Baby’s Hungry: A Daddy’s Perspective on Nursing (and Nursing in Public)

by Jay Parr

A quiet moment in the country.

That special bond between a mother and her child.

I was about twelve, riding the DC Metrobus home from school, when a woman started complaining loudly about another woman breastfeeding her baby on the bus. I didn’t see anything, so I don’t know if the nursing mother was covered up or not, but that’s irrelevant here. The complaining woman made her way up to the driver, a taciturn and tough-looking man who looked like he would as soon cut your throat as say hello (I remember him because he drove that route often). He focused on the afternoon traffic as the woman complained, until he came to a light and she demanded, “Well? Aren’t you going to do something?”

The driver looked out at the cross traffic for a moment, absently drumming his fingers on the fare box, then turned to the woman and shrugged.

“Baby’s hungry.”

BLS 348: Representing Women

BLS 348: Representing Women

I can’t say for certain that the woman immediately stopped complaining, either to the driver or to the other passengers around her, but I do remember that as far as the driver was concerned, the conversation was over.

Baby’s hungry. So feed the baby. ‘Cuz if baby ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

Until thirty years later when I became a father, I never thought much about breastfeeding. I knew some people did it and some people didn’t. I knew medical opinion was evolving back in the pro-breastfeeding direction—the implicit concession being that millennia of natural selection just might trump a few decades of medical inquiry. I knew I was more likely to see women breastfeeding their children when the acoustic band I worked sound for played at places like hippie music festivals and communal farms, and I found it vaguely amusing that the medical establishment and the crunchy-living community seemed to be on the same page about something for once. That was about as far as it went.

Then we had a baby, and everything changed.

Selfie with week-old Baby Girl.

Selfie with week-old Baby Girl.

Common words like “latch” and “letdown” suddenly took on new and highly-specialized meanings. The entire household became centered around the mother-baby nursing nest. I learned that breastfeeding, while clearly the most natural process, was not without its setbacks and complications (and blood and tears). I learned about the important contributions of lactation consultants. I learned that some people who aren’t breastfeeding would much rather be breastfeeding, but can’t for some reason or other. I learned about breast-milk-sharing networks, and the amazingly selfless mothers who contribute to them. And much to my dismay I learned that breastfeeding—especially breastfeeding in public—is an absurdly controversial topic in this country.

WPA poster, circa 1937.

WPA poster, circa 1937.

But let’s back up a little. The benefits of breastfeeding are numerous and well-documented. For example, the nursing mother’s immune system works in tandem with her child’s, detecting pathogens to which the child has been exposed and producing antibodies that are passed through breast milk (if you’ve ever wondered why mothers have a strange compulsion to kiss their newborns’ hands, one theory is that it’s related to this immune support). Nursing produces hormones that encourage bonding, relaxation and a sense of well-being for both mother and child. Night milk contains tryptophan, that legendary compound that makes you so sleepy after feasting on your Thanksgiving turkey. The composition of a mother’s milk changes over time as the baby matures, to meet the baby’s changing nutritional needs. The mother’s diet affects the flavor of her milk from day to day, and children who have been exposed to that variety of flavors  at the breast tend to be much less finicky about new foods than children who have been raised on a single flavor of formula. Even among toddlers who are eating mostly solids, mothers’ milk provides a high-quality nutritional supplement, and continues to bolster the child’s still-maturing immune system—all the way up to school age. The list goes on, but I think I’ve made my point. And where the medical establishment swayed toward formula in the mid-20th century, that opinion has swung strongly back in favor of nursing in recent decades, despite the best efforts of a well-funded formula industry to keep its foot in the door.

Still, even with all that backup from the scientific and medical communities, and even with prevailing attitudes renormalizing breastfeeding—even with laws from both liberal and conservative state governments protecting a mother’s right to nurse wherever she and her child are both allowed to be—we as a culture just can’t help but be a little squeamish about the whole topic.

There seem to be two main points of debate about breastfeeding in this country: 1) How public is “too public,” and 2) how old is “too old.”

How public is too public? According to the North Carolina statute addressing indecent exposure, there is no such thing: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breast feed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding” (§14-190.9).

INFACT Canada transit poster, World Breastfeeding Week 2000.

INFACT Canada transit poster, World Breastfeeding Week 2000.

Does that mean a business owner or manager can’t ask a nursing mother to leave the establishment under the state’s trespassing laws? As far as I know, that part remains unclear. And of course, the laws vary widely from state to state.

Just last week a woman in Austin asked to use a fitting room at a Victoria’s Secret to nurse her child (you know, so she could nurse discreetly without flashing her breast all over, of all places, Victoria’s Secret), and was told no, thanks for your purchase and all, but go use the alley instead. She went to the news, and the story went viral, and Victoria’s Secret issued a statement distancing itself from the actions of its employee, but the fact remains that the business may have the legal right to deny anyone (even a customer who just made a $150 purchase) the use of a fitting room for any purpose other than to try on merchandise. She may have been more legally within her rights to sit down right out in front of the store and oh-so-shamelessly whip out some boob right there under the Texas sun, like a good in-your-face lactivist. Because we all know every nursing mother is really just looking for some public humiliation and controversy, right?

David Horsey / LA Times, 12 July 2012

David Horsey / Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2012.

To look at the comments in the media, especially social media, public opinion seems to be that anything a nursing mother does (short of, perhaps, staying at home) is wrong. The mother who asked to use a dressing room was asking a private business to risk losing sales (you know, if all the other dressing rooms filled up and someone got really impatient). The mother sitting outside the store should have sought a more private space, like maybe a dressing room. The mother with her baby under a nursing blanket should have gone out to her car. The mother nursing in her car should have gone inside to a bathroom (would you eat your lunch in a public bathroom?). The mother in the restaurant should have—oh I don’t know, something. Just gone home, maybe? And we haven’t even gotten to the mother whose baby won’t tolerate being covered up, or the one who’s struggling with latch issues or has some other reason she needs to constantly watch and adjust the nursing baby.

The public’s uninhibited judgment of parents in general is pretty harsh, but the public’s judgment of nursing mothers is amazing. Check out any article about someone encountering trouble for nursing in public, and you’ll find all kinds of enlightened comments from the hoi-polloi. Anyone who’s not going about it exactly as the commenter would do it is some kind of radical or attention-monger (to use a polite euphemism), trying to cram her breast down the public’s throats. You’ll see breastfeeding equated to public masturbation, public fellatio, and even public defecation. Excuse me? Feeding the baby is a sex act? Sodomy, even? Nursing a hungry baby is equivalent to dropping a deuce in public? Now you just sound like someone who has never actually had to change a crappy diaper in a public place. It’s a hoot, let me tell you.

This commercial takes on the issue with just the right touch of humor:

Baby Mama has referred to herself as an “accidental lactivist.” Baby Girl would never tolerate nursing under a cover. Her latch was horrible early on (and has always been tentative), needing a lot of revision and pop-off re-latching. Oh, and we’re in no rush to wean, so she’s still nursing at eighteen months. Which brings us to the second major point of debate.

Kayapó mother and child in Brazil.

Kayapó mother and child in Brazil.

How old is too old? We in the United States are in an awfully big hurry to wean, and despite the fact that most of the developing world (and much of the developed world) recognizes the benefits of extended breastfeeding, we seem to view anyone who nurses beyond a year as some kind of radical. Baby Girl’s favorite toddler-class teacher recently asked Baby Mama not to nurse her in the classroom at pick-up time anymore. She justified the request with an insinuation that new dads coming in to pick up their children might be somehow “offended,” but we can’t help but wonder if it’s really driven by an opinion that at eighteen months, she shouldn’t be nursing any longer. Especially among our parents’ generation, there seems to be an opinion that if the child is still nursing at her first birthday, it’s time to cut her off (which is one lousy birthday present, if you ask me). Others will say that if she’s old enough to ask for it, she’s old enough to wean. We’re more of the opinion (as is much of the world, I think) that if it’s not working for both mother and child, well then it’s just not working, but as long as it’s still working for both, why mess with it? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, you know?

We’re not alone in that opinion. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding alongside appropriate solid foods “up to two years of age or beyond” (WHO). Here in the States, there’s something of a movement afoot toward extended breastfeeding, going hand-in-hand with the movement toward what has been dubbed “attachment parenting.” In a nutshell, attachment parenting is built around the notion that humans are naturally an offspring-carrying species (à la higher primates), not a nesting species like dogs or cats or birds. As such, the argument goes, we are more within our natural element carrying our babies, or wearing them, or co-sleeping with them at night, than we are to plop them in a stroller or a bouncy seat or a playpen or a crib (as were most of us as children). Far from spoiling the child (as the old-schoolers would say we were doing), the theory is that keeping our children physically close to us—carrying them on our chests or backs when we’re out and about, engaging them with direct attention, allowing them to sleep close to us or even with us—helps the child grow into a secure, empathetic, and nurturing adult.

Attachment parenting has something of a guru in a fellow named Dr. Sears (actually the elder of several Dr. Searses), who may in fact have even coined the term. I’m not much of a joiner, and Baby Mama will attest that I’m horrible about doing my parenting homework, so I’m not really an expert on the Doctors Sears or the current theory and research around attachment parenting. I only know that the general precepts make sense to me. Children are hardwired to bond with their core caregivers (parents, et al.), and to be more secure around them than around relative strangers such as rotating day-care providers. To get all Darwinian, it’s reproductively advantageous for children to hew toward the adults who are most driven to look out for their safety and welfare. It just makes sense.

Cover article on Dr. Sears and Attachment Parenting, Time, May 31, 2013

Cover article on Dr. Sears and Attachment Parenting, Time, May 31, 2013

To judge by the subtitle on this Time cover, attachment parenting is not without its detractors. Nor is extended breastfeeding. And of course, there are going to be extremists on both sides of any argument, because the world is full of nutjobs. We could talk about how part of the problem is our culture’s hypersexualization of the breast—our hypersexualization of any kind of nudity or intimate physical contact, really—and how that creates a cycle of shame and repression. We could talk about the role of patriarchal traditions and systemic misogyny (‘cuz let’s face it, fellas; those yummies aren’t there for us). We could talk about how all this is compounded by our country’s pitiful maternity leave policies, and the ways in which we make work and parenting mutually incompatible. But I’m running way too long already, and I’m bucking my deadline, so all that will just have to wait for another time.

So how public is too public? If you ask me, there is no such thing. Riding a bus, sitting in a restaurant, in uniform, in Parliament, in front of the Pope—you name it. A nursing baby is so much more pleasant than a cranky, hungry baby. Don’t want to see it? That’s simple: Don’t look.

And how old is too old? As far as I’m concerned, as long as breastfeeding is still working for both mother and child, no one else really has much right to chime in. If you’re not the mother, it’s not your body and it’s not your child, so it’s not your business.

BLS 385: American Motherhood

BLS 385: American Motherhood

In short, as the partner of a nursing mother and the father of a happy and healthy breastfed toddler, I believe that no mother should ever be made to feel that she has somehow transgressed public decency simply by feeding her infant or soothing her child. It’s not an act of rebellion. It’s not an attention-seeking spectacle. In fact, it’s not about you at all. It’s an act of love between a mother and her child. Baby’s hungry.

Update: After tapering down to one short nursing session at bedtime, Baby Girl finally decided she’d had enough mama milk a little after her third birthday.


388 responses to “Baby’s Hungry: A Daddy’s Perspective on Nursing (and Nursing in Public)

  1. Love it! The SNL skit last Saturday was great too: “A Victoria’s Secret in Texas banned a woman from breastfeeding her son in the lingerie store. Apparently they don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression of what breasts are for.”

  2. That’s a beautiful and very special mom and baby in your photo…

    • Thanks! That’s actually not Baby Mama and Baby Girl; it’s a dear friend of mine and her beautiful son. I’m glad I had no idea how many hits this post was going to get when I asked her if I could use that picture, or I would have never had the guts to ask.

  3. Well said, Daddy! It’s great to read a dad’s opinion, so much of what we find online is always mom. Thanks 🙂

  4. This is wonderful!

  5. I love this so much! As a BF mom myself I have every intention of continuing to do it for as long as I can because it is what works for us and I am giving him the best that he needs. As far as places go, I have also had my share of looks, but I have learned to not care because I would rather him be comfortable and happy. Thank you for writing this!

  6. Thank you!!

  7. Excellent article! God bless you for writing this. You are a wonderful man and father.

  8. Thank you for writing this.

  9. I LOVE this!!!!! If only more people and dads were this supportive!!!! Major kudos to you!!

  10. a baby has a need to eat and a woman has a right to breast feed when her baby is hungry. Therefore I think most ppl agree public breast feeding is acceptable. Where the debate lies is women who disrespect the rights of strangers not to be boob flashed, and refuse to cover their exposed breast. Just a matter of showing mutual respect and consideration. Breast feed in public if you need to but show some dignity and respect by keeping yourself covered.

    • I’m pretty sure you’re missing the point, but whatever.

      • Lou-unfortunately I can tell that you’ve never actually tried to cover a 10-month olds head while he’s trying to eat. It’s actually not that easy. My son likes to play “peek-a-boo” with the cover and ends up flashing more than had I not even covered in the first place.

      • Seriously…

    • How about the looker-on show some “dignity and respect” for the nursing mother and turn away? Did you miss the point about some babies who don’t like being covered up, or need more special attention & help while nursing? I’ve lived all around the world, and no other culture treats the human body as much of a sex object as we do here in the US. It’s a shame. You see no more boob from a breast feeding mother than you do of someone in a bikini at the beach. Yet somehow, that’s socially acceptable.

    • Strangers are much more severely “boob flashed” at beaches each and every year. Perhaps we should issue a warning to them too. Like the dad said, “don’t like it, don’t look.” That is the simplest solution for everyone.

      • I agree, I am more offended by a woman wearing a thong suit to a family water park than I am of a woman breastfeeding. But of course, no one says anything to those women. But God forbid a modest mother, whose baby’s head is covering her boob more than most bikini tops do, feeds her baby without covering up.

    • So I’m guessing you eat with a blanket over your head? My little one has latch issues so I’m constantly readjusting him and with a cover its impossible. So I will feed him WITHOUT a cover because baby comes first. Not strangers.

      • Hello Ashley,

        I 150% agree with you. My son also had latch issues, was a wiggler, and pulled on the blanket. He made it so hard to nurse him covered up, and I was too ashamed (thanks to allowing public opinion to make me feel ashamed) to nurse without covering it up, and it made it too hard. Both baby and I gave up at 4 months and I was devastated. I wish I would have had the support and courage to nurse him without covering. Because when I did it in my lactation consultants office (without a cover because she wouldn’t have it any other way :D) he did just fine. When I had to cover, he was not interested. Way to go and I support your decision!!!!!

    • Oh no! I just got boob-flashed. To think at one time I was innocent!

    • Totally agree with that. Breast feeding in public is fine. Baby is NOT going to operate on a schedule. However, just as it is the mom’s right to feed her baby when it’s hungry, it is also my right not to have my children exposed to a bare boob if I know they aren’t old enough to understand what’s going on and why (in the instance of breastfeeding) it’s natural and necessary. Imagine trying to explain to your hormone riddled 13 year old son why he shouldn’t stare at an exposed boob. Young teens especially are flooded with hormones naturally. Good parenting will only take them so far. Bare boobs affect more than just the mommy. They affect everyone in view.

      • How is it hard to teach your kid that staring at anyone for any reason is rude?

      • If I had to “explain to my (your) hormone riddled 13 year old” what was going on, I’d say, “She’s feeding her baby,” and leave it at that. I’m confused as to how much “bare boob” you think your son will see when they see a baby eating in public.

      • Let me help you with that.

        She is feeding her baby.

        There, it is explained.

      • @Lacey…umm how about telling your 13 year old why women have breasts and what their purpose is? Just a thought

      • Your hormone-riddled-13-year-old son is far and away old enough to know that breasts are for feeding babies, and staring is rude. My four-year-old knows it well! Of course, he was breastfed past the age of three and has watched his two younger brothers breastfeed every day of his life. My two-and-a-half-year-old knows what boobs are for! It’s led to some awkward, funny conversations with the babysitter, but it hasn’t scarred anyone. My husband’s cousin’s 5-year-old child understood that babies eat from mommy’s chest, even before he saw me nursing my eldest son – and that branch of the family lives somewhere that breastfeeding isn’t prevalent!

        As far as “explaining” to your son why he shouldn’t stare at exposed boob: Staring is rude. Period.
        A breastfeeding mom isn’t jumping around like an everloving cheerleading without her top on and her breasts flailing about as though independent of her body, she’s feeding her baby, and typically as discreetly as she can.

        If your precious snowflake can’t handle being polite to a woman who is feeding her baby, he’s probably not prepared to be out in public at all.

      • Its my son’s right to eat when he is hungry. That’s a basic human requirement. That trumps your right not to have to explain to *your* son that humans are mammals and/or that staring is rude.

      • God forbid your children should associate boobs with mothering, nurturing and their natural function. Kids are always ‘old enough’ to understand what’s going on with a woman feeding her baby. You just have to be parent enough to explain it.

      • My three year old understands what’s breasts are for, and that is not okay to stare because it makes some moms uncomfortable. If we educate our children and normalize breast feeding, this is a non-issue. A simple biology lesson can go a long way.

      • If your 13 year old doesn’t know what breastfeeding is then there are bigger issues going on.

      • Thank you. As a nursing momma i really enjoyed your words. Yummys aren’t for u…priceless! As for the negative post… Did u even read this? If so did u not understand? if u r 13 year old is staring I’d say scolding would probably be in order a quick that’s rude would do the trick! They encounter worse all over tv, internet, bra adds et cetera . You’re deliberately missing the content here. By saying it’s harming you’re child you’re denying another mother the right to do what’s best for hers. It should be ordinary to see a child breastfeeding that’s our fault but we’re remedying that slowly. Again three article was fabulous Thank you!

      • That “not staring at an exposed boob” should be part of what parents teach young men about respect, in my opinion. I think may actually be part of why there is such a strong “rape” culture and most people tend to blame the victim. It starts with innocuous things like this simple act of nourishing a child. If you don’t want to have problems with a 13 year old that can’t help but stare then perhaps you should look at what you are teaching him about his conduct in regards to women in general. And I don’t want to hear anything about “boys will be boys”. That’s bunk.

        Oh, and here’s a novel thought, if a breastfeeding mother (who is likely already wiped out) is in place you also happen to be and that happens to offend or scandalize you, YOU could leave. As a father of a little girl I’m trying very hard to raise her to understand the world around her. When people do this two faced thing about people’s rights that only makes the job harder.

      • Um, you’d explain it just like you’d explain it to any other person on the planet. My nieces and nephews and teenage brothers don’t feel uncomfortable or “turned on” by a woman breastfeeding because they’ve grown up being taught what it is and what breasts are really there for. If people didn’t censor their kids from it and act like they SHOULD be uncomfortable to be around it, maybe there wouldn’t be such an issue. God forbid we TEACH our children about the human body and its functions though.

      • My, my what WOULD you say to a hormonal 13 year old? I mean it’s not like you want to actually have to speak to the kid! And seriously you are only telling the “mommy” to cover up because you assume she is actually modest enough to listen. Do you honestly believe that normal everyday women just decide one day to put modesty aside and show their breasts because they can? Stop putting restrictions on how to feed an infant. PS The Blessed Mother never has a cover of any sort while nursing the baby Jesus.

    • Gold, I love peeps like you when BF. My son is a premmie so has a few issues with attachment so covering up is not an option for him. I figure he has fought ridiculouly hard to still be alive so I will feed him how it suits him best and not other people. And hey if that wasn’t “selfish” enough stick around because then I will Breastfeed his twin sister!

    • Do you find it comfortable to eat with your head under a blanket? Because from day one, my son has not found it to be so and I absolutely will not attempt to force him to do so…Not that I was at all successful the one or two times I ever tried.

