Author Topic: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding  (Read 14654 times)

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EllenS

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #75 on: February 26, 2013, 02:56:03 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.

I think there are more moms who are worried about it, than instances where it actually happens.  I have been in lots of conversations with moms who are very defensive about their "rights" and say things like "why should I hide or act ashamed?"  when in fact, nobody has ever told them to hide or tried to shame them - they are just dealing with their own ambivalent feelings of being exposed.  It is hard to get used to when you first start, before you realize that nobody is looking, nobody can see anything, and nobody cares.

I'm not saying that rudeness NEVER occurs to BF moms, just that I meet a lot more moms who are worried about it, than ones who have actually experienced it.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #76 on: February 26, 2013, 03:33:35 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.

Empty vessels make the loudest sounds.

My mum used to breastfeed my youngest sister when we were in the room with her. I must have been round six and knew then that was what boobies were for.

Sophia

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #77 on: February 26, 2013, 03:40:01 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.

I never had anyone say anything to me while breast-feeding.  But, the subject came up when we went out to eat Christmas Eve, and we ran into a single male friend of my parents.  He said it was "Unnatural".  I gave him the hairy eyeball and he backed down.  Weird thing is, I think he brought it up.  Maybe he saw the bottle (see last paragraph)

At my MIL's, I went to the Master Bedroom (with MIL's permission) to bf.  We did lots better in the horizontal position.  Niece said she thought woman should sit on the toilet to do that.  I asked if she'd like to eat in a public restroom, and she backed down.  She is a sweet kid, and I think she'd heard that from someone. 

I think, though, that it would have been particularly scary to have someone be ugly while breastfeeding.  You are vulnerable, you have to protect your baby, you have to protect from fear-based biting, and you can't easily leave. 

I never/rarely did it in public.  Not because of the public, but because breastfeeding was important to me and it was always a little tenuous.  DD was both easily distracted and rarely very hungry.  I often brought along a bottle of breastmilk, and pumped at a convenient time in the car. 

EllenS

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #78 on: February 26, 2013, 03:44:09 PM »
By the same token, I think a lot more people feel "hinky" about the idea of bf, public or private, than have actually seen anything untoward.  My own dad, for example, was extremely nervous and uncomfortable when I first began nursing my first child.  I tried to be considerate of his feelings, but we were living in the same house for a period and there is only so much one can do.  Once he saw that it was actually a very quiet, un-ostentatious process, and he was not going to have to flee the room to avoid seeing his daughter undressed, his fears were allayed and eventually he did not turn a hair when I fed the babies in the same room, or even sitting on the same sofa. 

It's just too unfamiliar to too many people, and moms who act normal, human, and kind, are going to do more to promote acceptance than folks who scream, yell and do "wierd" things like strip off their shirts in other people's faces.  Nursing is normal behavior, and if we act normal people will accept it as such.  If we act wierd, people will always think it is wierd.

alis

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #79 on: February 26, 2013, 03:46:07 PM »
I have been told to put my boobs away once. I admit, I had it hanging right out, but I was in my own living room (it was my MIL who said it). I had given birth about 7 hours prior (home birth). That is the only time anyone has said anything to my face. My response was that I had given birth a few hours before and simply didn't care a darn thing...

Never anything in public though.

Firecat

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #80 on: February 26, 2013, 04:00:49 PM »
I have been told to put my boobs away once. I admit, I had it hanging right out, but I was in my own living room (it was my MIL who said it). I had given birth about 7 hours prior (home birth). That is the only time anyone has said anything to my face. My response was that I had given birth a few hours before and simply didn't care a darn thing...

Never anything in public though.

7 hours after giving birth and in your own home?  Yeah, your MIL was the one with the problem...but you don't need me to tell you that  ;D.

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #81 on: February 26, 2013, 04:09:15 PM »
I have another twist on BFing in public.  This is a story from my friend Anna.  She was at a mall with her baby Sam.  Sam got hungry, so Anna started BFing him discretely at a corner of a food court.  It was no big deal, and no one paid them any attention.  Then this woman walked by and saw Anna.  She stopped and loudly asked Anna if she was BFing.  Anna was startled and actually answered yes.  Then the woman started loudly exclaiming about how wonderful it was that she was BFing, how any woman should not have any problem doing it in public, how shameful it was that women had to hide BFing, etc, etc.  So then people end up staring at them and made Anna very uncomfortable.  She quickly tried to leave as gracefully as possible, while this woman was still yelling encouragements at her. 

