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Your experiences with breastfeeding in public

(61 Posts)
erinrose2 Wed 10-Feb-16 09:27:30

Hello, my name is Erin and I am currently doing my extended project which has a large portion on breastfeeding and how it is seen in society. I would love to get some feed back about your personal experiences with breastfeeding in public, whether it has been hugely positive or negative.
Thank you for your time.

Wishful80sMontage Wed 10-Feb-16 09:31:30

Have you got a questionnaire to fill in or do you want general comments? Thabks

erinrose2 Wed 10-Feb-16 09:34:55

Just general comments about how or if people around you reacted and how you felt at the time.
Thank you!

Micah Wed 10-Feb-16 09:35:50

The only comments I ever got were off my bloody mother. Who constantly said things like "you can't feed in here, there's men" and "this is a naice restaurant, people don't want to see that sort of thing". And used to try and make me go to the toilets to feed.

Nobody else said a word, in over two years of bf two children.

Roseberrry Wed 10-Feb-16 09:38:01

I never had any problems off strangers, shame really as I'd always wanted to get on my high horse about it. The only comments I ever got were nice ones off strangers.

DP was never thrilled about it but learnt not to make a fuss.

DeffoJeffo Wed 10-Feb-16 09:39:53

I BF my DS for a year in public and only got positive comments or absolutely no reactions. The only time u got anything negative was a head shake/eye roll from an older lady when I was out in London one day. I held her stare and she didn't say anything! About to have my second and feeding in public doesn't even make it onto my (long) list of concerns smile

DeffoJeffo Wed 10-Feb-16 09:40:28


seriouslywhat Wed 10-Feb-16 09:41:28

I live in a very affluent area of central London and have fed everywhere - shops, restaurants, on the bus, on the tube. I have never had any negative comments or looks. I have however on two or three separate occasions in the same department store had middle aged women ask how old the baby was and upon my response (9 days with one baby, about three weeks with another) then remark that I should be at home hmm

Maybe they were right!

seriouslywhat Wed 10-Feb-16 09:42:57

Btw I breasted children 1 and 2 until 16/17 months but was probably not feeding in public after about 12 months as they were down to morning / bedtime feeds only by then when I went back to work. Child 3 is still a tiny baby.

Salene Wed 10-Feb-16 09:48:28

I BF my son too 11.5 months and never had a single issue or sideward a glance that said I always used a proper breastfeeding shawl , I don't see the harm I using them and in fact preferred that little bit of privacy it gave me.

strictlylurking Wed 10-Feb-16 09:49:12

I live in the North and I breastfed my DS for about a year as well. I'm not from around here, so I had no idea there might be any kind of stigma associated with feeding in public. I did get a few wide-eyed stares and a little bit of ogling, especially in places like the train or in a restaurant, but no one was ever rude or unkind. Although, I'm not the just whip-my-boob out type either. I usually used a pashmina or a light blanket once he latched. I was impressed on the number of nice, non-toilet baby feeding places that are available (London Natural History Museum and Milton Keynes' Intu shopping centre in particular) but never felt pressure to hide myself away to feed him, from friends and family or the public.

runnerbean2 Wed 10-Feb-16 09:51:56

I've had very few looks or comments- the ones I remember were a couple of lovely smiles from strangers as I fed my week-old daughter on a park bench (I didn't fully appreciate at the time how cute she must have looked).

Favorite places to feed when out and about include our local coffee shop, the front seat of the car, John Lewis parent and baby room, and various work canteens.

The only time I felt uncomfortable feeding was once in our (pretty traditional) parish church, when the parents and young children joined the main service just before communion. I left, as I knew my DD would shortly need a top-up.

FaFoutis Wed 10-Feb-16 09:53:39

I BF 3 babies, for a year each. I often BF in public and never once got a negative comment or look.
I felt fine doing it too, except for the limitations it put on my clothing - I came to detest BF bras and tops.

runnerbean2 Wed 10-Feb-16 09:53:41

And I've never used a shawl and agree it doesn't make it onto the list of things to worry about when taking a baby out for the day!

MrsNuckyT Wed 10-Feb-16 09:54:59

I only ever had positive comments, mainly from old ladies!! I fed my son until he was 2, but probably only at home from 1 onwards.

I didn't use a 'cover'. I actually detest the fact that women feel that they have to use them. I just fed quietly and discreetly and don't think anyone ever got an eyeful.

I fed everywhere, including in the church at my friends wedding. My god with all the gratuitous nudity around in the world these days I have no idea why anyone would ever have an issue with something so natural and not at all sexual.

Keeptrudging Wed 10-Feb-16 09:56:49

Breastfed for a year. No negative experiences (apart from, like PP, my own mother making comments/suggesting I do it in the toilets when outconfused).

Then again, I absolutely could not have cared less about whether people around me were giving me funny looks/commenting, so I wasn't even looking/listening for them. My DD was in intensive care when she was born, 'died' multiple times, breastfeeding her was really important to me so I had no self-consciousness about it (and I'm a very 'covered up' person).

