Author Topic: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding  (Read 14125 times)

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EllenS

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #60 on: February 26, 2013, 01:14:20 PM »
I've seen parents rooms with breast feeding cubicles with curtains around them.

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?

And that is the difference between legislation and etiquette.  Thank-you notes, calling people by their proper names, and not talking on the phone during church are also not addressed in legislation. 

Moray

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #61 on: February 26, 2013, 01:18:34 PM »
I've seen parents rooms with breast feeding cubicles with curtains around them.

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?

And that is the difference between legislation and etiquette.  Thank-you notes, calling people by their proper names, and not talking on the phone during church are also not addressed in legislation.

Exactly. It would be perfectly legal for me to pick my nose, fart proudly in an enclosed elevator, or saunter along flipping off everyone I encounter. Doesn't mean those are considered polite behavior.
Utah

alis

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #62 on: February 26, 2013, 01:21:59 PM »
I always feed my sproglet out in public, and no, I do not use a blanket. He gets upset by the blanket. I have A cup breasts, it is a Where's Waldo search to try and see anything, even with them completely out. I do not use "parent rooms" (which don't really exist here anyways, and the last one I saw was utterly filthy), I use the nearest bench to sit by. I also don't care to drag around a poor hungry screaming baby in search of a secluded area (that also allows room for my other kids).

Personally, I find it poor mothering etiquette to not feed your hungry baby and make a scene for the sake of "discretion"! :) Sproglet is barely 3 months old and simply does not "wait" when told, like his brother will.

alis

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #63 on: February 26, 2013, 01:25:25 PM »
Blankets/seclusion are often necessary for 4+ months until toddler age due to distraction, but a lot of people forget that some newborns (ie 0-3 months or whatever) can become extremely upset by a blanket.

DottyG

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #64 on: February 26, 2013, 01:26:00 PM »
Quote
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.

Ok, that made me laugh! :D


bloo

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #65 on: February 26, 2013, 01:27:09 PM »
You know, I had no negative experiences while nursing. Kid#1, DS, refused to nurse under a blanket. So I'd usually nurse him in a back room or go out to my van (with tinted windows) to nurse him. It never occurred to me to do anything else because I didn't want to expose my breast to anybody.

Thankfully, Kid#2, DD, happily nursed under a blanket so I'd nurse right in my seat at our place of worship, while walking and shopping and no one ever was the wiser. No one gave me grief, with the exception of an older gentleman shooting me dirty looks when DD was 24 hours old and I had to pop in to Walmart for a new carseat since the one we had was too big for her. And the only reason the poor guy knew I was nursing is that all I had to cover up with was the equivalent of a washcloth! Breast covered but her suckling cheek was exposed.

Since nursing was never an etiquette issue for me (no one made me feel badly for doing it) I was surprised at how militant people can be about it. Even now I don't notice women doing it and if I did I'd be pleased they chose to breastfeed.

I, personally, would be offended at a woman not even trying to be discreet. It's an entitled attitude that says, "I don't care about the people around me." But, honestly, I've never seen that.

LeveeWoman

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #66 on: February 26, 2013, 01:33:35 PM »
I've seen parents rooms with breast feeding cubicles with curtains around them.

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?

And that is the difference between legislation and etiquette.  Thank-you notes, calling people by their proper names, and not talking on the phone during church are also not addressed in legislation.

Exactly. It would be perfectly legal for me to pick my nose, fart proudly in an enclosed elevator, or saunter along flipping off everyone I encounter. Doesn't mean those are considered polite behavior.

Are you comparing feeding a child with those actions?

DottyG

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #67 on: February 26, 2013, 01:36:48 PM »
I don't think Moray was comparing the actions themselves but rather just the concept of "legal vs etiquette."


EllenS

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #68 on: February 26, 2013, 01:43:29 PM »
Here's are some other stories for comparison: 

1) I nursed both my kids, one till she was 15 months, the other till 25 months.  Public bf'ing usually only when less than a year old, because timing and logistics do change a lot over those periods.  I hardly ever used a blanket or muslin cover up after I got the hang of things with my first.  An untucked shirt plus cardigan or jacket was plenty for me, with maybe a burp rag.  I used to go sit in the back of church and nurse, so that the baby wouldn't kick or make disturbing noises while others were praying (we did not have a cry room at the time).  I went to apologize to Pastor in case I had caused a disturbance - he had no idea what I was doing, and he had been looking directly at me the whole time.  This was not about hiding or trying not to "offend" anyone, but about not calling attention to myself or distract people.  So I never worried about it again and used the same policy anywhere else.

