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Breast feeding in public?

(26 Posts)
Bottleoffish Thu 24-Jan-13 17:35:46

I was just wondering really. I saw a Mum who I have met before but don't know well Breastfeed her baby at a toddler group today. She was very careful to cover up well with a scarf.

I felt a bit sad really that our society has made women feel they should cover themselves and their baby to feed them, especially in a room full of other Mums, although of course, it is entirely that woman's right to cover up if she wants to.

Does anyone else feel like this?

Leafmould Thu 24-Jan-13 17:53:19

Yanbu. I was hmm when a friend felt inhibited to breast feed in a children's play park because there were ladies wearing the burka there. I'm sure they wouldn't have batted an eyelid.

zoobaby Fri 25-Jan-13 22:13:50

I never thought I'd be brave enough to do it in public. But now I don't worry too much. I'm quite reserved (not a prude, but not too far away) usually. Funny how your perspective can change so quickly. Out of courtesy to others I'll cover up when DS is latching but once he's on he provides a good level of modesty (I knew that large head circumference would have its use). I only draw the line at male friends really.

Gintonic Fri 25-Jan-13 22:25:36

I agree OP. The more people cover up the more it will be seen as "the norm".

Let's burn our breastfeeding covers!

narmada Fri 25-Jan-13 22:27:00

I think it's a shame if women feel they have to use scarves and complicated contraptions and the like, just to preserve someone else's feelings.
Some women do have problems with overactive letdown and the scarf thing prevents unwelcome milk spray into someone else's coffee if the baby pulls off.

But yes, basically - I agree with you bottleoffish. It is a shame we are so ashamed of our bodies that we feel abashed. I didn't have any problems at all with doing it anywhere.... apart from when I went into work to see colleagues. I have no idea why I was especially bashful there. Very bizarre.

KD0706 Fri 25-Jan-13 23:12:16

It's a funny thing though, because I've got friends who formula feed and feel embarrassed at pulling out a bottle in public.

I think a large part of it is just that you can't win either way!

I'm on dc2 now and fairly brazen about feeding in public. But she's 11 months old now so I'm starting to feel embarrassed to be feeding an see baby. There's always something!

MissTapestry Sat 26-Jan-13 11:30:44

I bf 7mo DD anywhere and everywhere. If people have a problem then it's up to them to leave imo. I almost feel a responsibility to normalise it as much as possible.
But then I'm fairly confrontational and I'd love someone to make a comment so I could put them straight! grin
I do understand why some women want to cover up, I just don't think anyone should feel like they have to.

squidkid Sat 26-Jan-13 12:53:37

I get a lot of smiles actually. Sometimes women come and say nice things to me and get all broody. Men don't make eye contact, but I've never had funny looks or comments.
Baby is 4mo and I feed in public a LOT.
I wonder if it varies by area.
I live in central Sheffield and there are "you are welcome to breastfeed here" signs up in many cafes and public spaces. I don't need a sign of course, but it's nice to see.
I know one girl who basically didn't leave the house for 6 months because she felt she couldn't feed in public. Sad.

Onlyconnect Sat 26-Jan-13 12:57:30

i agree with misstapestry . I feed anywhere and everywhere. If anyone has a problem it's totally theirs as far as I'm concerned. Breast feeding is the most natural thing in the world. In fact, to my knowledge, i never did have a problem.

GreenShadow Sat 26-Jan-13 13:01:05

In 6 years of BF everywhere, I never actually 'covered up' but then again I never exposed all the breast from the top - just lifted t-shirt.

Best way not to draw attention to yourself.

PoppyWearer Sat 26-Jan-13 13:09:34

Each to their own, I guess.

I did use a thin scarf when feeding, but tend to wear a drapey neck scarf most days anyway, so it wasn't a conscious decision to cover up, it just happened. I did buy a bf'ing butterfly thing but never used it.

It also helped when the DCs got a bit older and liked to look around a bit - you do end up exposing a lot of flesh when they do that! DC2 was particularly bad at it. Having a scarf over his head kept him focused on the task.

ghoulelocks Sat 26-Jan-13 13:23:39

Was it me? I was at toddler group doing just that on Thursday afternoon! grin

I wear a floaty scarf most the time and un-button my shirt to feed. I find it comfortable. Isn't part of bf acceptance accepting how we all feed? Another mum there was doing the top lift thing which I hate doing personally, I'd rather have both boobs out than jelly belly! I bf anywhere and everywhere happily but have a preference for covering with my scarf (if I'm wearing one). I find I get more eye contact and inclusion in chatter, people can be shy when you're bf I find rather than judgey, it makes me smile when after a few min they realise I'm feeding. I opened the door to the hv recently, took her through and chatted and she only realised I was feeding when I asked her to wait to weigh dd.

