ANSWERS: 100
  • The good news about breastfeeding in public is that in the United States, women are gaining more breastfeeding rights. In 1998, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (a Democrat from New York) introduced legislation (The Right to Breastfeed Act, H.R. 1848) to protect a woman's right to breastfeed on federal property where she and her child have a right to be. The bill was signed into law on Sept. 28, 1999 when President Clinton signed the Treasury Postal Appropriations bill, which included Rep. Maloney's Right to Breastfeed Act. The bad news is there are still many public places women do not feel comfortable nursing their children. In Australia, for example, the majority of restaurants and shopping centers included in a recent survey were found to be unsupportive of nursing mothers. A group of researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia printed the finding of their survey in the Journal of Human Lactation in June, 1999. The researchers surveyed nearly 100 restaurant and shopping center managers, asking them about breastfeeding in their facilities. Only one third of the restaurant managers and less than half (48 percent) of the shopping center managers said that mothers can breastfeed anywhere in their facilities regardless of what other customers might say. The remaining two thirds of the restaurant managers and 52 percent of shopping center managers said they would either discourage breastfeeding anywhere in their facility, suggested a mother move to private area, or they were unsure how they would react. The researchers concluded that the, "..variability in support for breastfeeding by managers of restaurants and shopping centers will continue to create uncertainty for mothers wishing to breastfeed in these public places." You can contact your local representatives to find out what type of legislation already exists in your state (Many states have laws protecting nursing mothers, some do not, but that does not mean breastfeeding in public is illegal anywhere!) http://www.breastfeeding.com/advocacy/advocacy_bfinpublic.html
  • That's a very controversial topic. On the one hand, there are people who will say that it's natural and we should support women wherever they choose to breastfeed. On the other hand, there are people who are uncomfortable seeing breasts in public or having their children see breasts. They might say that, yeah it's natural, but so is urinating and there are designated places for that (no, I do personally think it is equivalent). If someone is going to breastfeed, and she wants to lower the chances of offending someone there are some things she can do. Whether or not others should be offended is another story. First off, she should try to find a private place or at least some place where there is minimal people traffic. Some restrooms have very nice lounge areas that can be used. Also, she should use a towel or blanket to cover her breast as much as possible. If she's concerned for the feelings of others I would not suggest breastfeeding in the middle of a restaurant if it can reasonably be avoided. Neither would I suggest out on a mall bench, in an airplane next to a stranger, at a lecture/presentation, etc. In summation, if you want to make others more comfortable, just try to be discreet. ---------------------------------------------------------------- For those who have not noticed, in this answer I do not take a stand either for or against breastfeeding in public but rather have attempted to show possible opinions from BOTH sides, including possible compromises.
  • The answer by KarmaKitty was great! I agree that "natural" doesn't mean it should be a public event that others have to witness. . .if that were the case Don's Johns would be out of business. . . I just wanted to add that one should respect the culture of where they are too. In some countries, it would be considered extremely offensive to do this in ANY public place. I mean, geez, if the women in some places have to go out with their faces covered, imagine what would happen if they decided to breastfeed. I know Europeans tend to have a very casual attitude about this and I have noticed that some think nothing of popping a breast out in somewhere as public as a busy airport terminal. . .no blanket, no cover, just out there. I also worked in an office where we had a Dutch client who would conduct business whilst breastfeeding. I personally felt that was inappropriate. I felt sorry for my boss who actually had to sit across from her. . .a guy and one with no kids. He was sooooo uncomfortable with that. I don't know what ended up happening, but there was a court case over a woman breastfeeding at a museum where there was a "no food or drink allowed" policy. I am not making this up. She sued and I do believe she won. . .that's a bit drastic on the museums part if you ask me. KarmaKitty is right. . .just be discreet for crying out loud or next time I have to adjust my thong I will think nothing of hiking up my skirt and doing so. . .hey, it's natural right? :)
  • Here is the overall and REAL answer, slightly politically incorrect... In American society women are able to breastfeed. The media and general culture will tell you that women can do whatever they want with their breasts and their babies and their bodies, and SHAME on you if you think its anything but natural. Reality sets in when you walk around somewhere (a mall, for example) and see some woman breast feeding by the water fountain near the food court. Most if not all people will make a face and stare and comment to their friends. This is made even worse when the baby in question is over a year...then its kinda creepy. I have not had a baby yet but when i do I don't think I'm going to breast feed in public. I dont want some weirdo staring at my boobs, even if it is natural. Anyway. So you can do it if you want and you won't get arrested but don't think everyone will approve, because they won't.
