it "exhibitionist" to do something that it is perfectly normal to do in public, in public?

Is it exhibitionist to drink a cup of coffee in public

If you sat there topless it would be! smile

Whenever I go in the Starbucks at my supermarket, there are women who are feeding their babies. At least that is what I assume they are doing, because they are doing it discretely, and nobody is taking a blind bit of notice.

kitstwins Fri 16-Dec-11 12:27:37

Oh, and twinklingfairy

"So, if I can BF without someone, standing right next to me, noticing, why can't everyone else??
Problem solved.
I was not using any attention seeking shawls or anything else."

Well done, dear! So you nailed feeding? Aren't you fabulous.
It's a bit like saying, well I had an all natural, drug-free vaginal delivery so why can't everyone else? Why does everyone else need ATTENTION SEEKING (nice!) epidurals...?

People might need 'attention seeking' shawls and other devices because they're just not as A-star fan-fucking-tabulous at feeding as you are. Maybe their stomach still hurts because they've had an hideous c-section with healing issues and an undiagnosed tissue infection and it hurts to lift and rest a 10lb baby against their stomach. Oh, and their baby has a tricky latch because it's got oral thrush (and you've got nipple thrush and a milk blister). All of these things. Don't just brush off everyone else because they can't feed effortlessly. Your attitude sucks. Instead of watching someone struggling with feeding but still feeding regardless you just view them as a lesser, attention-seeking, specimen who just isn't trying hard enough. Not very supportive or empathetic is it? Not what you'd expect or hope a fellow breastfeeding mother would be.

Wow! What a lot of assumptions you have made about my character Kits, made me smile
I was thinking of one woman I knew, in particular, who brought far more attention to her Breastfeeding by faffing about with a big black shawl in an attempt to be discreet. It seemed a very upside down way of doing it and a bit of a shame for the baby to be in darkness as a result.
Also my thoughts were on the type of people that Kelly mentioned.
I had a friend who would give you a full view of her boob before putting baby baby on. I don't get that.

I just think mothers ought to practice before feeding in public and if they feel they show too much flesh, try to minimise it. If they don't think that hanging a boob out for an age before putting baby on for a feed is too much, then I would find that odd (not the best of wording I know) But come on, be reasonable, think about where you are and who might not want to see your boob.
Breastfeeing in public is great, it normalises it and advertises it as a Great thing to do, but if you do it in a way that even your best mate is squirming??
It is great that mothers BF, I have no issues with them doing it in public especially if they are doing it through pain and hard work. I was not without my own bouts of mastitis, but you can still be discreet.

DamnYouAutocorrect Fri 16-Dec-11 14:16:47

Good grief, STOP with the 'discretion' demands already. It's such horrible, stupid, harmful NONSENSE.

If you want to be discreet when feeding in public, good on you - I wholeheartedly support you in that.

But the minute you come on Mumsnet telling non-discreet feeders that they should stay at home (WTAF??) you're seriously damaging other women's attempts to establish normal on-demand bf-ing.

With my older child, it took me about three months to get the hang of feeding him without faffing about with my nipple and his gob for a couple of minutes. He used to feed about 20 times a day as a newborn. Does anyone seriously think I should have gone into absolute purdah for three months? What fricking century is this?

aaaargh stop it stop it!

kelly2000 Fri 16-Dec-11 14:19:37

Also these women are protesting because a private individuel asked one woman to be more discreet, not not to breastfeed, just be more discreet about it. So they are now protesting in the hope of what? Changing one person's view that breastfeeding should be done discreetly not with boobs swinging about. All they are doing is enforcing stereotypes that breastfeeding mothers are attention seeking pushy mothers, and are denormalizing it as it were. I bet they also had to call the media themselves too.
Imagine if everyone protested everytime a stranger ticked them off.

kelly2000 Fri 16-Dec-11 14:24:01

Sorry, but you should be discrete when breastfeeding. No-one else should be forced to look at your body parts when they are trying to eat. If your child was screaming you would not stay in the cafe eating would you, so why go there if you cannot breastfeed without sitting there for five minutes with your breasts swinging about.

DamnYouAutocorrect Fri 16-Dec-11 14:35:31

Sorry kelly but I really think that's utter, utter nonsense. If your baby's screaming to be fed, you should feed him/her - and, quite frankly, ignore anyone who thinks otherwise.

General message to all posters on this thread: PLEASE have a think about the lurking new bf-ing mothers who will be reading this thread. Their takeaway will be: oh sad because I'm struggling to get my newborn latched on ALMOST ALL new mothers do I'm a) doing it hopelessly wrong and b) a disgusting person who must be getting subconscious sexual kicks from exposing myself. I'm obviously not cut out for this breastfeeding lark, and since it's impossible for me to not leave the house for the next 12 weeks I'd best reach for the formula, despite the fact that i WANT to breastfeed.

Do you really want any new mother to go away thinking that?

TangerinePuppet Fri 16-Dec-11 14:38:02

In all my time of breastfeeding and associating with bf mums, I have never seen anyone's boobs 'swing about'.

Grow the fuck up.

DamnYouAutocorrect Fri 16-Dec-11 14:40:41

grin Tangerine you said it better than me

I'm so shocked by the loathing on this thread. Self-loathing and loathing directed towards other mothers. For having tits and using them in the way nature intended. That's why the UK's breastfeeding rates are so pigging awful - right there.

TangerinePuppet Fri 16-Dec-11 14:44:58

Oooh, that seems to have done the job grin

exoticfruits Fri 16-Dec-11 14:45:45

It is a load of nonsense, if you are doing anything in public, bfeeding, drinking coffee, whatever, you can do it discretely. When I started the first time I had trouble latching on, but that was really early days and I wasn't going out in the first week.

kelly2000 Fri 16-Dec-11 14:46:08

Why do I need to grow up? Some women do make a big song and dance about breastfeeding, and do just let their breast swing about, taking about five minutes to feed their babies. Not all women, but these are the women who give everyone a bad name. And of course if anyone disagrees with them they tell them it must be because they think they have sexual breasts. they need to grow up and realise that just because people do not want to see they breasts it does not mean people find them attractive, sexual etc.
And in countries like Denmark where breastfeeding is very high, it is not acceptable to sit in a cafe with your breast hanging out. You either do it discreetly or go somewhere private. The only place I have seen women exposing themselves during breastfeeding is in the UK.

TangerinePuppet Fri 16-Dec-11 14:48:54

Where are all these swinging, hanging boobs?