    • Did you just read this article? You’re as good as my grandmother at a back-handed compliment. No mother wants to feed uncovered in front of stranger, but sometimes it just happens. But, thank you for again reiterating that a mother needs to be uncomfortable while nursing. Every nursing mother knows, the more uncomfortable you are while trying to nurse, the easier it is.

    • Really Stephanie? Did you read it? It’s not about you, you are part of the problem.

  11. What a great article! I love when the Luvs commercial is on tv here. As a mother of a toddler who was unable to nurse (but tried until I was completely depressed and overwrought with guilt), I am always shocked at how people will judge new mothers and their decisions. Nursing mothers and formula feeding moms are always to blame for something – when in reality, why would others care how you are providing for your child if the child is healthy and content? Strange world – thank you for writing your intelligent opinion.

  12. Dad here, I wish I could say something intelligent and add to what you said, but you got it all.

    • Thanks! Actually, I left quite a bit out, but you know how it goes…

      • Jay, I am just glad to see another man out there who “gets it”. Your article was exactly what needs to be said on the topic and I admire your work sir. I will be sharing this with others!

  13. I love this article…and I have to say, as a mom of three, whom nursed all three, I find that it was stated best when someone said “you see just as much breast at the beach or in public as a mom that is nursing”. When I had baby one I “hid” in the bathroom to feed her…however by baby three I was politely walking around the mall or sitting at the table of the restaurant…when my baby was hungry they ate just like everyone else. Our culture says it’s okay to display breasts on commercials for sex appeal but DO NOT breastfeed your kid in public-it’s offensive! Give me a break…if you don’t like it PLEASE stay in the US because it is the only place on the planet that causes this much drama over a breastfed baby! Bravo to the dad that wrote this article, I really enjoyed it!

  14. I nursed both my babies…and in public…but I covered me and my baby..because that is my preference…I did not display my breast and nipples without my baby attached…so why should I when I fed my babies…I brought a light weight blanket when It was warmer weather and I covered me and my baby from my shoulder to waist…and switch doing the same…it is a special time for me and my child…not for the public to watch and have to be exposed to my chest…but like I said that is my modesty and opininon…as far as the incident in the dressing room…that was a stupid person to tell her no and to go outside in the alley…if they did not want her taking up the dressing room…they should have found her a private place in an area of the store for her to nurse the baby…It is not as if she went in there just to nurse the baby…duh…

  15. Very well written and thorough! You got it right.
    And if you say “I support breastfeeding, but…” you don’t really support breastfeeding at all.
    If you want to take action to support BFing moms in Texas check out the legislation that we are working to get put on the docket:

  16. Jessica Roberts

    Love this! Such an intelligent man! 🙂
    I wish my husband wasn’t so embarrassed by me nursing in public. He’d rather me
    a)let our son scream and cry, or
    b)leave and take him to nurse in the car.
    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my husband dearly and I know he can’t help how he feels, but I can’t help how bad it makes me feel that everyone thinks I should hide to nurse my son.

    • Keep doing it mama! He’ll come around. Mine did!

    • I feel your pain! My husband and I battle it out over this topic. We had a major falling out. I compromise on a lot of things but will not compromise on breast feeding our child when he needs to be fed. Our son will not be so weird about it when he is an adult.

  17. This makes me a little sad. I was one of those moms who wanted to breastfeed more than anything. But I had one of those baby’s who didn’t take to is as easily and as naturally as most, he was very squirmy, and hated to be covered. Unfortunately, I allowed the opinions of outsiders to make nursing harder on us than it should have been and by 4 months we had both given up. Because he was so difficult I wasn’t able to do it enough to produce enough milk to satisfy him and he was too impatient. So during those four months and a couple months after I tried pumping my milk to give it to him in a bottle, but of course I was not producing enough to fill a bottle. I am very disappointed breastfeeding didn’t work out.

    If we have another I have advised my husband I will be going “all natural” if he or she is anything like our son was. There is no reason for a nursing mom to inconvenience herself nor her baby for the comfort of others. My husband does not like the idea and we differ in opinion about covering vs not covering. But I do not care.

    This article made me feel better and more confident in this decision and ashamed for what happened with my first. I really wish I could have read this then. Perhaps it wouldn’t have gotten so hard that we gave up.

    Thank you for this, it’s nice to know breast feeding mammas are getting more and more support. I just wish everyone would look the other way and leave us alone.

    • Angel, your story makes me really sad. That sort of thing happens far too often. But please don’t feel ashamed. You did the best you could given the circumstances, and it sounds like you’re determined not to let that happen a second time. My hat’s off to you.

      I’m hoping this post might reach (and help) some mothers who are in the same place you were then.

    • Mom regret is the worst! All we can do is learn more, and do thing differently if the chance arises. I fell for many “boobie traps” when my first was born. He “had” to have formula because he was slow to gain. I did better with my second, and he made it to 4 months on nothing but breast milk. This time around, I am much more educated on all things nursing, and even caught an upper lip tie that was dismissed by the doctor, an ENT and a second ped. After having it repaired by laser, he is gaining and growing wonderfully and will be 6 months on Feb 12. Let go of the feelings of being ashamed! You tried and that is all we can hope to do.

    • I feel your pain. I was 17 when I got pregnant with my son (yes to anyone who’s going to say anything not my smartest moment, no I will NEVER regret it don’t try to make me) and had every intention of EBF. I was still obviously at home and was under the assumption (based on conversations that we had had) that this would be acceptable. I’m a pretty modest person so I tried to at least get my son to latch on while covered with a blanket, which was terrible in itself. Personally I think because the nurses at the hospital I had him gave him a bottle before I ever even saw him, he had major latch on issues. Well when I got home with my bouncy baby boy our house was in major renovations and I was informed that even in the sanctity of my own home I would have to be sure to cover up or go into a separate room with the curtains pulled and the door closed so that I could breastfeed. Worst. Feeling. EVER! Made worse by the fact that it was not even a faceless nameless stranger I had never met that I would have to be hiding from, but family and friends who I have known almost my entire life. I was so shamed that even in the hospital (where I informed all the staff I would be dealing with that I was open to supplementing formula if absolutely necessary but really wanted to BF) where I had to stay for four days (C-section, jaundiced baby) I had to remain covered in the privacy of my own room on the off chance one of my cousins might walk in and see me uncovered. Almost all of my cousins are females, we’re all relatively close in age and obviously all have the same physical make up just in different proportions, so I didn’t see the big deal. But it happened, I was sitting there trying not to cry while I begged my hungry, screaming two day old baby to please, please, PLEASE just latch on so the nurses don’t demand I give him a bottle instead, in walks my slightly younger cousin, her older (than me and about to pop) sister and their mom. And the first thing out of their mouth was not ‘Hey Rachel, you ok today?’ or anything helpful, useful, kind, even loving. No it was ‘Oh my God, why aren’t you covered up?!’ It continued to the point that I gave up, switched to bottle feeding and cried silently and to myself every single time I was alone and almost constantly. No one should have to ever feel that way, and no one (especially people who are supposed to support us) should even think they have the right to tell us what is or is not appropriate in public or at home.

  18. Wonderfully said – thank you.

  19. Love it!! Perfectly written, perfectly right
    – signed a Mumma proudly BF her 15month old and no end in sight 😉

  20. This is beyond fabulous! As someone who is committed to child-led/full-term Breastfeeding, this means so much! Thank you for doing your part in normalizing and supporting BF.

  21. Wonderfully written. Two of my favorite lines ..”(Which is one lousy birthday present if you ask me)” exactly!!
    And “In fact it’s not about you at all.It’s an act of love between a mother and her child.” As said above “perfectly written, perfectly right”. Thank you for sharing through a father’s eyes so eloquently.

  22. Lauren Campbell

    I understand where you are coming from in regards to breast feeding. Parents want nothing but the best for their children and if you believe breast milk is best then that’s a choice you have to make. I disagree that people should just get over it if a woman pulls up her shirt and starts nursing. I know babies are unpredictable so that means it takes planning. Moms carry diaper bags so why not put in a blanket to cover up with? Why not pump before going out and have extra bottles on hand? You want people to respect your decision so why can’t you respect those around you and the fact they don’t want to see it or have to explain to my child why some woman popped her breast out in a restaurant.

    • Oh, Lauren. Were it that simple. Pumping isn’t always effective enough to produce what Baby needs to eat at any given time. And many babies and children will not tolerate being covered. Plus, it gets hot and uncomfortable under even the lightest of blankets when nursing. The best preparation for a nursing mom going out in public with her baby is having a full, cold water bottle…for herself.
      No one is forcing you and yours to look at a breastfeeding pair.

    • Hah!
      Have a baby, then get back to me on all that. Pack bottles? Sounds great.

      But… Did you know that a newborn wants to eat every 90 minutes or so, sometimes more often?

      Did you know that it takes a whole lot longer to pump then to actually breastfeed your baby? (Babies are better at getting the milk out faster.) And all this pumping for future outings has to be done between these 90 minute feeding intervals. Luckily babies only required being fed so all this other time I have is just luxury me time. Plus I love being hooked up to an uncomfortable machine like a cow.

      Did you know that if you lugged a cooler around with icepacks and milk (which would be sketchy) your breasts would keep producing milk until it squirted out through your bra and soaked your shirt and became very very uncomfortable or even painful, feeling like your skin was going to burst? In which case, if you went out for a few hours you would have to bring your pump along to drain your breasts. And then you would need to sanitize everything before pumping again. And the milk needs to be in a freezer because once it thaws it should be used.

      So yeah… That sounds like a totally reasonable request. Or I guess I could just stay home. Or I could say f*** it. It’s a boob. It has a nip. Scary huh?

    • Many breastfeeding babies will not or cannot use a bottle!

    • Lauren. My three would never take a bottle even if there was breast milk in it. We tried hard to get them to take one but they refused. (One of mine went 24 hrs without eating because I left her with my mom to see if she’d take a bottle and she wouldn’t). Also, it is more obvious if a mother is nursing when she’s covered with a blanket or cover. It’s advertising “hey look at me. I’ve got a nursing baby under here!” Nursing mothers aren’t looking for attention. And I can honestly say I’ve never seen a mother “pop her breast out in a restaurant”. They are keeping their babies happy and everyone around them from hearing a screaming baby. As far as what to tell your older child tell them to quit staring the baby is eating just like you. My 4 yo knows what babies are doing so why can’t your older child understand?

    • Well Lauren, I guess pumping came easy to you? Baby switched easily from breast to artificial nipple did he? Tell us how you did it. I’d love to know. I tried no less than 7 types of breast pumps. I quit trying them when the next alternative was a $70 electronic breast pump. I couldn’t take the chance of spending the $ and getting the same results. That was a problem as I had a job I worked part time 2 days a week that was 75 miles away. Poor hubby. At home all day with a baby he could not feed. Baby did not take anything from a bottle–even on the off day I could pump an ounce or two. The best part of my work day (sarcasm) came when I had let down and nothing I could do would stop my breasts from lactating all over the place. Simultaneously, hubby is at home with a screaming, hungry baby.

      Yeah, breastfeeding is this simple thing a mother never has to think about or plan for and she’s deliberately being inconsiderate to YOU and makes sure YOU are inconvenienced in some way by her breastfeeding.

      Lauren, get over yourself. It’s not about YOU.

    • Nursing is a supply and demand thing so “just packing a bottle” can really damage your supply when you are building supply feeding a bottle instead of nursing has real negative effects and does hurt someone whereas just not looking doesn’t hurt anyone. For Moms who pump for work their time with their babies absolutely has to be feed only or supply will fall.

    • Olivia Middendorf

      I have never made enough milk to be able to pump a full bottle in between feedings, although I have a 6 mo old who is happily EBF. Would you rather see me pumping in public? Because that is what I would have to do if I gave my daughter a bottle instead of feeding her. Women (and partners of women) who haven’t breastfed just don’t understand what it takes to breastfeed a baby or toddler. The explanation is very simple. She is feeding her baby.

  23. Lacey, I have to admit I don’t get it. If your younger child sees a nursing baby and needs an explanation, it’s simple: The baby is eating the milk his mommy’s body makes for him. Imagine having to explain bottles and formula to preschoolers who have never known anything but breastfeeding! I have 3 kids, all nursed past 2, and have had to explain why on earth anyone would give their baby fake breastmilk. I have also had to explain to my kids (currently 6.5, 5, and 2) that they might hurt a mama’s feelings if they ask her why her baby is getting a bottle rather than nursing. Every breastfeeding mom has had tondo the same, but you don’t see us bothering to complain about it.
    As for a 13 year-old, surely he knows by now that what he is seeing is a baby eating. And surely he also knows that staring at people is also rude. So staring at a mama feeding a baby is rude. Look at something else. ‘Nuff said.

  24. That’s fine. Feed your kid in public. I don’t care.

    Don’t assume everyone is judging you though. The waiter in the video was just a little shocked, but can you blame him? It’s not that common in our society, and he wasn’t expecting it. But did you notice something? he got right back about his business, almost like it didn’t matter! Wow! Maybe most men aren’t stupid and oppressive after all! It just takes some getting used to that’s all.

    • Josh, I’ve been equally guilty of that surprised stare (at someone who has since become a close mama friend). This post is not aimed at us or that waiter, but at the waiter (or whomever) who upon seeing that scene would get bent out of shape and cause a humiliating scene for mama.

    • Josh, you’re totally right. As in the example given by the author and in the Victoria’s Secret story, and even in some comments on this article, it’s the women who are judging. The only man who has ever “judged” me for breastfeeding in public is my little brother, and a little ribbing is what little brothers are for.

  25. There is nothing wrong with feeding a baby…but keep it modest. Cover up with a nursing cover or receiving blanket. It is natural to urinate…but no one wants to see a man urinate in public….nor do we need to see a woman pop a boob out to nurse. I have nursed 3 babies…yet don’t feel I need to let everyone know “hey I have boob and a baby attached to it”

    • Did someone just compare breastfeeding to defecating?

      I think the correct comparison is eating vs. eating. And like someone else cleverly pointed out, or asked; do you eat under a blanket?

    • Urination and defecation are private on the grounds that they are unsanitary and expose sexual organs. Breastfeeding is not unsanitary.

    • Please refrain from commenting on a smart article that you clearly did not read or comprehend. Its only reflecting badly on yourself.

    • Did you read the article? Because he covered exactly why his wife couldn’t cover, and I personally would have spent more time picking the blanket up off the floor or rearranging the cover than feeding my child. And as someone else said, we urinate in private because that’s where the conduit to the sewage treatment plant is. Since breastmilk requires only enough cleaning supplies to make the area not sticky when it dries there is no comparison.

  26. I am a nursing mother myself out there and proud! I don’t know that I’d nurse my 13 year old (it always makes me think of a scene from Grown Up’s ) but every mother must do what works for her and her family!!! Get it girl!!

  27. Thank you for writing this. I am not a mother, but I plan to be someday. This male perspective is refreshing–almost revolutionary. I so agree with you that we need to shake the overly conservative social constraints and think of what’s best for the babies and the mothers.
    I also really appreciated all the history and facts you included in your article. It’s informative, as well as inspiring.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you, on behalf of women and humankind everywhere.

  28. I love this awesome blog post, especially coming from a Dad!. I am the mother of a 3 year old who has no desire to wean any time soon. She loves her nutritious milk, and she loves the time with her Mum. I love to be able to give her what she needs, and I love that my husband actively supports our right to do so. Thank you so much for your positive view point.

  29. I see some “Breast feeding is fine, but…” comments here. Here are some effective ways to manage that attitude, straight from the “Human Programming System Guide”:

    Don’t like seeing public breastfeeding? Look away. That’s right. Activate the more-than-capable muscles in the neck of your unit and turn your head to look in another direction. Allow your eyes to track and focus on other subjects, such as your own business.

    Teenaged male unit in the party prone to staring? Activate your Parental Guidance program, and explain to him why exactly staring is rude, and what exactly breasts are for. If you do not have the Parental Guidance program, then get yourself to the nearest wall and install it immediately by slamming your head against the bricks a few times. The download should be easy after that, and the installation should have few bugs. After all, no one wants a faulty program in a parental unit.

    Feel the need to speak your mind or give pointless advice to a mother unit breastfeeding in public? Immediately activate the “Minding Your Own Business” program. This program should come with every model of human, and it should keep your urge to speak out unnecessarily in check. If this program is not working, please turn to the nearest functioning unit, and ask for a system reboot. A good slap to the face should reset your systems, and your “Minding Your Own Business” program should come back online. If the slap to the face does not work, more strenuous solutions will need to undertaken, such as the “crowbar to the kneecaps”, which is usually quite effective at rebooting the faulty unit.

    If all else fails and the Parental Programming and Minding Your Own Business systems fail to be effective, the back up program “Social Ostracism” should kick in automatically in nearby units. The program ensures that the offending unit is put back in their place. Usually, a few pointed words, and level, disapproving stares is all that’s needed to remind the faulty unit that they are in the wrong, and should shut their fucking mouths.

    This message has been brought to you courtesy of the Human Programming Company, and Common Sense and Good Decency Incorporated.

  30. You are a wonderful man for writing this. I am nursing a 10 month old and while my husband is much like you, many people are not. Keep up the good work. 😉

  31. Sharon did you just compare breastfeeding in public to urinating in public? Really?

  32. Thank you! We need more men like you to speak out and support breastfeeding mothers of infants and toddlers. As a breastfeeding mother of a healthy two-year-old boy, I see first hand how beautiful, natural, and healthy the breastfeeding relationship is. Anyone who feels threatened or put off by this must examine her/his own past. I imagine that most of the adults who are triggered by this issue were weaned far before their own time and carry unconscious baggage from the fact that their earliest needs were unmet.

  33. Thank you for writing this article. I couldn’t agree more with what you have to say in this topic. I’ve been EBF since my 5MO was born, with no end in sight. I nurse without a cover in public, and see no problem with it. My baby’s hunger is more important than others sensitivity to the subject. I refuse to go to a bathroom to feed my child.

  34. I have three boys and would have supported my wife if she chose to breast feed. If she would have I would have out of respect for other people at least cover up. Which is more than a reasonable thing to do. If you say it is not offensive but think something like sagging ones pants is then you are a huge hypocrite. Think about it you are saying that seeing one’s full nude boob (yes most of the time it is blocked) is ok but seeing someone’s covered butt no skin is not.

  35. Funny how everyone here is “right on, public breast feeding is just fine” (and I agree). But no one has any comments on how old is too old. Article says as long as everyone is happy. At what age is it not appropriate anymore? 2-3yrs? 5-6yrs? 10yrs?

    I know, I know. Every family is different. But when is it no longer mentally, emotionally healthy (for mom or child) to continue breast feeding?

    So far not but a few care to actually tackle that conversation. And the dad from the article doesn’t even really have an opinion. His only child is only 18 months. Which is not far enough out of the ordinary for him to actually argue that point from experience.

    So how old is too old???

    • He did say the correct answer: as long as what is mutually desirable.
      It doesn’t really matter what others consider too old because it’s not their business to construct a mystical end date.
      There are no peer reviewed studies that say longer-term nursing is detrimental but there are some that say it is beneficial. And anthropologically speaking, a child will naturally wean around 4 years old. There is no harm in letting them decide when it’s time to wean.

    • Becca, I’m hoping your comment gets some discussion here; I’m interested in hearing people’s opinions. I haven’t formed an opinion on this yet (as you pointed out, our nurseling is only 18 months, so we’re not there yet). From what I hear, most kids will self-wean by the time they’re preschoolers, which works for me. And it’s just a guess, but I imagine by middle school the social pressure would probably start to kick in.

