I can’t even count on both hands how many times that I have seen a breastfeeding mom’s complain that they were told to leave or to stop breastfeeding their baby while in a restaurant, mall, church, ect. As a breastfeeding advocate, I could see how offended I would be I was asked to leave, nurse my baby in a restroom, or to stop breastfeeding. As a new mom it would have made me rethink my decision to breastfeeding in public. Most nursing mom’s are more worried about their breasts leaking, showing too much skin, or just feeling self-conscious of their feeding choice. Instead of people judging mom’s for breastfeeding, people need to show them respect by acting normal around them. Respecting a breastfeeding mother’s decision to nurse in public will increase her confidence.
New mom’s shouldn’t be afraid to nurse their baby in public. Remember it is up the mother to determine if she wants to cover up while nursing or not and it isn’t your place to judge her. As a mom who breastfeed my children for over 4 years combined, I wanted to share a few suggestions to help a new moms to feel more confident about her decision to breastfeed in public.
- Know the Law – There are laws, mostly at the state level, to protect breastfeeding mothers while nursing in public. Each state is different so it is important to determine what the law says for your state. Some mom’s have printed out the state law for their state and kept it in the diaper bag so that they could easily show someone what the law was about breastfeeding in public.
- Stand Your Ground – If someone does confront you, stand up for your rights to breastfeed your baby in public. If you are asked to leave, contact the manager on duty to verify the company policy. In fact, 9 times out of 10 most places don’t have a policy in place. Even if there is a written company policy, they are still bound by state laws and you can refuse to leave as long as the law states that you can breastfeed where ever you are at.
- Use a Blanket or Nursing Cover – If you aren’t comfortable with nursing in public, you can use a blanket or nursing cover to cover up your breast and baby while you are nursing. Some babies don’t like to be covered up especially when they get a bit older. If it is hot, it might not be a good idea to cover your baby up. Babies can easily overheat and they don’t sweat the way adults do.
- Find a Discrete Place to Nurse – If you are uncomfortable nursing out in the open, find a hidden or secluded area to feed your baby. There are some stores that are breastfeeding friendly and have set up special rooms for nursing mothers to use. You can also ask an employee if they have a comfortable place for you to nurse. If it is too hot to use a nursing cover or blanket, you have the right to use a dressing room to nurse my baby so that you don’t have to use a blanket or nursing cover. Never use a bathroom to nurse your baby, after all you wouldn’t eat in a bathroom.
- Express Milk for Your Baby – There are some mom’s avoid nursing in public and express breast milk for outings. A breast pump is a great way to safely express milk for your baby so that you can feed your baby a bottle with breast milk while out in public. A breast pump also works great for mother’s who have to return to work and want to continue their breastfeeding relationship.
I realize that breastfeeding in public is a very controversial topic and not everyone is going to agree with my post. I wrote this post to help educate new moms that they have a right to breastfeed in public and I wanted to support their decision to breastfeed their baby, even in public. Mom’s who breastfeed in public are helping make breastfeeding acceptable and teaching other women and our daughter’s that it is perfectly acceptable to breastfeed their baby in public.
Have you ever been asked to stop breastfeeding in public?