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is b'fing in public that offensive?


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#1 hollysmama

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:45 AM

We've all heard the saying if breastfeeding offends you, put a blanket over your head.  But in the 12mths I fed DD and 6mths into feeding DS, I have never personally experienced any negativity and I breastfeed in public all the time. I try to be discreet, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but I've never had any dirty looks or comments, nor has anybody else i know that has bf. Or perhaps I have and just haven't paid attention. I guess I'm just wondering if this offensiveness really exists, and if it does is it just a small minority that thinks it's inappropriate and is our defense disproportionate?  I'm not saying that it doesn't exist, I have just never experienced it personally.  What negativity have you experienced while bf in public?  I'm not trying to cause an argument, I'm genuinely curious. It's just something I was thinking after Pink's hubby tweeted a photo of her feeding Willow at a restaurant.  I feel like it was saying "I don't give a rats if you don't like what I'm doing".  But are there really that many people who would take offense?


#2 Cranky Kitten

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:49 AM

I don't know - 10 years ago when I was feeding DD I got a few less than supportive looks, but I don't know whether that was because I was bf-ing or because I was barely 21 and looked a bit younger than that.

These days with DS I've had nothing but smiles and the occasional positive comment. And we don't really make much of an attempt to be discreet either - whilst I don't flaunt my boobs and do pull as much of my clothing around exposed skin as possible I have never used a cover with him, as he hated it from day dot.

#3 nup

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:50 AM

QUOTE (hollysmama @ 03/12/2012, 11:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's just something I was thinking after Pink's hubby tweeted a photo of her feeding Willow at a restaurant.  I feel like it was saying "I don't give a rats if you don't like what I'm doing".


I've never come up against it myself. I'm not sure why anyone would have the attitude described above unless they had.

The worst I've had were some inappropriate comments from one of DH's mates and some leering from a seedy stranger who appeared to be doing it at everyone in a public parents room.

#4 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:51 AM

I don't think people in Australia find it that offensive. A lot of those FB memes are from overseas so maybe it's different there.

I've only had one person say something to me.

#5 ScarfaceClaw

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:51 AM

I"m still feeding my 18 month old DS and am STILL waiting for the look or the comment or whatever to get on my high horse...
I'm guessing I have a don't F$%k with me face or it's not as big a deal as people think it is?

Either way its hard to be discreet with a toddler, so good luck to anyone who is watching... thats probably my nipple....

#6 BadCat

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:53 AM

Most of the negative comments I received were from my mother and my sister who thought it was disgusting.  rolleyes.gif

I haven't bf'ed for nearly 11 years but I didn't have a lot of negative looks or comments from strangers then.

#7 *LucyE*

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:54 AM

I haven't experienced negative reactions to breastfeeding my children either.

I do try to be discrete (I wear a bfing singlet under shirts for my own comfort), but I don't bother trying to cover the baby's head with a muslin. I have had no problems at places where other people I know have had issues.

It does make me wonder if I am really thick skinned and oblivious or if it isn't the breastfeeding that causes the angst.

#8 Logical nonsense

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:59 AM

After living in the UK for a few years, the law is very strange, in England you could get arrested for Indecent exposure, where as in Scotland the law is on your side. Always found this a bit strange.

I have no problems as long as mothers don't do what the French woman did in the restaurant I worked in.
She unbutton her shirt all the way, moved the side so the whole restaurant could see her breast & then lifted her baby up, we was all in a bit of shock.

#9 Mitis angelam

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:59 AM

I'll be honest.  

I went out of my way not to feed in public.  I don't mind others doing it if they're discreet.  But I've definitely had moments where I've looked at other not-so-discreet mums and thought "Do I need to see that?!"  (But I hope they haven't been able to tell that's what I was thinking).

So if my own internal reaction is any guide, yes, it bothers some people.

#10 Percoriel

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:59 AM

I've never experienced any negative comments either - but that doesn't mean that there aren't people out there who think that BF is wrong etc.

The USA however is not very forward thinking in this regard and many there do think it a sexual act so must be hidden away which is sad and why the photo of Pink breastfeeding (and other celebs) is important to be seen as it normalises breastfeeding.

#11 JapNFeral

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:01 AM

If it offended some I never cared and never noticed....But I can't say anyone ever asked me to cover up or move and as for looks...their problem.

#12 tibs

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:02 AM

I've never had any comments here in Australia - although both my dad and FIL consider it inappropriate so I don't feed around them.  I'm still hearing about the Christmas lunch when my SIL whipped it out at the dinner table no less  rolleyes.gif

But I have experienced negative comments when holidaying in the US - I had someone come up to me in an amusement park and tell me it was disgusting, and while on the plane I copped some tut-tutting and a you'd think she'd do that somewhere else - like where  huh.gif

#13 Buggylicious

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:03 AM

I BF DS for 2 years and I'm still BF DD at nearly 20m and I've never encountered any negativity. I've had a few people quickly look away but I think that's their right to do so. I've had loads and loads of positive smiles, a few positive comments and once a lady gave me a card that said something about being a great mum.

#14 lucky 2

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:03 AM

I bfed for 8 months, no negative comments came my way, I'd be too busy getting her on and both of us comfortable to bother with anything else.

eta, except for my nephew at Christmas, he told me it was disgusting after watching for about 10 mins biggrin.gif . It didn't bother me, I just reminded him he was a breastfeeder!

