Author Topic: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding  (Read 14666 times)

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snowdragon

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2013, 07:03:01 PM »


. Pretty much the only place I won't BF is someone else's house, if they're at all uncomfortable with it. My experience in this regard is unique in that I don't have many friends who aren't also family. And most of my non-family friends are either super old, I've known them forever, friends, or else they're also moms who tend to share my viewpoints on the subject. Either way I know their feelings. So at Dad's I'll excuse myself to the other room, if I'm at BIL 3's place for some reason, it's time to go home.

As for sounds, my kids have made similar sucking/gurgling/gaspy noises with either breast or bottle. Or at least, I perceived them to be the same



  Is there something that folks like BIL 3 could do to make you not feel the need to leave but still preserve their sensibilities?   

snowdragon

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2013, 07:05:51 PM »
No one ever seems to touch on the one thing that bothers me the most about it! The noises. It sounds like mouth smacking and the sound really grosses me out, that's the only reason I remove myself from the situation. Otherwise, so long as they are appropriately covered and I don't see what constitutes public nudity all is well with the world.

See, that's interesting.  I think this is part of the boundary issue. If you were in a restaurant with noisy adult eaters (which I have heard, really gross) you would not think it appropriate to tell them to be quiet, or be offended because they should not be eating in public.  You are doing exactly the right thing by removing yourself rather than blaming the mom or baby.

I think there are some valid issues with the visual/exposure side of public bf'ing, and it is something moms should bear in mind.  However, people who are going to be bothered by the knowledge that you are bf'ing - even though they can't see it?  I think that is a boundary.  I can, to a certain extent, control what I show the world.  I cannot control what other people THINK, and it is not my responsibility.

  You'd be surprised what people will say these days.  I've actually seen that happen.

DottyG

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #32 on: February 25, 2013, 07:20:47 PM »
Quote
Somehow I don't think that BF would have been a cure all for me.

There was also a generation that just didn't breast feed.  My Mom wasn't given the option - it's wasn't like it was discouraged; it just wasn't something that the hospitals promoted.  So I was bottlefed from Day 1.  Breast feeding went through a period where it was the lesser of the two methods of feeding.

Bluenomi

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2013, 07:23:18 PM »
This story has gone nuts on a mothering forum I visit.

Legally in Australia (where this happend) you can breatfeed where ever the heck you like. Covering up is all well and good but I can tell you now many babies, including my own refused to feed under a blanket. So would I quite frankly. If I did try, she yanked it off.

Also when you are breastfeeding you can't see anything, the baby's head is in the road. Even my newborn covered 90% of my E cups. If you happend to look over at the exact right time you might catch a peak at nipple when attaching or unattaching but otherwise there isn't anyhting to see.

Babies are entitled to be fed where they like. If people have an issue they need to deal. It isn't rude to breast or bottle feed a hungry baby. Just because generic you feels offended, doesn't make it wrong or rude. I get offended by people walking around in too small clothing but I wouldn't go as far as calling them rude because that is my issue not theirs.

What really get me is that fact people complain about breastfeeding but had not problems with woman in top/swimwear that shows far more than you'd see on a breast feeding mother

BeautifulDisaster

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #34 on: February 25, 2013, 07:31:09 PM »
My husband and I saw two examples of breast feeding a couple of weekends ago at a restaurant. The first woman I saw because I was scanning the building trying to figure out where the restrooms were (had never been to this particular place) and right as I looked in the direction of this lady the blanket she had over the baby slid off. She immediately re-positioned it and went on like nothing happened. And had the blanket not slid off at the exact moment I glanced in her direction, I never would have noticed.

The second lady we saw as we were leaving. We rounded a corner and she was sitting right in my husbands line of site with her it all hanging out. My husband kinda blinked and quickly turned her head away. The woman started screeching at him to stop staring.  ::) We left without saying anything, but it was interesting to note that no one was really paying attention to her until she screeched and suddenly half the restaurant had their eyes on her.

So if someone's breastfeeding like in the first example, I'm likely to not notice and don't really care. If the sounds make me uncomfortable (and I have a thing about eating sounds) then I quietly remove myself, but I've honestly never heard a baby make any noise in a restaurant while being breastfed (or bottle fed for that matter), it's usually too loud from people talking.

But if it's like in the second example - I'm sorry, I don't want to see that whether there's a baby involved or not.

crella

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #35 on: February 25, 2013, 08:30:12 PM »
Quote
Somehow I don't think that BF would have been a cure all for me.