Over egging this one a bit I reckon.

kelly2000 Fri 16-Dec-11 15:00:43

They are attached to the woman who refuse to be discreet when breastfeeding. They are in a minority, most women who breastfeed see it as normal and do it discreetly. But there is a minority for whom the fact they are breastfeeding is some amazing mother nature type thing and make a real song and dance about it, and go out of their way to have their boobs out before they feed. As I said these are not the normal breastfeeders, but they are the ones who give everyone else a bad name and denormalize it. Seeing some woman sitting at a table with her breast hanging about, while she spends five minutes getting the baby out does not encourage women to breastfeed. Seeing a woman sitting discreetly breastfeeding whilst carrying on as normal does encourage women to breastfeed. these protestors are putting the average woman off breast feeding as they are protesting against discreet breastfeeding. As i said before the countries with the highest rates of breast feeding do not have this sort of behaviour.

Laquitar Fri 16-Dec-11 15:09:15

It is not the 'swinging, hanging boobs'. It is that facial expression. grin
'Look at me. I'm doing something revolutary. First mother ever to do. I'm breaking all the taboos' type. And they get frustrated when no one gives a shit. So they start pushing tables/chairs/buggies, blocking the area, then if anyone complains about the pram blocking the corridor or the fact that she occupies 8 chairs with her shopping, she will say: 'You see! I knew you have problem with bfing!

kelly2000 Fri 16-Dec-11 15:12:38

I knwo exactly what you mean. I have had experience with that very woman. They really seem to think they are some sort of amazing earth mother, and the entire world must now revolve around them and their child.

NinkyNonker Fri 16-Dec-11 15:25:15

Well, I only seem to encounter people who have seen these women on MN, they are some sort of internet phenomenon.

Bf really brings out some real woman hating attitudes. I must remember to hide them all in future. Tbh, I can think of far more things that put me off than 'indiscrete' bf...non flattering clothing, poor table manners etc.

As for saying someone who has not yet got the hang of bf yet ought to stay home in case an inadvertent flash of breast put off some cat's bum on the other side of the cafe well...shame on you.

kelly2000 Fri 16-Dec-11 15:35:29

BF does not bring about women hating attitudes, the woman who make such a song and dance about BF bring about BF hatign attitudes. Just because soemone is a woman does not mean they support indiscreet breastfeeding (or those awful women who bring their children into coffee shops and let them race around being brats, because "that is just what children are like")

exoticfruits Fri 16-Dec-11 15:48:24

Love it Laquitar! grin Spot on.

SlinkingOutsideInSocks Fri 16-Dec-11 17:05:17

Who cares, who cares, who cares, who cares, who cares...?! confused

If some 'attention-seeker' wants to 'swing their boobs about', let them! Don't give them the attention they allegedly seek! In my 37 years on this planet I have never come across this, but obviously some of you are positively inundated with 'boob swingers'. The demands for discretion, above all else when it comes to b/feeding are just hilarious.

And all of you too-cool-for-school types with your a-may-zing, scintillating lives - just get on with living them and stop banging on about how interesting you are because you find breastfeeding so boring.

Yeah, right, sweetie - me think the ladies doth protest too much.

Get over yourselves people - honestly, it's JUST breastfeeding; it's just getting food into a baby. If people want to to do it or not do it or do it flamboyantly - who really cares?!?!?!


LeQueen Fri 16-Dec-11 17:23:39

"How is it "exhibitionist" to do something that it is perfectly normal to do in public, in public?

Is it exhibitionist to drink a cup of coffee in public?"

Depends how you drink your coffee...if you slurp it really loudly, and spill some of it, and then (loudly) shout the waiter over to clean up the spill, then (loudly) argue with the waiter when you feel they haven't adequately cleaned the mess, and try desperately to drag other coffee-drinkers into the argument when they clearly are not remotely interested...then yes you are being a very annoying exhibitionist smile

AlpinePony Fri 16-Dec-11 17:30:55

It's not exhibitionist to bf in public.

It is exhibitionist to wop your boob out when your baby isn't hungry to make a rather pathetic and weary point.

It's got elements of "slut walk" about.

We are of course referring to this flashmob and not the topic of feeding babies!

LeQueen Fri 16-Dec-11 17:35:05

Meant to add...but if you drink your coffee quietly, spill a bit, but mop it up with your own napkin, carry on drinking, finish your coffee, politely ask the waiter for the bill, then exit the coffee house normally...then no that's not being remotely exhibitionistic (is that a word?).

I also assume that most people would probably practice their coffee-drinking skills just for a little bit to ensure they weren't likely to spill their coffee everywhere the first time they went to a coffee house, too... smile

SlinkingOutsideInSocks Fri 16-Dec-11 17:38:35

Still pontificating on this banal topic, I see....

LeQueen Fri 16-Dec-11 17:41:06

Of course slinking it has become increasingly interesting actually, it's raised some issues I hadn't thought about before, and I have pondered on the subject since, and people's responses, and formulated my own replies, and...

Oh, sorry, you're being facetitious and trying to score a point, I get it smile

Pray, do continue smile

LeQueen Fri 16-Dec-11 17:41:45

Or even facetious...

SlinkingOutsideInSocks Fri 16-Dec-11 17:42:35

Yawn, LeQueen, as always.

Oh, let me add a quick passive aggressive smile, as you always do. smile


LadyBeagleBaublesAndBells Fri 16-Dec-11 17:49:13

As usual the whole point of this thread has been missed.
I only commented because I thought a BF flashmob was attention seeking, nothing else.
I never meant to come on a BF in public debate.
Obviously that is totally normal.

Earthymama Fri 16-Dec-11 17:50:21

I am so shocked by the attitudes of some people on this thread. Why are you extrapolating from isolated incidents of boob flashing that all BF women are latent exhibitionists and presenting it as a known fact?

And why are the boob flashers all so repulsive to those of you who see them? I associate with many women who don't conform to Style and Beauty stereotypes and wear - heaven forfend! 'hippy' style clothes. They aren't dirty or unwashed, or repulsive in any way.

I think that people do need to be challenged on their prejudices. It is not acceptable to comment on how women feed their babies, unless you smile in support. If you don't like it for some odd reason, join the chaps in the railway compartment and don't look confused

You do know that prior to the last hundred and odd years, the vast majority of people were breastfed don't you?

LadyBeagleBaublesAndBells Fri 16-Dec-11 18:06:03

...and Earthymama misses the point too.