Owllady Wed 10-Feb-16 09:58:49

Like Micah, the only person who ever said anything to me was my MIL
She used to say..
I don't know what you are doing that for, that babby needs some milk
I grin at that!

PersisFord Wed 10-Feb-16 09:59:33

The nicest thing that ever happened was when I was on my own with baby twins in Harrogate. It was early in the morning and I had mistimed things so needed to feed them while I was out. I lugged my massive buggy into a cafe by the station and it was really busy and full of commuters....but we didn't have much choice by that stage. I got in the queue to buy a coffee, and a teenager working there instantly took us to a table, took my order and sorted out the money (it was cafe Nero I think, not a table service cafe) and brought me coffee, a croissant and, when I started to feed, a glass of water. I had bad PND, tricky babies, was on my own in a strange town......and I remember that morning so happily! All the commuters queueing as well were nodding approvingly. I emailed their head office, everyone in that cafe deserves a pay rise. Including the customers.

northdownmummy Wed 10-Feb-16 10:02:57

I'm living in Northern Ireland and gave has nothing but positive experiences. A few stand out: while sitting in the beer garden of a local pub, the waiter brought our food and noticed that I was feeding my daughter. Rather than be awkward he commented " oh I see someone is having her dinner already"

At a service station, a lady in her 60s came over to say how lovely it was to see someone breastfeeding.

I know some people have to deal with small minded nonsense, but my confidence has increased with the great experiences I've had

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Wed 10-Feb-16 10:03:03

Persis that's lovely flowers

I whipped them out anywhere and everywhere. I had some dirty looks from time to time I guess but it never occurred to me not to feed my baby right where I was if she was hungry.

MYA2016 Wed 10-Feb-16 10:06:10

I'm currently bf my son and gave had no negative comments either.
I too don't agree with covering the baby's head.... they're entitled to eat the same as everyone else. I just use a muslin over my bare skin so nothing can be seen but never covering his head or face.

SleepyRoo Wed 10-Feb-16 10:09:34

I think it's partly how self conscious you are. Who cares if anybody raises an eyebrow? People raise eyebrows at any random thing. I found the flapping around with "modesty covers" a bit cringey in itself last time so won't be bothering with that this time. I think age plays a part too - I am an ancient mum now so gave up caring what other people think about anything aeons ago - but I would have felt differently in my 20s.

FellOutOfBedTwice Wed 10-Feb-16 10:11:34

For context I was 28 when I had DD in 2014. Both my mum and DHs mum had breastfed their children but neither grandmother had.

Immediate families reactions were positive and neither ever tried to stop me breastfeeding. Both grandmothers were fairly negative. When DD was a week old we were at DHs granny's and she said "you're not feeding her yourself are you?" With a tone of general disgust and then asked me to go and feed her sat in the bedroom. The first time I did but it made me really cross and so from then on I just didn't even seek any kind of permission and got on with it in front of her. My own nan wasn't as obviously disapproving but it clearly made her uncomfortable and she would make an excuse to leave the room when I did it. Both grandmothers had their children in the late 50s/early 60s and were adamant that formula was better. My nan was always trying to encourage me to get some bottles and try formula.

DH was never anything but supportive and I only had two friends who made me feel uncomfortable- 1 a woman in her 30s who I met at NCT classes and was very open about how breastfeeding "freaked [her] our" and one a man in his 40s who's just a bit repressed I think.

At first I was very self conscious about doing it in public- especially as I have very large breasts (36MM at their peak!) but when DD was about a month old I remember feeding her on Southend sea front sat on the beach and realising that no one (and there were hundreds of people- it was the middle of August and a beautiful day) was batting an eyelid. After that I seldom felt embarrassed again.

In my NCT group only one other mum breastfed and she was far more self conscious than me, would never bf in public unless she had her apron thing on, but I think a lot of that was down to her DH who had some very funny attitudes and would tell her off for "giving an eyeful" to passing men when she fed in public.

BertieBotts Wed 10-Feb-16 10:13:02

I didn't experience any negativity from strangers. In fact even staunch FF mums were perfectly nice to me and respected my choice.

It was my family and sometimes friends who were critical if ever. To their credit, they tried not to be. There were a couple of ill informed but not unkindly meant comments from the older generation (you shouldn't hold him so much, does that fill him up? It never filled mine up. I think you have to be a very patient sort of person.)

TheSunnySide Wed 10-Feb-16 10:13:19

I have been breastfeeding my son since 2010 and never encountered any issues in public. I rarely covered up when he was small but did start using a scarf as he got older. A visiting family member once made a comment about my breast being visible in my own home which I thought was unnecessary and as he got older I stopped feeling comfortable doing it in public as I felt most people would view feeding a 3/4 year old as a bit odd.

As he reached about 4 I could sense my own family becoming uncomfortable when I did it in their home and that was fairly instrumental in me stopping all day time feeding - I only feed him in bed now.

When I went to see my GP about an unexplained lump in my breast when he was 3 and a half she asked if I was still breastfeeding and then said nothing more which I was relieved about as I thought she might be more negative.

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