  • I agree it is a natural thing and i would rather see a mother breast feeding her baby than have a sceaming baby close by. A woman should be as descreet as possible keeping as much of her breast covered and maybe have her back to the room. As for in some countries where women cover their faces, a trip to dubai, and Abu Dhabi shocked me when seeing a woman in full dress yet breast feeding her baby. So maybe its the more western civilizations that have the problem with such a natural thing. But to answer the question yes but appreciate some people do take offence so try to go somewhere a little more private than a buss stop in the town center.
  • I have to go along with Auntie Em. Many North Americans have a contradictory attitude towards female breasts; how is it that we can approve of cheerleaders, etc., bouncing them around on television and then be disgusted/offended when we see them actually performing their natural function? I am offended by seeing butt cracks, underwear, bare midriffs , especially with body jewelry, obviously put there to draw the eye to that area of the body, all on public display; does that mean that I should make my displeasure known to the mall manager, restaurant operator or mayor? It is so easy to nurse a baby discreetly - just wear a t-shirt or other stretchy top that you can pull up from below - the baby covers the breast with his/her head and the top can be pulled down again just as easily and quickly when the baby has finished. There really is no need to pull your clothes down from the top or open a buttoned blouse, if you don't have to. A blanket over the whole thing really just draws more attention to the process and any baby over about 3-4 months old will just remove it anyway.
  • In addition to the other answers here I should add that a woman in the UK was recently arrested (and released without charge) for indecent exposure following a complaint about her breastfeeding in a cafe. The woman later gave a radio interview where she pointed out that one can walk into any newsagents in the UK, look up at an angle of 45 degrees and see all manner of bare breasts blatantly on display. This is generally seen, for better or worse, as part of life in the 21st Century. Therefore there can be no earthly reason why subtly using one breast for the reason nature intended should ever be considered impolite. Having thought about this for a while it did occur to me that I've often seen people holding tabloids open in public, reading page 2 whilst blatantly letting the large fake breasts on the opposite page assume a prominent place in public view. I have never once seen anyone muttering about rudeness or inappropriate behaviour in this situation. The only explanation I can think of is that breasts must only be impolite if they're real ones! My personal (emphasis on personal here) opinion is that I'd rather a woman discreetly breast feed her child than allow it to scream and cry in hunger, which is far more intrusive. There's something to be said for discretion though- only open the shirt as far as absolutely necessary and if you can try and find a quiet-ish corner so you're not in anyone's way. In my experience, most women do this automatically anyway- breastfeeding in public is done out of bare necessity, not through any desire to make a feminist point, and most would rather that as few people noticed as possible.
  • Babies gotta be fed. so, if you breastfeed.....please do the following: keep it covered, keep it warm and keep it personal.
  • Its okay in public. but, be discreet, be personal, and be private.
  • I think it's fine. BTW: This has been asked multiple times. # http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/102847 # http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/24004 There are other instances too. Please check for duplicates before you post a question.
  • I think there is a tasteful way to do it and if you are going to breast feed this is the way to do it. If i an eating in a public place and you flop one of your girls out to feed your baby I don't want my now really confued and thinkin he is seeing something that might get his harmones racing 12 year old drowling in his food. It is like farting I don't care if you do it just don't make a big deal out of it.
  • Breastfeeding is good, natural, and those who have problems with it are saying more about themselves and their hangups than breastfeeding mothers.
  • I think it's beautiful. I don't mind where they do it.
  • I think its perfectly normal for a mother to breatfeed in public. After all shes not doing it in purpose the baby is hungry and it desires food.