DamnYouAutocorrect Fri 16-Dec-11 18:27:47

Well said, EarthyMama (*LasyBeagle*, I take your point but the thread has digressed; they often do and there's nothing the OP can do about it tbh)

I think there's a peculiarly English attitude being displayed here, both towards political activism (which many English people regard as being a bit like farting in a lift) and towards bodily mess. Birth is messy, pregnancy's messy, babies are messy, feeding's messy... the whole darn crapshoot is messy as hell, but I think a lot of people feel that if you're not neat and tidy and basically as hairless and sexless as a Barbie, you're essentially revolting and shouldn't be allowed out in public. Which is fine as an individual point of view (well it's not fine but YKWIM), but as I said before, what really makes me angry and sad is the effect these near-impossible standards (e.g. invisible breastfeeding, which would be funny if it weren't so damaging) have on the breastfeeding rates in this country.

LadyBeagleBaublesAndBells Fri 16-Dec-11 18:48:03

Well I'm Scottish Damnyou, so is my opinion included here?

exoticfruits Fri 16-Dec-11 18:59:32

I never meant to come on a BF in public debate.
Obviously that is totally normal.


exoticfruits Fri 16-Dec-11 19:02:15

I think there's a peculiarly English attitude being displayed here

The particular English attitude is that you get on with perfectly normal, daily routines like eating, bfeeding quietly, without making a song and dance about it!

kelly2000 Fri 16-Dec-11 19:03:53

No-one ois saying all breastfeeders are exhibitionists, people (inc. me) are saying that the few that are give everyone a bad name. I am not talkign about someone feeding accidently showing a bit of boob, but the out before they even have the baby out of their seat yet (and yes I have seen this). This type, and I stress this is a minority, do give breastfeeding a bad name. This is normally the same type who block up aisles in cafes with prams, let their children race around coffee shopss as if it is a playgym etc.
But the problem is that those few women who do make a song and dance about getting their boobs out when breastfeeding, then try to make out that anyone who thinks they should be discreet is against bf in general, which is what has happened on this thread. No-one has said bf is wrong, or that it should not be done in public, just that it should be done discreetly wihtout boobs hanging out for minutes before the baby is even brought to the breast.

TangerinePuppet Fri 16-Dec-11 19:06:46

Gnnnnnn! Gnnnnnnn!

No, dammit - no matter what I try I just can't get them to 'swing'.

I must be highly unusual amongst breastfeeding mums grin

On a serious note threads like this remind me why I haven't fed DD in public for well over a year now, even though I've always been very subtle about it.

SlinkingOutsideInSocks Fri 16-Dec-11 19:07:18

I guess that's the whole point though, isn't it - breastfeeding in public isn't entirely normal when people like the person who's spawned this protest get grief for doing it.

Again, I'd personally find getting involved in something like this just too cringey, and I was always confident enough to just get on and do it - but if other people want to get involved and make the big point, really, who cares? Just let them get on with it.

I don't particularly care how breastfeeders are perceived and what the stereotypical image might be of them (I don't live in the UK though and it's much more normal/widespread here), so if some people are giving it a lentil-weavery image, it doesn't bother me, because I just don't relate to that.

kelly2000 Fri 16-Dec-11 19:10:56

damn you,
I think the indiscreet bf is an English thing. In Denmark nearly everyone breastfeeds, and it is not considered acceptable to sit in a cafe with your breast out before you try to feed the baby. People do it discreetly.
And if someone is sitting there with their boob hanging about it is acceptable to ask them to feed their baby discreetly. We are not talking about normal breastfeeders, just the minority. As I said before it is these women who object to being discreet who making breastfeeding difficult for other women, who denormalize bf, and who put other women off breastfeeding. When I saw a woman using her pram to block up the aisle, refusing to move it and sitting there with her boob swinging about for about five minutes before she even attempted to feed really put me off breastfeeding, as do those who breastfeed as part of a protest.

TangerinePuppet Fri 16-Dec-11 19:11:01

Whilst I'd be far too shy to sit with my breast exposed in a public place, I'd like to add that it is only a nipple, that's all.

Nipples never hurt anybody smile

TangerinePuppet Fri 16-Dec-11 19:14:38

<gets knocked over by huge swinging nork>

SlinkingOutsideInSocks Fri 16-Dec-11 19:15:18

Kelly - was her boob actually swinging about for 5 minutes? How did she achieve the swinging?

Do you encounter this sort of 5-minute swingy boob behaviour all the time, then? You must do for it to be such a bother for you.

SlinkingOutsideInSocks Fri 16-Dec-11 19:16:01

Or are just just massively exaggerating for the sake of the thread?

kelly2000 Fri 16-Dec-11 19:18:19

the woman did not get grief for breastfeeing, she got grief for being indiscreet. Given her response to being annoyed by a private individuel (not a shop etc) was to organize a breastfeeding protest and contact the media I can believe she may not be the most discreet of people.

kelly2000 Fri 16-Dec-11 19:24:36

This particular women was a one time thing and she was extreme (who thinks it is OK to prevent people getting to other tables with her buggy and get hysterical when asked ot move it). I do not know how she got it to swing about, I guess she just has unfortunate droopy boobs. I have seen other women making a song and dance and sitting there with their boobs out, but this one was the worst, there is a reason I remember this particular woman. But as I have said women like this are a minority, where are you trying to imply i am saying all breastfeeders are like this. We are not talking about women who show a bit of boob when they are feeding, that just happens and is par for the course, but the minority who just get them out. The whole point is that it is the minority that give all breastfeeders a bad image and denormalize breastfeeding.

SlinkingOutsideInSocks Fri 16-Dec-11 19:24:40


How do you know she got grief for being indiscreet?

Were you there?

SlinkingOutsideInSocks Fri 16-Dec-11 19:26:06

I'm talking about the person who spawned the protest being discussed in this thread, by the way.

SlinkingOutsideInSocks Fri 16-Dec-11 19:26:56

I still wholly maintain you're exaggerating when you say that the woman you speak of got her boob out and swung it about for 5 minutes.

kelly2000 Fri 16-Dec-11 19:32:30

Why, were you there. She was just one of those unfortunate people with pendulous breasts.
The protest organizer said she was organising it because a woman said she should be more discreet.

SlinkingOutsideInSocks Fri 16-Dec-11 19:40:20

But unless any of us were actually there, we don't know whether this breastfeeding woman actually was being indiscreet - surely this is the point?

And in any case, one 70-year old's 'indiscreet' is another new mother's getting to grips with it and perhaps flashing (note: not swinging) more boob than she wanted. Or one baby's inability to latch well and perhaps flashing (note: not swinging) more boob than wanted.