    • Becca I have a 10 month old and we nurse everywhere because he still is hungry all the time. He walked early and is large so I have already gotten a few questions about weaning him. I won’t wean him until one or both of us wants it. I grew up and breast feeding was normal but breast feeding older toddlers wasn’t all that normal so I used to think 2-3 was getting a little old. Now that my little baby is almost one with no end in sight 18 months, 2-3 doesn’t seem that old anymore so I am not opposed or judging anyone who nurses longer. I can’t imagine telling my child no to something beneficial like nursing simply because other people think it’s weird. I don’t know what the age is I would feel uncomfortable but probably before junior high 😉

      • Exactly! At some point he’ll lose interest. If that’s because his school friends are making fun of him, well, that works too.

    • If weaning does not naturally occur the ability to coordinate suckling correctly for milk extraction will wane around 7 or 8. But for many reasons most children will stop nursing by 4 or 5, whether because they’re too busy or mom’s pregnancy with a younger sibling causes milk to decrease or stop. But truly, so long as it is desirable for both mom and baby/child, it is not causing any harm and will only continue to be a source of nourishment, antibodies, and comfort. In many ways you might as well be asking how old is too old to carry around a blanky or stuffed animal. A valid question, but one that can really only be answered for each individual family and by that family.

    • Each of our four children were nursed until it no longer worked for both mom and child. For our eldest child that was 18 months. For our twins: 3.5 and our fourth daughter stopped when she was four.

      In all but the first case it was terminated by the children. Our eldest missed out on a lot of bonding time because my wife had to stop for medical reason. The point I am trying to make here is that there is no prescribed age (and I don’t think there should be) as there eventually comes a time where it doesn’t work anymore and by then all parties will likely be ready for the adjustment.

    • Olivia Middendorf

      Before I had my daughter, I always expected to nurse and start to wean at one year. My 6 mo old is happily EBF and I can’t imagine stopping nursing her in just 6 months! My husband is somewhat uncomfortable with extended nursing, so I keep exposing him to great articals like this one. I am hoping he comes around, I am lucky that he is totally supportive, but I would like him to be comfortable too.

  36. Great article!

  37. It’s amazing how much of natural human behaviour has been turned into a debate in the US. Well said!

  38. I love this article and the comments! I have 3 children (11, 9, & 5 months). I’ve suffered ridicule from friends and family for Breastfeeding my middle child until he was a year old. I hate, that at the time, I let them make me feel dirty or like I was doing something wrong! I BF my oldest for six months and my youngest just started a soy based formula. When I tell people I stopped Breastfeeding there is a positive response, almost like they’re happy for me! What’s the deal??

    I would usually pump or feed in the car, but on the rare occasion I had to feed in public I would cover up with a light blanket bc what I was doing was gross enough, right?? We’re all trying to do what we think is best for our children, why can’t we support each other? Only after my youngest being admitted to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in the NICU at 4 days old, did I finally feel like the hero I was for Breastfeeding!! They applauded me and even rewarded me for Breastfeeding! I NEEDED that encouragement!

    Some people need to get over the boobaphobia and realize “baby’s hungry!!”

  39. I’m all for nursing in public, with or without a cover. I also think that it’s awesome when businesses have special rooms for mothers to use and I sort of wish this was a law, though obviously not every business would have the space or enough lactating clientele for it to make sense, etc. But it would be a nice idea!

    All of that being said, I’m torn about the dressing room issue. My gut says I do not think it’s bad for a clothing store to kick nursing moms out of their dressing rooms if there’s a line to use the rooms and the mom has been in there a while doing nothing but nursing. (Provided, of course, the store gives the mom a chair elsewhere in the store to use to nurse. Going to the “alley” is unacceptable.)

    That being said, I realize I sort of went against this policy I just self-imposed! My husband and I were having our first post-baby date at a very fancy place with a tasting menu (i.e. 4 hr meal), so I had to pump while I was there. Unfortunately, in spite of this being a super fancy restaurant (one of the top 10-20 in the country), there was ONE bathroom stall. Pumping in public is definitely considered weirder than nursing in public, and I wasn’t about to bother the rest of the patrons attempting it, so I went to the bathroom. I would normally pump for 15-20 min but just did it for 5 because I didn’t want to monopolize the stall. Sure enough, someone was waiting when I was done. I would have even done it out in the open if there was a powder-room type place in the restaurant–I didn’t need a stall per se–but they didn’t have anything like that.

    So, I’m not totally sure where I stand, but I think we should make nursing and pumping easy for women when they are out and about. And people should stop making a big deal about it; if they did, maybe moms wouldn’t feel the need to use (and monopolize) a changing room or bathroom.

    • I have nannied for a 12 year old autistic child with 2 younger siblings. We were all at the mall and there was a mother who was BF. I am completely fine with BF and support the moms completely! However, the autistic child was very fascinated with it and went up to the mom, and of course I was half a second behind him. It took me a second to get his attention back on me and I got down on his level and explained to him that the mom was feeding her baby. This all happened two feet from the new mom, who was mortified and apologized to me for not covering up. Likewise I apologized, but there was simply nothing I could do. I said this all just to make others aware that not every child is like the 13 year old teen from above, so mothers who choose to breast feed in public with no cover, also need to be prepared for reactions from others, not because it is ok, but because the reactions do happen sometimes and there is no one to blame!

      • I agree. It’s important for anyone who breastfeeds in public or takes a child out in public to not be embarrassed about explaining how mammals feed their babies. Being from the country I know where cow milk comes from and would be inclined to use that example. I also have had friends, family members, and students on the spectrum. Like everyone else they’re just curious…just without the filter some of us have (or don’t.) 🙂

    • If and when breast feeding becomes normalized in this country, chances are some businesses will take it upon themselves to promote themselves as “mommy friendly” or something and provide space to either pump or BF –preferably not in a bathroom. But only if it’s profitable. That would probably be limited to establishments that already market to mothers of young children.

      We’re a strange society. We complain constantly about the breakdown of the family and then make anything family related as difficult as possible.

  40. Thank you so much for your post! Seeing the hateful responses to public breastfeeding has made me so nervous to do it. I am glad that your post and other’s are showing that more and more people are supporting something that is so natural.

  41. Thanks it was refreshing to read your protective. Also, nice to see a man from dmv area speak on a subject I go their through every day on DC metro…like I tell them be hungry…it’s better I pop out then allow him to scream your ride home….thanks so much

  42. The controversy surrounding breastfeeding that I have seen seems to center, these days, on women who choose not to breastfeed. As a society, we should support parents’ decisions to order their lives in a way that works for them. I have seen women who choose not to breastfeed literally bullied by the pro-bf crowd. Women should be able to nurse, in public, uncovered, without people being “offended.” And women should be able to formula feed without being accused of “child abuse.”

    • Yet this post said nothing about formula let alone deeming it child abuse. Lets not make this a bf v ff debate by bringing it up.

    • Agreed. It’s not our place to judge either way. When we see a mother formula-feeding, we don’t know that it’s not for valid medical reasons, and we don’t know that it’s not breaking her heart to do so. As for mothers who formula-feed as a matter of choice (and I do know at least one such mother), it’s not how I would choose to do it, but again, it’s not my body and it’s not my child.

  43. I loved the article but I’m still amazed that things haven’t changed. Ten years ago when I was breastfeeding my own baby, it was still as taboo and controversial. I remember telling a friend that I breastfed for about a year until he got bored and used me as a chew toy instead of nourishment and I still remember the look on her face. She was appalled but I think it’s also guilt. She couldn’t give up coffee or alcohol and I could. I think this issue brings out a lot of insecurity about mothering. I was an accidental “attachment” parent. I thought it was silly to let a baby cry because it’s the only way they can communicate. Crying means they need something so I was always right there to comfort and protect which meant that he was a relatively quiet and healthy baby. He’s in middle school now and still well adjusted and happy. I agree that hypersexualization is part of the problem but I also have to wonder if it’s just not insecurity about one’s ability to mother and the choices we make to support our babies. I’m so glad that you wrote this and added to the dialogue.

  44. I’ve never understood why there is such an adverse reaction to feeding a child. Well I kinda do…it’s not about culture per se, it’s about profit (from formula companies to the sex industry and advertising). We live in a world where everything has become sexualised.
    Joni sang about how Sex Sells and Pat Benetar about Sex As A Weapon.
    We are told by think tanks and suits how we should think or respond and how and what to consume. We should listen to ourselves and our ancestors instead.
    Breast milk has many advantages for adults too. There’s fantastic results for those struggling with cancer for example. It’s also a crazy notion that we have issue with breast milk yet chug down the colostrum of another species altogether.
    Altogether barmy!

    • Hi Mark! I got an image of someone chugging at a cow’s udder while complaining that boobs are icky, and giggled! I tasted mommy’s milk early on (hey, I’m a curious fellow, and it was in the pump to be dumped out). It was sweet and rich, like some kind of dessert. Tasty!

      • Good for you. For giggling and for tasting!
        It’s topics like this that remind us that mostly society is sheep with a few rouge rams. My mantra is (unless it’s harming someone else) do what feels right. Male partners would benefit from sharing baby’s dinner every now any again.
        I think you may be on to a winning idea with breast milk deserts. I’m thinking vanilla, caramel and rice pudding.

  45. It seems that the moms pictured (and in the Luvs commercial) have forgotten that shirts raise from the bottom. This provides enough coverage in most situations that casual observers may not even be aware that baby is nursing. Coupled with a sling, they may assume baby is asleep. I still pity my friend who wanted to see the sleeping baby and lifted my shirt. LOL.

    • Ha ha! Oops!

      Yeah, Baby Mama wears a drop-down nursing tank with a lift-up shirt over it in public, and you have to be looking pretty hard to see anything other than Baby Girl’s head. I had one such image that I almost used here but it didn’t make the final edit. I didn’t even think about the fact that in all these images the mother’s breast is bare above the nipple. I guess I see it so much anymore that it just didn’t register as noteworthy.

  46. I love it! But I have to ask where was this support thirty years ago? Twenty two years ago…I sure needed it then and I am glad that mothers are getting it today…It has been too long in coming. If you have a baby love him, if the baby is tired put him to bed, if the baby is wet change him, and if the baby is hungry feed him should be the only tenants in a baby’s life and to hell with the rest of opinions. As far as a 13 year old he know a lot more than his parents think he does and what all children need to be taught is respect for others, to include their bodies, their ideas, and views..

  47. Cynthia Britton

    Wow no one ever said anything to me about breastfeeding but then again i did not do it in public. Also i did stop when my child was 1 year old but when i did i wished that i hadn’t but everyone around me told me it was wrong to continue and it began to mess with my child’s eating habits and immune system. When i have my next child i will breast feed it and it will not be for only a year it was the best decision iv ever made but stopping so early brought nothing but trouble for me. Thank you this helped so much!!

  48. I wish that everyone thought this way! I breastfed all 3 of my daughters and I noticed that with each one the longer that I breast fed each one the healthier they were and the easier time they had learning (oldest I breast fed for 4 months, 2nd one 8 months, and 3rd for 3 years). I wish that I had known as much with my 1st 2 that I knew with my 3rd daughter cuz I would have done things a lot differently and breast fed them longer.

  49. B.L.Marshall, Hickey

    I love this article. Having had one child, nearly 30 years ago, and at a time when BF in public was much more frowned upon than today, I agree with the writer. However, I would be lying if I said I have not been caught by surprise at glimpsing a breast being pulled from a shirt, maybe the first or even the second time I witnessed it. Not shocked or offended. I’d like to think the initial surprise was due to never really witnessing it as a young women. Now, years and 5 grandchildren later (even though they were all bottle fed, due to problems with my daughter’s breast milk) it is common place. I am more surprised that this is so much of an issue, still. I have viewed all 5 births of my grandchildren. Two of them by cesarean section. The birth of a child is one of the most natural and loving events I have ever witnessed. Now that being said, I don’t think it should ever be a public event, but natural none the less. I make the comparison with birth and breast feeding because both are natural. We, as women, have always given birth behind closed doors in a private loving place. I have never considered eating as a private event. Why should our babies be treated any differently. I’d expect we would always want better for our children.

    I wish my grandchildren had been able to breast fed. Mainly due to the enormous health benefits it brings to both the infant and the mother. I can’t imagine anyone being offended by such a natural and basic need, as feeding your child. Just my opinion, If the naysayers of public breast feeding could get over the stigma placed on breast feeding in public and view it as the natural event it is, then we could move on the more important issues.

    BTW, to the mother of the 13 year old, I’ve known what breasts are for since I can remember. Now, so do my grandchildren and they also know staring is very rude. Most importantly, They are not surprised ever when seeing a mother breast feeding…see how we can change. Let’s start with our young men and women.

  50. I grew up in three countries which were located in Africa and Europe. There was no issue about breastfeed. If a mother wanted to feed her child, she could to do it anywhere and anytime. No one gawked or complained, it was just natural. In Angola, Africa, the natives most of the time didn’t wear at top when they were home. Their child would just come up and start nursing. In Lisbon, Portugal, mothers would sit on the bus, on park benches and feed their children and no one gave them a second look. This controversy is pointless and in my view idiotic.

  51. Thank you for this post. So awesome to hear from a dad and I am so blessed to have a husband who is as supportive of me as you are of your wife and child.

    And for the negative comments, I find it interesting I only ever read them online. Either I live in a very progressive area where everyone thinks public nursing is awesome (lol…right), or people are just really such cowards they have to hide behind the Internet when voicing their opinions.

    • Nursing in public is not a progressive notion. There are plenty of conservatives that see it’s amazing value. I would argue that most conservatives do. 🙂

  52. I love you Jay, but you already know that. I think attachment parenting is a step in the right direction because no one has used the term or bothered to think about it, but the real opposite of it is abandonment parenting. Which if you’ve survived the 70’s-early 90’s you know exactly what I’m talking about. I am not a mom but I can tell you for sure that if I had a little one and I was breastfeeding I would never want anyone/society to pressure my kid into feeling they were abnormal in some way. This debate does nothing but number one put our kids last and I hate it. Furthermore, how dare we as a society and adults assume we know what kids want/think (maybe they want to breastfeed much longer? or some think its ridiculous and think a bottle is cool and sophisticated? who knows) but this is just reaffirming the whole ‘seen and not heard’ attitude which has got to end. Jay you are the bestest!

    • Hi Hannah! Do I hear a “Friend speaks my mind?”

      • Word up!! Dude, there are so many good points in the comments here that I’m sure even mom’s who have breastfed many times wouldn’t have even thought of. It’s great that you started this discussion. I appreciate it so much. Muah!

  53. Former Nursing Mama

    Awesome article! I never noticed the hand-kissing compulsion, but I totally did it! I used to hold their hands and kiss them all the time when I was nursing them, especially as newborns. Amazing that it’s an actual ingrained instinct! At home, I never covered up (if we had company, I’d usually just excuse myself to another room), so our boys and my husband aren’t bothered by it (Husband, in fact, thinks it’s beautiful). I was a publicly-discrete nurser. I had an awesome cover (Hooter Hider) that still allowed me to see what she was doing (if there were latch or play issues) and make adjustments as needed, but still kept me completely covered. When she was a newborn, you couldn’t even see her under it. As she got older (6+ months), she quickly got distracted by external noise and would frequently whip the cover back so she could visit or watch while she nursed. It was embarrassing as all get out at first (I’m very modest and don’t like to have my body exposed in public), but after awhile I’d just ignore her and she’d get back to business when she was ready. I never felt ‘exposed’, and most people just ignored us. Maybe it’s because we live in California, land of the liberals and hippies? LOL!

    I think the BF’ing moms that make the biggest deal out of their ‘rights’ are the ones that are the least comfortable publicly nursing in the first place. I just did it. I didn’t ask permission, I didn’t make a big deal out of it, I just got down to business. I didn’t care if someone was looking. It’s just a boob with a baby attached to it. Maybe it’s because by the time I got a kid that actually nursed well (and I wasn’t so stressed about it), I was an older mom and didn’t give two poohs what anyone thought of me. Maybe it was because with two older boys (then aged 5 and 3) running around, I was too pre-occupied to worry/care what was going on outside our little bubble. Maybe it was because I educated myself about the laws that pertained to our situation and felt empowered knowing exactly what I was legally allowed to do, where and when.

    Nursing Anecdote: It was quite amusing, one time we were at our regular Starbucks, and a barista that I’m friends with popped over for a quick chat while I was nursing. We were talking, and Baby Girl recognized her voice. She promptly whipped back the cover and grinned at my friend, exposing boob, nipple, and dribbling milk everywhere. My friend just laughed and told her she was making a mess. Baby Girl must have thought that was funny as she gurgled and then went right back to work.

    Thanks for a great read, and thanks for being a supportive partner to ‘Baby Mama’. Not only is that support imperative to establishing good nursing, it’s also important for ‘Baby Girl’ to see what a ‘good man’ is, and see you respecting her mama. Two thumbs up!

  54. Isn’t BF also cost effective? A lot cheaper than buying formulas which might have stuff added that could have side effects for some babies. I tried BF and alas, didn’t work for me or my baby. Doctor gave me a cow’s milk recipe which worked well for her but I still felt guilty for not being able to BF.

    • You should not feel guilty about not being able to nurse your child. I have issues with not being able to exclusively breast feed (EBF) and went through my own mourning phase because of how must emphasis is put on EBF by organizations and other women. For many, it is not an option and they should not be made to feel any less of a mother for using formula of any type to help their baby thrive.

      • Silly Hats Only

        I was the same. I was only able to EBF my baby for her first 3 months. After that she lost interest, just didn’t want it anymore. Didn’t have the patience to lay how she had to (and how I really needed her to for my size) and I cried for an entire day when we gave her formula for the first time. I felt like I had failed. For years and while I was pregnant I swore I would ONLY BF b/c formula is gross and unnatural..and blah blah blah. What hubris I had to presume it was that easy! lol No, it wasn’t, and the home situation wasn’t ideal either. We lived with my in-laws and that was a bit….embarrassing to say the least. I just never felt comfortable no matter where I went. There was no privacy in that little house. Anyway, once my little girl started getting the amount of food she really wanted I saw how much happier she was and came to grips with not reaching my own expectations. We pumped for a little while, but I still couldn’t keep up a good supply. Now she’s a happy, healthy, and excelling 10 month old. I do hope if we have another that I might be able to BF for longer, but I won’t beat myself up over it if I can’t. 🙂 You are doing what is best for your baby, and you’re doing a great job, Mama! *hugs*

  55. When I was pregnant, I was sure I’d BF with a cover. I tried it once—it just got in the way, my baby continually came off (latch issues, etc), and she cried and fussed, which drew more attention to us than it would have normally. Instead, I drape a scarf/shawl around me–and I’ve been doing that less–but I don’t cover her head.

    No one’s said anything negative to me, and I’ve started keeping a mental list of all the public places I’ve breastfed in the past 4 months. In fact, at a furniture store when I was about to head out to the car, the manager led me to a glider and set me up there with my baby.

    I also quickly realized that if someone did say something I wouldn’t care. My primary concern is that my baby is happy, healthy, and being fed. I’m not flashing anyone, and I’ve never seen a nursing mom flash someone or “pop her boob out” without a care. No one should be embarrassed.

    Great job, Jay! I’ve shared your post with my husband (who is behind me 100%) and my local nursing group.

  56. Way to go Dad!!!! Good job, so perfectly said!!!! Thank you

  57. I have two sons, 11 and 10 months. I nursed my oldest with the original plan of a year. Well, 3 months shy of his 3rd birthday I weened him. I had nothing but ridicule from my family about nursing past one. My father even told me I was selfish bc no one else could feed him. Most babies have an attachment to something, his was my breast. I weened bc I wanted my body back. I am the only mom at the gym I go to that will nurse in the kids center. I actually had a woman ask me why my 10 month old wasn’t on solids. I don’t think formula feeding moms are asked that. My child does eat solids, is the picture of health, 25lbs and 32in of chunky baby love, and there I was making excuses as to why he was STILL nursing. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t just say that this is what’s best for my child. Later that day, my husband and I went out with his work friends and I asked if he’d prefer I bring a bottle. He said no and supported me. There were no issues and all was well. I do tend to be a little modest and cover my breast, not the baby, but that works for me. I’ll just be happy when support for women’s rights truly include breastfeeding and not just contraceptives.

