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.





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





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.





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?



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.



Have you breastfed in public? What are your thoughts?

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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.
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