  • I feel VERY strongly that society needs to change thier views on breastfeeding in public,not only is it the BEST food to feed your baby,but it is also COMPLETELY natural.Why is it okay to use breasts to advertise and sell just about anything to the consumer market,but if you see a breast in a babys mouth it is discusting? I can't even begin to stress enough on the fact that it is a tragedy that the most acceptable act from primitive times is now looked upon as DISTASTFUL.How did this happen?It makes no sense. Please,it is time to change the minds of society and let this act of love be accepted,just as a hug would be. Let the momma feed her baby without shame...Please.
  • This was a topic the other day and I will say again that it is so natural I don't know why we are having such a debate over it. I think it is mainly women that have this issue. I don't know if they are afraid their husband might see a tit or what but I do think it is crazy.
  • Really, I don't think it should be much of an issue as breastfeeding is natural however, I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to cover up? I don't think I'm a total prude but I don't want other people looking at my breasts. I'm a soon to be mom myself and personally feel that breastfeeding should be a somewhat private time with you and your baby. While I wouldn't be offended to see a woman breastfeeding in public, if she didn't cover up, I would assume that she was just looking for attention. Sometimes I think feminists just feel like they have a point to make.
  • They should cover. Picking your nose is natural and applying deoderant is natural but you wouldn't do it in a crowd full of people. Especially in a resturant. I don't have a problem with breastfeading, but it's not like it's hard to just put a cloth over yourself.
  • I don't see why its so much of a "debate". Personally, I would try & keep it a bit covered. Not so much as inappropriate (because its not), but because others may be embarassed or weirdos may get turned on. I try & see it as other may, and if in public you expose yourself to many walks of life. Mostly just consideration, but I would not hide out in the bathroom either.
  • It's perfectly okay to breastfeed in public. I did it myself. But I do think that you should cover up for modesty's sake. And the thing about the bathroom, would you want to eat your meal in a dirty bathroom? She's not relieving herself, she's feeding her child.
  • Let people do what they want to do, don't be a fascist. You people are missing the point - it's none of your business. Your 'morality' starts at the mental level, not the physical level, so it's your responsibility to keep it intact, not that of others.
  • I breastfeed all four of my children, even my twins. During this time I never needed to or wanted to breastfeed in public. Of course, on the occasions it was necessary that I breastfeed the twins at the same time I was practically naked and would have probably been arrested if I'd attempted to nurse them in public. I hated the idea of breastfeeding in a public restroom. I don't care how clean it is, you re still in a restroom. I think my husband was proud of the fact that I nursed our children. The only time he seemed uncomfortable with me nursing was if one of his brothers came to visit. He'd stand guard at the door so no one could come into the room I was in.
  • When I was feeding my daughter discretely (part of breast that was not in use was covered by shirt) in a restaurant we were having dinner at, the waiter asked me to go to the bathroom and feed her there. I said: "Make me! - how unhygenic that would be!" I refused to get up and continued to feed my daughter. Why should breastfeeding women be discriminated against in public- the baby has the right to eat when they are hungry and women have a right to not have to sit down in some dungeon or separate from everyone else for about half an hour. No way, I would protest until I dropped, if I had to.
  • Covering would be the polite thing to do; if if a mom doesn't I have no problem watching. Not covering is similar to wearing very sexy, tight clothing and then being self-righteously upset that men look. women show, men look.
  • The women that are protesting this locally all but take their shirts off. They held a "nurse in" and breast fed in front of a resturaunt that had asked them to cover up. At the nurse in, they breast fed, according to them, exactly as they had at the resturaunt. They had their entire breast out. I think that is inappropriate, personally, but I have no problem with ladies that do it discreetly. I just don't like someone all but taking their shirt off.
  • I think it is fine to breastfeed in public. I believe that women should cover up, though, because in our society it is not acceptable to go topless. I personally don't have a problem with it, but I did use a blanket or towel while nursing. I still got some dirty looks even with a blanket over my shoulder. I do not think they should have to use the restroom to nurse.