  58. Reblogged this on A Game of Diapers and commented:
    I don’t often reblog but this is a GREAT article on breastfeeding and for once we get it from a male/father’s perspective. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  59. I love supportive Dads! It is so challenging for some and it is no wonder that when not supported so many women end up quitting. Men help normalize just as much if not more than women!

  60. Great post – I have a 3 1/2 year old boy who I breastfed for 15 months. When we realized he was not going to allow us to use a cover anywhere in public, I realized that he still needed to eat. I would walk the aisles of Target while feeding him, go miniature golfing while feeding him, and eat at nice restaurants while feeding him. I’m currently pregnant with baby #2, and I have every intention of breastfeeding this one as well, and I probably won’t even try a cover, because it wasn’t terribly comfortable for me anyway and we literally never had issues of people stopping and staring. Most people didn’t even notice that I was nursing.

    As for the Victoria’s Secret dressing room incident, however – I cannot imagine that an employee would let anyone sit in a dressing room stall to eat their lunch. And, as some people have commented that the employee should have found a private place for the mother to feed her baby or find her a chair at least to sit on, why would that employee do that for an adult who wanted to eat? It is not Victoria’s Secret’s job, nor any other retail business’, to make sure that all shoppers and their children have a place to enjoy their meals. If a mother needs to feed her baby after she’s done shopping, she has several options: give the baby a bottle of pumped milk and continue about her day; take the baby to the car, the food court of the mall, or the bench outside the shop to nurse; or continue walking around the store while nursing the baby in her arms. All of those are rights that the mother would have. A mother does not have the right to inconvenience a store conducting business, nor does she have the right to use a stall specifically designed for customers conducting business, regardless of whether they are busy or not. It is when women start demanding unreasonable things that anti-breastfeeding advocates start trying to limit our rights. This is why we can’t have nice things, people.

    • You make some really good points. I hope someone picks up on them.

    • I agree with you. I don’t see why she had to cause a fuss. She could’ve gone out to other places at the mall to nurse. I’ve been out and about with my baby, nursing on the go (babywearing saved my life!) and there are plenty of ways and places where you can nurse discreetly or not. I’m sure there are benches at the mall, why can’t she just sit there and nurse instead of demanding she be let to nurse at a store. If she just nursed the baby at the store and was told to leave, then I’d say she has a point to get angry, but the store employee made a valid comment and it’s their right to say no about the usage of their dressing rooms. Some people just want to fight without thinking whether there actually is a need to.

    • Yeah, it was a weak example. I used it mostly because it was recent and had gotten some attention. And I thought the “go to the alley” suggestion was a bit silly. That said, allowing her to use a dressing room would have been a courtesy, but by no means compulsory. Particularly if it got in the way of the store doing business (which is left unclear in everything I can find about this incident).

  61. Great post! It is so nice to hear a dad speaking out about breastfeeding. Thank you!

  62. Thank you. It’s rare to hear a man stand up for us. It’s appreciated and so is the way you stated your case clearly, with facts and politely.

  63. I watched a video about how we are a culture of sexually objectifying women. Men are considered sexual subjects while women are considered sexual objects. Simply put, society sees a man sexual in all aspects (not just looks, but how driven they are, their status, etc) women’s looks are put above all else. You probably see it on FB alot of times where men AND women would be like “Thats a nice piece of ass” “Real women have curves and a big ass”
    This is seen in everything, from advertisements to sitcoms.
    I feel it really relates to how we see women BreastFeeding. We are disgusted because we see a womens breasts as sexual objects and when it is used in context that is not sexual (like breast-feeding) we can’t fathom it because we are conditioned to only regard it for sexual pleasure. There’s alot of sides to this, but in indigenous cultures where sexual glorification is not available.. breastfeeding is much more common and accepted.

    If you want the link to the video :

    • Well said. I had some misogynistic twat try to tell me on Evolutionary Parenting’s fb page that contrary to my point that breasts were designed to nurse a baby, they are ACTUALLY a secondary sex organ. He even cited a couple of wikipedia articles, (and we all know what a “reliable” *cough* source wiki is) complete with links, as evidence that he as a man has a right to lay claim on any part of a woman’s body he desires.
      Ignorant ballbag – as you say this is a notion invented by men, reinforced by societal and media attitudes and pornography

    • Scientificly speaking, a focus is put on the appearence of the human body, only popular in declining societies.
      it is sick that people think this way. Thank god none of these people that have issues with public breastfeeding were around in caveman days. America and European derived countries are the only countries that have any legal issues with moms breastfeeding.

  64. I’m country, rough lookin and rile easily when prodded. I didn’t have to deal with it because my boys weren’t breast fed. After reading this i sure wish we would have just to have a go at any of the dip sh..s that may of had a problem with it. It’s my kid and if he is hungry then he will get fed. I sure hope im around when someone is given a hard time about it.

    • I love your comment. I think it would be so unexpected to see someone like you defend a woman breast feeding.. Funny but sweet at the same time. Love it. 🙂

    • Somehow I think you and my best man would get along famously.

  65. I got dirty looks even when I nursed my kids even though I used a cover! As far a Victoria’s Secret, I can speak from retail experience. I worked at a department store in the children’s section and many times, women would ask to use our dressing room to nurse. We were definitely okay with that! Why? Because babies usually fall asleep after eating, thus allowing the mother more time to shop and purchase! Duh…Plus, it fosters customer loyalty. My manager even got a rocking chair to put in one of the dressing stalls for nursing mothers. We’d offer them bottled water, anything to keep them and their baby happy. It’s just smart business…

  66. Notwithstanding the idea that only, supposed, socioeconomically disadvantaged women breast feed due to the cost of the alternative, formula. Hip hip horray for your perspective, Dad.

    • If anything, I have experienced the opposite idea- that socioeconomically disadvantaged women use formula, because W.I.C. pays for it, hospitals give it out free, and low-income women often don’t have access to lactation counseling, etc. Breastfeeding almost has a boutique, upscale idea to it- S.A.H.Ms can breastfeed becaue their rich husbands support the family and the housewives have time to breastfeed.

      • True. And women of lower socioeconomic status often have jobs that are more in the service industries–wait staff, etc.–with long shifts and maybe only one short break, not long enough to pump enough to keep up supply. I’ve known many women who wanted to BF and their jobs made it impossible.

  67. I love this! I nursed all four of our children to at least a year & the twins until they were almost 3. Your article pretty much expresses my husband’s thoughts on the whole thing, even though his first thought when our oldest got teeth was that I should stop before he bite me.

  68. well said 🙂

  69. Pingback: Baby’s Hungry: A Daddy’s Perspective on Nursing | SoulSHINING

  70. ok that one pic that kid is too old to be breast feeding, kind of disturbing. i personally view breast feeding as a private and personal thing. I don’t agree with it being done in open public. it’s one thing if your on a bench to the side, but women will just walk around the grocery store with that going on i find it inappropriate. there is a time and place for breast feeding, i feel the middle of the store is not it. your kid isn’t going to die from a bottle of milk…

    • Aww, someone decided to just look at the pictures instead of read and understand the article.

    • Perhaps not, but not all children will take a bottle either. What’s your perfect solution to that problem – that the mum should just stay home?

      • Absolutely. I have been breastfeeding my daughter for 9 months now and I TRIED to get her to take a bottle so that I could have a break. No such luck. Some solutions suggest just to not feed her the breast until she’s so hungry that she takes the bottle, but I’m not okay with that. I don’t see withholding food as a good solution.

    • And you aren’t going to die either if a woman is breast feeding her child in the middle of the store..

    • kind of like when adults eat while walking or driving. inappropriate. you never do that, right? because there is a time and a place. you’re not going to die from a bottle of ensure, discretely consumed with your head under a blanket.

    • Ugh, you breast shaming people are the worst. We Americans need to GET OVER IT ALREADY. If you are offended by a kid eating, it’s clearly your problem.

    • Yes, there’s a time and place — WHEREVER THE HUNGRY BABY IS.

  71. Love this article! Very well written, and a wonderful take on some very exaggerated “issues” with breastfeeding! I loved reading a fathers point of view! Keep them coming!

  72. Reblogged this on Moments of a Wife & Mother of 3 and commented:
    As a breastfeeding Mother, I wanted to Reblog this because this blog post is AMAZING!!! I breastfed my first child for 3 weeks then gave up due to lack of support and lack of knowledge. Then I went on to breastfeed my second until he chose to self wean at 18 months. Breastfeeding a toddler didn’t go over well with many people I encountered, especially because his last 6 months, I was pregnant with my third. I am now going strong with my 5 month old and will breastfeed until he decides to self wean. Love this blog post – How public is too public? How old is too old?

  73. Thank you!

  74. Oh great article! I feel very fortunate to have had a mother who, even though I wasn’t raised by her (late 60s, single mom, worried grandparents – old news) I did live with her from 16 on, at which time she was nursing a 4 year old who’d been born at home. She had very definitely ideas on nursing and birth, and I learned a lot! My 2 kids were born at home, and nursed, the older until 23 months, when I was nearly due with her brother, the younger until 25 months, when I just really needed to sleep more than an hour at a time. Thus, not working anymore. She also co-slept, and would never in a bazillion years have considered putting a baby in one of those seat thingies that make their heads have flat spots. We co-slept, used packs and a sling for a long time. They kids are both adults now, the girl one pregnant with her own second child. Cloth diapers, midwives, nursing, co-sleeping – that’s what the now-almost-8 year old got, that’s what new baby girl will get. Yay for positive legacies!

  75. Great Article I couldn’t agree with you more!

  76. You are an awesome daddy and husband and a very eloquent writer–kudos to you for taking a public stand 🙂

  77. what a great well balanced article. If its working for mum & baby no one else should say anything. I bf’d until 15 months & would have happily gone on longer but my little boy wasn’t interested anymore. I have so many friends who wanted to but couldn’t.

  78. Thank you.

  79. Great read i’m like the bus driver…. i’d much rather have mom whip out her milk jugs and feed shorty than have him screaming his head off cause he is hungry. With our society being so overweight we see the equivalent to breast everytime a fat man takes his shirt off but nobody complains about that at least not loudly and to strangers. Why is it that rather than avoid what we find displeasing we have to make a big deal of it and call for somekind of correction from the powers that be. Get outta here with that…. there is nothing more natural than a woman breastfeeding her child.

  80. beautiful. as a mom of 2 who breast fed both- anywhere and at anytime- this is a wonderful read. thank-you for your perspective

  81. when someone wants to “debate” (as if it was ever a question asked of them?) whether a good little woman should cover up when breastfeeding, i tell my story of low-weight twins who needed to eat, at the same time, every two hours (if i was lucky!) and their 3-year-old brother who hardly deserved a life lived indoors to hide the shame of a mother with only two hands. tends to put an end to the “debate.”

  82. Excellent article. I’m a new fan. I love this.

  83. wow you sound like an amazing daddy and husband its nice to hear other daddys feel this way to. My husband is very pro breastfeeding when i was learning he helped me express, latch the baby on, went to the store and got me blessed thistle, oatmeal, mothers milk tea anything that would help me produce milk. He even held me while i cried after feeding my baby formula i felt like a faileur and embarresed that i was supplementing with it. He always said i tired my best and i did, i am currently pregnant with my second and plan to ebf this baby i know what went wrong the first time i starter pumping the 4 day after i gave birth! This time i know i have to stick it out a couple of weeks before i introduce pacifiers, bottles or even before i try to pump. Plus i have him and i know with his help and support ill be able to do it 🙂

  84. I LOVE this article! I’m lucky to have a husband who is supportive and it’s definitely needed as I am currently not only nursing my 3 week old son, but my almost 3 year old daughter as well. I’m sure I had gotten some strange looks being very pregnant and still nursing my 2.5 year old, and I wasn’t even really sure if I was still producing milk at that point, but she still very much wanted to do it, and so of course I let her. I’m sure it was more of a comfort thing for my daughter than it was a hunger issue (on nursing), but I didn’t care, as I was going to let her continue either way. How can I say no anyways when the cutest little girl says, “Pwease mommy can I nursies on your boobie, just for a wittle bit?”, lol. I don’t think I would have been ready for her to stop anyways so I’m glad she wanted to keep doing it. Now with my newborn tho.. I had him 4 weeks early and the nurses were thinking it was because of me nursing my 2.5 year old that I went into labor early, and told me that if I were to have another, I should probably wean my son as soon as I found out I was pregnant again. Really?? :-/ I don’t plan on having another, but if I did, I would definitely NOT listen to that ‘advice’. The nurse I had been seeing for my regular check ups had been encouraging about my extended breast feeding while pregnant so clearly it’s all a matter of opinion. Anyways, my son, tho 4 weeks premature, was born at a healthy 6 lbs 6 oz and latched and breast feeds great, so I think I did fine despite what those nurses thought. I plan to breast feed him and his older sister for as long as they want to, as I have no “too old” end date, and also do not care if anyone else thinks one or the other is too old. Though I must say, now having a newborn again, nursing my older daughter feels like I’m nursing a giant compared to my petite lil boy, haha.. And I guess I can understand if people might think that’s weird seeing me nurse my newborn son then my big girl right after, but I am still going to do it anyway bec that’s what they both want.. Which is exactly what I did today at the restaurant I ate at with my husband 🙂 And really I think people appreciated it more that I nursed my older child to sleep than kept her awake and cranky or overly tired and jumping around in the booth, and kept my newborn quiet, content and happy with a full belly.
    Again, great article 🙂

  85. I was once breast feeding in a mall food court on an out of the way bench, when a guy came over and told me I should be ashamed of myself and I should use the bathroom to feed my baby. Just looked at the guy and told him I wasn’t bothering anyone else so I kept on feeding my child who, btw was under a blanket I’d draped over my shoulder and her, so no one would see anything! As if I’d feed my child in a bathroom where there is no where to sit and goodness knows what germs!

    • “Sure thing, buddy. You go eat your Sbarro in the men’s room and I’ll nurse my baby in the women’s room.” Yeah, right.

  86. I absolutely love this! As the mother of a breastfed child, I appreciate being able to hear a father’s view publicly announced! Both my children were breastfed, and my second child is 7 months and still going strong!!!

  87. Nursed my last two til they were 4… it was working… Thx for putting words to a very misunderstood activity that is natural and healthy!!

  88. Um, I love you? It drives me CRAZY when people try to compare breastfeeding to urinating/defecating/sex. C-R-A-Z-Y. The one thing that I will never understand is for those who don’t like moms to BF in public (read: feed their hungry babies), which would you rather have? A screaming baby or a mom doing what any mom would do — FEED HER BABY. Breast or bottle, we’re simply FEEDING OUR BABIES. The end.

  89. I don’t have kids, never intend to, nor intended to have kids. I don’t even LIKE babies. But I think any mother should feel comfortable breastfeeding their baby when needed. If you’re not shoving a boob in my face, I don’t really mind what you’re doing with it with your kid.

  90. Adrianne Gammons

    In early 2011 I sat down to breast feed my new born with a nursing cover on the very comfortable bench of the waiting area by the Victoria’s Secret dressing while my mom used the dressing room. There were MAYBE three other people in the WHOLE store. They were all women as far as I saw. I was promptly asked to use a dressing room because “it may upset other customers, like if a man walked back here.” At first I thought “well if there’s a comfortable seat I’m happy to move to a closed place where I would be able to remove the cover.” It was my first baby and only a few weeks in to nursing, I wasn’t exactly a pro at it yet. Then…. She opened the dressing room. The first one had no chair. The sales rep moved to the next one, which had a single metal folding chair. Irritated but shocked enough to not say something while at the sane time holding my baby who is beginning to cry because SHES HUNGRY, I went on in and sat down. Thus started my 30 or so minutes of angry, frustrated, increasingly uncomfortable, mama bear, unrealized lactivist, harassed mommy stewing period. All I could of was how DARE she!!! I came out ready to rip her a new one! I was in an empty BRA store with BOOBS all over the marketing! I discussed the situation with her angrily and then even more irritably with the manager who “apologized” and then I went home and wrote to the corporate office when what I should have done was called the news… What did VS say? We’re sorry our sales rep treated you this way, please take this 20% off coupon and please come back. I’ve breast fed pretty much everywhere but the only place that gave me greif was the famous lingere store that says sorry with a discount.

    • Sounds to me like you had chosen the perfect spot to begin with. And really? A metal folding chair? Strange how many of these stories involve Victoria’s Secret. I think SNL may have nailed it when they said VS didn’t want people to get the wrong idea about what breasts are for.

  91. I adore this article! It really is as simple as the bus driver said “Baby’s hungry” Thanks for writing this.

  92. As a father, husband, and late 20-something year old dude I can appreciate the importance of breastfeeding (and feeding hungry baby) but I am also of sound enough mind to realize it is not appropriate for a woman to breastfeed her child in public uncovered. “Uncovered” being the key word, here.

    I often hear the “IT’S NATURAL!!” argument frequently which frustrates me more than anything. Well guess what gals, taking a piss is natural too but I’d be arrested for whipping my genitals out in the middle of the mall to relieve myself. In no other public situation is baring a woman’s breast legal. This is not the movies — the context does not define “appropriateness”. Yes it’s natural, yes your baby needs to eat, yes the intent is not to be sexual–I completely agree with you and support you on all those points –but that doesn’t change the fact it still IS a sex organ which requires certain precautions.

    So go ahead…your starving child needs to be fed…I absolutely applaud you for the selfless sacrifice you make every time you feed him/her. Sit in front of the busiest store in the mall to do it if you want, all I ask is adequately cover up for the process. I don’t want or need to see your exposed breasts…my wife certainly doesn’t want me seeing your breasts either (she too breastfed and understands the challenges)…and I don’t want my child seeing you uncovered either.

    • That’s just it, though, Tyler..breasts are not sex organs! And you would never eat your lunch in the bathroom or under a blanket! If you can’t pass by a breast without ogling it, then I could see where your spouse might get upset. Or if she is super insecure and you walk by a breast without ogling it, but that’s not some random strangers fault or problem. Have you ever been to a swimming pool or beach with your wife or walked by a big ad, where women are wearing skimpy bathing suits? Have you never seen a movie with your wife that had a naked boob in it? Seriously? When a child is nursing, most of the breast is covered by the view of their little baby head anyway. Most bathing suits expose more of the breast than a nursing baby does. As far as your child seeing an exposed breast, it wouldn’t be an issue at all if breastfeeding were normalized. If your child is a boy and you are too afraid to let him see in his peripheral vision, on occasion, in passing, a nursing mother, then you are just perpetuating the destructive cycle and teaching your son that breasts and nakedness are only for sex. If your child is a daughter, then your line of thinking is just teaching her to be ashamed of her body and what it is truly capable of: sustaining life. Not trying to attack you or your parenting, just trying to get you to see another point of view and possible ramifications of your thought process. Is you not seeing a boob or not having your wife mad at you for seeing a boob worth these ramifications? I’d like to know your wife’s true opinion on the matter too. Would you get upset with her for publicly feeding your children like my unsupportive husband did? Maybe you just think you know her opinions. Maybe she wouldn’t care at all if you saw a nursing mother and she wishes you weren’t so uptight about it..again, not trying to attack-just throwing out some food for thought. Whether a hungry child eats boobs or goldfish, when they are hungry in public, they should be allowed a snack..for their health and comfort and the safety of everyone else’s eardrums. There are actually situations in which women are allowed to expose their breasts without legal ramification. In New York, it is legal to walk down the street topless, in fact. I highly doubt most people in Oregon and other crunchy states care about stuff like that either. As far as having to use a cover, I can speak from experience that that can really upset the baby and lead to an unsuccessful nursing experience. I tried to cover my son and that just never worked out…so I stopped caring about being politically correct and decided to do what was best for my son. For every person out there that would get upset about me openly breastfeeding, there is another that would be upset about my child crying…you just can’t please everybody. What you CAN do, is respect and love your child enough to take care of his/her needs, and to teach them that breast is best when possible, teach them of the beauty and wonder of the human body, and that breasts and nakedness don’t always equate sex.

