If you have chosen to breastfeed your baby, first I want to say congratulations. You’ve not only chosen to give your baby the closeness and bonding time that you both will benefit from, but you’ve also chosen to reduce his chances of pneumonia, colds, and viruses. In the long run, the chances of her getting type I diabetes, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, thyroid disorders, and the list goes on are also greatly reduced. The chances of him dying of sudden infant death syndrome just got cut in half, thanks to your decision.
So now that we know just a small percent of the many advantages of breastfeeding, let’s talk about breastfeeding in public. Or maybe you’ve chosen not to breastfeed in public due to people’s reaction. Let’s dive right in and discuss the pros and cons of breastfeeding in public.
- By breastfeeding in public, you can feed your baby on the spot when he’s hungry.
- You are helping to set a good trend. If more women breastfed in public, I think the number of stares and comments would decrease.
- Breastfeeding can help you to foster new friendships with other breastfeeding moms. To this day when I see a mom breastfeeding her child, I feel a kinship. It may sound silly, but I know we already have a huge common ground for friendship. It’s not so much the act of breastfeeding that we share, but a love for our children and a desire to give them the best start as possible in life.
- By breastfeeding in public, you won’t have to succumb to sitting on a toilet in a restroom to feed your baby. Adults don’t go to the restroom to eat when they are hungry, but many babies in America eat next to a toilet. Gross. When you breastfeed in public, your baby can eat in a sanitary situation.
- You may just get some compliments and words of encouragement from other women. Moms who also breastfeed or have breastfed in the past may want to compliment you. It feels good to have words of encouragement spoke to you. Enjoy it and remember to pass on some words of support to breastfeeding mother that you see. It can be as simple as, “What a pretty cover up you have,” or “what a sweet baby,” or maybe even just a “Hello, What a nice day it is.“
- You are going to have to get used to some stares, and possible rude comments. Sadly, many people don’t understand why you are feeding your baby when she’s hungry. You may have to get a stronger backbone to put up with comments. If it helps, remember that you are paving the way for the next woman to be able to feed her baby in public.
- You may need to find ways to be discreet. This can be harder to do in the summer months when you don’t have as many articles of clothing on. This will all require planning on your part. Make sure to keep a lightweight baby blanket handy at all times during those hotter months. It’s not hard to cover up, if you remember to bring something to cover up with. It is not mandatory that you cover, up. This is a personal choice, and it was also my choice to be discreet. Do what makes you and your baby feel comfortable.
- You may accidentally expose yourself to others if your baby turns her head at the wrong moment. Be prepared if you don’t want to have any chance of flashing anyone. There are a lot of cool cover-ups on the market today. An airy baby blanket works well too. A lightweight and breathable cover will help you to cover up without suffocating your little one.
- You may become offended. I remember a bitterly cold winter day many years ago with nowhere to go as my truck was being worked on all day at the auto shop in town. I decided to walk downtown to get something to eat with my baby tucked away in a carrier inside my winter coat. Eventually, she needed to be fed, so I told the restaurant where I ordered some food, that I would be right back as I needed to nurse my baby. I chose to go to their restroom instead of sitting at the table and covering up. I’m fine with a woman breastfeeding in public, but I didn’t feel comfortable to do it at this cafe. The reply was that they didn’t allow that there. Needless to say, I’ve never gone back. I was offended and chose not to patronize their place again with my money.
No matter what other people’s views are on women breastfeeding in public, remember that it is your right to do so. In fact, it is legal in all the states for a woman to breastfeed her baby in public. Whether you choose to exercise that right or not is your personal choice. But try not to let other people’s phobias and opinions affect how and when you choose to feed your little one. I hope that this article has helped to shed some light on the pros and cons that come with breastfeeding in public.