#15 ~Mintie~

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:05 AM

I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for someone to have a go at me about feeding in public, I have so many come backs and nobody to use them on cry1.gif

But it is great that I haven't needed to happy.gif

#16 hollysmama

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:05 AM

QUOTE (tibs @ 03/12/2012, 11:02 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But I have experienced negative comments when holidaying in the US - I had someone come up to me in an amusement park and tell me it was disgusting, and while on the plane I copped some tut-tutting and a you'd think she'd do that somewhere else - like where  huh.gif

I don't understand what people hope to achieve by saying crap like that. I mean, you're feeding your baby the most natural food and it's frowned upon. It's such a shame. And honestly, who can you see on a bloody plane???


#17 Becstarinator

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:05 AM

I breastfeed DS until he was 8 months (not as long as some of you) and only got two disgusted looks.

Both strangely were from Asian ladies so I don't know if it was a cultural thing or not.  

First time was at my DP uni graduation and DS started fussing during the Head of the Uni's speech, where the doors are locked so you can't come in or leave.   I feed him  as discretely as you can in a nice dress with a wrap over him.  The lady next to me kept giving me a filthy look.  With DS only being 2 months old it made me very uncomfortable and unfortunately it wasn't really the time or the place to say anything to her.

And the second time was at a park in the sweltering heat so he wasn't covered but I sat under a tree a fair way from anyone and the lady walked passed. She just had such a look of disdain on her face so I just glared back at her.

But really those were the only times, most people either don't give a rats what you are doing or give you encouraging looks/comments.

#18 Liv_FERAL_sh

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:06 AM

The only time I've ever thought it was - not offensive but - a bit inappropriate was at a market in Sydney. This lady was carrying a toddler on her hip with her shirt buttoned down, both breasts showing and her toddler periodically taking a swig. That was pretty confronting, but other than that I think the only person I know who finds it offensive is my MIL who says "oh it shouldn't be done because teenage boys would find it embarrassing"...WTF???

#19 Soontobegran

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:17 AM

I don't think we have a big issue with people taking offence here in Australia.
I BF in public long before there were laws to make it illegal to stop mothers from doing so and even then I never had any negative comments about it.

I know that one of my DD's got some 'looks' from an elderly couple in a cafe one day and that to me is no big deal because we all should remember this is not what happened in 'their day' so it might make them feel uncomfortable, a feeling that they are perfectly entitled to have unless they rush over and throw a blanket over you.

I also know that people will say if they are uncomfortable it is too bad and I agree but if their disapproval is not impacting us feeding our baby when and wherever we should try to not take it on board.
Mutual respect is what is needed, having an understanding that whilst our babies should be able to be fed on demand there will be still some mums who do not like doing so and people that might feel it would be better done in private.

Edited by soontobegran, 03 December 2012 - 11:18 AM.


#20 ComradeBob

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:23 AM

I think it depends on what country you're in - countries where bf-ing is not as common and bottle fed babies are the norm would probably have a commensurate rise in the number of people making an issue of bf-ing in public.

#21 Guest_AllegraM_*

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:25 AM

I was a fulltime pumper and sometimes had to pump in public. Pumping is a lot less discreet than bfing and I used to keep a printout of the anti-discrimination legislation on me at all times, where it said it was illegal to discriminate against a mother expressing milk for her baby. I was sure I would get nasty comments but no-one ever said a word. I did clear out a whole section of businessmen in the Qantas lounge once though! They did not know where to look but they were not rude or nasty at all.

The only comment I ever got was when heading into a parent's room at Myer to pump without my baby. The staff member directed me to the ladies' toilets instead, but when I explained that I was pumping, she was fine. A totally understandable situation.

#22 IVL

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:31 AM

When BF my 4 month old DD at an airport a rather large man who started to eat a donut asked if "I had to do that here as it was rude and I should be doing it the toilet" ... I responded with are you going to eat your donut in toilet? He thankfully got up and left but I really felt quite upset. I was being discreet and the only thing on display was maybe the side of my stomach, unlike his paunch that poking out through his buttons.

I must say after BF 2 children, that was the only negative comment I got. I used to get many smiles from passes by which I really appreciated and I was once complemented for my ability to BF an adopted child - although that was just weird. My DH is Asian and I am very fair to my I guess it could have looked like I adopted my DD, but really who would ask especially when BF???

#23 Feral_Pooks

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:35 AM

I know plenty of people who may not find it offensive but nevertheless feel embarrassed. I live in an area with a lot of traditional cultures and breastfeeding is done discreetly, in particular away from men, in those cultures so no doubt some of those men would think why can't she do that privately like the women I know do?

My mum was the oldest of 5 kids, they were all breastfed except for my mother, and she never once saw her own mother breastfeed.

#24 Comrade Borgia

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:36 AM

QUOTE (IVL @ 03/12/2012, 12:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
When BF my 4 month old DD at an airport a rather large man who started to eat a donut asked if "I had to do that here as it was rude and I should be doing it the toilet" ... I responded with are you going to eat your donut in toilet? He thankfully got up and left but I really felt quite upset.

I like it! I never got any negative comments...and esp. with DS1 he went through this stage of extreme fussiness on the boob where I would have to feed him standing up and kind of rocking him (sounds weird I know but it was the only thing that worked!)... As a result I didn't go out much during that time but when I did, in parks or cafes for instance, no one said anything ..although Im sure there would have been a few people thinking "what the hell is she doing"...

#25 casime

Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:40 AM

I never experienced any negativity, and I don't understand all the woman that seem to be making a big song and dance about it and are just begging someone to say something so they can start an argument.  Breastfeed, don't breastfeed, but trying to start an argument isn't going to change someone's mind.  The best thing woman can do is to maintain a level of dignity and just get on with it.    I also tried to pick my place.  When dining with an elderly couple that I'm friends with, I didn't whip it out at their dining table, I went and sat on the lounge chair that was facing away from them.  I think that's just manners, and not demeaning breastfeeding in anyway.  Pick your audience (and your battles).




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