Put Those Things Away! Moms Talk Public Breastfeeding

You wrestle with the cover, trying not to expose yourself to the entire restaurant. Should you be doing this, right here, right now? You nervously adjust your shirt so that your baby can eat. You think you hear whispers, see the woman in the corner roll her eyes…

That woman just might be Wendy Williams.

When Alyssa Milano appeared on The Wendy Williams Show to discuss her weight loss after the birth of her daughter Elizabella, the two butted heads over the topic of public breastfeeding.

“I don’t need to see that,” said the talk show queen. “Because, I just don’t want to.”

“But would you eat under a blanket?”
Milano asked her.

“What I would do is I would go to the car, not on the bench in the front of the big box store,” Wendy replied.

Breastfeeding is one of the most challenging parts of new motherhood. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) — recommend breastfeeding as the best choice for babies, but making the decision to breastfeed is a personal one.

Breastfeeding in public is an issue all new moms struggle with–do I take my hungry baby back to the car? Do I whip ’em out and dare people to say something?

Moms across the net weighed in.

For most, it’s about modesty. Using a cover is more for their own comfort and privacy, not to ease anyone else’s discomfort.

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Others find a cover awkward and annoying, saying it draws even more attention.

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Moms who find the courage to breastfeed publicly do it practically anywhere. Personally, I’ve fed my son in the middle of a busy museum while he was in his Ergo carrier.

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breastfeeding-in-public-debateThe Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child, and must also provide a place other than a bathroom, for the employee to express breast milk. If employers are required to provide an area that isn’t a bathroom just for pumping, why should a mom be asked to breastfeed her baby in one?

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In New York, a mom can breast feed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is authorized to be–regardless of whether her nipple is covered. While the laws differ from state to state, all moms agree that breastfeeding should be between mom and baby, whether in public or in the privacy of their home.

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Have you breastfed in public? What are your thoughts?

Tiffani
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Tiffani

Tiffani is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, co-creator of The Mommy Conference, and co-founder of the digital collective Sisterhued. Her writing and parenting tips have been seen on The Washington Post, Mommy Noire, Yahoo Parenting, and Fit Pregnancy.
Tiffani
Find me here

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9 Comments

  1. January 20, 2016 / 2:10 am

    Love this — thank you for posting about my experience. I am not sure why people get so riled up — babies need to eat and that will never change. For me, breastfeeding was so had as it is, taking away the option to feed my kids in public would have made it even hard.

  2. January 20, 2016 / 3:22 pm

    I love all of these, like most Moms I breastfeed where ever I was. I’ve never had any rude comments or looks to my face.

    My body grew boobs on its on, those same boobs got bigger when I manage to grow another human in my belly. Then those same damn boobs produced milk without me even asking.

    You mean to tell me it isn’t natural? People are crazy breastfeed those babies all you want ladies.
    Mimi Green recently posted…Philly Road Tripping Moguls In Media : Terminal Market : Mazda 6My Profile

  3. January 21, 2016 / 3:50 pm

    I publicly breastfedd all the time and dare someone to say something or look at me sideways.. 9 times out of 10 I cover up… I wear 2 shirts, one tank top and one regular over that so I can pull one up and the other down, does that make sense??

    Will never deny feeding my children for others feelings though. You need to eat, so do they!
    Carrie recently posted…4 Secret Alternatives to Expensive ChildcareMy Profile

  4. January 24, 2016 / 6:53 pm

    I am not a mother, but I know that if I had to feed my child, well. I would feed my child. Of course I am private, so I would try to do anything not to show my breast. With that said, I remember only once when woman whipped out her breast and I was taken back, it was unexpected. So I probably did give her a side eye. However, as I grew up stuff like that don’t surprise me anymore. Besides I just think, that the baby got to eat. And if it was my child that was hungry that would be all that matters.

  5. February 2, 2016 / 1:40 am

    Having breastfed two kids there were plenty of times that I had to breastfeed in public. I even breastfed my daughter on a plane. I’ve always gotten supportive looks and words of encouragement. Sometimes I covered, but most of the time I didn’t, especially during the summer months when it was just too hot to be trying to cover up with a blanket or cover.
    K. Elizabeth (YUMMommy) recently posted…Thankful ThursdayMy Profile

  6. February 5, 2016 / 1:53 am

    i liked to go less public but i would never really think twice about someone else whippin’ it out! to each his own!

  7. July 21, 2016 / 3:21 am

    Some good talk, thanks! I publicly breastfeed all the time and dare someone to say something or look at me sideways.. 9 times out of 10 I cover up… I wear 2 shirts, one tank top and one regular over that so I can pull one up and the other down, does that make sense??

    Will never deny feeding my children for others feelings though. You need to eat, so do they!

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