There was also a generation that just didn't breast feed.  My Mom wasn't given the option - it's wasn't like it was discouraged; it just wasn't something that the hospitals promoted.  So I was bottlefed from Day 1.  Breast feeding went through a period where it was the lesser of the two methods of feeding.

Exactly. I think that in the US for a time we got far away from the original purpose of mammary glands  :D and it's shocking to some. I was a kid in the 60s. I don't know how dolls are packaged nowadays, but ours always came with bottles. I had no idea there was any other way to feed a baby till I was in high school! Because a woman's body makes it, I've had people compare breast milk to urine ("Ew that's just gross, that poor baby"), they just can't make the connection. 'Is the cow's milk you drink daily like cow urine then?' often went through my head (but was never uttered!! Uddered? :P) .Cow's milk is unquestioned as a sort of super food. It seems more natural than breast feeding for many, and you can't reverse 40 years or more of cultural conditioning in one encounter with a stranger. It's perhaps best not to try, especially with people who are really put off by it. Their minds can't be changed. Your rights as a breast feeding mother shouldn't be violated, of course, but just being as discreet as possible is worth not having to engage those who become aggressive about the issue.

After I while I couldn't nurse in public, at least not in restaurants, because DS, when he wasn't drawing breath, was quite noisy He loved nursing, and every suck was accompanied by "Mmmm-mmm-mmm........mmmm-mmmm-mmm......" No chance for practicing all those discrete nursing tricks I learned!


twiggy

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #36 on: February 25, 2013, 08:37:38 PM »


. Pretty much the only place I won't BF is someone else's house, if they're at all uncomfortable with it. My experience in this regard is unique in that I don't have many friends who aren't also family. And most of my non-family friends are either super old, I've known them forever, friends, or else they're also moms who tend to share my viewpoints on the subject. Either way I know their feelings. So at Dad's I'll excuse myself to the other room, if I'm at BIL 3's place for some reason, it's time to go home.

As for sounds, my kids have made similar sucking/gurgling/gaspy noises with either breast or bottle. Or at least, I perceived them to be the same


 
  Is there something that folks like BIL 3 could do to make you not feel the need to leave but still preserve their sensibilities?

Not really. I leave because BIL 3 is EXTREMELY uncomfortable when I nurse around him. Just knowing that there is the exposed flesh of the wife-of-his-brother nearby freaks him out. (he didn't tell me directly; I heard it from DH) I'm not going to put him through that in his own home, so it's easier to leave.

While I'm not willing to leave the room in my own home, I'm also not going to make a stand in his living room. But it's not a big deal since neither of us is dramatic or attention grabbing about it.
In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children.  The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted.  The result is unruly children and childish adults.  ~Thomas Szasz

Emmy

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #37 on: February 25, 2013, 09:20:09 PM »
I like many comments on this thread so far and agree that consideration is needed on both sides.

Breastfeeding mothers should be as discreet as possible and use cover-ups if possible (I realize not all babies tolerate them).  I realize that breastfeeding in public is a right in many places, but that doesn't mean you should be indiscreet and not think of the comfort of others.  Breastfeeding in public is allowed because babies need to eat, not to prove a point.  I don't think BF moms should be expected to feed the baby in a toilet stall, but she should find a quiet corner if a private area is not available.  If moms are prone to squirt, they shouldn't feed in an area that serves food to the public.  I do think if you are a guest in somebody's home, it would be polite to offer to go into another room.

Others should also be considerate of the mother and not stare or make rude comments if you accidentally happen to see something you didn't wish to see. 

Many mall bathrooms near me have nice lounge areas that are good for breastfeeding. 

Katana_Geldar

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #38 on: February 25, 2013, 09:26:50 PM »
I've seen parents rooms with breast feeding cubicles with curtains around them.

Bluenomi

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #39 on: February 25, 2013, 09:44:34 PM »
I've seen parents rooms with breast feeding cubicles with curtains around them.

Lots of places have those and some are nice and some are foul and I would never want to feed my child in them.

The point is mothers shouldn't have to go out of their way just because someone else doesn't like boobs. A mother has every right to fed in whatever manner she chooses and it is not rude of she decides she doesn't want to go and hide in a parenting room to do it. Sometimes that isn't practical either.