    • Tyler, you sound like you mean well but when you start saying that its inappropriate for a woman to feed her baby uncovered, that breastfeeding uncovered is like peeing in public, and that breasts are sex organs your opinion just becomes mysoginistic and discriminatory.

      Breasts are actually not sex organs, they are an erogenous zone. They are not a genital. When feeding a child they are not sexual, they are nurturing and nourishing. Please try to compartmentalize.

      As far as not wanting your child to see a woman breastfeeding uncovered. That is completely your choice but it will only feed into the idea that breastfeeding is somehow shameful if not done in the way that someone defines.

    • Tyler,
      You’ve been sucked into a false hype and sense of ownership over women’s bodies in your view that breasts are for men. You blindly follow the idea (made up by men) that breasts are a sex organ, thus completely ignoring the facts of basic biology. Comparing genitals and breasts with the view of making them the same thing? Hey, I know a Misogynist of the day page where you’d get votes for sure 🙂
      You are one of the flock. Uneducated, ignorant and gender biased. Baaaa…

    • Tyler, my guess is that you were raised by religious zealots who think of the naked body as ‘unclean’. Equating exposing a bit of breast tissue while providing the nourishment that a hungry baby expects and deserves from it’s nursing mama to you ‘whipping out your genitals in crowded mall” to take a piss is just disgusting.

      Breasts are not sex organs. Breasts are mammary glands. They are a part of the human endocrine system and media and misogynists have sexualized the breasts of women to the point that even women cannot view their breasts in any other light. Educate yourself.

  93. This is great!! I am a bf mom that also works full time. My daughter prefers the breast but will take a bottle if necessary when at home with her father. But I don’t care where I am, I nurse with confidence. I have nursed on a public bus. I will nurse as long as she wants. I also co-sleep with my youngest and oldest, and am extremely affectionate with my children.

  94. This was a well written, insightful and positive article. I felt the same way when I nursed my sons but it’s nice to see it in print. Breasts are for babies , that is the sole purpose of their function. I am happy to see more and more people realizing this.

    • I’m afraid it’s not a given, by any means, that breasts are just for babies – I have breasts myself, and as well as anticipating that I will use them to feed my babies, I can also tell you from personal experience that they absolutely are sexual. I am bisexual, and sexually desire other women’s breasts too. It’s not ‘hypersexualisation’, it’s a natural part of my sexuality and that of most other people who are attracted to women.

      I think this is where we are coming to a bit of an impasse – people on one side saying that breasts are private and sexual and therefore they never want to see them being fed on in public, and people on the other asserting that they’re essentially (here goes) udders, and anyone who claims otherwise is misogynist.

      Can we go back to basics for a moment and acknowledge that depending on our own experiences and circumstances, we all feel differently about seeing a part of the body which is normally carefully covered, uncovered? And that that’s understandable? That’s surely not a controversial starting point and from there we can work things out.

      I think breast feeding is fantastic and natural, and people shouldn’t be penalised for doing the best for their children. At the same time, I find it really discourteous when a friend of mine pulls her breast full out of her top whilst looking me in the eye and expecting me to carry on the conversation as normal. Sort of puts paid to the “Don’t want to see? Don’t look!” argument. My breasts are erogenous zones and I don’t ever want to become desexualised by my motherhood to the point where it’s ok for my dad / grandmother / father in law / colleagues to get an eyeful of them. They’re mine, not my child’s.

      Another friend’s child eats solids all day but when he gets tired or upset will come and ask his mother (in full sentences) for cuddles and milk. Why not just cuddles? Breasts ARE sexual too and I object to having to sit there watching a grown child comfort itself emotionally (not out of hunger) by sucking on an adult’s secondary sexual organ. My male partner kisses my breasts – I can tell you it’s a sexual experience. I object to being challenged through eye contact to uphold the mother’s world view for fear of being branded a (fe)male chauvinist pig.

      When people become militant about their right to breast feed in changing rooms… I say again, I am not alone in finding my boobs and those of other women sexy; I question the added judgement that a lingerie store ‘of all people’ have no right to stand in the way of breast feeding. They are a business, just like any other. Furniture stores that sell beds don’t take kindly to you going for a snooze in the middle of the shop floor – believe me I’ve tried! – it doesn’t make them violators of our most basic human rights. They don’t provide special prayer rooms or nap rooms or even make their toilets available to the public in many cases – why should a breast feeding mother have special rights? Also, why make it a big deal – I’ve had a nice sit down, redone my makeup and snaffled a much needed sandwich in a changing room before when it was quiet and I was in need – never a problem. Announcing that that’s what I’d like to do, can you usher me through please, because I am a Hungry Woman with Rights, would be an unnecessarily unhelpful approach. A bit of common sense is all thats required, that and remembering that although your baby may be the best and most life-changing thing that ever happened to you, to everyone else it’s just the (admittedly very cute and precious) result of your life choice and you still need to get on with the rest of us. I appreciate that most people do this and it’s only because of unfortunately negative experiences that a more confrontational backlash arises, but really people we’ve been doing this since the dawn of mankind… sometimes getting all political about things is actually the most counterproductive thing you can do.

      I think the Time cover raises the problem perfectly. The worst example of a confrontational, defiant denial of the sexuality of women’s breasts (how dare anyone, woman or man, straight or bi or gay, parent or not) tell me what my breasts are for?) which therefore makes it ok to keep a grown child with a burgeoning sexuality of their own (yes, really) coming and sucking on your body for… what – nutrition? Really? Or because it makes you feel good? Needed? Close to them? I agree, completely, if Baby’s hungry. But when Baby can make itself a sandwich, I think we have a problem.

      A bit of balance is all that’s required – balancing my right to feed my hungry baby with another person’s right to retain their sexuality and therefore feel uncomfortable with a bared breast in their full view. A baby’s need for excellent nutrition against a child’s need not to be encouraged into extended physical intimacy with its mother for unquestioned reasons. Our mission as human beings to try to be kind and support each other, versus entitled individuals vocally demanding that we accommodate their unreasonable demands. Balance, please…..

      • “My breasts are erogenous zones and I don’t ever want to become desexualised by my motherhood to the point where it’s ok for my dad / grandmother / father in law / colleagues to get an eyeful of them.” It happens! It really does happen. It’s so weird and hard to explain, but the hormonal changes that occur when you have a child, really lead you to feel differently about the breast than you did beforehand. I think that is PART of why momma bears are so intense about it..and why it’s so hard for others to get on the same page sometimes (because they don’t have those different hormones flowing through their bodies.) Before I had a kid, I felt the same way, but the changes just occurred. I never even used to feel comfortable changing my shirt in front of my sisters, and boobs played a major part in the bedroom with my husband, but with a child in tow, it just feels different…I don’t care who sees my boob at all, unless they come up and start bein’ all creepy about it and interject the idea of sex into the equation. I will say that the sleep deprivation involved might have a lot to do with the not caring too..haha. As the postnatal hormones flow, sex drive is often out the window too. It’s part of natures way of keeping momma’s attention on the baby at hand as opposed to making another one. This lends to thinking of the breast in a less sexual way, while the primal need to care for baby lifts the nurturing function of the breast to the surface. (disclaimer: hormones are different for everyone and therefore don’t affect everyone the same, so no, I’m not stating these as absolutes.) I’m just saying, you’d be surprised.

        NOW, having said all of that, I must announce that you are awesome and make a lot of good points! Thanks, because I am now able to see this issue from another point of view.

        If I were nursing in front of a friend at my house or theirs and could tell that it made them uncomfortable, I would gladly accommodate by sitting comfortably in the other room or whatever if possible. When it comes to public nursing though, there isn’t always a sanitary place where no one can see you, and baby needing to eat, IMO, really does trump other peoples comfort. keywords: baby NEEDING to eat. Also, if it’s a small infant just needing comfort from the breast, I think that is acceptable reasoning to pull the breast out to save other people being so drastically ‘inconvenienced’ by a child crying.

        I think that openly breastfeeding a toddler in public is a little iffy, and I say this as a woman who continues to nurse my 26 month old son on a daily basis. He does not nurse for nutrition in the sense that my breastmilk is his actual meal at any given time, but for the many medical benefits that Bmilk offers. As a child whom I know is inclined to struggle with asthma and eczema, I take advantage of the fact that Bmilk delays the onset of both. He also receives antibodies from my milk…meaning that he has far less dramatic colds and far fewer ear infections than others in his age group. The longer he continues to breastfeed, the less likely I am to develop breast cancer, which runs in my family. Additionally, I know on any given day that my toddler is getting all the fruits and veggies he needs, whether I’ve been able to coerce him to actually eat some or not. I don’t “encourage physical intimacy” for no reason. I encourage him to be comfortable enough with me to let me know his requests and his limits. Just in the way that I encourage him to understand my requests and limits by not letting him publicly breastfeed anymore. If he wants the breast for comfort in public at this stage in life, it’s a firm ‘no’ for me. While others may say that their child deserves to eat on demand wherever they are because that is the method they have chosen and their child requires consistency, I view it as a learning opportunity for my toddler. It is generally good to be considerate of others around you, and it never hurts to practice the art of patience.

        As you’ve said, it’s all about balance. And being able to openly talk about these issues with people with opposing viewpoints without all the anger is what is needed to help our society find this balance.

      • B.L.Marshall, Hickey

        B.L.Marshall, Hickey | January 30, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Reply

        Jenny, I agree with a lot of what you are saying. I to have come to believe the breast to be sexual organ, but not from independent thinking… I was taught that. We as a society created that aspect. Just turn on your T.V. set, I’m sure you get my meaning. Breasts have been turned into objects of sex and arousal…don’t get me wrong, I like mine, and so does my husband. They are definitely useful in arousal as you would say, and I agree. But look at the facts.

        We in fact are mammals. Take a dog, or cow, or pick one, either way, those mammals use their udders, tits, or what have you, for nursing their young. We are no different. I don’t believe, I have ever seen a male dog, cow, horse, etc… use the female of the species “breast” as a sexual tool for arousal or otherwise. I certainly believe, they were not made for that purpose. I believe society in general has attached that stigma.

        I won’t even delve into the whole religion aspect, I wouldn’t want to offend anyone. Because, God forbid, I should offend…and there lies the problem. Someone is always offended by something.

        If you, male or female, can’t handle the sight of a woman’s breast feeding an infant and are unable to differentiate between, “SEXUAL ORGAN” or “MOTHER BREAST FEEDING”, or even, control yourself, feel disgusted, or aroused by the sight….Well, YOU clearly have the issue. You probably need to look away, leave the area, or perhaps YOU should cover your head with that blanket.

        I for one, as a mother and grandmother of 5, will teach my grandchildren to know and understand the difference. Not to judge, or criticize, to be tolerant of others… Hopefully, when they get older and become parents themselves, my words will have made a difference… Teach your children folks, what a better society we’d have.

        I reposted this because, even though some issues I agree with…The fact remains, if you can’t tell the difference between the breast being used for what they were made “Breast Feeding” or a “sexual organ”, and find yourself losing control, or becoming aroused…it might indicate you have a problem…seek help

      • Oh my gosh, Jenny. Thank you. You said it perfectly.
        It bothers me that, in essence, most people commenting are reducing boobs to (you said it!) udders. Would these same people who are now breastfeeding their little daughters, let’s say, 14-16 years down the road, say, “Oh, darling, it’s PERFECTLY okay for you to walk around in your bikini top at the mall, or heck, even shirtless, because breasts are NOT sexual. They are for your future babies!”

        And I love that profound common sense of just going into a changing room without telling them what you are going to do. So simple. You are awesome. I just love all of your points. Especially about not wanting to be desexualized by your motherhood.
        And yes, children start to develope sexually at a very early age. I think that is why a lot of people do squirm at the thought of a 4 year old nursing. Deep down, they know this and that’s why it weirds them out!

        Also, to those who claim that women DON’T just “whip it out,” let me say that I was a makeup artist and worked in the middle of a mall. One particular lady with a 2-3 year old that was just a little fussy DID just pull up her shirt and whip the whole thing right out in front of me. Talk about trying to keep your composure! I’m literally 8 inches from this woman!

        And Tyler, don’t let their ad hominem attacks bother you. You have some valid points. 🙂

      • It’s quite obvious you don’t have children. When you have a kid, get back to me. Until then, you just don’t understand. Sorry.

  95. I loved your article! I was a breastfeeding Mom. I breastfed my 1st son for 12 1/2 months and would have breastfed longer, but I was already 4 1/2 months pregnant with our 2nd son. I breastfed my 2nd son for 17 months. I breastfed in public and was so discreet about it, that once at the mall I was breastfeeding my oldest son and an elderly man and woman sat next to me on the bench. The man reach over and was patting my son on his head while I was breastfeeding him. His wife said “honey, do you realize that the baby is being breastfed?” He said that he didn’t, but thought that it was wonderful that I was breastfeeding him, because that’s what they’re for. lol

  96. To be honest, when I see a woman breastfeeding in public, I have the urge to look at her breast and the fact that a cute baby is drinking from it automatically changes that urge, reminding me that women’s breasts aren’t only for sexual arousal, attraction and stimulation.
    I’ve had a woman breastfeeding in a shop (instead of outside with the loud parade going by) contribute to a conversation when I asked an employee a question, and although I had to remind myself for a split second not to look at her breast, it wasn’t a problem to make eye contact and continue talking to her.
    Men or women who have a problem with breastfeeding in public are like small children who giggle at words like penis and vagina. Grow up please.

  97. I breasted my son for a month and lost supply. I agree and disagree with your article. I breastfed at home. I’m cool if you’re covered up but what bothers me is the women NOT covered up. This one lady was letting her boob just hang out and her kid wasn’t hungry. He was just playing with it and there were dads in this mall play area. That’s inappropriate. I don’t agree with breast feeding a kid past 1. They need to be on table top foods. My husband supports my opinion. That TIME cover made a lot of people cringe because of how inappropriate it looks. To me, it appears the Mother suffers from attachment issues where she can’t mentally or emotionally allow her child to grow up.

    • You may not agree with breastfeeding past 1, but the AAP, WHO, and other health agencies beg to differ. Kids over 1 DO eat regular food, but breastmilk is still nutritionally sound. Solid food is a complement, not a replacement.

    • That TIME cover made me cringe because it’s a completely unnatural posture for nursing anyone, at any age, and was obviously staged to be as shocking as possible. However, the medical benefits of nursing past age one are well-established.

  98. Fabulous article! These are several here who have commented that it is not the store’s responsibility to cater to moms and that a bottle will not harm a child to avoid nursing in public. Both comments are ridiculous and exemplify the pathology of our society- children are society’s most vulnerable members and our future, people who do not recognize this fuel the idiocy of this non-issue. A child’s nutrition and welfare are more important than catering to any adults prudent attitudes. Wake up people!

  99. Brilliant! Lovely to hear a mans perspective. Let’s hope it encourages more to feed if they can. It’s hard enough to feed your baby without having to deal with other peoples opinions. When I see a mother feeding in public I feel proud and almost want to go up and say ‘well done you’ but it might come across a little odd. I’ll settle for making my feelings known to any who complain.

  100. Thank you for writing this article. I am on my second round of breastfeeding now that I have my second child. With my first I was so embarrassed to nurse on public or even at family events. I would always pump and feed her the bottle. Now this time around I nurse her everywhere though I still try to be discreet. My husband was extremely supportive and I’m glad to hear another man that was as well. More women would continue to try nursing it they have a strong support group around them. It is one of the toughest things to do but it gets a whole lot easier. After the second baby was born she just latched right on that nipple!

  101. I breastfed my daughter for two years, in all kinds of situations and in several countries – standing in line in a shop, on planes, in a cave during a tour (and of course in cafes and restaurants) – and I never once heard anyone complain or make any negative comments. I actually found it much more of a hassle when my son couldn’t breastfeed and had to go on the bottle – too much planning and preparation were involved!

  102. their is a time and place for everything. but if your going to do it in public be prepared to deal with people. everyone judges and everyone will judge based on their beliefs, that’s America, and a lot of them are stupid and ignorant. Me, I have no problem. I just think it is poor choose to do it in any heavily publicized areas.

    • I appreciate that you do not have a problem with it. But please remember many breast-feeding mothers who do breastfeed in heavily publicized areas don’t do it by choice. The baby is hungry, and any mother would feed a baby that is crying out in hunger.

      • Really?? Why can people bottle feed anywhere and that is ok? Do you cover up your bottle fed baby while they eat? Breastfeeding is natural and it is opinions like this that cause an issue. You say you have no problem with it, yet you list stipulations that are contradictory to that statement.

    • Dealing with people isn’t a problem. People can judge if they want. Just keep those judgments to yourself. If you don’t like where a woman has chosen to breastfeed, avert your eyes.

      • Mike the boob lover

        So if I want to have sex on the sidewalk I can. you just need to not look right? It’s not like moms can pump milk and keep it ready for the public. I don’t care about the topic and i am glad to see boobs everywhere but at least have a good arguement.

      • You don’t understand in the slightest. First, breastfeeding is not equivalent to “having sex on the sidewalk”. It is NOT a sexual thing. If you see it as being something sexual, that is YOUR problem and not the breastfeeding mother’s problem. Also, many breastfed babies do not take bottles. I know my daughter didn’t. She would refuse to eat and scream for hours if I tried to give her a bottle of breastmilk instead of the breast. It also takes MUCH longer to pump than nurse. In order to have enough breastmilk you would literally have to be pumping for hours. Your breasts only hold so much, so if you are planning on pumping for multiple bottles, you have to let your supply replenish before pumping again. It takes a lot of time. I’m sorry but my child’s need to eat trumps your “taking offense” to seeing *OMG* *GASP* a mostly covered boob. Would you rather hear her scream and wail for hours? Oh, or maybe you would rather me just never leave the house until she’s a year old. Got it. Sorry for inconveniencing and disgusting you by nourishing my child with my dirty, vulgar breasts.

    • It’s not always the mother’s choice to nurse in public. As a mother who has nursed a child I have firsthand experience with this phenomena: there is a hormonal reaction that causes your milk to let-down when your baby starts crying. It becomes physically painful to not nurse at that point. The time is when your child is hungry and the place is wherever you’re at at that time.

      • Oh Mike the Boob Lover,
        Don’t be so ignorant. It’s even worse for a pumping mom. I recently flew to Denver and my flight was delayed over two hours.

        If i do not pump within four hours, my boobs really let me know it. They get uncomfortable and if a baby cries, not just my baby, but ANY baby, and pumping is on the brain, I’m going to be leaking and covered in milk.

        So, what were my choices? Pump in a bathroom. (Mind you, stalls don’t have outlets. I would have to STAND by the sink.) Let’s discuss the germs in a bathroom. Would you eat in there? I bet your answer is no.
        Or you can do what I did, which was cover myself as best I could and pump in the middle of a very busy terminal, because it was that or run out of milk to feed my baby or leak (and consequently waste) a whole lot of milk onto myself.

        Think peeing your pants in public is embarrassing? Milk dries dark, so even dry, people can see that little badge of shame…

        Now for reactions I get when I try my best and just can’t get to a private outlet: people judge me more harshly because like you’ve inferred, I should be able to do that at home. How dare I pull my boobs and my noisy pump out in public?

    • You missed the point, he doesn’t care what you think…Baby’s hungry

    • Patricia Mitchnick

      Guess that I am just judgmental but I find it offensive when I see a baby being bottle fed.

      • Offensive??? Many times there is a reason they are being bottle fed. Some parents either cant produce enough or the child refuses to latch on (which was my reason).

