For some reason the idea of breastfeeding in public makes some people feel uncomfortable even though breast feeding is the most effective and natural way to meet a babies’ needs. This often disrupts the breastfeeding relationship that many mothers share with their children. Some people may find it easier to feed in front of family and friends whereas other may find it more acceptable to feed in public. Some do not fee comfortable with either.
Feeding in public is important because once a baby is hungry, they are not prepared to wait and mother’s cannot be expected to stay indoors all the time. Often finding an ideal, private place to breastfeed is impossible and it can take a while for a mother to be completely comfortable with breastfeeding in public. This is probably because you are revealing your breasts to other people. But what about those who reveal a lot more breast on the beach or by wearing a low cut top? These attitudes tend to stem from cultural beliefs.
Some people confuse the physical and emotional intimacy of breastfeeding with sexual activity and forget that the breasts are in fact being used for their basic function.
It has been noticed that today’s attitudes towards breastfeeding mirror the past’s attitude towards pregnancy. At one time it was not acceptable to discuss pregnancy openly and it was not acceptable for pregnant women to be seen out in public.
Our attitudes towards breastfeeding are reflected when we shop. Plenty of sexy lingerie is available in all department stores but what about the nursing bra? They are often behind the counter, if available at all. Is this not a message that breastfeeding is not for public display and should be kept behind closed doors?
It is often suggested that infants should be fed breast milk in a bottle when in public although the additional problems that this poses on mother and baby are not taken into consideration. It takes extra time for milk to be expressed and stored and any new mother will agree- time is precious. The milk is not as fresh and they may become confused between the teat and the nipple. The mother may develop blocked ducts or a breast infection due to the build up of milk in their breast. Their milk supply may decrease as the breast product less when the baby suckles less.
Some people suggest that a baby is fed in the public toilet facility but would they consider eating their lunch in the toilet? Not only is this option unhygienic but it is uncomfortable.
You can make breastfeeding discreet by using a small blanket if you feel exposure uncomfortable. However some babies do not like their face being covered. You might want to feed in your own car before entering a shop. Most women prefer some privacy where they feel comfortable rather than absolute privacy although once you get going, your priorities may change.