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breast feeding in public

(73 Posts)
kittenbaby Thu 16-Aug-07 11:27:17

hi i posted this question when i was pregnant ,in the pregnancy section
ive just been thinking about breastfeeding and i think its something i want to do well at least give it my best shot
do you know what puts me off though the fact its not our legal right to do it in public
which i think is outrageous
i think it must be horrible to do it in public and be told off
or to be asked leave wherever you are
im shocked by the amount of people that think its disgusting !!

im shocked by the amount of people that think its disgusting !!

the reason i thought so many people found it offensive was largley down to this incident ;

well what happned to me was i was in a busy town center pharmacy and a mum that was waiting for her prescription was sitting there bf her baby while waiting, i didnt even notice until about 5 people started having a go at her and muttering things
one man goes oh someones got there tit out over there in a really horrible putting down tone then he goes oh now shes got the other one out tut tut
she only had one out at a time she just switched over
his comments set this other old bat off she was about 57
who actually started having a right go as opposed to just making comments
she started saying
when theres facilities such as baby rooms they should be used!
the mum just looked close to tears and said nothing so i tried to stick up for the lady because im havily pregnant and i felt sorry for her
so i said to the old bat she doesnt have to use the baby room if she doesnt want to because its flithy in there and stinks
old bat replied well its a private thing bf it should be done in private.
to which i replied its up to the mum where she wants to do it.
then the old bat startd saying it has to be done in private because otherwise the baby gets distracted! as if to say you dont know what your talking about your just pregnant
i was so mad i tried my best to stick up for the mum
but it really shocked me and put me off breastfeeding

anyway now my point is my dd is 7 weeks old and excl bf,thanks to a LOT of help from the wonderful mumsnetters! [three cheers for them ]
and me and dh and dd are going out for lunch on sat as its our first wedding anniversary we are going back to the place where got married its an old elizabethan hall/ hotel
and very posh
i know im gonna have to feed dd as she is still b/feeding constantly
i dont know what to say if someone has a go at me though ,but i dont want stay couped up in the hous for ever either and why should i ?

how do you go about dealing with this?
do you have any hints and tips?
or even better quick one liners to say to rude people? be good to have a quick answer to fire back at anyone that wants to have a go !!
im not very good at thinking of something quick to say at the time,then i always think afterwards ....why didnt i say such and such !!

sorry this is so long xx

margoandjerry Thu 16-Aug-07 11:29:32

No one ever had a go at me so I didn't have this horrible experience.

I think a crisp "mind your own business" is all that is required for these idiots.

aloha Thu 16-Aug-07 11:30:03

People having a go is honestly really, really rare. I breastfed both kids and only got tut tutted by some moron once (at the Imperial War Museum, where you might think you could see more shocking things than a woman breastfeeding a baby in a cafe ) - but other than that, I don't think I've even noticed anyone looking at me except nicely. It seems a really big deal to breastfeed in public, but once you've done it once, you get over that and don't really think about it. I breastfed dd for two years and now I've stopped it would feel incredibly strange to do it, but at the time it was most normal thing in world.

ib Thu 16-Aug-07 11:34:06

In a restaurant I would just say 'if you don't like seeing her eat don't look, personally I find the way you eat quite revolting but it's your right to eat so I just have to put up with it don't I?'

JodieG1 Thu 16-Aug-07 11:36:07

I've breastfed everywhere with ds2, on the beach, in the middle of a busy clarks at the weekend, at the doctors, in restaurants etc and I've never had a comment so far. I do tend to sit thinking I dare you to say anything and have the look on my face so maybe I scare people off lol. Seriously though I would have a go back if someone said something to me about feeding my baby. If dh was with me he'd also have something to say about it.

evenhope Thu 16-Aug-07 11:36:23

I have fed my DD in a variety of places and always expect someone to have a go- they never have

When she was very tiny I had to feed her in a Pizza Express. I wrapped her blanket round her to hide her a bit. Several people came over to speak to me and not one noticed I was feeding!