Also the word discreet doesn't exist in the legislation and it shouldn't. Why should I be forced to sit in a quiet corner to feed my child just because other people think I need to be discreet? Discreet is also very subjective, some people's discreet is another person's suffocating

LadyR

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #40 on: February 25, 2013, 10:23:56 PM »
I breastfed in public and will again. I didn't use a cover, because my son and I both hated them. I did nurse discretely though. I wore nursing tanks and just exposed enough for him to latch and then his head covered everything and I was lightening fast at covering it once he was done. He rarely stopped midway through though, if he stopped it was because he was done, because of this I didn't spray. I can't think of a single incident of that happening, at least not off the top of my head and I breastfed for a year. Though after about 8 months, he only nursed in the morning and before bed and thus, not in public any more. I necer called attention to it and angled myself so that it was as discreet as possible.


Firecat

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #41 on: February 25, 2013, 11:21:50 PM »
This story has gone nuts on a mothering forum I visit.

Legally in Australia (where this happend) you can breatfeed where ever the heck you like. Covering up is all well and good but I can tell you now many babies, including my own refused to feed under a blanket. So would I quite frankly. If I did try, she yanked it off.

Also when you are breastfeeding you can't see anything, the baby's head is in the road. Even my newborn covered 90% of my E cups. If you happend to look over at the exact right time you might catch a peak at nipple when attaching or unattaching but otherwise there isn't anyhting to see.

Babies are entitled to be fed where they like. If people have an issue they need to deal. It isn't rude to breast or bottle feed a hungry baby. Just because generic you feels offended, doesn't make it wrong or rude. I get offended by people walking around in too small clothing but I wouldn't go as far as calling them rude because that is my issue not theirs.

What really get me is that fact people complain about breastfeeding but had not problems with woman in top/swimwear that shows far more than you'd see on a breast feeding mother

I'm afraid that this is exactly the kind of attitude I was talking about when I suggested a little compromise on BOTH sides. I don't think a reasonable attempt to keep the parts of the breast it's not normally legal to expose in public covered is too much to ask. "Legal" is not the same as "polite" or "considerate." Now, if you happen to be breastfeeding on a topless beach, be my guest :-).

And on the other side, I think that making a big deal out of a momentary, accidental exposure because the baby yanks the blanket away or unexpectedly unlatches is something of an overreaction.

In essence: Moms, please make a reasonable effort to be discreet. Non-Moms, sometimes a bit of momentary blindness is a kind gesture.

MerryCat

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #42 on: February 25, 2013, 11:41:57 PM »

In essence: Moms, please make a reasonable effort to be discreet. Non-Moms, sometimes a bit of momentary blindness is a kind gesture.

This is where I'm parking my POD.

On the anti-breast feeding side, it's silly to get all worked up over a quick flash of breast. Babies need to eat and it's really hard to schedule around them sometimes. People are trying to do the best by their infants and generally most moms, at least the ones I know, try to be discreet and considerate of others. If there is a momentary slip the mom is usually just as embarrassed to be seen as you are to see her. Why make a big spectacle out of it when a little kindness goes such a long way?


Conversely, on the breastfeeding side, it think it's a bit silly to say that breast are only for feeding babies, and that the sexualization of them is unnatural and cultural only. Breasts have been seen in a sexual way in poetry and art throughout history. Would you be comfortable with a non-breastfeeding woman walking around topless in front of your kids? If breasts are only functional organs like arms or legs, why would it make a difference? But most people I know are more than willing to make allowances for breast feeding moms if the mother is making some attempt to be discreet.

Deetee

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #43 on: February 25, 2013, 11:52:57 PM »
I live in area where breast feeding is expected and the norm. It is also a legal right. I have seen a lot of moms and babes. I cannot recall ever seeing anything in public that would qualify as an exposure.  I have seen some in private homes where people are more casual but nothing untoward.
 And I have nursed walking through shopping malls. When my kid was a newborn and someone asked how often she ate, I replied "once a day for 24 hours" as it felt like that. I had this great sling that kept baby cozy and close and no one could tell if she was eating or sleeping or hanging out except me.

katycoo

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #44 on: February 25, 2013, 11:57:29 PM »
Also the word discreet doesn't exist in the legislation and it shouldn't. Why should I be forced to sit in a quiet corner to feed my child just because other people think I need to be discreet? Discreet is also very subjective, some people's discreet is another person's suffocating

Its subjective nature is most likely why it isn't in the legislation.