I also cover up in particular at toddler groups because I get bored of explaining to child after child what I'm doing, sweet as they are I go to the group to get space from my toddler for an hour, not be surrounded by 10 others watching the baby eat in fascination...

TheDeadlyDonkey Sat 26-Jan-13 13:26:50

I feed my 2yo if he needs it.
The only time I have ever had comments or looks is from old ladies in the doctors waiting room.
I don't really flash my boobs or anything, but I've never used a scarf to cover up.

I've not quite mastered the technique to not flash as I get ds latched on but he's only 7 weeks and I don't care if people see, if they have a problem they can shove it tbh. I only feel the need to cover up if somebody is actively staring (not just passing glance) but ds hates anything over him and becomes more fussy.

I do do the 1 top up 1top down thing though, mainly because it's bloody cold and I need the layers anyway!

beachavendrea Sat 26-Jan-13 14:31:06

I love watching woman breastfeeding, i think it is one of the loveliest things ever. It reminds me of when my ds was small, I have blocked out all the painful things obviously! The problem is I stare and smile so much that I think people think I'm a bit pervy.

Piemother Sat 26-Jan-13 16:09:39

I feed everywhere. You may see me using a muslin but that's to stop dc2 getting an eyeful of milk.
No one has ever said anything negative to me with either dc. A group of v young mums did a bit of pointing and whispering lately but since I have a bright rainbow sling and was doing some v loud parenting of dc1 and probably looked/sounded like a tree hugging lunatic ill let them off wink

Piemother Sat 26-Jan-13 16:11:53

I have only eve once seen a lady use a custom made cover. In the mothercare feeding room which though slightly unnecessary in there is absolutely her choice. Bf can be fecking hard work for lots/different reasons - whatever gets you through and keeps you going is fine by me grin

Dm did once tell me the yanks call them 'hooter burkas' though which I found quite amusing wink

karatekimmi Sat 26-Jan-13 16:26:51

I'm quite happy to bf in public, but as a secondary school teacher do use a scarf in public areas as professionally I don't really want some spotty teen telling me he's seen my boobs!
I also use scarves as I leak a lot and despite breast pads still get Staines on my tops.

Halfcups Sat 26-Jan-13 16:39:25

I m breast feeding dc3 and have started to get a couple of odd looks and comments for the first time. My dd is 27 mths. I have had lots more positive comments overall though. I did nt expect to be still feeding as my other two self weaned at 12 and 16 months respectively. Sometimes I feel self conscious especially as she screeches "mummy milk" at the top of her voice!

utopian99 Sun 27-Jan-13 03:29:10

I have a wrap which you can leave him in, positioned correctly, and he feeds away covered by the wrap, which is great for modesty plus more importantly hands free. Managed to eat a Sunday roast with a friend with him in it having his own lunch..

I have a weird approach to bf in public, i don't really mind doing it anywhere, even without a scarf, if that's when/where he's hungry, but i have so far actively taken myself out of the room while at home while some friends or my pils are there as the thought of doing it in front of them feels like exhibitionism, but not sure wh as doesn't apply to other friends/my family. (having said that, actually this applies in the same way that i have/would sunbathe topless around one group and not the other - don't get me started on that argument!)

I managed to breastfeed at dinner last night with my in laws without flashing my boob and without a cover! grin sorry just had to share that.

poppy283 Sun 27-Jan-13 08:40:48

At least she was doing it in public! Maybe her clothes left her a bit more exposed than she was comfortable with, eg button down shirt?

Forgetfulmog Sun 27-Jan-13 08:45:51

I once got hussled into a side room to bf DC when I was at a mother & toddler group. Needless to say I didn't go back!

In terms of covering up, I tend to wear a baggy top so I can go underneath, but I do have some nice cross over tops & dresses that I would like to wear but don't really feel comfortable in bf in them. Silly really isn't it?

Icapturethecastle Sun 27-Jan-13 08:48:21

I saw these linked on Facebook and they raised a smile boob beanie

Lavenderhoney Sun 27-Jan-13 09:00:36

I have bf anywhere, even in the ME. Airports etc. travelling alone with a baby and toddler you pretty much have to, plus as long as you sit somewhere quiet ( not the loos!) and have a shawl, more for me not wanting to flash my boobs- although babies tug them down. I didn't like the things that babies go under- and my babies hated them too.

People are fine, infact in the ME it was more likely to be older expat ladies who turned up their noses than the lovely locals who smiled and got on with their lives. I used to frequent coffee shops with a book for the toddler. It's so personal though.

My parents thought I should hide in the bedroom in my own house when bf, which didn't happensmile they got all flustered and left..

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