Author Topic: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding  (Read 14766 times)

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Bluenomi

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2013, 11:59:48 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.

The problem is discreet feeding still gets mother's abused which is my issue. I've been told off for feeding when they only way the person could see anything was by standing over me. So the only defence I have is to throw the law at them. If they aren't going to be polite, I'm going to use my impoliet legal response.

delabela

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #46 on: February 26, 2013, 12:47:12 AM »
I just always did what I had to do to go about my day and get my kids fed.  One of mine was easily distracted, so a blanket was a must.  With the other, depended on where we were.  I've breastfed walking around, at a restaurant, at a wedding - planning as best I could to be unobtrusive.  I found it's least disruptive or inviting comments to just kind of be as efficient as possible and get the job done. 

ClaireC79

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #47 on: February 26, 2013, 03:31:16 AM »
TBH I find that a blanket or sheet etc over the top of a baby feeding makes it more obvious what is happening and that it's been covered up - otherwise it's just like you are holding the baby - yes sometimes people came over to look at the baby, thinking they were sleeping and not feeding but if you are uncomfortable with that then so be it (in fact once I was asked how I was feeding the baby while he was latched on, so it must have been pretty discret)

PurpleFrog

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #48 on: February 26, 2013, 04:37:17 AM »
TBH I find that a blanket or sheet etc over the top of a baby feeding makes it more obvious what is happening and that it's been covered up - otherwise it's just like you are holding the baby - yes sometimes people came over to look at the baby, thinking they were sleeping and not feeding but if you are uncomfortable with that then so be it (in fact once I was asked how I was feeding the baby while he was latched on, so it must have been pretty discret)

That's true some times, its like why is that baby wearing a blanket instead of a hat. Lol.

I was feeding in a shopping center once (yep n the benches the bf room/disabled toilet was vile). A group of 14 to 16 year old boys wandered over and sat down, not one even looked at me sideways. I figured if by using a bf top, but not a wrap, I could feed next to a group of teen boys without them noticing I was good.  It worked right up until I put Tadpole back in the pram, when two a half year old Froglet said really loudly: 'Has Tadpole finshed his boobie milk?' All 5 boys turned with eyes on stalks, Ooops.
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Melle

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #49 on: February 26, 2013, 06:07:30 AM »
I work at a children's library. It's sort of expected that mothers be allowed to breastfeed on-site and we have a special cushioned nook where they can do so comfortably, in peace and with a semblance of privacy.

But I do draw the line at some point:

Last summer the mother of a toddler, somewhere between a year or a year and a half old, approached my information desk to make a library card for her kid. While I asked for her details and was filling out the forms, the kid got a little fussy. So the woman - in mid-conversation with me - dropped the front of her dress and pushed her child's face onto the exposed breast. Note that this was not so much feeding as it was a substitute pacifier. Me and my coworkers behind the service desks were dumbfounded and frantically tried to look somewhere else.

So, breastfeeding in the library: Not a problem. Exposing your breasts to library staff mid-transaction for no pressing reason: Problem.

Jones

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #50 on: February 26, 2013, 08:19:16 AM »
Offhand, I can only remember once when I had to BF in public, without being able to duck into a nook built for that purpose. Boo Bear was about 5 months old and we were flying across the country. I wore layers, including a very large shirt over all that covered everything happening in my seat. Must have worked, no one complained. Bonus, the suckling kept him from crying due to inner ear pressure problems, so no one complained about the crying either.

CakeBeret

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #51 on: February 26, 2013, 08:59:55 AM »
 I breastfed frequently in public when ds was an infant. I always wore layered shirts so that one could be pulled up and the other down, and there was zero exposure. There were no indecent noises or squirting or anything like that. In fact,  it was rarely obvious that ds was feeding at all.

Imo, women have the right to bf in public, but they also have the responsibility to be discreet. And imo it should be a matter of 'polite fiction', just like other bodily functions. 
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Redneck Gravy

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #52 on: February 26, 2013, 09:44:22 AM »
I agree with those recommending some discretion.  Legal issues or not - not everyone wants to see a boob hanging out with or without a child attached to it.  Throw a blanket or drape over your shoulder.

I BF both of my daughters, one until she was 5 years old (yes, that is 5 YEARS).  My youngest DD went to work with me daily until she was about 7 months old. 

I had been taking DD #2 to work for a couple of weeks before one of the salesman asked if I ever fed her...as he had never seen her with a bottle.  I looked him right in the eye and said I am feeding her now.  Wow, he said, you are really discreet.  So it can be done.

Unfortunately, the oldest DD learned how to undo buttons and I stood up in church one morning to discover that my blouse was completely unbuttoned except for the top button - still no flash of breast, just my tummy.  After that DD was strongly discouraged from sitting in my lap at church.  And eventually BF became her good night ritual only; until she was completely weaned (Thank Goodness because 5 years is a long time). 

Firecat

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #53 on: February 26, 2013, 11:40:40 AM »
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

Again: "legal" is not equal to "polite." I suppose you could, if you like, think of it as the equivalent of table manners for infants, although it's really mom exercising the manners. It's somewhat for the same reasons you'd avoid talking while chewing, chewing with your mouth open, openly spitting out bits of gristle if you're a meat eater, etc.

And, as I have repeatedly said, I support breastfeeding moms. All I ask is a bit of discretion in minimizing exposure. I don't think that's a lot to ask.

Firecat

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #54 on: February 26, 2013, 11:44:07 AM »
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.

The problem is discreet feeding still gets mother's abused which is my issue. I've been told off for feeding when they only way the person could see anything was by standing over me. So the only defence I have is to throw the law at them. If they aren't going to be polite, I'm going to use my impoliet legal response.

