First of all, this subject has always been so controversial that it got us, the moms, to a point where we are actually ashamed ( most of us ) of breastfeeding in public. And that sucks. If an adult can have his/her food in public, why shouldn`t a baby have the same rights? Some of you will say “well an adult`s food doesn`t come from a breast”. Really? Seriously? Should we bring that subject up? It`s ok to see a naked breast with a sparkly star over the nipple. It is actually fashionable. But it is so socially unaccepted when a baby is plugged to that nipple?
I have heard of mothers getting negative comments and nasty looks when breastfeeding in public. This is really sad. When someone sees a nursing puppy they will say, “oh, how cute!”. Shouldn’t a nursing baby get the same reaction ( if any at all )? Besides, a nursing baby should be much more welcome than a screaming baby who needs to eat. Just saying.
Get Your Facts Right
So I guess we need to explain why mothers must feed their hungry children.
- Babies are hungry. A lot.
- If you aren’t familiar with newborns, here’s what they do: Eat, sleep, cry and potty. And eating is a big one.
- By breastfeeding, nutrients in human milk are absorbed rapidly and thoroughly so they can provide the best benefit.
- Babies feed in small volumes as the stomach capacity of an infant is very small.
- Breast milk keeps baby and mom healthy. Studies show that breast milk is one of the best ways to protect babies and mothers from illness and disease.
- Breastfed babies are better protected against pneumonia, ear infections, diarrhea, excess weight issues, and diabetes.
- Breastfeeding helps to protect against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Breastfeeding mothers see increased protection against cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Forty-nine states (all except Idaho), the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands have laws stating that a mother may nurse her child in any public or private place where she is allowed to be. That means even a private business does not legally have the right to make you leave the premises, breastfeed in a bathroom stall, or demand that you stop nursing your baby.
- Seventeen states and Puerto Rico provide allowances for breastfeeding mothers to be exempt from or postpone jury duty.
- Kentucky, Missouri, Virginia, and Washington explicitly include expressing milk as a form of breastfeeding that mothers may do in any public or private location. The language in other states refers to “breastfeeding,” not “nursing,”. But there may be a little more room for interpretation on the extent to which pumping is protected.
The National Conference of State Legislatures website has more information on which laws are in effect in your state.
Get over it!
A common response to breastfeeding is that it makes others feel uncomfortable. Why is that? Because our society simply can`t comprehend that the main purpose of a woman’s breast is other than sexual. Breastfeeding moms have been asked to cover up at pizzerias, confronted at malls, singled out on flights and booted from water parks. Well, no S! Eat with a head in a box. See how that works for you.
I, personally, would never put a blanket over my nursing baby, though some moms are more comfortable doing this. I feel it just draws attention to the fact that I’m nursing. Like it is not obvious enough already. Also, some babies just don’t like being covered up when they eat. Would you?
BTW, bottles aren’t always an option. We shouldn’t expect mothers to give their children formula or provide pumped milk in a bottle while in public. Besides, pumped breast milk is not the same as milk directly received from the breast. Also, a breast could “become painfully engorged if a baby skips a feeding because they got a bottle.
This is why moms breastfeed on flights and in public … not that we should have to explain.