It's great that the woman supported BFing in public, but by being so loud about it, she was actually drawing more attention to Anna than the actual BFing itself, and made the whole situation uncomfortable. 

EllenS

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #82 on: February 26, 2013, 04:22:56 PM »
I have been told to put my boobs away once. I admit, I had it hanging right out, but I was in my own living room (it was my MIL who said it). I had given birth about 7 hours prior (home birth). That is the only time anyone has said anything to my face. My response was that I had given birth a few hours before and simply didn't care a darn thing...

Never anything in public though.

7 hours after giving birth and in your own home?  Yeah, your MIL was the one with the problem...but you don't need me to tell you that  ;D.

Indeed. The mind boggles. 

Erich L-ster

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #83 on: February 26, 2013, 05:02:25 PM »
<snip>
An untucked shirt plus cardigan or jacket was plenty for me, with maybe a burp rag.<snip>

This is what I mean. You don't need to create a whole tent or anything, just please some sort of cloth of any type to curtain off the view. Please please please....if BFing mom was at a restaurant table, it would create a barrier to possible spray too.

Just Lori

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #84 on: February 26, 2013, 05:17:14 PM »
I have another twist on BFing in public.  This is a story from my friend Anna.  She was at a mall with her baby Sam.  Sam got hungry, so Anna started BFing him discretely at a corner of a food court.  It was no big deal, and no one paid them any attention.  Then this woman walked by and saw Anna.  She stopped and loudly asked Anna if she was BFing.  Anna was startled and actually answered yes.  Then the woman started loudly exclaiming about how wonderful it was that she was BFing, how any woman should not have any problem doing it in public, how shameful it was that women had to hide BFing, etc, etc.  So then people end up staring at them and made Anna very uncomfortable.  She quickly tried to leave as gracefully as possible, while this woman was still yelling encouragements at her. 

It's great that the woman supported BFing in public, but by being so loud about it, she was actually drawing more attention to Anna than the actual BFing itself, and made the whole situation uncomfortable.

That almost sounds like a comedy sketch.  "YOU'RE DOING GREAT! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! NOBODY EVEN KNOWS YOU'RE BFING!"


EllenS

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #85 on: February 26, 2013, 05:18:25 PM »

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.

And this is unfortunate but you are quite correct - if someone is going to be nasty enough to berate a nursing mom who is minding her own business, then the law does come into play, and I am glad we have such laws in many places. 

Whatever the various opinions may be on the how/when/where of public bf, I think all on a forum dedicated to etiquette can agree, verbal abuse of anyone is horrid and always wrong.  I think we could also get consensus about approaching strangers and making any sort of personal remarks about things that are none of your business - always rude.

katycoo

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #86 on: February 26, 2013, 05:39:58 PM »
One things to bear in mind generally:

When people like myself say "BF is great, wherever you want, but please be discreet", we should probably point out thatthe vast majority of feeding mothers ARE discreet.
Those  who aren't, are generally aware of that, and are either exhibitionists or running their own agenda.

citadelle

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #87 on: February 26, 2013, 07:20:04 PM »
I used a bottle for both my girls. This created more than a few instances of intense prosthelytizing from strangers about how much better breast feeding is and how if I loved my kids, I'd be breastfeeding. Why can't we live and let live on this topic?

Both of my daughters were very healthy infants and toddlers, and continue to thrive beautifully.

CookieChica

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #88 on: February 26, 2013, 08:39:34 PM »
I used a bottle for both my girls. This created more than a few instances of intense prosthelytizing from strangers about how much better breast feeding is and how if I loved my kids, I'd be breastfeeding. Why can't we live and let live on this topic?

Both of my daughters were very healthy infants and toddlers, and continue to thrive beautifully.

Sometimes my glance lingers on BFing women because I'm afraid they will come and yell at me even though my son is no longer bottlefed. It must be PTSD from the other times I was yelled at.

So I second that live/let live.

*inviteseller

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Re: A minefield of etiquette and/or decency? Public breast feeding
« Reply #89 on: February 26, 2013, 09:19:49 PM »
I actually have been berated and lectured by more people (mostly strangers) because I bottle fed than all my friends who breast fed.  After the 5th time of trying to explain to some buttinsky who knew my child better than me about her medical condition, I finally gave up and would just nod and ignore...nod and ignore.  I have been at restaurants, malls, ect when friends were breast feeding and they didn't even get a second glance, so there are zealots on both sides of that personal decision.