It can be easy to feed discreetly but depends on how big the restaurant is. If the tables are very close together you might have a struggle. At our local Indian I did take her up to the toilet (nobody told me to) because the tables were very close and there were lots of people and it didn't really seem appropriate, quite aside from the hot bowls/ burners etc.

If this place is posh I don't think I'd go in all guns blazing or you might get kicked out. If you can sit where you aren't in anyones direct sight lines and just be discreet I don't think you'll have a problem TBH.

tiktok Thu 16-Aug-07 11:37:50

Shocking incident, kitten, and really, really rare.....brilliant of you to defend this mum

You'll be fine.

It really is no one else's business. If you need a come-back, try 'my baby is only having a drink - please mind your own business and keep your personal hang-ups private, thank you.'

If someone - like the waiter - asks you to move somewhere else, then you can either refuse (what's he gonna do? manhandle you?) or walk out, and in either case, let your local newspaper and local TV know afterwards. If it's part of a national chain, let the nationals know.

But this is so unusual - that's why it's news!

TheOldestCat Thu 16-Aug-07 11:38:28


The only negative comments I've had are from people at work about breastfeeding in general, rather than me specifically feeding my baby.

I've fed DD everywhere - caffs, trains, parks, restaurants, doctor's surgery, on a visit to work etc etc. Aloha is right - it's really rare for someone to have a go. I've noticed a few looks, but the vast majority have been admiring (not of my norks, you understand, just the whole 'lovely baby having a feed bless her' type).

So you go for it lass. You really do get over feeling strange about it.

Lorayn Thu 16-Aug-07 11:40:46

I had a few comments, was asked once if i could 'do it somewhere else'.
I have also been asked why I'm not in the mother and babies room, to which I replied, 'do you want to eat your dinner in the toilet??'
I found it easiest to take a small blanket with me which I would drape over my shoulder, but mostly people wouldn't notice.
Once I went to meet some friends for lunch at the local pub and got there first, I was feeding DS when they arrived, and it took a good ten minutes before they realised what I was doing, at the time I was 24 and my friends were not parents, or particularly into the idea of breastfeeding, but if anyone had dared say something I know they would have rallied round like rabid dogs!!

phdlife Thu 16-Aug-07 11:41:09

if you're in a posh restaurant they might hav a quiet function room you can go to.

that said, I've bf'd all over town - most recently, platform 10 at Birmingham New street station! - and nobody's ever had a go. In fact once when I was caught short at the local library, the older woman running the computer classes cleared a space for me, passed me tissues, etc etc.

People can be nice, as well as horrid. I think if anyone had a go I'd be of the "if it's offending you, DON'T WATCH" school. I'm not as polite as margoandjerry!

saffymum Thu 16-Aug-07 11:42:11

kittenbaby, you go girl. A discreet blanket over the shoulder and you're away. Give it some attitude and remember who cares what people say, you have a life and a right to feed you child.

mamadoc Thu 16-Aug-07 11:42:50

You might even find people are nice.
I took DD to a posh wedding at 12weeks. I wound up feeding her during the meal and was feeling pretty embarrassed but it was better than her screaming the place down or going to the chemical portaloos. Another lady I didnt know at the table said she had fed her DS for 2 years and thought it was lovely to see and then basically everyone joined in the chorus of approval!
So be positive and don't let it spoil your meal out.

TheOldestCat Thu 16-Aug-07 11:48:47

I was feeding DD at a family party recently; cousin's four-year-old daughter came over to stare at DD nosily suckling away. After enquiring whether my 'boobies had milk in them', she concluded ' THAT is really clever'.

callmeovercautious Thu 16-Aug-07 12:06:42

LOL theoldestcat! My Nephews are the same!

Kittenbaby - well done for keeping going!

