Breastfeeding in Public: the Pros and Cons

Public breastfeeding is an act of breastfeeding a baby in public places (restaurants, bus stops, malls, etc.), where it may be noted and observed by other people.

Women Require a Tolerant Attitude

As a breastfeeding mother, I know everything about the convenience of breastfeeding, considering the fact you may breastfeed wherever, whenever. Though, I have never been against public denudation, as long as it’s not against somebody’s will – I still have a word to say about public breastfeeding and the conservative haters. It has never been a question of morals to me – the baby wants to eat, I have to feed it right here right now – it’s the biological function of the mother, ruled by instinct.

And in the world, where they show murdered children on TV breastfeeding in public with both totally naked breasts – does not bother me at all! But those, who constantly dare to find the cons of public feeding, spread a word. And as any civilized person would have done – we’re listening to the opposite opinion before starting a fight. The “haters” don’t actually care if you breastfeed in public or not – they simply have an opinion. Having an opinion is not an insult or a crime.

Fashion Aspect

Some say breastfeeding in public has become fashionable in recent years. In many countries, I must say, there was no other fashion at all – women would breastfeed naked, walk around naked, and do everything naked. That is a part of the culture. Being dressed up – has become a part of our culture and if we want to go back to that initial natural state – we have to consider, that the process will not be that fast and painless. For now, if the woman is baring her breasts in public – she is contradicting the culture – this is how she is perceived by the radical, conservative public, which is luckily not so many.

Supporters of this trend insist on the naturalness of this process. While the very few haters of public breastfeeding insist that there are other natural acts, which are forbidden to be performed in public for some reason. Also, while surfing the hottest discussions on public breastfeeding on the Internet – I’ve encountered the opinion that those mothers, who declare, that they want their baby to get all the best from breast milk and promote health – are far from the healthy way of life.

In order to be the knight of breastfeeding, they say, you have to be the example of a healthy lifestyle. Otherwise, it looks like fighting some inner issues through protesting, rather than promoting breastfeeding.

In general, internet users are liberal in regard to nursing mothers in public places. In reality, the young mother, baring her breast in a park, subway, and coffee shops may often attract the gazers.


Why Arguing?

Perhaps the problem would not be raised if there was no informational wave on the media about the cases when breastfeeding women were mistreated by the ignorant members of society. And thus the other opinion appeared: is a bare breast simply a tool to deliver food to the baby or a secondary sexual characteristic? Breast is both! I personally cover my breast while breastfeeding in public.

I just don’t like showing my breast to everyone, which is my right. Some people consider that they have a right not to see secondary sexual characteristics while they drink their morning coffee. We have to consider the interests of others in order to build up a mentally healthy society. The mothers are surely privileged in this situation, don’t you think?

I have never been mistreated and never heard a bad word or had a bad eye on me, even if it happened I had no cover for my breast. And I live in a conservative country. Maybe, I simply was lucky or pay no attention to the others, while breastfeeding. I personally think that it’s a matter of education and politeness.

Is there a place you’d consider inappropriate for breastfeeding? Leave your opinion in the comments.

However, most devoted women prefer to breastfeed their babies anywhere. Moreover, they hold actions of mass infant feeding in public worldwide – breastfeeding pride. Such events are regularly held with the support of various public organizations on breastfeeding in different countries.

The Evident Pros of Public Breastfeeding:

  • The convenience – you don’t need the additional tools, don’t have to interrupt your activity
  • The baby gets what she needs right at the moment and is not stressed with waiting
  • The people may become a part of the sacred ritual of breastfeeding and enjoy the beauty of the picture
  • Breastfeeding itself is highly promoted through the right image of it

Fans of public breastfeeding say that they protect the right to freedom of movement and the right of the child to be fed on demand. But let’s discuss some not-so-positive points of public breastfeeding.

Few Cons of Public Breastfeeding:

First, the Calmness of the nursing mother, her composure are very important for lactation. Stress and psychological disorders, in turn, can cause a reduction of volumes of milk or even its termination. Breastfeeding in a crowded place may distract the baby from the process. Though it’s a matter of habit, breastfeeding is an organized action, where both participators should have comfortable conditions.

Second, don’t forget about the weather conditions! The breasts are very sensitive at lactation and you have to take care of your breast, covering it from the aggressive environment, while breastfeeding in public. The wind is never good for the breasts. Sure you don’t bare your breasts when it’s snowing, but you should still mind the weather conditions.

Third, the view of the female breast is likely to be of interest not only for male passers-by but also for children. If driving attention to the act of breastfeeding is an act of promotion of breastfeeding itself – then you’re doing everything right, but you simultaneously demonstrate the bare breast in public, which is sexy, no matter what you have been told about the breast. So you have to be ready for the reactions, that are fairly predictable in modern society. No matter – whether you are feeding your baby – you are baring your breast at the same time.


Breastfeeding Is Intimate

“Breastfeeding – is a sacred and intimate process, which is not supposed to involve spectators in order to be performed properly with a better efficiency.” Most arguments, however, come from the “no covers” issue. People don’t mind seeing a breastfeeding woman, but sometimes they mind the view of the partially naked breast, that is, as we’ve mentioned, a secondary sexual feature. Thus, if you want to get rid of those indignant sights – you may use the cover. Some of them are designed the way that your baby is not disturbed while breastfeeding and you may fully control the process.

Cultural Aspect

By the way, struggling breastfeeders: In some countries, breastfeeding in public is really considered an act of obscenity and vulgarity. It is mainly connected with the strict religious concepts, which are followed by the nation. For example, it’s prohibited to feed the baby in a public place in Saudi Arabia. However, it is considered acceptable in most countries. This opinion is shared by the authorities of Israel, Jordan, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, etc.

However, there breastfeeding women are covered with a sheet or a special nursing poncho. In the US, the question of public breastfeeding is regulated by each state independently. In Pittsburgh, for example, a special van goes through the streets, in which young mothers can breastfeed their babies. 

In Italy, the country, where femininity is highly promoted by traditions and culture of the country – breastfeeding in public is the top expression and manifestation of motherhood. The Italians would rather greet public breastfeeding, rather than despise it.

Nobody Really Minds Breastfeeding In Public

Thus, it appears that women, arranging a public stock feeding, fight the enemy that doesn’t exist. Nobody is against feeding a baby in a public place if this process is, in compliance with the moral rights, recognized in a civilized society. Moreover, today a woman can find a secluded place to feed the baby.

Railway stations, airports, shopping centers, and restaurants are equipped with rooms for mother and child. Manufacturers of clothing offer nursing moms to get special capes, in which they can feed the baby without much fuss, providing intimacy to this process and considering the interests of the other members of the society.