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To Bare or Not to Bare: Breastfeeding in Public

Women have the right to breastfeed in public but is there a right or wrong time to do so?

Breastfeeding has always been a tricky subject. It's a healthy, safe and natural way to feed and bond with your baby. However, challenges constantly arise over the issue of where breastfeeding can and should take place.

By law, women in Illinois have the right to breastfeed in public under the Right to Breastfeed Act enacted in 2004. Even so, there are still situations where women are asked to retreat to a more private place to breastfeed. Recently in DeKalb, IL, a group staged a "nurse-in" at a local store where the owner allegedly asked a young Mom to not breastfeed in his resale shop. According to a recent Chicago Tribune article, Mom was breastfeeding in the middle of a store that mostly sells CDs, video games and movies. Here is video of the subsequent "nurse-in" protest.

The owner said he supports breast feeding but there is a time and a place for it and he asked her to not breastfeed in his store anymore. The law is on her side, but Moms, what do you think? Just because you can do something, does it mean you should? Is the middle of a store the "right" place to breast feed your baby?

I breast fed both of my children and I have to say I never felt the need to "whip it out" in public. There was never a time where my babies were so hungry that I had to feed them right then and there.

To me breastfeeding was an intimate experience to be shared only with Mom and baby. Knowing that it makes other people uncomfortable, I respected their feelings and kept our feeding sessions private. I timed my errands and trips so that I would be home when I needed to breastfeed or I found a secluded room. There also are  nursing covers and other products on the market designed to create an intimate experience for you and your child.

For me the bigger frustration was finding a private place to breast feed. I wish more businesses, restaurants, and public places had a nicer area to sit and breast feed in private instead of a dirty bathroom stall. Breastfeeding-friendly businesses definitely got my more of my business when I was in that stage of my life.

Check out Breastfeeding.com for more information on your breast feeding rights.  BabyCenter.com has some good tips and advice for breast feeding in general. 

What do you think? The law is definitely on a Mom's side, but should breastfeeding be done anywhere, anytime? Should we as Moms put some etiquette around breast feeding and police ourselves to avoid these conflicts?

Shannon L. July 12, 2011 at 01:32 AM
And I can only wonder what happened to a person to make them think bf is "gross" or disgusting. what kind of person really thinks this? wow.
ALK July 12, 2011 at 06:00 PM
Wow! Some of these comments are pretty ignorant. I'm a mother who has breastfed and have never "whipped it out to show my goods" in public -- ridiculous -- nor have I ever seen a woman do this before. I have seen a handful of women breastfeed in public, but I never saw skin. I also wasn't looking too hard because it's really none of my business. Those who are uncomfortable with breastfeeding most likely are insecure.
Melissa July 26, 2011 at 08:46 PM
I'm shocked to read that women who bare their breast while nursing are said to be attention-seeking. In my experience this is a rare occurrence–the only times I've seen a woman whip out the boob without any regard has been foreign women in which this is accepted practice in their country. I think a little respect and compassion from both sides of this debate would go a long way in keeping this from being such a huge issue. I understand how one may not wish for their young child to observe this–though I personally don't have a problem–and I can also understand how covering up can be a pain (i.e. sweaty baby). After all, an adult would never consider eating under a blanket. Why aren't we women sticking together more, rather than beating each other up for taking care of our children? That's a good thing in times of the Casey Anthony's of the world. The Anecdotal Baby: http://theanecdotalbaby.wordpress.com
Cathie November 01, 2012 at 10:34 AM
Do you eat your meals with a blanket over your face?
Donna M. November 01, 2012 at 02:34 PM
@Cathie...REALLY....That is a ridiculous statement. I'm not even going to try to explain why.....

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