I am a supporter of mothers who take care of their children. Breastfed, bottle fed, formula fed or any other variation of getting nutrition to your child is fine with me. I breast fed and supplemented with formula for my first child because I worked out of the home. I simply could not pump enough at work to supply her with what she needed. I breastfed my next two as a stay at home mom. Raised extremely conservatively, though, I never breastfed in public unless I was covered. When my dad or another man was in my home, I went to the nursery to feed my kids. I even shied away from doing it in front of my ex-husband but mostly because of the ‘moo’ comments and uneducated remarks.

To the Mom Who Breastfeeds in Public

Breastfeeding is natural. It’s human. It is expected.

So why is there even a debate?

I have a dear friend who is a huge advocate of breastfeeding. She has a 15 month old son and still breastfeeds a happy, healthy, growing boy. Anytime, anywhere, uncovered, with no shame what so ever. I absolutely admire her. She does not cover up, does not care who is around and is, literally, just being human.

But when I go somewhere with her and she lifts her shirt to breastfeed her son, I am keenly aware of what the people around her are doing. I have watched the parents with the young kids turn them away and give each other a disgusted look. I have watched the waitstaff do everything in their power not to look down at her. I have watched the teenagers snicker and point. I have watched the older couple whisper and move tables. I watch and I am more disappointed in us as a society than I am shocked that a mother is feeding her child the way nature intended.

When did we become so uptight and ridiculous about breastfeeding?  When did seeing a mother feed her child the way her body is designed to do become something you get dirty looks for? When did a child’s mouth on a breast become fodder for judgement and shame? Why is it cute when a dog or cat feeds their babies off their teets but so ‘private’ when a human mom does it with her baby?

Sure, I understand people who are against public nudity. But this is not nudity. Or disgusting. Or inappropriate. Or the reason a mother should be kicked out of a restaurant, a plane or any other public spot. This is human nature. We seem to be the only society that sees breastfeeding as something that needs to be regulated!

I generally have my kids with me when my friend and I are out. I have never once turned my children away and they have never asked me a question about it. They see that it carries absolutely no shame to it because I have not taught them that there is shame in it. Maybe by the next generation we can lift the veil of shame on public breastfeeding.

I admit, I totally see the side of the people out there who say that they have a right to be offended for any reason by public breastfeeding. I understand that some people are not comfortable with seeing it. I understand people who say that it should be covered so that everyone is comfortable when they go out. But I don’t understand the categorization of it being bad or unacceptable in a society where most of us were breastfed.

I covered up to assuage the embarrassment of ex-husbands and friends and family who clearly disapproved. I covered up to avoid the comments and dirty looks. I  covered up so that everyone else around me was more comfortable being near an act of humanity.

But to my friend who breastfeeds in public, I stand and applaud you. I support you and I will back you with every power I have to make sure that your rights as a mother are more important than a closed-minded, body shaming public who is too near-sighted to see the beauty in what you are doing!

To all of the moms who breastfeed in public proudly, I support you and cheer you on as you work to change the perceptions of a society too laden in the sexual image of a woman’s body to respect the natural use of it!