Is it that difficult to 'get'?

Honestly - who cares? If these people want to do it, just let them get on with it and out of their system.

londonlottie Fri 16-Dec-11 19:53:34

But Slinking you obviously care very much that some people DO care. Why is it okay for you to be riled by them, but not for them to be riled by those choosing to protest? Using the argument 'but you weren't there so how do we really know?' could be applied to loads of threads on MN; it's a bit facile to come back with that line of attack.

I'm one of those who do sort of get annoyed by these sort of breastfeeding extremists. And yes, this thread has ended up conflating two very different arguments - by complaining about protesters breastfeeding in public, it doesn't mean anyone is complaining about people breastfeeding in public in general. I've never been annoyed by someone 'indiscreetly' breastfeeding in public - unless they were a complete twat while they went about it, I'd probably assume they were getting the hang of it and not necessarily making a huge political statement. What I do mind is that in the minds of those who might not be huge fans of breastfeeding in the first place, these demonstrations, which are supposed to raise the profile of breastfeeding and further the cause, actually in my mind are more likely to have a detrimental effect.

WhiteTrash Fri 16-Dec-11 20:21:20

FWIW despite my starting this thread, I personlly have no problem with women being or not being descreet with their breasts. I can be descreet with my eyes (i.e avert them).

But when I read the bf 'mob' DM article today I still thought, whats the point? Every woman there would no doubt continue to bf when and where she liked so the mob was for what? To change a 70yeae old womans views? Unlikely.

And what did they do? I just imagined them sitting there, 5 mins in, photo taken then few babies that were feeding were done.


"So..... What now?"

"Well, erm..."

"Ive got to go to Sainsburys, toodle pip."

"Ok, er, see you later thanks for coming [for 10 whole minutes] I really think we showed that 70 year woman, erm, something."

NinkyNonker Fri 16-Dec-11 20:24:45


How disheartening that some women feel the need to announce "Why, of course I was always so discreet. It's so unnecessary to make it so obvious."

By all means, cover your own breasts up to feed , if you feel the need. But don't blooming brag about it, and certainly don't assume that everyone should follow your example.

When I feed 'discreetly', I am not proud, rather, I'm a little ashamed every time I do that I do not have the courage to feed in the easiest way possible, rather than the way I am least likely to get hassled.

I would prefer to feed comfortably instead, and without fear of some small minded fool judging me to be indiscreet or exhibitionist.

exoticfruits Fri 16-Dec-11 22:15:14

I don't see why 'proud' comes into it. You are feeding a baby! Most people manage it with the minimum of fuss and no one even notices.

Well, yes, but some people do seem to be self-congratulatory about their ability or desire to feed discreetly. Which is fine unless they also sneer at women who "get their whole breast out". Well, so what if they do? When I'm at home, I do this because it's the easiest, least restrictive way to feed - minimum of fuss.

Why shouldn't we be able to feed like this - whole breast out - the most comfortable way in public? Why should the affected sensibilities of other people compel anyone to have to feed in a more awkward way? And yes, for some, fiddling with nursing openings, and ensuring only a millimetre of breast is revealed, god forbid that skin should be seen - is awkward!

exoticfruits Sat 17-Dec-11 14:11:08

I think that when you are out and about you act in a way that makes other people feel comfortable-in anything you are doing. It is nothing more than simple politeness.

exoticfruits Sat 17-Dec-11 14:22:15

There are lots of things that I do at home that I don't do when out. e.g. if on my own I might lick a plate-I don't in front of other people. We can't just do what we like, when we like and say 'to hell with other people'!

LeQueen Sat 17-Dec-11 17:02:19

"Yawn, LeQueen, as always"

Well, I'm curious that you seem so familiar with me slinking because, hand on heart, I don't have a clue who you are, and can't ever remember coming across you until this thread hmm

exoticfruits Sat 17-Dec-11 18:10:09

I always think-'ah great, LeQueen-that will liven things up'. grin
Whatever else it won't be yawn making.

LeQueen Sat 17-Dec-11 18:51:30

[smooches exotic]

Whereas, I was just thinking 'Who the feck is this slinking person, then...they've totally failed to register on my MN radar'

samstown Sat 17-Dec-11 19:41:55

So we have the 'Extraordinary Breastfeeding' thread where women are arguing over BF and FF. And then we have this thread where BFing women are arguing amonst themselves about feeding discreetly!

Women eh?! grin

exoticfruits Sat 17-Dec-11 19:48:22

The silly thing is that later on no one in the least cares, either way!

entropyglitter Sun 18-Dec-11 01:04:36

ooohh I was really worried about kelly's posts starting 'damnyou'....turns out it was a user name...

Did you know that you don't have the right to use a breast pump in public? Not sure if that's a loop hole or deliberate....pump can be more visually discrete than a baby but tends to be audible...

LeQueen Sun 18-Dec-11 09:47:12

Agree exotic. FF Vs BF is a bit like GCSE Vs. A Levels...once you have your A Levels under your belt, no one ever cares about your GCSEs...

I do agree that how you feed your baby is important. But I don't think that it's the most important aspect of your baby's early life, bar none. I think there are many more, equally important factors at play, too smile

LadyBeagleBaublesAndBells Sun 18-Dec-11 13:27:50

I never realised what a huuuge subject it was until I came on MN and the arguments it's caused.
My ds is doing his highers now, and I'm concentrating on making sure he works with the distractions of girls and the temptations of alcohol and drugs.
I'm/he's doing a great job so far.
Must have been because I breastfed for 3 weeks.

exoticfruits Sun 18-Dec-11 13:41:40

One thing is for sure -your DS won't even want to know how he was fed-and if you tell him about your 'trials and tribulations and mass protests' his eyes will glaze over and he will make a quick exit from the room!

LeQueen Sun 18-Dec-11 13:48:16

As I said, there are other very important factors in a baby's life. I think I've managed to score quite highly on some of them (just not BF-ding)...I'm sure there are plenty of pro Bf-ders who completely fluffed several of the other important factors...not not through deliberate selfishness, or anything like that, of course...

...but simply because they just really struggled to master those factors, and decided that in the grand scheme of things, it wouldn't matter too much overall, as they'd managed to master other factors (say BF-ding) quite wellsmile

exoticfruits Sun 18-Dec-11 16:47:43

Life would be wonderfully simple if you could just follow x,y and z and you produce a wonderfully healthy, emotional stable human being!

entropyglitter Sun 18-Dec-11 16:54:32

ARGHH panicking that I am missing something important....

