Nursing in Public - What's the Big Deal?

Over the weekend, I had something pretty awesome happen to me. Although, once I got to thinking about it after the fact it made me a little....sad, for lack of a better word.

On Friday, Joe had a procedure done on his foot. Originally we thought it would be a quick in-and-out type thing, but it turned out to be a half-day event. It wasn't really a problem, just more of a frustration since we left both kids with my in-laws, and Millie refused to take a bottle. I was surprised because she's usually more concerned with actually eating, rather than the method of delivery. Haha. I ended up having to leave Joe at the hospital to go and get her so I could feed her. 

By the time we got back to the hospital, he'd already been taken into the OR. I went to the waiting room, found a quiet corner, and nursed Millie without a cover. 

Left: front view; Right: my view.
What nursing in public REALLY looks like.

I got some looks from other people in the room, but no one seemed to mind all that much. {Not that I really cared. I just dread confrontation.} About 15 minutes after Millie had filled her tummy, a woman sitting across from me got up to leave. On her way out, this happened:

My first reaction was, "Wow! That was awesome!!" I gotta say, it did make me feel pretty good. ;-) And if it'd been my first baby, and I'd struggled with it, her comment probably would have encouraged me quite a bit. {And after experiencing it myself, it makes me want to compliment someone else the next time I see someone nursing in public.}

After I got home and had some time to think about it, that experience made me think something different. What kind of culture do we live in that feeding your baby naturally needs to be encouraged? I highly doubt this sort of thing happened 200-300 (or less) years ago. No one needed to be encouraged to feed their baby with their body because it was the norm. Since it was the norm, no one got freaked out when mothers nursed their babies in public. *gasp* 

All over the internet - and the news - you see stories of women getting persecuted for nursing their babies in public, and without a cover. These women are told to go to a bathroom, somewhere outside, etc. to feed their babies. Meanwhile, a mother who bottle feeds her baby (whether it's breastmilk or formula) is allowed to be wherever she wants. Why is this okay? Why is this the norm? I'll tell you why.

Our culture has completely over-sexualized women's bodies. Images, photos of scantily clad women are used to sell everything from lingerie to cars. We figured out a long time ago that sex sells, and pretty much haven't looked back. Our culture decided that breasts weren't for making milk for babies, but for erotic purposes only. Never mind that after giving birth, a woman's body automatically produces milk for her baby. {And starts producing colostrum - first milk - before the baby is even born.} Unless there are rare or tragic circumstances, every single mother's body produces milk for her baby. Our culture deemed breastfeeding weird, extreme, and/or gross because somewhere along the way, we lost sight of the truth and started accepting lies. I'll be the first to admit that the purpose of breasts are twofold: feeding a baby, and pleasing your spouse. 

Feeding a baby is nowhere near sexual, which is why I have no problems nursing in public without a cover. Another reason I don't mind nursing without a cover is that I can do it discreetly, while not irritating my child. I don't think fighting with her and the cover is worth not offending 2 or 3 people I don't know. I'd rather feed my child, thanks. 

Another post I read on The Leaky Boob recently has a picture that perfectly defines how I feel about this nonsense. You can click the link to see it and read the article. A woman is feeding her baby discreetly in the mall....in front of huge portraits of women wearing lingerie. In fact, it's similar to this:

I don't understand what all the fuss is about. The sexual nature of breasts has nothing to do with feeding a baby, and it never, ever will. Breastfeeding is about feeding your baby and bonding with them. Why banish a child and their mother simply because of how they're being fed? It's petty and pathetic. 

Get over yourselves, mainstream America. We've got babies to nurse.


  1. You are awesome! I didn't even nurse (formula fed first and pumped for second), and I wholeheartedly agree with you. Breastfeeding isn't sexual, it is a method of feeding your child. The baby's head covers so much that you can't really see anything. I wish this country would lighten up. We have runway shows on tv that showcase the newest in lingerie, but watch out if a mom wants to feed her hungry baby while she is out running errands.

  2. I think that you bring up a good point to this situation. While I did not nurse in public I don't have a problem with those who do regardless of how it is done (covered or uncovered). Personally I am a very private person and I even pumped in my own home with a cover. It was more comfortable for me. Its a personal choice. I do think that the more it is seen the more normal it will become to our society. Yes its a shame but I think our society does better with examples of public breastfeeding like yourself than say the times cover of an 8 year still breastfeeding. America really does not need images of extremes to sway public opinion against breastfeeding any more than it already does. Sadly I think those who are shouting at the roof tops and claiming "formula is poison, Breast is best" have done more to hurt the image than to restore it to what it once was. I think the pro breastfeeding has come more into light as we try to come back closer to all things granola. I think it would also help for all parents to not be so judgmental towards one another. Can't we all just get along and accept each others choices regardless if we agree with them or not?
    Sorry I'll step off my scatter-brained soap box now as I am sure I could go on for hours about this topic. Please don't feel that any of this is directed at you personally. This is just more of a general venting for one of the modern day parenting problems that shouldn't even exist. ugh.