Choosing to breastfeed in public isn’t for the faint of heart.
At nearly every turn, the efforts of nursing mothers attempting to feed their children Mother Nature’s best while going about their daily routine can be actively discouraged or even thwarted. The widespread lack of acceptance of nursing in public no doubt plays a large role in the decision of millions of mothers to quit breastfeeding within weeks or months after baby is born – much to the detriment of the child’s long term health.
The situation can sometimes become downright nasty as a young couple discovered recently when they were asked to immediately leave a New York Country Club and even viewed as potential terrorists when the mother tried to discreetly nurse her baby on the terrace during lunch.
And who could forget Emily Gillette who was kicked off a plane by a flight attendant for refusing to use a blanket while nursing her child (how would you like to eat with a blanket over your head on a hot, parked airplane?). Then there’s the sticky issue of women in the US military not being permitted to breastfeed while in uniform.
Like baby stops getting hungry when Mom goes to work or flies on a plane?
Even breastfeeding in Church is silently frowned upon by many congregations with mothers typically leaving the assembly and their families to take children to private rooms or worse, the restroom, to nurse.
Of all the public places to nurse, Church should indeed be the most welcoming of Nature’s most basic, natural and loving act between mother and child.
Pope Francis apparently thinks so too. The leader of the world’s largest Christian Church with 1.2 billion members recently stated in an interview that women should not feel uncomfortable breastfeeding during his ceremonies.
He reiterated this position today during a baptismal ceremony of 32 infants in the Sistine Chapel when he said during the homily, “If they are hungry, mothers, feed them, without thinking twice. Because they are the most important people here.”
Will women actually take Pope Francis up on his offer to openly breastfeed during Papal ceremonies and could such a trend possibly catch on elsewhere?
Only time will tell but Pope Francis’ statements are a strong step in the right direction toward complete and utter acceptance of the right and need of mothers to nurse their children anytime, anywhere.
Sherry L Franklin via Facebook
The women breast feed openly in Ecuador where we live.
sadly the local tv station near me showed the clip saying he said that then showed someone bottle feeding. I knew that was NOT what the Pope meant!!and yes the Pastors wife even at a diner were I was being very careful not to give a show tried to direct me to the nursery for breastfeeding. I refused to leave. what was even more sad is she is very much into natural and breastfeed her own kids!
oh and I started out with a big ‘bib’ she hated it and thru it off. not natural way i found or she would have been ok. she was 1 month when she first thru it. by 2 m i stopped trying to use it. i wear sport bras and tank tops. boob came over bra and under tank and tank covered everything right down to edge of her mouth. I would tell people before I pilled it out. If you don’t want the show then turn you head for a minute. I will left you know when she is latched so you won’t see anything. I love the commercial that shows women with 1st kid covered up WELL. the 2nd kid,mom looking at waiter saying eyes up here. as the boob was hanging all out with kid latched. hahahahhahahaah
Kelly the Kitchen Kop
Just one more reason to love our Pope!!! 🙂
To Erin, if someone doesn’t feel comfortable “showing off” it shouldn’t “make you sad”. I’m sure if someone said they were sad that you do, you wouldn’t appreciate that comment. The whole world doesn’t have to share your opinion.
I for one completely believe in breastfeeding in public but not one bit comfortable with those who “show off”.
To each his own.
Are you calling breast-feeding “showing off”?
I’m a little confused – I don’t think Erin used the term showing off…but regardless, I thought Erin was a little sad because of the woman’s response – that she wasn’t doing it to make herself comfortable, she was doing it to make EVERYONE ELSE comfortable. She didn’t say the covering up made her sad, she said the response did.
I think we’re all ok with women doing what they need to do to feel comfortable when breastfeeding. But I can absolutely see how it would be a bit disheartening to learn that someone you know was covering themselves for the benefit of society, as if feeding their child was somehow offensive by nature.
I love our Pope! He gets us, he gets the human condition. Such grace and humility.
I have never hesitated to breastfeed during church, and I’ve never gotten a negative response. It’s how Jesus was fed. I happen to be Catholic and I’m so glad that Pope Francis has made this message explicit. As a nursing mother I never used anything other than my shirt to cover myself when nursing, partly because my babies hated having their heads covered and partly because I believe that breastfeeding won’t ever be fully accepted if it’s always hidden. A funny story – a few years ago I was nursing my infant daughter while waiting in the hallway at my son’s dance studio, and another mother we were friendly with was on the bench across from me nursing her baby under a big, elaborate cover. My younger son, who was six at the time, walked up to her and asked “What are you doing?” She said that she was feeding her baby. He looked at her silently for a moment, and then pointed at her cover and said “You know, you don’t need that. My mommy never uses one.” Luckily she thought that was hilarious, but her response made me a little sad: “It’s not for me, it’s for everyone else.” Well, too bad for everyone else, as far as I’m concerned. You don’t want to see me feeding my baby? Don’t look. You have issues with seeing breasts only as sex objects? Not my problem.
Andreas Herczeg via Facebook
Diana Bravo-Herczeg, Pope Frank, doing his thing!
It’s so odd that such a simple, natural, act as breast feeding can cause such a commotion. It’s not sexual. It’s not lewd or crass either. It’s something that should inspire feelings of love and bonding to all that witness it. I bet you that if men were the ones that nursed babies, it would be as common and accepted as men going topless in public. But I digress.
Larissa Katriina Lee via Facebook
In Scandinavia mothers breastfeed in public all the time. It’s North America you are talking about.
I’ve only ever had one bad experience feeding my five children. My youngest is now nineteen so it was awhile ago. I don’t know if it is different here in England but women feed discretely in most places. I feed in cafÃ©s, restaurants, in parks, at parties with friends and in church. I did so with a light shawl to cover up but was always in full view. The only comment strangely came from a female doctor who objected to be feeding my youngest son whilst we waited to be seen by the oncologist who was caring for my terminally ill mother. One of the other patients, a man, told her to be quite and leave me be as I was only feeding my baby rather than let him cry. She was not happy but did as he suggested.
I love seeing other women feeding their little ones, especially as many women don’t feel confident enough to do so. The more women to do so, the more normal it will become and the easier for other women to do the same
Me too, I breastfed everywhere….always as discreetly as the baby and weather allowed. I often used my scarf as a light cover or wore clothing that allowed for minimum exposure. One time in the mall someone moved, but did so without comment or a fuss and I could respect their decision. I hope that breastfeeding mothers, esp those afraid of reproach, will take courage in knowing that it is very possible to breastfeed publicly for years without discrimination.