It is quite possible to stand up for yourself and your child firmly and politely. If you were being discreet, then the person confronting you is the one being rude. That doesn't excuse the in-your-face attitude you have been exhibiting in this thread, where no one has really asked for anything more than a bit of discretion...which is seems you have been attempting to use...so I'm not sure what the problem is or why you are choosing to be so confrontational about your "rights"...when no one is denying your rights in the first place.

PurpleFrog

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #55 on: February 26, 2013, 12:10:47 PM »
Please everyone can we not get this thread locked. I know this a topic with hot and polarised views, but if we express ourselves calmly and civily there's a lot that can be gained from discussion
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Knitterly

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #56 on: February 26, 2013, 12:13:53 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.

The problem is discreet feeding still gets mother's abused which is my issue. I've been told off for feeding when they only way the person could see anything was by standing over me. So the only defence I have is to throw the law at them. If they aren't going to be polite, I'm going to use my impoliet legal response.

I have been in this situation only a small handful of times over the course of my nursing LK.  If someone disapproved, I mostly just got a dirty look, which was easy enough to ignore. 
Those who choose to be confrontational often cannot be corrected without additional rudeness occurring, so it is often best and (safest) to think of it in terms of manners and not in terms of rights.
If you are nursing your baby discreetly (ie, in such a manner as to not announce to the world that "hey look at me, I'm nursing") in an appropriate place (ie, somewhere you might also give a baby a bottle), then you are doing the equivalent of eating with your mouth closed, using a napkin, and generally showing good table manners.  Someone who chooses to confront you for this may be likened to someone who comes up and screams at you for eating meat.
But if you basically pop it out for the world to see and do it loudly and obtrusively, then you are doing the equivalent of chomping your food with your mouth open, slurping your soup loudly, and generally showing terrible table manners.  Someone who chooses to confront you is still being impolite, as we all know it is rude to point out the rudeness of others, but it has to be acknowledged that they do have a point.

My personal experience was as follows - LK would NOT nurse under a blanket.  She'd scream and squirm and throw the blanket off her head.  So we sat down at home and learned to nurse discreetly in front of a mirror.   I have to say, by the time she was weaned, we were both extremely proficient at very subtle "snuggle nursing" (the kind of nursing where you cannot tell nursing is happening and it just looks like a mom snuggling a baby) without a blanket.  I could nurse anywhere, though I mostly preferred comfortable locations.

The only place I could not, oddly enough, was at my parents house.
We were there one afternoon for lunch.  Everyone was in the dining room on the main floor.  I ducked downstairs to the rec room to sit on the couch and nurse.  Now, the rec room was out of sight of the dining room, but one had to walk past the entrance to the rec room to get further downstairs to where the drinks were stored.  I waited until everyone was about to start eating before I ducked out.  I figured that way, the chances of being interrupted would be slim.
Two of my brothers in law popped down to get some more pop.  They walked past me.  They discreetly looked the other way and did not acknowledge me.  I had absolutely nothing showing as LK was completely covering my entire torso.

Nevertheless, my sister came down and began to scream at me for being so indecent.  I should have gone into a bedroom and shut the door.  I should never expose myself like that to my brothers in law.  Didn't I know how embarrassing it was for them?  Etc.

I was quite shaken, but chose not to engage her.  First, it would have been utterly unproductive.  Second, I could not have done so without being rude.  Getting into a confrontation would have been reciprocally rude.

LK weaned shortly thereafter, so I never needed to nurse her at my parents house again.  But if I needed to?  I would have done the same thing over again.  The bedrooms were not comfortable for nursing, and if anyone else needed to bottlefeed, I expect they would have removed themselves to the same place I did.  It was dim and quiet, an ideal and comfortable location for feeding an infant.


Golden Phoenix

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #57 on: February 26, 2013, 12:20:19 PM »
Two personal experiences: Same shopping centre, different women, about a year or so apart.

Friend 1:

The baby feeding room was in use and baby wanted food *now* we found an out of the way corner, she covered up with her coat and breadstfed there. Someone spotted her and apparently realised what was going on and they absolutely blew up. It was a small corner and we were blocked in by them and had to sit through a lengthy screaming session about how disgusting it was, and perverted, and gross, and perverted, and embarrasing, and perverted, and gross, and sick and weird, and wrong, and gross, and wrong (you get the idea) it was, what about the chiiiiildren that might see? and so on.

Long story short we escaped and got security.

Friend 2:

Bottle feeding a baby. Someone came up to us and started in on us about how she was "damaging" her precious child and that it was very nearly abuse and how women were too afraid to do the right and natural thing because of narrow minded..rant, blarghle, foam, etc.

Friend said "Three things. One: this is expressed breast milk. Two: I'm just babysitting. Three: I'm her *UNCLE!*

Friend was a very fine-boned guy with long blond hair (rock band frontman, lol) and it was a mistake many made.


*sigh* Can't win.

Personal opinion: Breastfeed the kid. But do it discretely, don't stand there with both boobs hanging out for ten minutes before you even wake the kid up and you're fine.  I know others (see above) don't share that opinion though :(

Yvaine

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #58 on: February 26, 2013, 12:32:46 PM »
Friend said "Three things. One: this is expressed breast milk. Two: I'm just babysitting. Three: I'm her *UNCLE!*

 ;D ;D ;D

Calistoga

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #59 on: February 26, 2013, 12:38:55 PM »
This is going to sound incredibly weird, but I love to see a woman breastfeed, because it seems like no one around here does that any more, and it's disappointing. Unless you whip your boob out and squirt it in my coffee, I don't care.