I had no nasty comments when DD was small, a few curious glances etc and other women telling me I was great
If you are worried or embarrassed ask for a table near the edge of the room, perhaps get your DH to ring and ask before you arrive so you do not have to stand at reception and announce you are BFing to the world! (although you have every right to shout it from the rooftop )
Years ago I was working in a 4* restaurant and a man complained to me about a woman bfing. I looked around and could not see anything so he pointed her out. She was on the otherside of the room with a tiny baby up her jumper and her back was to the rest of the room. I asked him how he could possibly be offended by the sight of a womans back? He said she should go to the tiolets I told him I would ask her to do just that if he would also like his Breakfast served there! I got in trouble as he complained about me

I think that incident has made me into the militant that I am today

DaftAndFussy Thu 16-Aug-07 12:06:57

I really do think that it's rare to have negative comments about BFing, and I fed my 2 DC all over the place! If you do get a comment, I think I'd just ask, "Would you prefer DD to scream with hunger, then?" - in a suitably calm and polite tone. I only ever had positive comments, and was bombarded with (unrequested) glasses of water on several occasions by people who clearly wanted to show support. Nicest was a (hunky young) waiter in Pizza Express, who said when I rather pathetically bleated that I wanted somewhere to sit 'no-where near anyone who might object to BFing' (first time out with first DC) who beamed and replied, "That's fine - they can just leave if they don't like it! You sit where you like!" - strangest were the little old ladies in France, who stared a lot - disconcerting - then came up, made lots of admiring comments (about DD, I hasten to add) and stroked her leg.
You go for it - we only hear about the negative comments because they are unusual. If you feel self-conscious, use a muslin cloth to drape across your shoulder. DH used to stand in front of me at the only possible 'exposure times' - latching on/end of feed - to hand me the babe or remove, which acts as a shield at the most nork-tastic times - if I ever did feel self-conscious.
Sorry, I've waffled. Am feeling nostalgic, now......

DaftAndFussy Thu 16-Aug-07 12:09:39

Ooooooooh, and a few months ago my DS (who had been recently weaned off BF) wandered past a lady BFing a newborn in a restaurant - he watched for a moment, then turned to me and said, "Baby feeding! Niiiiiiiice!" with a huge grin on his face! MAde us all laugh.

KerryMumbledore Thu 16-Aug-07 12:14:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

barbamama Thu 16-Aug-07 12:16:12

It will be our legal right in England soon I believe. I have never had a negative comment - just one old git perving. It is very rare these days I think. If I ever heard anyone being harassed about it I would wade in with plenty of comments as would all my friends. Remember, all the major restaurant chains, McDonalds, Starbucks, John Lewis, etc etc practically any chain of shop or restaurant you can think of have stated policies of not haraasing bf mothers so if any ill-informed memeber of staff ever asks you to stop because some idiot complains make sure you ask to speak to the manager who will set them straight. Same with the police who are also no longer allowed (by policy, not law yet) to ask a bf mother to stop in response to a complaint.

TheOldestCat Thu 16-Aug-07 12:20:45

Daftandfussy - 'the most nork-tastic times' is really making me chuckle in recognition.

Callmeovercautious and kitten - well done you on sticking up for BFing mums. that's great.

Lorayn Thu 16-Aug-07 12:24:17

Kerry, to be fair, I think 'oh fuck off' will be most likely to come out of my mouth if when I have had my baby I get any comments re breastfeeding!!

SweetyDarling Thu 16-Aug-07 12:29:54

As I understand it, it IS our legal right to BF in public, it's just not ILLEGAL yet to ask us to not do it on someone else's private property (restaurant for eg).
Is that not right? The new legislation will make it illegal to ask someone to go elsewhere?

SweetyDarling Thu 16-Aug-07 12:32:34

If I were asked to leave a restaurant or similar I think I would politely refuse. If pushed I would suggest that they might like to call the police while you call the newspapers?

Theresad Thu 16-Aug-07 12:36:50

If you are BFing on a virgin train and somebody complains about you, they will throw the complainer off the train!

Tutter Thu 16-Aug-07 12:40:07

i had loads of one liners ready for any rudesters

disappointingly, all i got were misty eyed smiley gazes from old ladies

phdlife Thu 16-Aug-07 12:47:16

boy kittenbaby, I sure hope you're feeling reassured now

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