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Breastfeeding mums shouldn't ask permission, its not like smoking!

(80 Posts)
doylejudith Thu 13-Oct-11 20:42:40

It annoys me when breastfeeding mums ask permission before they feed. I know I sound mean, and most people are just trying to be polite, but asking permission reinforces a stigma! We are doing the best for our babies, and should never be made to feel bad for it. Breastfeeding is supported by law in public places, so why ask permission? I've even heard mums asking permission in other mums homes, why is this? You are not doing anything wrong or offensive, so get out there and do it freely! Maybe then it will become less of a big deal for everyone.

NinkyNonker Thu 13-Oct-11 20:47:48

I agree to an extent. But equally if I am in someone else's home I still feel I should check. But then I will still ask if it is ok to feed her referring to solids now she is 14 months, so I don't know if it is to do with BF for me as much as 'making myself at home' in someone else's home...if you see what I mean?

onepieceofcremeegg Thu 13-Oct-11 20:48:39


ItWasABoojum Thu 13-Oct-11 20:49:02

I don't think asking permission, as long as it's not done in too simpering and apologetic a manner, is reinforcing any sort of stigma. Asking to do something that's perfectly within your rights is part of normal social interaction. For example, if I'm in someone's home and they're not a close friend I'll always ask 'do you mind if I use your bathroom?' - if they said no I'd be miffed, but I don't consider that by asking I'm making it out to be an unreasonable request.

nancy75 Thu 13-Oct-11 20:49:43

going to the toliet is natural, I still ask if i'm in somebody else's house

LynetteScavo Thu 13-Oct-11 20:49:50


Teetik Thu 13-Oct-11 20:50:49

I agree with you OP.
I have seen it done (good friend of mine) and it just screamed "Look! Look at me! I'm BREASTFEEDING!"
She was really put out that I said it was a bad thing to ask permission, it gives people a chance to air their prejudices. (As in miffed because it wasn't the sort of attention she wanted.)

NinkyNonker Thu 13-Oct-11 20:50:52

I never asked apologetically, just in a "oooh she's hungry, do you mind" kind of thing.

NinkyNonker Thu 13-Oct-11 20:51:58

I'd never thought of it in an attention seeking way. I get enough of that now she is past 6 months anyway...hmm

WibblyBibble Thu 13-Oct-11 20:53:14

FTLOG can we JUST FUCKING STOP with the comparisons of breastfeeding with going to the toilet. Thank you, that's all.

Teetik Thu 13-Oct-11 20:53:47

I don't ask to use the toilet. I say 'Where is your loo?' if I need to go, otherwise I say "I'll just be a minute."
I wouldn't dream of asking permission to pee, I am an adult.

Ninkynonker there are ways of doing it that seem so excessive that they signal attention-seeking. And ways of being really neutral about it.

onepieceofcremeegg Thu 13-Oct-11 20:54:19

Wibbly agree with you 100%

PointyBlackHat Thu 13-Oct-11 20:54:32

What Wibbly said. Not at all the same thing in any way whatsoever angry

BoastingByStealth Thu 13-Oct-11 20:54:56


I asked once - my first ever public feed, when PFB was 3 days old in a cafe on our way to Great Grandma's to show lo off.

Young girl on service, I said
"Is it OK if I feed my baby?"
She looked v surprised and said "YES!" you weirdo

Then I thought, "Oh, she hasn't understood, so I called her back and said "er, she's breast fed, is that OK?"

And she said "YES!" you must be barking

I never asked anyone again. It just didn't ever occur to me. Baby want smilk, baby gets milk.

LynetteScavo Thu 13-Oct-11 20:56:39

You ask to use the loo. A facility in someones house.

If the baby needed changing, I would ask if it was OK to use the bathroom.

I would ask if it's OK to feed a baby solids...can be messy, and best to use the kitchen. Unless you are all going to eat anyway, then I wouldn't ask.

I would no more expect someone to ask if they could BF than wind their baby.

MamaChocoholic Thu 13-Oct-11 20:57:48

yanbu. the worst is when dp asks on my behalf (when I'd just get on and do it) in our own home shock

MillyR Thu 13-Oct-11 20:57:57

This thread must surely win some kind of prize for the lowest number of posts before comparing breast feeding to going to the toilet.

Nancy, you speaking is perfectly natural, just like someone defecating. Why don't you ask for permission to speak in future?

ItWasABoojum Thu 13-Oct-11 21:00:57

Okay, bad example. I wasn't saying that going to the toilet and breastfeeding are equivalent, just that saying 'do you mind . . .' in a neutral way doesn't always equal actually needing permission. Replace my previous example with 'do you mind if I get a glass of water?'

onepieceofcremeegg Thu 13-Oct-11 21:03:00

Rather than the toilet comparisons which are (at best) very odd and unpleasant, I prefer to look at it like this.

If your host/ess provides a drink/biscuit, you don't then make a big fuss and ask if it is ok to eat or drink these items.

It's the same with your baby. You (as its mother) have the milk (breast or bottle) available. So just feed the baby. if you need something extra (say hot water to warm the feed or whatever) then you request it, but it's not asking permission!

I understand that most people tend not to wee or poo in the middle of a cafe/restaurant/living room, and a fair comparison is that most decent people won't change their baby's nappy in these environments either.

Compare going to the toilet with changing a nappy if you must, but don't compare it with breastfeeding.

Btw this post isn't directed at anyone, just my general ramblings/opinions!

LynetteScavo Thu 13-Oct-11 21:05:45

"If your host/ess provides a drink/biscuit, you don't then make a big fuss and ask if it is ok to eat or drink these items."

Well said!

CoralRose Thu 13-Oct-11 21:07:28

In all those examples you are using someone else's facilities, so yes, it would be natural to ask.

Why would you need to ask to feed your own baby? Unless you needed their boobs?!

onepieceofcremeegg Thu 13-Oct-11 21:08:53

Thanks Lynette. smile

Coral, exactly.

Nowtspecial Thu 13-Oct-11 21:09:05

I'll hoik my hooters out anywhere if DD2 wants some dinner, I don't ask permission. Got them out at a parents school meeting last week and a nice lady shouted across ' England is the only country I've lived in where women don't breastfeed everywhere freely ' and gave me a big smile.
I just wish women wouldn't feel uncomfortable doing it in public, frankly I'm too old to give a damn about what people think generally tho.
Agree with you OP.

whackamole Thu 13-Oct-11 21:12:53

I wouldn't ask permission to feed the baby, but I have and will alert people that I am about to. Although unless they are completely thick they will probably realise the reason the baby is restless/crying if because he/she is hungry, wet or tired!

I have asked if people mind if I sit upstairs while I fed my boys, but that was at a huge family gathering where I was tandem feeding twins. It's hard to be discreet with 2!

Faffalina Thu 13-Oct-11 21:13:59

I have asked because I go to another room to do it. And NO, not because there's anything wrong with breastfeeding, but because I don't like to show my breasts. That's my prerogative.

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