      • I had to bottle feed both of my daughters because i have Cystic breasts, which makes it excruciatingly painful to breastfeed. I did try to breast feed but i was in tears and my breasts look like some one had taken a wooden paddle and beat them to a bruised state. Don’t judge women who bottle fed either, it may be the only option they have to feed their child.

      • I guess not everyone can be the perfect Mother with the perfect breasts. Too bad I was a horrible Mother 4 years before I WAS one. I had a beast reduction removing 6 lbs of breast tissue. I was still able to nurse. … somewhat. I nursed, then pulled out the dreaded Bottle {gasp!} So my baby could finish feeding what I could not provide.
        Maybe you should be the one to write the parent handbook that we have all been desperately searching for! Because YOU apparently KNOW all the correct answers! !

      • Thats really sad, and yes, judgmental. You do realize that not everyone is CAPABLE of breastfeeding, right? It’s people like you that made me feel like a “bad mom” b/c I couldnt feed my baby. She was early, refused to latch and was losing a scary amount of her body weight. My husband had also deployed 8 hours after she was born. I was a mess, and finally I gave her formula. and she thrived 🙂 She is one of the smartest, and least sick kids in our childcare center. So, you can find it offensive all you want…but your a moron.

    • What’s poor is your grammar. How’s about before you make a statement you don’t invalidate it with the first word?

  103. This was a really great read! While not yet a mother myself, I’m in the early family planning stages and enjoy reading what others are doing and how it works for them. You never know what road you will take with your children because their individual personality and needs will dictate most of what you do, but it’s important to understand why we do what we do for them. Much love to your family!

  104. This was such a great read! While I’m not yet a mom, I’m in the early planning stages and it’s refreshing to hear your story from your perspective. There are way to many “theories” out there, when bottom line, the mother and child dictate what needs to be done. Thanks for sharing! Much love to you and your family!

  105. I have always marveled at the fact that something as natural as breastfeeding is so controversial in the US. Having breastfed six children, I have probably seen it all, including the manager of a fitness center with a child care room asking me to breastfeed in a bathroom. The bus driver is right. Baby’s hungry!

  106. I’ve nursed 3 children. I think if u nurse in public-Cover-Up!!

    • Not all babies like to be covered up. Our baby, who is currently breast feeding, prefers not to be covered. She will actually pull the covers off. Covering up is a great option, but it is not always possible. How about this, people who are complaining, just shut up and get over it. The mother is only trying to do what is best for their baby. Why should not society be trying to advocate for healthier lifestyle instead of trying to guilt mothers into something they may not want to do.

    • Why is there a huge necessity to cover up though? For morality? Isn’t feeding a child the nutrients made specifically for them the most moral thing you could do? They provide food to our child. If your child is willing to be covered up, then great. Cover it up so that others aren’t uncomfortable. if that’s what YOU want. That makes total sense, but if they aren’t covered up for personal preference or because a baby hates it, then don’t cover it up. It’s no ones choice but that mothers. There is NO reason someone should HAVE to cover up. A breastfeeding mom does not have part of her boob out to get attention or so people will look at her. It’s to feed her hungry child. Great great article.

      • I agree covering up is ridiculous; unless the mother feels more comfortable that way or if the infant is cold and likes being covered. We as a society are ridiculous we have near nude people all over the media, which is accepted or ignored. Comparing feeding a baby to sex is disgusting and repulsive and obviously a thought produced by some very sick people.

  107. Hurray for supportive men/dads! And for a fellow Guilford alum! I’m blessed to be married to a wonderful and supportive man too, who stood by me and held me up while I struggled and ultimately succeeded to breastfeed our youngest. I couldn’t have done it without him here to keep me going through the rough times.

  108. kari grabowsky, MD

    I’m a female physician who breastfeed both of my kids until 15 months. I had great diffficulty with the first, who didn’t latch well and almost gave up – but iwth the help of a wonderful lactation consultant, a Medela and a bunch of extra stuff tpaed to the side of my boob – finally succeeded. At work, I pumped in an otherwise all male medical office (thank god for sterile specimen containers!). The ‘boys’ stopped asking questions after the first one “what’s in the specimen cup?” I also nursed my first at 5 months under my race t-shirt at the end of the SF Bay-to-Breakers – the only complaint I got was from my younger sister who ran the race with me and – childless at the time – told me that it was “so grooooosssss (it was the in the early 90’s, after all)!!!!”. This would be the same sister who – after she had twins, nursed both at once without a cover on a park bench on the main path to the Breakers Mansion in Newport, RI in full view, explaining that this was “natural and wonderful, and how could anyone object?” Hahahaha….

  109. Ah-Mazing. I wish more people saw this as simply as you do. Breastfeeding mothers aren’t out to do anything other than what nature wants us to do–nurse our babies when they are hungry or maybe even just need comfort. I love this and I’m sharing it on Facebook!!!

  110. Couldn’t agree with you more!! I’m 4 months into nursing my first son and couldn’t be happier to have the ability to nurse him whenever and where ever. Even if it’s just for comfort 🙂 thanks for writing and sharing such a great post!!

  111. I Breastfeed both my girls till they both were a year old I did it everyplace, Malls, food places and I never had anyone say anything but I also covered up when I was not at home.

  112. Well said! It’s nice to hear the support from a dad. I bf my son until he was 18 months and I am currently bf my daughter (3 months). It’s a beautiful and healthy experience for both mom and child. When in public I usually feed then in the car but only because I am self conscious about having my boob out. I have also been in 2 retail outlets and both let me feed the baby in the back room while sitting in their comfy chairs. I was blessed to did such nice people. Not sure how I would have felt if they said no.
    Thanks for the post. It was a great read!

  113. Beautifully and eloquently put! Thank you for writing and sharing! My son is 28 months old and our breastfeeding relationship ain’t broke and does not need fixin’! 😉

  114. I nursed 3 babies and wish more moms would do the same. I do agree that if nursing occurs in public, just be discreet. That way, people aren’t offended and you’re not baring yourself in front of strangers. There are many ways to nurse that YOU can still see the baby and your breast to keep the baby latched properly, etc. But, I hated the thought of nursing in the bathroom… I wouldn’t eat my lunch in a bathroom… not even my own! Why should my baby?

  115. No one knows how to avert their eyes anymore, i think. My baby daddy and i joked at birth “when he is three and still nursing” never imagining that i still world be at 3, and that my views would change so much (from ewww that’s weird/gross to what do you mean stop? The WHO recommends…and practicing no ask no refuse)

  116. When breastfeeding in public I cover up for my own protection. People are perverted and I want nothing to do with giving them any nasty thoughts. I could not care less the opinions of anyone against breastfeeding. As they are not interested in what’s best for my baby. Those who don’t cover up, good for them. Every mom is different, anyone who doesn’t like it can keep walking with their mouth shut. This country is falling apart and people want to complain about moms giving their kids the best possible chance at health. Seriously…get a grip.

  117. Shelli Schmidt

    Not only am I a breastfeeding mother of an extremely happy and healthy baby boy, but I am also a young, single, mother. People already harshly judge me for me being a young mother, but when I nurse my son, I hear even worse comments. People stare, judge, make comments, but I have learned that if it what I want to do for me and my baby, I just have to brush it all off. You would be astounded to hear the comments people make and the “advice” they give. Honestly, hes my son, not yours, and you are not me. Did I have my son earlier than I should’ve? Yes, but it wasn’t planned to be this way. At least I am doing everything I possibly can to make the best of it all. I am still going to be successful and no, my child is not going to grow up poorly. I take care of my son a lot better than I have seen older people take care of their children. I wpuld really appreciate if someone would, for once, just tell me that I am doing a great job and am being mature by putting my baby first… I will get off my soap box now :)… this was a very good article, thank you for stand in up for breastfeeding mothers 🙂

    • Shelli, it sounds like you are doing a wonderful job as a mom. You must be doing something right because you said he is “happy and healthy”. Thank you for sacrificing so much, to give your baby the best life you can. Bless you!

    • Vesta McKinney

      Do what is best and right for you and your baby. There are many young women that have babies as single parents and do just fine. You said it wasn’t planned but your trying your best for you and the baby and that is all that matters. I wish you the best. Until people are perfect and don’t live in glass houses they need to leave you alone. God bless you and your baby:)

    • Sounds to me like you are indeed doing a great job and being mature by putting your baby first.

  118. Beautifully & intelligently said. Thank you from a two time toddler nursing mama.

  119. Great article. I wish my husband had been as supportive. He came from a family where it was not acceptable. I struggled with breastfeeding with no support other than from my family. I didn’t give in to the pressure from him or his family. My daughter is far healthier than most children. She nursed until almost 3. I had always said not past two but as a full time working mom, she still needed that connection at the end of the day and night. She is the least picky kid I know (I never watched what I ate while nursing). She is independent far beyond most of her peers due to being so closely bonded with me. People ask all the time how I got her to be so independent and I say by nursing as long as we did. She learned that mommy would always be there to meet her needs and give cuddles and love.
    I only breastfed in public when not with my husband due to his lack of comfort. My daughter hated to be covered up, so I wore two layers so I never showed any skin. It worked for us and other than my husband, I never had any one make comments to me.

  120. Chasity Jenkins

    I am very much for breast feeding. I tried to breast feed my oldest son but due to blood/fluid loss and a transfusion my body just wouldn’t cooperate. (Before his birth I ate all the right foods and only ate what would give me the best milk.) I felt like I failed my newborn son because I couldn’t give him the nutrition he deserved and needed. When my second son was born… I nursed him until he was 18 months and then he actually decided he wasn’t going to nurse and wanted to use a cup! It was an easy transition.

  121. I nursed nine children, most of them for over two years…I nursed everyewhere – at malls, at church, at lectures. That being said, I NEVER had to overly expose myself…nor did I use one of those stifling cover things. It takes a tad bit of planning to wear the right clothing..let’s face it, ladies, you won’t be wearing one piece dresses for two years or more. Wear a tshirt and skirt or pants..pull up tshirt, that’s it. Granted, with all the photos of half-naked women displayed in malls, a woman pulling out her breast to let the baby latch on shouldn’t offend anybody, but you have to use a bit of tact and planning so it doesn’t all “hang out.”

  122. My daughter just turned 18 mths and we are still breast feeding 2 times a day (more if she is sick) at nap time and bedtime. We are slowly transitioning to a bed time cup. But in the beginning I hid in dressing rooms, I once hid in a bathroom at a restaurant until I got so angry I sad to hell with this and went to my truck and recently I escaped a football party because I was afraid of the looks or comments I would receive for nursing my 18 mth old. I hate that I feel the need to hide this awesome moment from people I don’t know or care to know but I do. My whole support system for breast feeding were my Mother in law and her mother and neither breast fed, and they just made me feel awkward. My mother and sisters did breast feed and they could only offer support by phone,and my lactation consultant was amazing but she could never get me over that scared hump. Now that she is older I can only say that people are rude and ignorant so I just avoid the conflict.

  123. Personally, and also as a mother of two young children, so much comes down to how a person decides to behave.

    I have quietly seen females feeding their children, some nursing some on the bottle, no fuss, quiet, peaceful, respectful.

    Then there are others who have to make a ‘song and dance’ about it. Make loud announcements, pop their breast out for all to see, not even an attempt to cover up. Make a loud production of it.

    Going to the toilet is natural, I don’t want to see it. Having sex is natural, I don’t want to watch it. Full happy marks to the lovely mums who quietly take loving care of their beautiful children, feeding, nuturing, caring for their precious child. To the noisy mums who want to be noticed, take a lesson from your quiet counter parts, with harmony, respect and dignity they achieve so many wonderful things.

  124. I’m not yet a mother… so obviously I can not speak from experience… but I am very uncomfortable even wearing a low-cut top in public so I’m sure when the time comes I will try to find as private a place as I can to breast feed. That being said, I think people these days are a little TOO comfortable speaking their mind and need to learn to shut their mouths and mind their own business. I would never say anything about a mother breastfeeding in my store… and I would readily offer up a dressing room to allow them a private place to do so. Also, I think businesses and government offices alike are too busy trying to avoid hurt feelings and offending people. The customer is NOT always right and just because one jerkwad is “offended” by something they see.. I would not ask someone to leave or cover up… I would tell the complainer THEY could leave if they were “uncomfortable”.

  125. Andrew Thompson

    I will literally get into fights with people for saying my wife should go to the bathroom to breast feed. No one takes their dinner and places it on the toilet for them so why should my young daughter or son have to? It’s ridiculous and ignorant.

  126. I nursed my first child for 4 1/2 years. When he was 2 I gave birth to my daughter and nursed her for 3 years…I nursed both children in the same time period for 2 1/2 years…total nursing time 5 years.

    Doctors told me I was cheating the baby and could have interuterine (sp) retardation when I was pregnant with my second child and continued to nurse my first. I told them…baby gets first, toddler gets second and I get last and I am fine. I gained 50lbs with each pregnancy. Every one was fine, just fine.

    9 years after my first child I had a third child and nursed her for 4 years…total nursing time…9 years. It took 1 year to dry up. Funny thing, my first two children saw me nursing their sister for the first time and told me it was gross. Kids are funny.

    I nursed when they were hungry, in the grocery line while checking out, malls, schools etc. No one ever bothered me. The years were 1978 to 1983 and 1987 1991.


  127. B.L.Marshall, Hickey

    Jenny, I agree with a lot of what you are saying. I to have come to believe the breast to be sexual organ, but not from independent thinking… I was taught that. We as a society created that aspect. Just turn on your T.V. set, I’m sure you get my meaning. Breasts have been turned into objects of sex and arousal…don’t get me wrong, I like mine, and so does my husband. They are definitely useful in arousal as you would say, and I agree. But look at the facts.

    We in fact are mammals. Take a dog, or cow, or pick one, either way, those mammals use their udders, tits, or what have you, for nursing their young. We are no different. I don’t believe, I have ever seen a male dog, cow, horse, etc… use the female of the species “breast” as a sexual tool for arousal or otherwise. I certainly believe, they were not made for that purpose. I believe society in general has attached that stigma.

    I won’t even delve into the whole religion aspect, I wouldn’t want to offend anyone. Because, God forbid, I should offend…and there lies the problem. Someone is always offended by something.

    If you, male or female, can’t handle the sight of a woman’s breast feeding an infant and are unable to differentiate between, “SEXUAL ORGAN” or “MOTHER BREAST FEEDING”, or even, control yourself, feel disgusted, or aroused by the sight….Well, YOU clearly have the issue. You probably need to look away, leave the area, or perhaps YOU should cover your head with that blanket.

    I for one, as a mother and grandmother of 5, will teach my grandchildren to know and understand the difference. Not to judge, or criticize, to be tolerant of others… Hopefully, when they get older and become parents themselves, my words will have made a difference… Teach your children folks, what a better society we’d have.

    • I enjoyed reading your commentary as much as the article itself. I wanted to make that “social sexualization” of breast point, but now I don’t have to. The boob is a body part…. no grosser or weird than our arm or nose.

  128. Maybe when you talk about the benefits you could say ‘school age and beyond’, a bit like the WHO wording? I don’t think there’s any evidence that immune benefits suddenly stop?

  129. I bfed my first till he was 3 1/2, still in public. I had had a few woman complain over the years mostly that I wouldn’t cover up, but not much showed. Neither of my boys would let me cover them up(do t like hats either). One lady complain at IHOP and had the manager come out and he said “I’m sorry, it if that is making you uncomfortable you should move your seat. He then preceded to tell me that my meal was not he house and he was sorry for the disruption.

  130. You sound like my husband! I love it! Currently pregnant and still nursing my 27 month old daughter, and proud of it! Happy Nursing to all and to all a good night.

  131. Breast feeding is hard. Great example: You’er out to dinner with in-laws plus church members at a Habatchi restaurant. Baby is hungry because it’s dinner time. Baby is a new born, learning to nurse. She won’t take a bottle and the family is super Conservative. It is a very awkward situation. You go to the bathroom, in hopes to get baby settled in her sling so you can have a bite of your food because if you don’t eat soon your going to faint. The bathroom is tiny and people keep knocking on the door for their turn, including your new mother in-law( to see if she can help of course). You get baby latch on in her sling and come back to the table. All twenty people stare at you while you sit down. The chef finally lights the fire on the grill. It scares the baby to death and you have to start the process all over again. This is why you get tried of hiding and just nurse baby at the table or don’t go out for dinner.

  132. One of my friends decided it was okay to breast feed her daughter at my wedding reception where she was sitting at the edge of the dance floor. I can see her doing in my pictures. We had provided a comfortable area near the ladies room where she could have breast fed (which was not in the middle of my reception). She should just have been more respectful (especially since we asked that it be an adults only reception).

  133. I love this post. I found it a great read. Im not a mother, but have several sisters and friends who are. Ive seen both covered up and non covered up breastfed babies. This whole “nursing in public is bad” thing has a simple fix. Our church and our mall where i live both have “Mothers Rooms” with 2 or 3 nice comfy chairs and ottomans. If more public places offered these rooms it would be less of an issue for those that dont like to see it in public. Sorry people. but if you dont like it, stop complaining and create a solution. The solution is Mothers Rooms.

  134. I am currently BF my 8 month old daughter. I have found out that I am pregnant again and was told that I need to wean her. I am going to start weaning her around 10 1/2 months but that is when I am choosing. I cover-up in public but that is because I am uncomfortable. When I do feed her in public and my boyfriend is with me he helps me get her latched on and she is fine when she is covered. I have never had anyone tell me to go somewhere else to feed. My dad once told me to “hurry up” because he thought that my aunt would be uncomfortable with me BF her. I told him that I was fine and that I was going to be covered up anyways. We were outside watching a parade and I didn’t want to miss anything. All in all it was fine and no one said anything to me after that.

    • Hi, Elizabeth. You don’t need to wean when pregnant. However, your milk may change or become less plentiful. Plenty of moms continue nursing through pregnancy. If you want to wean, that is fine, but you don’t NEED to wean.

  135. Reblogged this on Circadian Rhythms: Home Edition and commented:
    I’m reading this very touching article as I’m nursing my 11 month old. Whether they realize it or not, the daddies really do make a huge impact on the success of breastfeeding. If it weren’t for the support of my own husband, I know that I would have never made it this far in my breastfeeding journey with our Sprout. Especially not working full-time outside of our home. So, kudos to all the pro-breast feeding daddies out there. Your words of encouragement will go much farther than you could ever imagine!

  136. People are uncomfortable with seeing breastfeeding because we have changed the female body into nothing but a sexual body..when it obviously was made for producing, birthing and nursing a child. If everyone still thought breasts were for feeding children, no one would be offended. Unfortunately, breasts are seen as a sexual object ONLY. Sexual things offend people. (like the article said, it ranks up there with public masturbation) When people view breasts for their natural purpose, we will stop seeing people complain. Sadly, that will probably not happen.

  137. Reblogged this on lil honey dreams and commented:
    I had to share this before I forget. (First shared by WIO mom in the Facebook group.)

  138. Great article. Thanks from a nurse-midwife and lactation specialist.

  139. I love public breastfeeding. I can look at big swollen boobs in pubic. +1

  140. I nursed all three of my kids, the oldest for 24 mos, the middle child for 18 mos and the youngest for 3 mos( I had medical issues and couldn’t continue). I nursed them wherever I had too. I didn’t care what people thought. I got some dirty stares but that just ignorance. Breastfeeding is an incredible experience, and perfectly natural.

  141. Im laughing to myself at some of these comments. So ill put my two sense in : my daughter is eighteenth months and im nursing. But regardless I would feel the same about this. I don’t feel a nursing mother should have to cover. After all walk in the mall u will see far worst than a mother feeding her child. The ways girls dress now a days more cleavage than needed ass cheeks hanging out jeez u have ur little couples practically having sex in.public and pple have the nerve to come against mothers nursing and not being covered! I say get the eff over it pple. Its a natural thing!

