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Question re breastfeeding in USA

(19 Posts)
parentsvsPIL Tue 21-Mar-17 02:53:35

Odd experience yesterday — made me wonder about breastfeeding in public in the USA — is it a totally socially unacceptable thing to do in some parts of the USA? Or was I just encountering someone a bit out of step with normal behaviour?

I am in a popular tourist destination in the Southern hemisphere. Was sitting at a local lookout giving 4 month old DS a feed, with really basicallly nothing on display, tshirt pulled up, feeding vest pulled down, DS' head covering boob... American tourist family arrives, parents attempt to block kids from seeing what I'm doing, teenage daughters hold loud "OMG eeeeewww gross" conversation and one of them came over to offer me her hoody so I could cover up. Done in a "OMG I have to save this situation" way, not a "oh is everything ok and can I offer some help?" way. Parents glared at me as they all walked off.

I was too discombobulated to suggest that the hoody could be better put to use protecting the girl from the afternoon's searing UV, given that she was wearing a bikini top and shorts so short that not much was left to the imagination... (and the irony therein was evidently lost on her grin)

UterusUterusGhali Tue 21-Mar-17 03:00:56

* sings thread title to Debbie Harry *

I don't have experience personally, but I'm on BF fora in the US, and I think the appropriate response here is appropriate there.
Ie "fuck off".

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 21-Mar-17 03:01:07

I would just think that they are weird, not that it's representative of all Americans.

UterusUterusGhali Tue 21-Mar-17 03:03:45

In addition, I haven't had that much objection here.

I would want to engage with the twat objector seriously and articulately, and try and see what their problem was.

AmoIsNoLongerEmo Tue 21-Mar-17 03:10:00

I'm American and in this instance we suck. Boobs are overly sexualized and so when they are used for the intended purpose unfortunately mothers get shamed. Some places are better then others, the coasts vs the "Bible belt" will be way more accepting. Though I did receive dirty looks from a mother and her daughters when I was feeding my DS once. There have been quite a few who have been asked to leave or told to cover up when nursing in public. But it is law in most states that mothers can nurse without a cover in public places and basically anywhere they would legally be allowed to be with their children. It's getting better though!

DeliveredByKiki Tue 21-Mar-17 03:14:45

I live in LA and it is still completely normal for feeding mum's to tie these giant blanket things around their necks so boobs, baby, arms and basically full upper torso are completely covered

Which obviously draws much more attention than feeding them in the way you described. Which is what I did

jimijack Tue 21-Mar-17 03:19:13

I had no problem in the magic kingdom grin
Buzz lightyear didn't bat an eye lol
But then I was a master at it, I could do it without anyone knowing I was doing it.
In addition I couldn't give a fiddlers fart about people being offended and would not tolerate such fuckwits presenting a hoody to me and would have been less than charitable at such a ridiculous reaction....no matter what the nationality.

parentsvsPIL Tue 21-Mar-17 03:20:22

Obvs not suggesting all Americans would do this. But I imagine Bible Belt types wouldn't have their teenage daughters walking round town in what was essentially a 2piece swimsuit... so was wondering about the territory between the extremes of, say rural Pennsylvania & Portland, Oregon...

parentsvsPIL Tue 21-Mar-17 03:23:10

And yes, my initial reaction was an unvoiced "get lost, weirdo" — followed by "that sunburn looks serious". I just paused a bit and muttered, "um no but thanks though"

AmoIsNoLongerEmo Tue 21-Mar-17 03:23:32

People are crazy and teenage girls can be half naked but a mom starts to nurse and you would think they just spit on the pope.

BarchesterFlowers Tue 21-Mar-17 03:26:13

DD was born in the US. Attitude towards bf was generally horrid. I quickly learned to adopt a death stare. Breasts are for Hooters or whatever it is called, completely sexualised.

The more liberal states were better, Colorado for instance was fine. Not much hope in the South ime.

Had I not been from a country where we are strongly encouraged to bf I doubt I would have been brave enough.

AmoIsNoLongerEmo Tue 21-Mar-17 03:32:33

I've never been to Oregon or Pennsylvania but my guess is you would have an easier time in Oregon.

deliverdaniel Tue 21-Mar-17 03:35:11

I live in the US and literally the complete opposite is true where we are. People with full boobs on display breastfeeding 3 year olds in restaurants etc (full on topless rather than discreet feeding)- I was a bit shocked when we moved here (despite being supportive of bf) but totally used to it now.

BarchesterFlowers Tue 21-Mar-17 03:37:54

Where do you live Daniel?

Tangfastics Tue 21-Mar-17 03:42:38

Well I live in New York and mums openly breastfeed in church. As they did also in my church back the UK.

I think you're being a little tetchy op.

parentsvsPIL Tue 21-Mar-17 03:49:05

I wasn't intending to criticize all Americans or anything — was just wondering how to place what happened — ie as an aberration or as a little window onto a world I need to know about if I go to the USA anytime soon.

FWIW I openly breastfed in church here & all the oldies were fine with it, it was the people my age who were shocked. I ignored the ones my age...

BarchesterFlowers Tue 21-Mar-17 03:57:10

I don't think you are being tetchy at all having experienced it.

The US can be very odd, I remember my family visiting and my four year old nephew having to take his swim shorts off because he had sand in them at the beach for us to rinse them/him. That was a shock for a lot of folk, not done according to DH who is American.

AmoIsNoLongerEmo Tue 21-Mar-17 03:58:04

It's a crap shoot honestly OP. I think the majority is leaning to it being fine but there are still quite a few that think it needs to be covered or not done at all in public.

GoBigOrange Tue 21-Mar-17 04:00:13

I'm in Tennessee and have never had any negative comments or dirty looks when breastfeeding my son in public. I don't use a nursing cover either, though I know some women who do (and others who don't).

The hospital I gave birth in were also very keen to encourage breastfeeding and sent me a lactation consultant who gave me a gift of nipple shields, a tube of lansinoh, breast pads and a huge bag of snacks to keep my strength up!

I may have just been fortunate in my experience, but it is entirely possible that they were just some random weirdos - America certainly has it's fair share of those!

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