LeQueen do tell what you think those things are? <promises not to use the word zealot whatever they turn out to be>

entropyglitter Sun 18-Dec-11 16:55:38

I already have reading books and eating real food from the other discussion <cannot believe who much BLW has changed my diet not too mention...TMI>

entropyglitter Sun 18-Dec-11 16:55:54

how not who...gngngngg

Get0rf Sun 18-Dec-11 19:21:27

Lequeen - I think you are a great poster but I think you have come across as a bit odd on this thread.

This is the second thread in as many days that I have seen you be very disparaging about BF.

I agree with you in many respects - motherhood is a long game, and soon BF ceases to matter. But - I shrug my shoulders a bit where BF is concerned because it is 16 years since I last BF a baby. However, at the time it was all consuming. I was very proud of the little BF I did at the time.

I think your comments that some people who are visibly proud of BF maybe the types who wear no makeup, or live in shitty houses, are very cruel. I don't understand why you would come on a thread to say such things. On other subjects on MN you come across as very intelligent and amusing - but some of your comments on BF are rather silly, imo.

runningwilde Sun 18-Dec-11 19:26:25

Well said getorf. Very well said.

I have never seen anyone "flaunting" their norks whilst breastfeeding in public. Not Once. Ever. I never flaunted my own during the 20 months i demand-fed DS on public transport, in restaurants, pubs, wherever. It's not remotely difficult to avoid getting nekkid.

And I have never ever witnessed, or even heard of anecdotally, an utterly imaginary elderly woman tutting, glaring at, remonstrating with or "harrassing" (hmm hmm) a breastfeeding mother. Men, yes. Lots of times. Random men on trains and buses, cafe owners ejecting feeding mums etc etc, but NEVER another woman.

Lots of old ladies have come up and said "Well done!" or "Good for you, dear!" or "Ooh, how lovely!".

Like Victor Meldrew - I DON'T BELIEVE IT!

LadyBeagleBaublesAndBells Sun 18-Dec-11 20:00:43

Can I just add that I really don't care if anyone shows their breasts either.
I. Just. Don't. Agree. with stupid demonstrations.

exoticfruits Sun 18-Dec-11 20:21:10

This is the second thread in as many days that I have seen you be very disparaging about BF.

I don't think that she has been the least disparaging about bfeeding-just some of the people who do it and make it into a huge deal.

racingheart Sun 18-Dec-11 20:30:26

But they're not making it into a big deal. It's not a big deal. It is feeding a baby. Oh I could rant on my soapbox for hours about this but the OP is BVVVVU. Feed your baby however you want. Babies need feeding. If you don't feel the need to discreetly drape a muslin cloth over an Avent bottle then you shouldn't feel the need to treat a baby feeding as though it's one of Michael Jackson's children. The more breasts lolling around with babies attached to them, the less idiotically puritanical and fetishistic people will become about breasts.

I'm not a BF militant. I'd defend any mother's right to bottle feed from birth for whatever reasons without a shred of guilt. What I loathe is the idea that breasts are dirty and need covering up, when they are out doing what they were designed for, feeding a baby. Anyone who is uncomfortable with this is accepting a lad-mag attitude that breasts are primarily for sexual pleasure and therefore inappropriate in public.

Off the soapbox now.

SlinkingOutsideInSocks Sun 18-Dec-11 20:44:02

LeQueen, I name-change fairly regularly - wouldn't expect for a second for someone as important as you to recognise me. Heaven forfend.

I find your posts increasingly amusing in a laugh-at-you-rather-than-with-you sort of way, is all; you just cannot let an opportunity go by to bang on about how a-may-zing you are, in one way or another.

I suspect that had you succeeded in breastfeeding your opinions on the matter would be quite different. Because your way is always the only right way. And, I just think you look slightly ridiculous on this thread, coming on to say how utterly dull the topic is, and then opining on and on.

Bit disingenuous. Everyone else has acknowledged it to be a passably interesting topic for some time now, which is why these threads get so many hits. But of course, you have to maintain your highly amusing image of yourself as just too interesting for words.

exoticfruits Sun 18-Dec-11 20:46:49

It is merely feeding a baby. I fed 3, anywhere and everywhere-no one noticed, and if they did they didn't comment. It wasn't some great achievement, and no way would I join demonstrations.

Get0rf Sun 18-Dec-11 21:10:59

I must say though that I agree with the OP - I don't really think feed ins are appropriate in this situation tbh. Plus I don't see the point.

exoticfruits Sun 18-Dec-11 22:15:33

I think that we have got lost from the OP and I agree with GetOrf.

LadyBeagleBaublesAndBells Sun 18-Dec-11 22:58:07

Yes, the point of the ops thread has drifted a way somewhat.
I'll just say I totally agree with bf in public and don't give a shit if I see a breast.
But these demos are just stupid and attention seeking.
I'm now hiding the thread. Bored now.

What racingheart said. And I have never heard anyone (even 13 years ago ) make an unpleasant remark about someone BF in public.

Whatmeworry Mon 19-Dec-11 07:25:56

IMO a sit in will get far more derision than praise and be counter productive.

exoticfruits Mon 19-Dec-11 09:09:44

I think that says it all LadyBeagle-nothing to add-I agree.

by exoticfruits Sat 17-Dec-11 14:22:15
There are lots of things that I do at home that I don't do when out. e.g. if on my own I might lick a plate-I don't in front of other people. We can't just do what we like, when we like and say 'to hell with other people'!

Well, thank goodness the law disagrees with you there.

I am quite entitled to say to hell with other people, if their views are unreasonable or unlawful.

People claim to be offended by all sorts of inoffensive things; the smell of someone's perfume, someone wearing a headscarf, mixed race marriages, gay relationships, an exposed breast which is feeding a baby.

By all means, feel aggrieved by whatever you wish. Your issues are your own. But when you expect ME to move/ hide/ change my behaviour or my countenance to accommodate YOUR feelings, you've crossed a line. Morally, and legally.

There was a thread a few days ago where MN was unanimous in their disgust of a person who asked a colleague to remove her headscarf because "it offended her". Quite right of course.