  142. The US is soooo close minded. In Europe this isn’t a issue. It’s on here in the US that people have an issue with a mother providing nourishment to there child. Come on people is a breast and a nipple… Grow up! Instead of attach breastfeeding woman focus on the ill behave youth of America that lack respect for elders!

  143. Okay. Everyone is completely missing the point. If you want everyone to feel comfortable with you breastfeeding in public, you need to focus on normalizing BREASTS in public. Danielle sort of hit on this, but honestly, if it were perfectly legal for women to walk around with their breasts hanging out, this wouldn’t even be an issue. If you notice, the “other cultures” people reference (like in the picture in the article) are ones who have no laws about public display of breasts.
    The reason I have a problem with people nursing in public without being covered up is that it seems totally crazy and illogical that women are not allowed to display their boobs in ANY other context legally (even in stripping a lot of times they have to have their nipples covered).
    And if it bothers other people to see your boob hanging out, then you need to respect their feelings. (I’m not talking about being covered up. There is no problem with that because you are still legally not exposing yourself.)
    My husband gets freaked out when he even sees women’s pregnant bellies on facebook and immediately deletes that friend. In my humble opinion, if you wouldn’t show it off without having a baby in it or on it (tummy or boob) then why do you think it’s ok to show it off just because you are a mother? This doesn’t follow logic. It should either be okay all the time (mother or not) or never ok. Pick one.
    And you know what else I find funny? If a lot of those moms who have no problem taking pictures of almost ALL of their breast and flashing it all over social media saw a lady in a “sexy” dress that showed off quite a bit less boob but definitely some cleavage…. guess who would be the judgemental party there!

  144. Bravo. Nicely put.

  145. I nursed my 4 children over a nine year period. My oldest is now 38 and the youngest is now 31. I got support from my grandparents generation because they were accustomed to seeing women nursing everywhere when they were young. Bottle feeding was not as common as it was for my parent’s generation. I nursed everywhere, the beach, restaurants, and stores. I think people are more prudish about breastfeeding now than they were all of those years ago. I can never understand the warped American view of women’s breasts as being a sex object and not connected to their actual purpose on a woman’s body, to feed babies.

  146. I breast fed all my 3 until they were all 18months & see the benefits. I understand there may be some that may find breast-feeding ‘offensive’ to their eyes but what of the hungry baby? Look away. Would you deny your child food because it offends people? To hell with those idiots! Be as discreet as your child will allow & frankly tell them to piss off! I really thought this article was fantastic & from a male point of view! Xx

  147. GetYourNumsOn

    My son would never take breast milk or any other kind of milk (or formula) from a bottle or a cup. Now a 21 month old he is going to occupational therapy because we can’t get him to eat enough solids. . . In order to ever leave the house we have to bf quite frequently while out and about. So if we are getting in the car we can bf there. But if we aren’t we do it wherever we happen to be. If we didn’t I could never run my household errands and take him to the park for some fun. Feeding him before I leave is a given, but a liquid diet doesn’t last long before you want more. I have fed him anywhere and everywhere we go. On a train or on a plane, at the bar or in a car, if you simply wish to stare you may see us anywhere – well you get the idea. It shocks me that some people would expect me not to feed him when he’s hungry! He has refused to be covered since about 4 months old so we are as discreet as you can be with a toddler crying for nummies. I have gotten lots of looks from embarrassed people. I gave up being apologetic or embarrassed a long time ago. Baby’s hungry!

  148. ok so for anyone that is offended by breastfeeding and not covering up please next time you eat at a restaurant please cover up your head so no one can see you!! I would never cover my babies head while she is nursing I want to see her just as much as she wants to me!! If you don’t like it walk away or just don’t look simple as that!

  149. Amazing and insightful article!! Really opens your mind to what breastfeeding is truly all about.

  150. I had my three babies from 1976-1981. I nursed all three, anywhere they were hungry. I always draped a baby blanket over my shoulder, but never once was I made to feel like I was doing something wrong. My third child nursed until she was three, mainly because I knew she was my last and I didn’t want to stop.

  151. Wonderfully written. I 100% believe in what you have said. I am now BFing twins and quit with first at 18 months. Breastfeeding is between a mother and a child and no one else. It’s that simple. I heard grief from my sister, mother and husband on length of time nursing and was made to feel I was hurting my child’s development by nursing after 12 months. Comments like, when are you going to stop and why don’t you stop nursing so you can be a parent. It’s ridiculousness that society has gotten to them.

  152. I have four beautiful and very Healthy children. All of them were bottle/formula fed. Not by choice. I have Pituitary problems and could not produce enough milk to keep my big babies full enough. I used breast milk banks for my son that was born a month early. I was very grateful for those women that donated. I have been judged by not breast feeding my babies. I admire women that can, but please don’t judge those that can’t!

  153. I’m not a big fan of public breastfeeding, but I am a big fan of malls that are foresighted enough to provide a nursing room. When my daughter was small (she’s now 23 and I’m a grandmother), I had a favourite mall in the city we were living in. It was huge and all one level, so I could walk for miles with her in the stroller and not have to worry about finding an elevator to get to another level. The big bonus was it also had a nursing room. It was clean and quiet, away from the main traffic areas and had a sink with a large counter – room to change the baby and wash up after. There were two chairs separated by a divider, so you could have privacy if someone else was also nursing in there at the same time. I thought it was wonderful because I’m not the type to feel comfortable exposing my breast in public. My daughter would also fling off anything I tried to cover up with. I breastfed her until she was nearly two.

  154. Jessica Miller

    Well said. I’m still breastfeeding a three year old cuz it works and she’s my last. I am Aldo a strong believer in attachment parenting because it feels natural… instinctual… and right.

  155. Women just can’t win, can they? :-/

  156. Wow! Give this dad a medal!!!!!!! Matter of fact, factual, supportive yet not “lactovist” – love that term! Acknowledges some women actually can’t breast feed and is aware of being non-judgemental….but what a positive, affirmative article…I repeat, this dad deserves some recognition!

  157. Anna Wassenaar

    I breastfed both my kids. The first, in 1972, for only 3 months (at age 18, with NO problems on her or my part) because I had no support from family & acquaintences. The second came almost 19 years later. He had a receding jaw & had a very difficult time latching, & he was a “lazy sucker” ~ I tried EVERYTHING, including a feeding tube at the breast to provide instant gratification: the little bugger bypassed my nipple at every opportunity & let that milk dribble in through the tube! After 4 weeks, his jaw realligned itself & he became a champion nurser. He nursed until he was past his 3rd birthday. And guess what? He’s a fine, upstanding adult and has never had any fear of people, places, or situations, & has no fascination (or aversion) to boobs in general. (his mother’s specifically? yes. as it should be)

    Thank you for writing this article. I whole-heartedly agree!

  158. Rock on Baby Daddy! I’m in line 100%. I love my wife and adore her for what she’s able to offer our daughter. Norah’s hungry. 🙂

  159. Awesome post Baby Daddy! I love my wife and adore her for all she does for our daughter. The beginning was tough, but the happiness that exudes from my little girl is priceless. Norah’s hungry!

  160. I love this bit. Sums the whole debate up: “A nursing baby is so much more pleasant than a cranky, hungry baby. Don’t want to see it? That’s simple: Don’t look.”
    I only had one baby (ten years ago) and I breastfed her. It took two long days for her to learn how to latch properly, and as the writer says, having to regularly readjust was a common occurrence. Full breasts make it difficult for a baby to breathe, so it was understandable.
    It was hard sometimes, as my baby’s father wasn’t comfortable with ‘public’ feeding, but if small children can drink from a juice box, and adults a can of drink, that means a baby can have a breast in my book. That’s why we women have them.
    My baby didn’t like bottles or sippy cups with expressed milk, only the breast. We tried, it was really hard for my poor mum who offered to babysit so I could have a night out, but I didn’t try again until she was a little older, and I didn’t stay away as long.
    There were occasions she’d have a formula, but that didn’t attract her until after the first 18 months. We gave up the breast feeding at 22months only because she was disinterested.
    Breastfeeding was great. No sterilising, no carting water and powder, no needing to ensure it was the correct temperature. Aside from having a super healthy baby that entire time, I still have a healthy and robust pre-teen.
    Best part of all it cost me very little. I had to sacrifice vanity as I didn’t lose all the baby-weight until I stopped feeding, and during that time all I needed to do was make sure I drank enough water, didn’t drink too much alcohol (which you don’t do as a new mum anyway – hello hangover and screaming baby at 430am) and eat a balanced diet.
    I can’t imagine what it must be like for the mums who want to feed and find they can’t, or the mums who want to and feel they’re unable to due to peer pressure. Try your hardest to feed I say, because it is so much less stress if you can, once you can, and it allows you time to bond with your child.
    It’s not a walk in the park every time, but no parent I’ve ever met experiences that anyway.

  161. I too nursed all three of my children! The first two I did not nurse as long as I wanted too: just three months each. My last child though I nursed until he was four as he was my last one. As he got older he basically nursed at night or to go to sleep. I probably would have nursed him until he went to school but both sides of my family at them time kept saying ” Isn’t he a little old to still be nursing?” Needless to say I gave in top the “pressure” but he was ready and did not miss it when I stopped! They will let you know when they are ready. My daughter now has her first child and is nursing and will nurse for as long as he wants and I will be the one to stand by her side and encourage her on!

  162. Wow well said, sir! I have been asked how old is too old (and specifically about the Time cover). My answer is always that it’s none of my business or anyone else’s business. When you start putting rules on this you are telling mothers there is something wrong with what they are doing, that their breasts are only for men to find pleasure, that we will only tolerate within limits. Baby’s hungry!!! I love that! (proud breastfeeding mom to 4)

  163. This story has some valid points but seriously, any store change room is for women to try on garments, not breastfeed. Writing about it so that ‘it goes viral’ is just plain egocentric and disrespectful – not only of the store manager, but other breast feeding mothers who do not walk around with a sense of entitlement that they can breastfeed anytime, anywhere. Its people like that that give breastfeeding Mums a bad name. There are places for women to feed their babies if they are too embarrassed to do it in public.

    • That’s the problem, there aren’t private places (in public) My mall doesn’t have a mothers room. My option for privacy is the bathroom. When my baby needs to nurse at the mall, we pop a squat on a bench and eat. I’m not taking my baby to the bathroom to have his lunch. I’m not one to let others opinions bother me, for a more modest mother, a bench in the middle of the mall may be too much.

      • Besides babies, who else is made to eat in the bathroom? I nursed everywhere and most remarks were positive. “Baby’s getting a snack.”
        Just keep a light weight blanket on hand to cover yourself. No big deal.;

  164. Great article! I’m a proud attachment mama to a 23 month nursing daughter. She’s definitely old enough to ask for it and has brought my nursing cover to me at times when she feels I’m just “not getting it”. I wouldn’t trade our nursing relationship for the world! It’s helped her through bumps and bruises and sickness and so much more! We’re happy cosleepers, too! We’ve tried letting her just sleep in her own room before, but the hubby and I couldn’t sleep, so we kinda ditched that idea. And, seriously, if the general public is SO worried about how we can still be intimate with a child in the bed… There are ways (and other rooms of the house), we just have to get creative.

  165. Wonderful read! It amazes me how taboo breastfeeding is, even though it is THE most natural thing. It’s not like I’m whipping out both breasts while feeding my baby…

  166. Here, here! It’s refreshing to read a father’s take on the subject. I BF my six-month-old daughter and won’t cover her up — unless she’s too distracted to focus on the task at hand. In other words, I defer to the needs of my hungry child, not to some Puritanical idea of what is decent or not. Thank you for the great read!

  167. Thanks for this, Dad. I’m thankful that nursing has worked for my son and me. You are right that it has not always been easy, but it has been so worth it. He is approaching his third birthday, and still wants (and gets) “more milk.” Living in Eastern NC, this is pretty much absurd. Many people (family members included) are shocked that I have never spent a night away from him. He goes where I go, even if that means to a conference or on our 10th wedding anniversary trip. The way I see it, he WANTS to be with me/us now. That won’t always be the case. Why push him away? Thanks again for your article.

  168. Yes, thank you! That last paragraph rocked.

  169. Best breast feeding article I’ve read to date. AMEN and thank you for giving a voice to those who can’t speak up, and opening up a platform for debate for those who can.

  170. Those who care don’t matter and those who matter don’t care.


  172. Before I became a father I was apathetic to the whole “issue” of breastfeeding in public. Now that I’m a father (of a 3 week old baby girl) I can see myself getting downright angry if someone says something negative or complains about any mother breastfeeding in public. Great article!

    • My husband loves to stand guard and just dare anyone to try to say anything or look at me funny. lol Good job Daddy!

  173. Colleen Radebaugh

    Thank you for this article, I hope it is read and shared over and over. I nursed all 4 of our children and my husband was my strength when some people would say the mean things people with no understanding would say. I too believe the whole country is too sexed up and too mixed up right now. I worry for my grandchildren, but then they have wonderful parents who also stick up for the right to “feed the baby, baby’s hungry”. Thanks

  174. I breast fed for as long as I could with my two daughters and enjoyed it and it created a fantastic bond between us.
    But I will be honest – BF past the baby age ( your last comment states: “Baby’s hungry”) makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. Both my little girls weaned themselves around the 10-12 month mark and were happy and healthy going forward on cows milk. Seeing a 3 year old walk up to mum at a shopping mall and ask for milk and mum lets her breast out and feeds just doesn’t feel quite ok. The basic need for nutrition isn’t there anymore so at that point it feels … Uncomfortable.

  175. Excellent article-pops

  176. Beautiful! 🙂

  177. I posted this on my FB page and they removed it and sent me a warning that if I continue to post obscene or hateful items my account will be disabled. What is up with that?

  178. To the people who feel “UNcomfortable” seeing a mother feed her baby past a year? GET OVER IT..It isn’t your decison as to whether it isn’t for nutrition or NOT..Matter of fact? Google IT..Cow milk isn’t good for any of us..Which explains why alot of people are lactose intolerant..Black folks that is; but that is another topic for another time..If you don’t want to SEE a mom breast feed her baby at ANY age? Close your eyes! And as far as places not letting a mother feed her baby; but taking her cash for purchases? Quite honestly I would flat out ask for a refund..ONLY in America do we have such RETARDED outlook on feeding a baby; yet PORN is a billion dollar industry..That is twisted! Anyways major major props to the Daddy who wrote this piece..Excellent outlook and congrats on having a healthy baby..Your baby won’t have allergies or any of the other issues children don’t have to have; IF their Mom breastfeeds. 2 thumbs UP..I wouldn’t be surprised if a woman next sues a place for denying her right to FEED her child..(and I wish I was the judge on the bench to get the case)

    • @ bernasvibe:
      Honestly, I’m so tired of people that have a need of shouting in comments just to make their point.
      Now, you might be absolutely fine with breast feeding anywhere at anytime and completely in the open at any age. Well , I’m not and I don’t think that I should have to apologise for that or “get over it”. We are all different and have different views and emotions regarding different things.
      To me there is no need to openly bring out my breast for whatever reason in open public. That us my choice – I don’t go topless on the beach or show my breasts in any other situation. I don’t stare at bread feeding women nor do I judge but if I’m sitting somewhere and a mum sits down in front of me and starts to breast feed should I then turn away or walk away to show respect? It is a shared space and if you choose to sit in a spot where there is high traffic you will get looked at and if you choose to show your breasts then you will get a reaction. The feeding time is a pleasant and private moment and I always chose to sit a bit away from main public areas to get that peace for my baby so she could eat in a quiet moment and where I was relaxed as well. I have never fed any of my girls in a toilet – anywhere.
      As for bigger kids breast feeding – that is my right to have an opinion about it and I don’t feel comfortable about – I find it weird that when a child walks up to mummy and asks for milk and then sits on the lap in a crossing over position and has a little snack and a bit of a play with the breast… I’m sorry I can’t see the beneficiary nutritional aspect there and I’m pretty sure a majority agrees with me. That us why so many people react on it so strongly.
      Babies should be fed anywhere at anytime without anyone having any opinions and if there could be an issue cover up the breast with top or blanket and avoid situations. We could all wish for a perfect works but it isn’t so get over that as well and live with it. It is a shared space for everybody and everyone needs to be respected.

      • People react so strongly because they feel they’ve a right too..Americans are very hypocritical.This is just one topic that proves it all too much..We will all pay for it in the long run..Peace

      • “We are all different and have different views and emotions regarding different things.”

        Yes, everyone is entitled to respectful behavior towards them. But it sounds like you think only your preferences should be respected. I prefer for people to breastfeed without hiding or coping with a squirmy child who’s having trouble. Why won’t you respect that?

        If a majority agrees with you, and medicine, nutrition, and health experts don’t, the majority is wrong.

        So, with no shouting whatever, I reiterate: get over yourself.

  179. Your article is very well written and gives great insight into a subject most don’t think about or, possibly, overthink. It’s nice to see a father’s view. I especially agree with the statement that we look down on someone who breastfeeds ‘too long’. I do think whenever the child is gaining nutrition from food, there is no longer a need for breastfeeding as food, but if it helps in bonding I understand it.

    The only disagreement I have is the part about public breastfeeding. There’s nothing that prevents the mother from covering herself with a light blanket. Even if she does not want to cover the child’s face for ‘bonding’ reasons, she can put a small blanket over her exposed breast.

    • I agree with you on most of your opinion, but – honestly – have you ever tried breastfeeding a baby or toddler with your breast covered? I’ve tried a couple times-with a scarf, blanket, jacket, you name it… My child wouldn’t have any of it-even when she was only 3 months old. And I was left more uncovered as if I hadn’t even bothered. So nice idea in theory – but not very useful in reality. And by the way, I’m still breastfeeding my 18 month old girl because she needs it emotionally, definately not nutritionally. But as the author above has so beautifuuly laid out for everyone to understand-I’m doing my child a huge favor! For bonding, growing up feeling loved and cared for, and – a lit of people forget about that- for her health!
      So if you want, keep your opinion but no one should ever be ashamed of breastfeeding – anywhere, anytime and you should be allowed to show at least as much cleavage as in a Vict….. Secr… ad.

  180. This is a wonderful post. Thank you so much.

  181. There are way too many laws and yet this breast feeding debate is all about spilled milk. Shouldn’t the baby best interest be put forth this debate? Breast milk is the start to a healthy baby, and healthy babies eat regularly around the clock and this clock goes off in the finest, strangest and the most awkward places, so….people and law makers, deal with reality it’s apart of life

  182. Wow! This article is wonderful. Thank you for bringing the issue up and for presenting it very intelligently. It makes me appreciate and respect mothers more.

  183. What a beautiful world we would live in if it were as simple as not looking; no prejudice. Would be nice if it was realistic.

  184. Absolutely wonderful, and with nothing else to add I give you a slow clap!

  185. Great read! I don’t know what it is about nursing in public that makes it such a topic. But I do sort of oddly get it from both sides. I nursed my daughter and my twins. I am 100 percent for it. The nursing bond was alive and strong here. Hungry baby- feed it. But I will say even as a nursing mom it is sort of odd to walk in on another Mom trying to nurse her baby. I have hands on helped friends with their babies, so it isn’t that I haven’t ” been around” other ladies and their babies. But there is sort of a “oh sorry to interrupt” feeling when suddenly faced with it. Kind of like walking in on someone in the bathroom. Its like a basic need and also a private moment. But mothers should be free to mother! And Fathers are the backbone of a healthy Mother baby bond so good for you!

  186. This is such a good post and the fact that it was written by a man makes it even better! I should have just stopped at reading your post and skipped reading the comments section. So many of those have made me sad and fearful for our future generations. Comparing breastfeeding to urinating and defecating is just terrible. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  187. Reblogged this on Mindful Musings at Midlife and commented:
    That this was written by a dad made my heart grown 3 sizes bigger!