  • I breastfed for nearly two years and not a single living soul saw my boobs other than the baby and I did not cover up or hide under a tarp or in the toilet as some twit suggested. Only old people who knew what I was doing saw fit to comment or make any kind of fuss and usually they were nice. I once caught hell for BFing in an empty RC chapel from a nun. The baby was almost asleep. I just made hand jive at her to shut up and then pointed at a statue of the Mary holding the infant Jesus. That shut her up. Stupid nun.
  • It's okay with me, but I know that some folks are offended or embarrassed by openly breastfeeding children. therefore, in deference to their feelings, most well-mannered people would cover. As for going into the bathroom. Not the place for feeding.
  • This doesn't sound like a breast feeding demonstration. It seems fueled by some other agenda and breast feeding is the mode of protest. Few people object to public breast feeding in my area and it is done discretely. Somehow, the idea of flaunting your behavior in a manner designed to offend makes the behavior offensive.
  • If the Mother does not feel uncomfortable she should have every right to breastfeed wherever she chooses and not have to appease the general public to simply feed her baby.
  • I breastfed all of my children and no I don't think they should have to cover up/go to a bathroom (that is gross) or any of that. I do think it is appropriate to cover up in a public place but that's me. People don't have to hide a bottle when they feed their children, why do so many have an issue with nudity even in a natural things like breast feeding? I would often feed my children in a front pack carrier and no one was the wiser I would do that while taking a walk or at the park or out to eat...great option.
  • I think it should be perfectly OK. My wife when breastfeeding wore a very open weave shawl which was loosely put over the babies head and the breast. If you can arrange that, I think it is thoughtful. But I think the baby's needs come first, and the baby should be fed properly and comfortably, and as discreetly as circumstances allow.
  • Yes I would much rather see a woman in a bathroom then in a food court.
  • When the kid is 5 yes. I'm not otherwise offended by it. I think they should be wise about where they do it though. A place full of children who would be asking questions might not be so wise.
  • No, I am offended by people who feel a mother should not provide immediate relief to the needs of an infant and even more so offended by those who think mothers should hide in order to do what is best for thier child.
  • No. if men can flaunt their useless nipples without a care, why should women have to hide when they're doing something as fantastic as providing food for a baby?
  • No. The mother can put a blanket over her shoulder and hide what's going on. I don't understand the big fuss.
  • I do prefer to have some privacy when breast feeding, but if I simply can't wait and must do it in public, then it would be silly for me to be offended.
  • It's all in the way one does it. If a woman who is breast feeding wears a shirt, she has to unbutton that and then we see all! However, if a blouse is pulled up to allow the baby access, barely anything is visable, because the baby is in the way. There is nothing shameful in the slightest about breast feeding, and I plan to do so when I have children, but it's not an excuse for women to get their boobs out either! However, as a waitress, it can sometimes be a bit awkward. I don't want to look like I'm looking at a woman's breast, but I also don't want to look like I have a problem with it! So I tend to maintain eye contact!
  • No, I'm turned on.
  • No I am not. It is just the woman nursing her child nothing more or less.
  • Two answers, one serious (first) and one for fun (second). SERIOUS: Not at all. What I am offended by (and I've seen this a couple of times) is when guys stare and seem to get turned on. FUN: If a breast wants to eat in public, I'm not offended, but I do wonder what made scientist made a breast that eats!
  • Not at all. I am more offended by seeing babies with bottles of formula (or worse, babies drinking juice or soda pop- INSANE). I realize that some people cannot breastfeed, but if you CAN, please please DO! It is so much better for your baby!
  • My Wife said"I should be able to breast feed my child in public!!" then I said, "But when you breast feed, you are naked. public nudity is against the law, if you bare just one breast, the baby covers most of it, and you have a couple of those special breast feeding shirts with the flaps in front, that cover most of the breast anyway... when you use it."
  • In addition to a light cover up, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman breastfeeding in public. In their own homes, however, she can breast feed naked if she chooses too...LOL! In public, women can wear tank tops with their breasts almost completely exposed, yet get balked at for feeding their baby in public even when done discreetly. Now, you tell me what's wrong with this picture...LOL! Just my humble opinion. Go BF MOMS!!!!!! :o)
  • I can't stand having to pretend to look at something else everytime I notice a chick breastfeeding.