The irony that people can then expect a mother to cover herself up to respect the beliefs of similarly ignorant fools is apparently lost on some.

exoticfruits Mon 19-Dec-11 17:57:48

It isn't anything to do with the law. Of course there are lots of things that I can do if I want-like ignore a queue and barge in front, lick the crumbs off my plate in a cafe etc. I don't do these things out of politeness and consideration for other people. I have bf all over the place, but I am 'not in people's faces' -it is perfectly possible to do it quietly without the least fuss. No one has ever even commented-I can't see why they would-it is a perfectly normal function.
Why would I have an issue with it? The only reason I could see was if there was a very militant bfeeder who was determined to make it an issue.

noddyholder Mon 19-Dec-11 17:59:39

I live in Brighton and saw it on tv and the general consensus amongst many here inc very pro breast feeding earth mum types was that it was a bit cringe

exoticfruits Mon 19-Dec-11 18:58:19

It was a bit cringe to me too and people like verylittlecarrot, who don't think that you need to be in the least discreet, put me off entirely. People quietly bfeeding, the way they would normally is far more effective.

It is never dirty, or rude, or inappropriate, or impolite to breastfeed in public. Whether you do it discreetly or you have a breast exposed.

Anyone who suggests otherwise is, simply, wrong. And bigoted. And I don't have much truck with bigots. So I can live with putting you off, thanks exoticfruits, with your smug namecalling and nasty attitude. And I'm sure you can live with the knowledge that I despise your rather cowardly hypocrisy in having breastfed unhindered yourself, yet still wish to judge and condemn and make rules for other women who want to breastfeed their way.

Each to their own.

exoticfruits Mon 19-Dec-11 21:19:44

Each to their own indeed-but the people who put me off the whole thing are the strident types who have to make sure everyone knows what they are doing. Everyone can manage bfeeding or any other type of feeding (including themselves) without fuss. The reason that I wouldn't have anything to do with a mass bfeed is that it would be taken over by the strident types.

londonlottie Mon 19-Dec-11 21:28:32

What I've never understood is that if you can't manage to breastfeed with relative ease in public, why would you bother at all? Admittedly I had twins so it was never going to be easy for me to manage it, but sometimes I felt as though it was only the perceived pressure from others for me to conform and breastfeed happily in public that made me feel I should continue to do so, when in fact I found the experience profoundly upsetting and stressful. Again perhaps because I had twins I let go very early on of the idea that my life should be able to continue as normal with no disruption. Actually, it's not necessarily 'normal' to go to cafes with other mothers and breastfeed your child - it's only something women have been doing for a relatively short period of time. I think if you can breastfeed anywhere happily you should continue to do so, but for me to keep my back straight for 1/2 an hour (or more), sitting in a chair which I wasn't used to, without my exact arrangement of pillows etc, I just found it exhausting and difficult and was happy to accept defeat until such a time I could manage to go to a cafe without needing to feed my children.

GreyGardens Mon 19-Dec-11 21:37:05

I just think this is a non-issue; like plenty of other sane women I managed to breastfeed in public without anyone batting an eyelid, but I actually think some people love the drama surrounding bf 'issues' and old ladies apparently tutting etc. It isn't actually polite to whip your baps out in public, imo, and it is perfectly possible to feed a baby without showing any flesh. So why not just do it liek that and carry on as you are? I have to say I have seen a full topless 'look at me' bf fandango (East Duliwch no less) and I thought it was totally ott attention seeking.
But when you get beyond that stage of babyhood in your children you tend to gain perspective, i find. Honestly, who frigging cares?

In four and a half years of breastfeeding I've never met a strident type. And just because I can be discreet, doesn't mean everyone can. Nor should it mean they SHOULD.

The way you speak, it's as if you want to create an acceptable face of breastfeeding (quiet, apologetic, discreet, no-one notices) so that you can distance yourself from your unacceptable face of breastfeeding (normal volume, normal clothes, visible, unapologetic).

I think it's cowardly - it's like a way of saying "I know some people find the whole concept of breastfeeding disturbing, quite right too, but, look, I did it so nicely, you don't even know I'm doing it, so please don't have a problem with me, direct your disgust to ooh, look, those women over there - they are Blatantly Visible - disgraceful!"

It's supporting the concept that in fact, certain ways of breastfeeding are wrong.

And yes, if no-one knew what you were doing it's not surprising you avoided unpleasantness. It would be great if every woman managed to avoid unpleasantness, not through hiding, but because no-one thought to dish it out.

GreyGardens Mon 19-Dec-11 22:07:53

verylittle carrot, you are being very nice about this in the face of my meanness, but I still don't understand how it is remotely hard to be discreet? I am far from an apologetic person btw, I'm confident, even strident about stuff I believe in, but this isn't an issue about shame, imo. I genuinely believe it's polite to not show your entire bosom when feeding a baby. Rightly or wrongly, this can make some people (especially the elderly) feel uncomfortable. You may not believe this but I am coming from this from the angle of politeness.
It's just creating angst where there needn't be angst.

entropyglitter Mon 19-Dec-11 22:16:06

My 6mo cannot feed at the moment without doing sit ups, rolling over, shouting, pulling my hair, tugging all my clothing around and then burping loudly enough to be heard a substantial distance away.

This is not me being indiscreet this is my daughter being who she is. If I try to feed her in public then people are going to see flesh/nipple if they look over at the wrong moment.

So should I stay at home?

exoticfruits Mon 19-Dec-11 22:33:09

Mine is just from an angle of politeness. I don't go around unnecessarily upsetting people and making them uncomfortable when I don't have to. You don't have to hide, you can be friendly and put people at their ease.
I don't find it cowardly to behave in a different way outside the home. If you want to change outlooks you do it by politeness and friendliness-arguments and 'rights' get you nowhere.

MamaMaiasaura Mon 19-Dec-11 22:35:09


There are two issues:
1. Can all mothers be discreet? Entropyglitter's post should bring some insight into that question, and a cursory search of the boards here will quickly dispel the myth that it is possible for all women. From what I recall, it is often larger breasted women who struggle, also those with distractable or refluxy babies. For myself, I own numerous "discreet" nursing wear tops and dresses, but if my 22 month old wants to create a public display, he's more than capable.
2. Why should a mother be discreet? I was going to post this earlier but deleted my post, however here's an analogy. My mixed race marriage doesn't offend reasonable people. However, a sizeable portion of the population, those that voted BNP, feel my marriage is an aberration, and should not be acknowledged. Should I be polite and respect their views? After all, the presence of my husband and I offends them, should we leave their presence, or pretend we are not married? By confronting their prejudice and asserting my rights am I "creating angst where there needn't be angst"? They have a right to their views, should I be polite and make myself invisible?