  188. Beautiful. I have a husband that I’ve always loved intensely but it wasn’t until he chose to be such an active part of the whole experience of our first child that I loved him like I do today. One more kid later and it was nothing for him to ask “are your nipples still sore? Do you want me to get you the booby ice packs?”. He was the first to ward off any negative looks or acts when I breasted in public.

    Breast feeding is incredibly complicated and all involving. Thank you for crediting it as such. And that you for being the kind of man that understands lactation specialists definitely deserve capes! I’m definitely sharing this one!

  189. Beautiful written and perfect as I would have wrote the same thing. I am reposting this for my fertility/mom community.

  190. Trying to be natural in an all unnatural environment is difficult if not impossible. I breastfed both my children, the second one for two and a half years. I tried not to do it in public because I did not want to be stared at. Why do people stare? Because they are curious. And is not that natural too?

  191. Okay, when did breastfeeding ever become wrong? All three of us siblings were breastfed by our mother until we’re 2 years of age. In fact, that’s exactly what the baby milk ads say most of the time.

    I’m a newly married, but do not intend to get pregnant until I move with my husband in the US; however, I do intend to breastfeed my future kids because that’s what I’ve been accustomed to in our Filipino culture.

    This post deserves to be Freshly Pressed, by the way!

  192. Wow this is quite a revelation for me! I come from a country where it is absolutely unacceptable to feed in public so that was never an option. Then I moved to Canada. And in my one-year stay, I have nursed absolutely everywhere! buses, malls, restaurants etc. But yes, I am very quiet about the whole deal and quick. Also, I have an awesome nursing poncho that covers me from all angles. Having said that, I never thought people in Canada or the West generally would have problems with public breast feeding and for that reason I was not at all conscious or uncomfortable. After reading this I may just be worried for a min, but then, a hungry baby is a hungry baby, so who cares! If someone has a problem,well its a problem they’ll have to solve on their own.

  193. youngggmommma

    Awesome! Couldn’t have said it better myself. I love your perspective.

  194. Fantastic post!! And that mall cartoon shows exactly how crazy it is to stop women from breastfeeding in public places. When I did a post about this very same subject on my blog, I got a very special comment from a fellow blogger(Noelle Vignola), and I quote, “I just don’t get it. We all love babies. We all love breasts. It’s okay seeing a baby fed, it’s okay seeing just a breast, but put the two together and suddenly it’s disturbing? Children dying in Africa from starvation and malnutrition is disturbing. Sometimes I think we are completely lacking in awareness or even more, what words actually mean. I read a quote today by Osho on my Facebook page: ‘The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others, and the moment you are unafraid of the crowd, you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.’ Seems to me Gisele is a beautiful lion…”

  195. Reblogged this on Kluvna toppar – Tess' memoarer and commented:
    How crazy is it ppl think breast feeding is wrong? A really good input by a very clever dad! “Baby’s hungry”! Well written 👍👏

  196. Brilliant! Me being Swedish find this interesting how some ppl in the us are so ignorant.. Very well written 👍
    Breast feeding is as natural as drinking water.
    It’s time to let mothers actually be mothers not forced to hide while feeding a child!
    “Baby’s hungry”

  197. One thing about breast feeding – nothing changes. We encountered exactly the same discussions and prejudices over thirty years ago when we breast-fed our children (my wife did the actual mechanics whilst i did all those other things dads do – as you point out, it is a team effort). Well done on a thoughtful post. Cheers, Tony

  198. I get your point. or points. Natural is in. And it is a baby. It is hungry. Case closed.

  199. Great post. As a breastfeeding mother of two thank you for speaking out. Both my boys refused to be covered when feeding. They liked the options of looking around and seeing what is going on in the world. To make things worse, both of them liked to take a break to roll back and look across the room/mall/restaurant to smile at whoever might be passing. So, being modest, and very aware of the judgmental attitudes around me, I have become an expert at nursing in the car, while parked discreetly away from other cars. Or, scheduling my excursions out of the house around feeding times so that it isn’t a problem. This is best for my child. Why am I always concerned with what everyone else in thinking? Once again, thank you.

  200. great blog post! i was a nursing mom…years ago…to three kids, so i saw the gamut of not wanting to be covered. latching issues, the noisy eater, all of it. i loved nursing. yes it was a means to nourish my child etc, and it was a bonding time for me and my kids. it was also cost effective, less stuff to pack in a diaper bag, you know all of that stuff. i tried to be discreet and covered, tried to be private about it, but when you add that second and third child a lot of that stuff flies out the window. but i would like to say a word about women who dont breastfeed. oftentimes this choice is made not out of desire not to breastfeed but out of necessity. not enough milk, baby just cant get the hang of it, baby was in the hospital too long after birth and breastfeeding just didnt work. i have seen these women belittled and berated for this choice time and again. i would just like to suggest thay unless you know that moms story, like the breastfeeding mom and where or how she chooses to feed, it is best to be supportive and keep opinions to oneself.

  201. Reblogged this on iconobaptist and commented:
    Interesting blog post on all of the various controversies involved with nursing your baby (and you thought it was going to be a relaxing thing!!! LOL!).

  202. HalleuYah! Thank you for sharing!! Yahweh bless…

  203. Great post! Nice to hear a man’s opinion & support.

  204. Reblogged this on Coiled Glory and commented:
    I was so impressed with the insight of this blog post that I am re-blogging it!! Add to that that it was a man who posted it and not a breastfeeding mama brings it home for me. I know how I feel. I breastfeed. but I truly value the insight found here from someone indirectly familiar with the direct and indirect repercussions of feeding ones child.

    I recently met a woman who was nursing her 32 month old daughter. I, at the time was new to nursing and my first reaction was “what in the world would possess you to do that”. The thought of all those teeth and a walking, talking person hanging from a breast was more than my narrow mind had bothered to think. I admit it. I had jokes about breastfeeding in college. What… it was funny. Don’t judge me. And there it is right there. Don’t judge me. For feeding my child. For doing it the way God intended. for Giving my child the best nutritional, emotional and physical start to this life that I can manage to give. For sacrificing time out with friends, personal space, and perky breasts. Don’t judge me. This woman’s child has more than nutrition. Before having this child, I could not have imagined breastfeeding without a cover in public. Yeah, well I can now more than imagine it. I have never been offended by a woman’s breast but I have been taken-aback. I don’t come from a breastfeeding family. Now my family knows that if they visit I will feed my hungry child. They are welcomed to leave, sit in another room, go for a walk or ignore it. Whatever. If I am still able to breastfeed after 12 months and the ‘Wee One’ is still interested then… Don’t Judge Me. The baby is hungry.

  205. Perfect!!

  206. Reblogged this on A Twist of Oliver and commented:
    It’s always refreshing to read a non-mothers take on the issue of nursing in public/extended nursing like this. I am still nursing my 8-month-old (with no end in sight), and am already receiving shocked looks when nursing him in public. Not so common with a tiny infant, but there’s something about a big ole baby in a woman’s lap using his own hands to position her breast, that makes people just squirm. I use a cover as a personal preference, but it’s unfortunate that society has made me feel like I have to. I would not be comfortable without it, so more power to the women who are!

  207. jonesingaround

    Interesting. I am about to become a mother again. 10 year gap between children. I couldn’t breastfeed my first due to complications. I am hoping to be able to breastfeed baby number 2. I never really gave it a thought that breast feeding may offend people. I guess maybe they weren’t breast fed as a child lol

  208. If baby is on a bus and hungry there’s always an electric breast pump for such occasions. Breast milk can keep in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for two months. I don’t think there should be a law prohibiting breast feeding in public; but it would be nice if the consideration went both ways.

  209. Interesting post and comments.
    It is medical fact that breast milk is best for babies. It is also medical fact that after 12 months of age the child is not getting any “nourishment” from breast milk that they could not get from eating regular food.
    The argument of “bonding” is a silly one. Are you telling me that the child won’t “bond” with the father or siblings/family because it isn’t breast feeding from them?
    Breast feeding a baby in public is natural and normal. It shouldn’t be an issue.
    Beast feeding a toddler/young child is strictly for the mothers pleasure, and I find it disturbing and disgusting.

    • Not true, according to the world medical community. Breastfeeding continues to provide complex nutritional and immune support for as long as it continues.

    • “Disturbing and disgusting”? First of all, where are you getting your “medical facts”? Because the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until at least the age of 2. Secondly, breastmilk has antibodies in it that you cannot get anywhere else. The longer they breastfeed, the more of these they get, and the better their immune systems are FOR LIFE. I’m not going to waste anymore energy on your comment, it is grossly misinformed and if you find breastfeeding “disturbing and disgusting”, you are the one with the problems. I advise you seek help of some sort.

      • What I find disturbing and disgusting is breast feeding a toddler. There are no medical facts that prove the child is gaining any addition antibodies after 18 months of age.
        Reading many of the comments on here, women are stating that they breast feed their last baby longer than the older siblings. This is not for benefit of the baby, it is solely for the mothers benefit because she does not want her last baby to grow up.

  210. Love it! Thank you from a non parent 26 yr old female.

  211. super cool

  212. Hello,
    Thank you for writing this article! Although I do not have children yet, my husband and I are planning to have our first child within the next year or so. Hearing so many stories, suggestions and ideas makes me feel a lot more comfortable with the idea of breastfeeding when we do have children.

  213. Pingback: WordPressers Making a Splash: February Edition — Blog —

  214. Hmmm… Very good article. Somewhat disappointed that it’s still an issue. My wife breast-fed our three daughters until they weaned themselves off (anywhere from 18 months to 24 months). Each of my sister-in-laws did the same with their kids. There were some issues at the beginning with each in terms of the latching on, milk flow and so forth, but we all worked through them. Breast-feeding in public happened as needed, where-ever. It just wasn’t that big of a deal. Neither my wife nor my sister-in-laws were interested in “flashing their boobs”, but they didn’t go to crazy efforts to cover up. My “kids” consider breast-feeding to be about as normal as breathing in public. Of course, not every mother in our extended family could breast-feed, but that was OK too. Raising our kids is hard enough without getting into these cultural wars – let’s focus on what’s really important.

  215. Loved the article, HATE the anaology of “would you eat your lunch in a public restroom”. Last time I checked a woman’s breast coming out of her bra and/or sweater was not covered in the same germs as a counter top in a public restroom. Since a woman is holding her baby and feeding her baby from her body, that “anaology” is absurd. Just my opinion and it gets my hackles up every time I see it.

  216. This is amazing! I like the sentence you ended it with =)

  217. Thank you for this! I BF my twins and got a hard time from people who thought I was mad or just plain stupid. I can’t believe how I had to defend my choice to try and do the best for my babies.
    It’s really great to hear from a daddy on this topic. I thought I knew all the benefits of breast feeding but i’ve learnt a few new ones. It would be great if more daddies would weigh-in on parenting topics like this. Their opinions and support and very important.

  218. I agree! And coming from a man this is wonderful!

  219. Well stated, sir. You convinced me about breastfeeding in public, but no man should be legally allowed to post a picture of himself online wearing a pink papoose.

    • Haha! I’m actually amazed it took someone this long to comment on that! The hot pink stretchy wrap didn’t get used very much or for very long, actually, and it was mostly Baby Mama that wore it. These days I have a black canvas buckle carrier for her. But you see, the way I look at it the pink wrap wasn’t for me. It was for Baby Girl. And pink is for baby girls, right? (*wink*)

  220. To be honest I didn’t read this post the first time I saw it because I thought I might find it offensive. On the contrary, I actually loved it! I nursed my son and experienced the benefit of the bonding when he was diagnosed with a seizure disorder known as Infantile Spasms at 5 months old. The medication used to treat the seizures was known to cause extreme irritability among other more serious complications like liver failure, heart failure, and intestinal bleeding. My son was so easily comforted and he slept comfortably during this time that he was afflicted with a life threatening illness. It certainly made a stressful situation less stressful. My son is now 7 years old- he experienced failure to thrive due to feeding difficulties after I stopped nursing him at 8 months. If I had it to do again I would certainly nurse longer. The benefits are endless. My son has recovered and made great progress with his feeding difficulties despite having been in danger of needing a feeding tube. I have no doubt nursing helped my son overcome many disabilities. As far as how old is to old goes- I had a dear friend (may she rest in peace) who nursed her son until age seven while she was living in Trinidad. Due to poverty and hunger the choice between feeding her son sugar water or nursing him wasn’t much of a choice. They didn’t have enough food to get by and every bite the mother ate was shared with her son. Baby’s Hungry.

  221. Yeah!! A man, besides my husband that gets it!!

  222. Love this! I’m definitely that “in the car” mama you mentioned and the mother who would want to use the fitting room. Before I had a baby or saw that Time Magazine cover, I never realized this was such a big issue for so many families.

  223. So awesome having a father’s opinion written down! It’s sad that providing nutrition to our babies in this society is an “issue.” I recall being asked by a woman in a restaurant if I could move my baby’s mealtime to the bathroom. She told me, “I don’t believe in breast feeding in public.” I told her “no,” of course. I explained to her she didn’t need to “believe” in breast feeding as it’s not the tooth fairy or leprechauns. And I asked if she’d eat her spaghetti on the toilet. I was discrete and a new mommy and I was not about to be pushed around for nursing my son.
    I’d like to add, that my mom breast fed me and my three oldest siblings, and my step mother refused to breast feed my three little half sisters. Unfortunately, my half sisters were the sickest little babies and caught every virus and bug out there. To this day, they have the worst lungs as well as food and seasonal allergies.
    Lastly, I’d like to note I breast fed my little B until 14 months and then pumped the liquid gold into a toddler cup for him, and he didn’t get sick until he stopped breast milk altogether.
    I hope more women choose to breast feed their babies, and God bless those women that are able to share their milk for babies in need.

  224. According to religion Islam every mother is asked to feed their children for two years . No one can force her to do so but if she wants, she can , but allowed time is only two years , if she wants to stop before that time , she can.
    Baby is given this right by nature and it’s responsibility of mother to breastfeed her child . Even Islam allows for breastfeed by a foster mother .
    This shows its important.
    I also try to write about behavior of society , but its about some other problem that we face .

  225. As a father I share your perspective on this topic. My wife breastfed our son for 6 months, and there were many times when the boob had to pop out because “baby’s hungry.” Although there are a select few who are uncomfortable of the idea a woman is exposing her breast in public, there are many (such as myself) who see the beauty in providing nurture and nourishment to a hungry baby. Well done.

  226. A lovely article. I don’t have children as of yet, and I have not made a decision one way or the other on feeding. I do have a question for you. As an obviously very involved, well-informed and loving father, did you ever feel that BF excluded you from your babys early life? (I’m not trying to start a huge debate, I’m just gathering information. There aren’t many men out there so willing to speak to this topic openly!)

    • I never felt excluded. Mama did pump some, and I got to feed Baby bottles that way. And I wore her a lot when she was teensy. Odd as it may sound, there were times I wished I could nurse her, but those were mostly when Mama was exhausted and Baby was inconsolable.

  227. Thank you for writing this. It is so encouraging not to hear this perspective from a man and a father. We need more men like you advocating like mothers like me!

    • It is not lost on me that this post went viral mostly because it came from outside the mommy wall. I haven’t said anything here that hasn’t been said before, and much better, by plenty of mothers.

      • This is absolutely true. And not that mothers cannot stand up for themselves {which they have been doing a very good job at} but having people, especially privileged men, stand beside them and point out injustice and strange cultural norms is refreshing and a relief to mothers who have been fighting so hard for this for a long time. Thanks is owed and keep it up.

  228. Great blog! Kudos to you for writing such an insightful tribute to breastfeeding mothers everywhere. I tried breastfeeding my oldest daughter, but was unsuccessful and had to stop after about 4 weeks. Fortunately, I was able to nurse my second son for 18 months until he weaned himself, and my youngest son for a year. I did cover myself in public, but only for fear of confrontation, which I hate. Let me tell you, it’s really HOT nursing in a car! I absolutely love the bus driver’s response. The baby IS hungry and should be able to eat. Period.

  229. I do also have to add that my second son, who I nursed the longest, is the healthiest of all of my three children and the oldest has asthma. Enough said.

  230. Great article – well written, informed, and intelligent discussion; especially great to have a Daddy’s perspective. Having a supportive partner makes all the difference in breastfeeding success. 🙂 And to heck with all the nay-sayers!

  231. When the baby is hungry it does not matter where you are you have too feed the baby no matter what!!!!!!!

  232. It’s so nice to read a male/father’s perspective on this. Hopefully as more fathers speak out, as a society, our feelings will change and progressively adapt with the times!

  233. Wow, great job with this! Your wife and child should be proud. I couldn’t agree with you more. The breast isn’t something for you men it serves a purpose and its for feeding our young. I regret not feeding my daughters longer. They would have benefited for every drop. I have a daughter who has some internal disabilities and if I knew then what I know now about breast feeding she wouldn’t have stopped at 5 months. I only stopped because it was hard. Selfish. That still was longer than my first daughter which was only for a month and still II stopped because it was hard. They are 13 and 10 now. They are strong, happy and smart. I am a stronger person now and I can tell you that my third I will definitely be feeding as long as it takes or maybe until there is a full mouth of teeth. Ouch. Great job on the post! Very informative and intelligent.

  234. Oh but I do think there needs to be some discretion, and respect for the people around. A woman shouldn’t just pull it out and let it hang there for a while. Especially when a bunch of eyeing men are around disrespecting what the woman is doing, not getting she isn’t doing that for them. Morons. A baby’s got to eat!

  235. Reblogged this on Nic. and commented:
    My aunt just recently had a chubby, cheery little boy. This strikes a chord.

  236. Right on, Dad! I loved the reference to the”accidental lactivist”, because I can totally relate. I half-heartedly tried to BF my first child, with no support and no success. After two years of washing bottles, getting up in the middle of the night to make a bottle, and the cost of formula (seriously, there were times we ate ramen to afford to feed her), I vowed I would never do formula again. Fast forward to baby number two…he is ten weeks, and I am blown away by how amazeballs breast milk really is. Colic? Poop a boob in his mouth. Hurt? Boob. Gassy? Boob. And here I thought I was breastfeeding because I was just lazy and cheap…who knew!

  237. Awesome!!! Thanks for a man’s take on it. Nursed all 4 of mine and my husband was so supportive. Kudos to you!!!

  238. I nursed both of my girls in public, but did not feel the need to show the world my breasts. I could sit in the middle of the mall with just a burp cloth to cover myself. I asked at Target if I could take my hungry baby into a dressing room to feed her. No problem. There are ways to take care of your baby without giving up your privacy and exposing yourself in public. Not everyone enjoys your breasts as much as your baby!

  239. I breastfeed three children and never once had someone say something rude. It’s the way it should be.

  240. As someone in works in childcare, I do not mind if a woman wants to nurse. However, we do have designated areas for it that offer a little more privacy and the comfort of a nice rocking chair. We have had mothers that are still breastfeeding their 2 and 3 year old’s, not many, but a couple. They have made everyone around them uncomfortable by doing it in the middle of the toddler/preschool room as other children run by. We had one mother who would sit in the middle of the room and her child would run up, yank her shirt up, take a few sucks, and run off again. I personally do not want to see that. The other parents who walked in and saw that spectacle were outraged and the fathers felt extremely awkward. You have every right to breastfeed your child, but just like the vegan trend, don’t shove it down my throat. Go find somewhere that offers a little privacy.
    And trust me, even the teachers who smile and say nothing are judging you and talking about you as soon as you walk out. The mother who is still nursing her toddler becomes the “hippie-freak”. The other parents who witness it love to come in and make snide remarks and try and get the teacher’s to gossip with them about it. Just a little insider honesty there. I’ve worked in different childcare settings for the last 20 years, it never changes.

  241. Bravo! Thank you for such an articulate piece celebrating breastfeeding (and, by extension, the Dads whose support of it is so welcome)!