2) At the same church I had an acquaintance who, in preparing to nurse her baby, would pull her entire shirt up to her chin, remove her bra, and then spend several minutes doing what appeared to be semaphore with a blanket - then, after she had looked around to make sure everyone was staring at her, she would latch the baby on.  Nobody ever said anything to her, but it was extremely obvious that this display had nothing to do with feeding the baby.

We were both freely nursing our babies in church, but the facts alone don't tell the whole story of what it was like for everyone else.

3) There was a media outcry in the city I lived in several years ago, over a mother who was allegedly asked to leave a major coffehouse chain, for breastfeeding in public.  Public BF is legally protected in that locale, so there were protests, nurse-ins, and great public outcry against the "evil" restaurant and it's franchisee.  However, within a few days the full story came out - the mom in question had been in the restaurant for some time nursing, with no complaints.  When the baby finished, she proceeded to change the baby's poopy diaper on top of the restaurant table.  The manager hustled over to ask her to please not do that, as it violated health codes.  The mom started screaming and causing a scene, wound up calling the media, etc - claiming the manager had ordered her to nurse in the "filthy" bathroom or leave.  Of course the local paper and TV ran the story with only the mom's side, without checking facts - there were plenty of witnesses to what really happened, and when the truth came out the story quickly disappeared.

These are extreme examples, but whenever I hear a story in the media about someone being criticized or confronted over public breastfeeding, I always reserve judgement.  There are just so many possible ways it could have happened.


alis

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #69 on: February 26, 2013, 01:44:09 PM »
I'm sure there is a pejorative comparison. After all, it's not legislated that you shake someone's hand, say thank you, or hold the door for them either ;)

twiggy

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #70 on: February 26, 2013, 01:48:39 PM »
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.

Well said :) I've nursed a baby in a variety of places and situations. I've been talking with people who didn't realize I was breastfeeding right in front of them. Actually, with the bras that I have right now, I can discreetly get set up, latch Baby on, and feed him. My problem is that I can't get myself put back together discreetly, so I excuse myself for that.
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

Moray

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #71 on: February 26, 2013, 01:51:26 PM »
I've seen parents rooms with breast feeding cubicles with curtains around them.

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?

And that is the difference between legislation and etiquette.  Thank-you notes, calling people by their proper names, and not talking on the phone during church are also not addressed in legislation.

Exactly. It would be perfectly legal for me to pick my nose, fart proudly in an enclosed elevator, or saunter along flipping off everyone I encounter. Doesn't mean those are considered polite behavior.

Are you comparing feeding a child with those actions?

Only in the sense that legal doesn't equal polite. Personally, I can't recall a single time where I encountered a breastfeed in progress that merited more than a "huh, must be lunchtime for baby" in my mind.
Utah

RebeccainGA

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #72 on: February 26, 2013, 02:05:10 PM »
I had lunch with a dear friend yesterday, who had with her a 2 year old and her 5 month old. She's BF-ing, and did so at the table, between bites of lunch. Other than the fact that her very pretty nursing cover (one of those with the half-hoop in it so she can look down and see the little one without moving it) didn't match her clothes, you'd never have noticed a thing - and the two men at the table next to us may have given a half glance, at most, when she started - there wasn't anything to see. It's totally possible to do discreetly, and politely - and it was a non-event for the most part (other than prompting a 'when are you going to start trying for a baby?' convo).

Calistoga

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #73 on: February 26, 2013, 02:46:52 PM »
I'm starting to think that the number of people who actually take issue with public breast feeding is small. Small and really really loud.

RebeccainGA

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #74 on: February 26, 2013, 02:55:16 PM »
I'm starting to think that the number of people who actually take issue with public breast feeding is small. Small and really really loud.
You know, that's the case with a lot of 'contentious' issues - the group of truly offended people is very small, and very disproportionately loud.