It's such a no-brainer. We can accept the right of someone in our society to hold an unreasonable view, but we should never accept them imposing it on others.
The same applies to requiring a bf mother to cover up. It's not on. People balk at applying the same principle to breastfeeding because they are reluctant to accept they could possibly be holding an unreasonable view. Yet breastfeeding women are exempt from charges of public indecency because the law recognises that there IS no indecency in nursing.

It's a relatively recent thing in the UK to be so prudish about nursing breasts. (especially whilst completely tolerant of breasts exposed in any other context) A backward step. Something that should be reversed as soon as possible, for all the damage the attitude is doing.

runningwilde Mon 19-Dec-11 23:34:12

Well said slinking

There has been a lot of insecurity about bf on this thread - there always is

Bf is important and the benefits of it stay with a person for life however much some people are desperately trying to refute that fact

exoticfruits Tue 20-Dec-11 07:26:53

I don't know where you get the relatively recent thing from? How recent? My mother's generation were not very open they generally stayed at home more.
Going back women used to have wet nurses. Jane Austin didn't even live with her family for the first 2 years-she was farmed out to a village family-which was common practice. Just curious as to when the 'golden age' was. I would have said that we are far more relaxed about it now.

LeQueen Tue 20-Dec-11 08:05:10

slinking I would always absolutely defend your right to say exactly what you like on MN (within reason) as it's an Open Forum.

I think that's the great thing about MN in that you can be as direct as you wish. And long may it continue smile

LeQueen Tue 20-Dec-11 08:13:02

exotic I'm intrigued by this Golden Age of BF-ding, too hmm

Our GMs would have pretty much all BF, but back then there weren't the opportunities to be as social in public, as there are now. I would have been very surprised to hear of a new Mum, back in the 1920s, BF-ding her baby in a chintzy tea-room, somewhere?

Prior to our GPs generation, many women who could afford it, would have employed a wet-nurse to BF their baby. And, the wet-nurse would have been ensconsed in the family home for the duration...the actual Mother would have been gadding out and about, but not the wet-nurse.

Women who couldn't afford a wet-nurse, would have BF their own baby, but due to their socio-economic status really wouldn't have had much (if any) opportunity to be doing much on a social basis, in a public place with their baby in tow...

NinkyNonker Tue 20-Dec-11 08:37:41

I think the difficulty comes knowing when something is your problem and when it is someone.else's. For example, I have never had an issue feeding discreetly, not through any particular talent but because dd always latched on a dream and I have fairly normal sized norks. When she got to about 6 or 7 months she started getting a bit distractable, but by then feeds were spacing due to solids and she would tolerate a muslin strategically draped to block her view! But this isn't the case for everyone, and I certainly wouldn't have avoided going out had she have been fussier.

I do know a nork flapper, through a sling meet I help at. I find this uncomfortable, but equally I know this is my issue, as a family we never did nudity well! So it is my issue, not her's.

I find all sorts of things offensive when out. People eating with their mouth open. Large you ladies in leggings with camel toes, men scratching etc etc. But this is my issue and I have no right to enforce it on others, and would expect to be widely frowned upon by society were I to try to. Yet with bf, this sort of attitude is encouraged and accepted, which I find very odd.

Laquitar Tue 20-Dec-11 09:00:58


Tbh i still don't understand what you are all talking about. What do you want to challenge? The way a 80yo lady thinks? confused

I grew up in an activist family and i've been an activist for most of my life, here and abroad, fought against dictactorship, war, sexist law etc , i don't see the point of 'fighting' against one or two elderly people who might be a bit more conservative than me. A bit teenage-like imo. An old woman was offended, and?

If you got 'fighting energy' there are disability benefit cuts, families who freeze and starve in 2011 in Britain! I'm sure Dave is happy that we are more angry about an 80 yo woman who didn't aprove of bf-ing in a cafe.

exoticfruits Tue 20-Dec-11 09:10:47

Well said Laquitar-I would rather put my energies towards some of the things mentioned rather than bfeeding which is for a short period in the general scheme of things.
If you are out for coffee with a 22 month old they don't need to be bf-they can join the rest with a drink and biscuit-so it isn't a big issue. Mine wouldn't have wanted to be bf in a cafe at that age-they were much more interested in seeing what was going on and chatting.
I am still interested to know at what stage in UK history women could freely bf? As far as I can see we are now in the best time and before about 1960 (if as early as that) women were confined to the home to feed babies.

LeQueen Tue 20-Dec-11 09:32:25

exotic, yes like I mentioned upthread, I would be very interested to learn When women could always BF freely when out in public, and no one ever batted an eye.

I think BF freely out in public would actually translate to 'sometimes in their own garden/back yard, or at a family member/friend's house (but they would probably remove to another room to actually BF), etc.

I don't think there were Mums sitting in Ye Olde Costa Coffee circa 1923 BF-ding their babies, or sitting at a table in Ye Olde Cafe Rouge circa 1941 BF-ding their babies hmm

Laquitar Tue 20-Dec-11 09:33:13

I would fight for bfeeding exotic. If it was ilegal i would. And i will support women expressing at work etc. But not for the attitude of few elderly people in cafes and my 'right' to turn Sturbucks into my living room. Big fucking deal.

exoticfruits Tue 20-Dec-11 09:37:18

I would too Laquitar ,but women have the right to bfeed-I am not going to fight for the way they do it. I would just be kind to elderly ladies and move out of their view.

Laquitar Tue 20-Dec-11 09:43:51


GreyGardens Tue 20-Dec-11 10:26:24

well said Laquitar!

marriedandwreathedinholly Tue 20-Dec-11 10:39:33

Wouldn't it be great if as much energy as has been exercised on this thread and down in Brighton could be put into a campaign to increase the number of lactation consultants in the NHS and to support women who would have loved to breastfeed but have been unable to do so.

An old lady didn't like a baby being bf in public. Is that a big deal. When my mother visited us for the first time when ds was born, at feeding time she actually said "darling I think you should go and do that in the bedroom". He's 17 on Christmas day. I told her not to be so stupid and she told my stepfather to go to the drawing room and watch the telly while I did it shock. We all survived.

This is going to have to be my last post on this thread. I realise that I am probably wasting my time.

But for the last time, just in case there is the slightest chance that you might actually understand someone else's position on this.

It's not for anyone else to pronounce whether my child does or does not need bf in a cafe (the supreme arrogance of exoticfruits is breathtaking). That is his business, not yours. Unless you feel it is reasonable for me to dictate what you are allowed to eat or drink?

The Golden Age of bf is your own construct, not mine. I said that prudishness about breasts used for feeding is recent - by which I meant that for centuries and centuries it has just been the way to feed, completely acceptable. And only in the last century has this weird concept that there is something indecent about an exposed breast arisen.