  • Acceptable at the malt shop. Not acceptable at the bus stop.
  • The object of the exercise is to feed the baby, not smother it with a blanket.
  • Nursing is the natural. However, the public have sexualized the woman's breast rather then think of them as what they were created for..unfortunately. So being descrete is probably the correct thing to do.
  • A lot of people seem to be uncomfy with it so I think that maybe they should make a place in the bathrooms where the mom can sit and feed her baby...
  • It is perfectly natural and normal. I would have loved to have been there, I would have thrown the Security staff out of the building!
  • Your friend should have squirted milk in their eye. That is just plain mean.
  • I think people need to get over it and realize it is normal and natural.
  • Yeah maybe... I don't know... I really don't care either though...
  • I have no problem with it, however we did have a situation in my store when I was working retail. A woman laid her kid on one of our display tables across a row of shirts, pulled up her shirt and leaned over her kid. I asked her to at least lay a towel down so it didn't slop onto my product but she didn't speak English and I don't speak Spanish. What's the spanish word for "lactation?"
  • I really can't stand it when people take offense to something that is so natural. It's ridiculous. Breastfeeding is not offensive and people that think it is should probably stay home because I can think of a ton of other things that they might see in public that might also do some psychological damage.
  • Babies gotta eat too! LOL
  • Neither. It always depends on the situation. Whipping your tits out to feed your baby just to prove you can is pretty aggressive. Feeding your child normally and naturally and quietly is pleasing
  • Nothing gross about it. I think it's great that some mothers still choose to feed their infants that way. Most of them tend to do it discretly anyway.
  • Fine, as long as the mother is discreet.
  • Great. Ladies in all over Africa and other places breastfeed, not discreetly, and no one pays any mind. It's natural, not indecent. I think it's our culture and the "boob crazy" folks that make it an issue.
  • Breasts in public for feeding or any other reason are a great thing.
  • IT BONERIFFIC!!! BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES!!!!!!! XD
  • I think it's perfectly fine and normal, good and healthy for the baby too.
  • It is wonderful and should be not be chastized. As long as the mother is comfortable with it, there is nothing wrong.
  • Last time I answered a question exactly like this, I was downrated for saying that it depended on the quality of the boobs. This time I'll say that as long as they have a blanket or something covering themselves, it should be just fine, otherwise there should be a stall or flip down seat in the woman's bathroom for the mother to sit and nurse, just like the baby changing stations.
  • I think it is something that cannot be avoided sometimes, but should be done with discretion. I hate when women just blatantly do it with NO regard for anyone around, especially in restaurants for some reason bothers me. It seems like if you know you are going to be in public you could have a few bottles set up in preparation as well. But maybe that is too "insensitive" for the liberal types for me to say.
  • Public breastfeeding is fine, as long as it’s discreetly done; no one needs another distraction in the world
  • I think every time a woman breastfeeds in public she is doing her part to promote breastfeeding. I don't think women should have to cover up (this can create breastfeeding problems for new moms). And I certainly don't think she needs to find a place out of the public eye. I think when a baby needs to be fed the best thing in the world a woman can do is find a comfy place to sit and nurse her child.
  • Neither. It is what it is. Also see http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/24004
  • Beautiful!
  • What an odd question. Breast feeding is a wonderful thing. A healthy mother's milk is pretty much the perfect food for an infant - honed by millions of years of evolution. As for the replies talking about "...as long as...". Why??? There are few things more beautiful than a mother feeding her child. If she chooses to do so in public we should thank her for sharing and not ask her to hide under a burqua... sorry, I mean blanket. Grow up, breasts don't kill... :-)
  • It's fine and it beats hearing the poor little babies screaming because they're hungry. People who object really need to get a life.
  • I wouldn't care. Others shouldn't either.
  • It's certainly not gross. Great would be an overstatement. It's how I feed my baby. And certainly not in the restroom. Eating in the restroom? Now that would be gross.