The Victorians felt that ankle exposure was indecent too. I assume you are glad that we have chucked away that ridiculous concept as a society, and evolved a little to make our lives easier. Social "rules" evolve, and usually with good reason. Can't you see that we need to do the same thing with breasts? It's just a stupid, inhibiting hangup that we need to be rid of. Why do you think so many women are scared to feed in public? Because of people like you, exoticfruits. We know that you judge, and we are nervous that you are enough of a bully to actually harass us when we are already feeling vulnerable.

I suspect that those rude people who accosted the nursing mother are exactly the same type who would expect a person of a different race to go back to their own country, or a disabled person to leave because they shouldn't have to look at them.

You know, bigots who feel their rights supersede anyone else's. Bigots who don't recognise the rights of another person to innocently go about their legitimate business in public. Bigots who feel that if something or someone offends them, it or they should be removed from their presence.

And you are exactly the type who condones that attitude. What does that make you?

MamaMaiasaura Wed 21-Dec-11 12:00:18

<applauds> very very well said littlecarrot.

I wish people would just feck off with the whole indecency argument over feeding a baby. I feed my baby or toddler when and where need be, this included last week on a bench in middle of busy sipping centre. Had lovely chat with couple of older ladies whilst feeding.

If you don't like it don't look. If you've got an issue with what is entirely natural and normal go seek some help. Please sod off and leave mums to it. Fgs. angry

AngryGnome Wed 21-Dec-11 12:47:20

where ARE all these tutting frowny faces?

I bf my 13 month old at home, out and about wherever and I have never had anyone bat an eyelid. I have not been berated (or congratulated for that matter!) by anyone except my mother and numerous midwives

I've got friends from school who are now scattered all over the counrty and a fair number of them have breastfed their babies and none of them have ever encountered any "attitude" while bf-ing in public. I'm just not convinced it's real - perhaps mothers who feel they haver encountered it are just very self-conscious themselves (which is sad, and they should seek suport from NCT or LLL or similar) and are interpreting slights where none are intended?

I don't know, never met any but I'm sure there are people out there, I'm always abit surprised that it's old lady's though.

I think as long as your not being told to leave the premises for bf I'd just ignore any moaners. I've found that most of the time you can't even tell if someone is bf or not people are so discrete, saying that since joining a baby group I've seen a few people who just pull their tops down and boobidge is on display for all to see

exoticfruits Wed 21-Dec-11 13:22:46

I am 'breathtakingly arrogant' because I have bf everywhere without being in the least prudish about it. I have never had any comments. The only people likely to get them are those who have an attitude about it-and they are the ones who irritate people.

Laquitar Wed 21-Dec-11 14:58:09

Awen you b-fed in a busy shopping centre and you had lovely chat with some ladies. Where is the problem then? Why the swearing and angry faces?

'Leave mums to it'. Yes, you are left to it. It is a free country.

kelly2000 Wed 21-Dec-11 15:09:34

This woman was asked to BF discreetly, and they had every right to do that. There is a big difference between breastfeeding discreetly, and sitting there with you breast hanging out making a song and dance about it. Normally these people are the ones who love people saying something to them, and make a song and dance about parenting in general (you know the ones who treat coffee shops like nurseries and let their children race around yelling). In Denmark nearly everyone breastfeeds, yet if you sat in a cafe with your breast out whilst sorting out the baby you would be asked to cover up.
Holding a protest because one person asked you to be discreet, discredits women who breastfeed, and makes them all look like exhibitionists. Women like these put off more women from breast feeding, than an old lady asking for discretion.

NinkyNonker Wed 21-Dec-11 15:19:40

But you don't know that, do you Kelly? For all you know, the very act of bf may have been considered indiscreet to the watcher, and have been cause enough to be told to cover up. You are speculating as much as anyone else.

My cousin in half Norweigan and lives out there, there is no public pressures to cover up there if it is easier for the feeder/feedee, people are quite chilled about it by all accounts. Not that it matters, of course.

kelly2000 Wed 21-Dec-11 15:53:44

Well i am just going by what was in the paper, and given that the response to one private individuel making a comment was to grab her baby and organise a breast feeding protest and contact the media to get pictures, i am thinking that yes it is correct she was indiscreet. I wonder what she does every time one person annoys her. And i do not know what Norway isd like, but I know in denmark if someone made a song and dance abour breastfeeding, and had their boobs out whilst doing it they would be asked to stop it (or laughed at). But it is not an issue there as women just treat breast feeding as something normal, so do it discreetly, not with boobs hanging about. saying thta so do most women in the UK it is just a few who have this obsession with the right to do it as indiscreetly as possible, and rush around contacting the media and organising protests if so much as one person ask them to be discreet.

Laquitar Wed 21-Dec-11 15:58:14

'For all you know, the very act of bf may have been considered indiscreet to the watcher'.

Yes, maybe. A tiny maybe. And??

One lady. One unknown lady. With no political or proffessional power. She is not the PM, not even an MP. Not a hospital manager or a midwife.

She comes from a different generation, she thinks what she thinks. Ok. It is not like she is going to be elected to run the country so it doesn't stress me much.

NinkyNonker Wed 21-Dec-11 16:17:10

I have already said that I think the protest is a silly idea. I bf, was never approached etc, wouldn't have cared much if I had have been. I was just pointing out that Kelly was making an assumption, and that the BF mother may not have 'brought it on herself' for want of a better term.

Laquitar Wed 21-Dec-11 16:26:07

Oh ok. Sorry. I can't keep up with the names and who said what and i thought you are defending the protest.

NinkyNonker Wed 21-Dec-11 16:27:11

It has meandered a bit since the OP!

KeepInMindItsAlmostChristmas Wed 21-Dec-11 16:51:58

I have no problem with women feeding in public
<I never BF so have never had to deal with the small minded people that complain

MamaMaiasaura Wed 21-Dec-11 18:56:45

Laq - I meant posters on here who have issue with bfing in public.

I've never heard of anyone being told they should be more discreet though, I know lots of people say that they've been told they shouldn't bf in public, but not that they should do it more discreetly

Laquitar Wed 21-Dec-11 20:35:27

Tbh i didn't see any poster here having issue with bfing in public -most said they have done so themselves (although the thread is very big and i might have missed those posts).
And married's suggestion makes more sense than the protest imo.

I meant to say Happy 17th for your son earlier Married and then i forgot to type it. You gave birth on xmas day shock. Like soap opera grin.

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