  • Fabulous! I moved to a country where breastfeeding in public is normal and no one takes notice. It is the greatest thing and much healthier way for the babies and the mothers. I just wish more woman would not be so shy and just do it. The more it happends the less shocking it will be to the public. Number one is the children. Give them the best life has to offer!
  • Neither
  • It's normal and natural. What's GREAT is the fact that Florida law now gives mothers the freedom to feed their children in public, and protects them from harassment of any kind, regardless of whether there is any incidental "nipple showage". Take THAT, boob-obsessed butt-heads.
  • It's not really something you believe in. It happens. And so it should.
  • Yes, a baby needs to eat, just like we do.
  • I believe a baby's hunger is a more important desire to submit to than another person's prudishness brought on by a societal construct that forces an unnatural stigma on the breast. In short - yes.
  • Yes, the baby just needs to be able to bend down real low;)
  • yes. but heres my exception What if the kid is likw 10 yrs old? im not gunna lie, i dont wanna see that.
  • Absolutely, I think american society is really messed up about nudity in general, If we quit making it such a big deal, it wouldn't be a big deal!
  • There is NOTHING to believe in. It happens. Do I have a problem with it? Absolutely not.
  • I think it is fine as long as the place is appropriate for such feeding, and the woman's clothing allows it to be done without drawing unwanted attention to her. ie. I once was in a location at a place that shall remain nameless, and there was a woman sitting out in a very skimpy g-string breast feeding her child, with her dress over the back of her chair, she went over the line, being nearly naked in public, to get her jollies and feed her baby at the same time was not appropriate. she was hot, but it was inappropriate.
  • Absolutely. I never saw a breastfeeding mother/child in my life until I had my own baby. All of a sudden I saw them everywhere I went. The thing is, they were there all the time, I just wasn't tuned into it. No one should have to let their hungry baby cry, or go searching for some secretive place, or nurse in a toilet stall, or put a blanket over the baby's face. They also shouldn't be expected to use formula if they don't want to, or pump breastmilk and carry it around in bottles.
  • Yes, it is appropriate. I have been in places with a little sticker on the door that says they encourage breastfeeding.
  • Yes, it is still appropriate in my country but it is usually done more discreetly.
  • I believe it is appropriate as long as your not letting it all hang out!!
  • Yes if done with discretion and respect for your surroundings. If it can be done in a more private spot, I think that is better as not all people feel it's okay and it's better not to breastfeed with hostility around you or for you to get upset.
  • Feeding my children as God intended? YES!
  • Fact from fiction, truth from diction. In many parts of the world no one gives it a second thought. That is what they are for. And when baby is hungry that is what feeds them. I guess if they were spoiled with stoves to heat bottles and fridgs to keep formula and milk they might get crazy too. It seems here in America (not sure about other industrialized nations) we have a think about the nipple being such a great evil. Women here are brainwashed and shamed into thinking the nipple is so evil those who do not need to wear bras shackle themselves in them just so there is no chance of the shape of their nipples being seen under what they are wearing. It is because the risk someone in public might see a nipple that people want women to go to the corner to whip out a boob and feed their child. Some men have larger breast than women and not so much as a peep.
  • I don't see a problem with it.It has been proven that breast milk helps brain development in babies,and NO artificial formula or additive can reproduce this effect.Of,course,you could bottle it if you are worried.Just get a breast pump and hold your baby alot to promote bonding.I see this as a sexualized problem,as to many people are looking to women's breasts as sexual objects,and not what our nature intended them for.Feeding our babies.*
  • If you're a guy, no.
  • Allowed yes, should they...not really.
  • Yes, of course. There is nothing dirty or bad about breasts, or about breastfeeding. People need to stop being so puritanical and get over it. And besides, what would we all rather? Seeing someone breastfeed, or hearing a baby screaming and crying because it's hungry and it's mother isn't allowed to feed it....
  • Yes ~ and the vast majority of women I've seen breastfeeding a child in public are not dancing around topless with a twirling baby stuck to their nipple. It's not a big deal to me. +5
  • I don't have a problem with it.

Copyright 2020, Wired Ivy, LLC

Answerbag | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy