Google+ Authentic Parenting: Breastfeeding Courtesy

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Breastfeeding Courtesy

Dear reader,

when you see a woman comfortably nursing her child - no matter where she is sitting or no matter how old the child - DO NOT offer her a towel, napkin, blanket or any other device to cover up her baby. DO NOT suggest she goes elsewhere, where its quieter/more secluded/less crowded/...
If this mother is indeed comfortably nursing her child, this means she is comfortable where she is. Nursing mothers who do need privacy will seek it out, or ask for a place to nurse their child more discreetly if they feel the need for it. Nursing mothers who feel the need to cover up will have something handy to that ends.
A nursing mother knows that her child might get hungry if she's out and about and she comes fully equipped.
Suggesting these things, even out of consideration or kindness, is offensive. It makes the mother feel like you think she shouldn't be nursing where she is right now. It makes her feel as if you notice her nursing because you are offended or unsettled by it. Any remarks about a nursing mother's discretion are simply uncalled for and not yours to give. Every nursing mother does exactly what she feels comfortable with so there is no need to meddle whatsoever. Most certainly she has considered the spot where she is sitting or the amount of 'exposure' she is portraying and is comfortable with it. She is not a sad little creature in need of chivalry or rescuing.

If you still feel the need to do something when you see a mother nursing her child, smile at her. Tell her how wonderful it is to see a mother nurse her child. Tell her how great it is that she is giving her baby the most natural, wholesome food she can. But please don't tell her to move or cover up. How would you feel if you were eating in a restaurant and some person came up to you and ask you if you would like a towel to put over your head while you eat? Or tell you maybe you'd rather sit in the bathroom or the staff room. Pretty damn awful, no?

This post was inspired by this article



  1. Hi mamapoekie!

    Greetings from Malaysia again! Just want to say thank you for dropping by my blog on my SITS day. You can read the aftermath of my whole day SITting episode

    at this link:

    Thank you again and hope to see you back here sometime! :D

    Warmest Regards,
    Jenny aka I'm a full-time mummy

    Btw, I agree with you. Why should we be made uncomfortable just because we are feeding our child? I'm a proud mummy who is still breastfeeding my 14.5mths old toddler!

  2. Or offer the *mother* a drink of water :) That is always one of the nicest things you can do for me when I'm nursing. Even though I'm not nursing nearly as much, I feel like my body is conditioned to want water every time I nurse.

  3. Completely agreed.. With my oldest someone came and offered an empty classroom at my hubby's school. He later told me that she'd nursed her child and just thought I looked uncomfortable getting adjusted (and I was, our daughter was pretty new & I was getting the hang of NIP) but I had taken it completely different and was upset by her suggesting it at the time.

  4. Nothing more gross!!! I dont want to see your tit or your dam kid sucking on your tit! next your gonna just tell your kids to run naked everywhere cause its "your" way of raising them...or maybe that we can just clean up there poop so everyone can smell it and enjoy that too! mothers cover up or go somewhere to feed your little leach

  5. Why should I be made to feel uncomfy cause u want to whip your tit out? there is plenty of options to feed kids that dont include exposing matter how much u think its "cute" or part of "motherhood"

  6. I second the "offer her a glass of water!"

  7. In all but 3 states, mothers can feed as they please, thank-you-very-much. It's perfectly legal.

    Personally, I find nothing more gross than a hateful person who is too cowardly to stand behind their convictions, Mr or Ms. Anonymous. To each their own. Why don't you take your hate and go troll elsewhere? We're not interested.

  8. WOW - someone is obviously disheartened by child raising!!! It concerns me that we can offer our opinion without actually being educated or understanding all positions... breastfeeding to some may be 'gross' because we have been raised in a culture that has spread a message that says "breasts are sexual and not meant for feeding the young" - this is fucked up!
    I would ask this reader if he/she thinks breasts are beautiful in general and if he/she thinks that they are just supposed to be hanging out on build boards!!! This is a cultural issue and it saddens me to know that we would have the courage to objectify women and then, tell them that it is gross to nurture and nourish their children! This is not 'our' way of raising children this is THE WAY to raise to children naturally and in love! If only this reader would have learned about the love hormones flowing through breast milk, causing the mother and child to fall in love each time they feed - it is shit like this that reduces violence in our culture and increase human bonds and respect for one another!
    comments are good, but uneducated mean comments are concerning!
    And to add, for those who are uncomfortable with public breastfeeding ask yourself WHY? And you can go HIDE out somewhere else - or better yet.. don't look.

  9. First off, there's not much if ANY skin showing most of the time when nursing mothers NIP. If you can see too much "tit" then you're lookin WAY too hard. Why should be be made to feel uncomfortable because you see breasts as a sexual body part rather than what nature intended for them to be? It's not OUR fault you are uncomfortable, it's your way of thinking.

    -S. Cowen- Texas

  10. Hey, anonymous - both of you - first of all, come out from behind your "anonymous" tag, be a grown up, and own your opinions.

    Second, if you don't like it, walk away or don't look. Breastfeeding has been proven, for tens of thousands of years, to be not only the best choice nutritionally but also one of the best ways for a mother and her child to bond. Are you against nutrition? Are you against a mother bonding with her child? If so, why are you even visiting this blog?

    If not, and your problem is really just the possibility that you might see a naked breast, then I'm curious why that might be. The human body, with its myriad forms, sizes, and colors, is a gift to be celebrated. Nudity is natural, beautiful, even clinical. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, perhaps you should check on why. Is it because nudity has a strictly sexual connotation for you, and sex is supposed to be private? I agree that sex should be private, but completely disagree that breastfeeding - or, for that matter, a naked child - is in any way sexual unless you've got larger problems than I'm equipped to deal with.

    Again, if you're not interested in learning, or growing, or authentic and natural parenting, get off this blog and go rant somewhere else. And if you want to be taken seriously, get rid of that "anonymous" crap.

  11. It's so funny to see how people react when the subject is BF. I guess this person is sooo hungry and wishing a good hug from a nurture mother that his/her only reaction is to write 'zucchinis'. [Here, when somebody says nonsense words we say: You're just talking 'abobrinha' (zucchini).]

    Let's BF this Anonymous! Come here, Anonymous darling, I'll find you a good mother to BF you and you won't feel this way anymore.

  12. It seems pretty simple to me: If you don't want to see me feed my children, don't look.

  13. Thank you so much for this commonsense, supportive article! People maybe don't realize the messages they're sending when they offer a private room or a blanket. (Or maybe they do …)

    Barbara: I totally have to adopt saying zucchinis for nonsense! :)

  14. Breastfeeding is completely natural - the fact that there are people out there that don't think so is disturbing. If you don't like it DON'T LOOK. Would you lock a nursing cat or dog or cow or any other kind of animal away to nurse their young? No, because it is the natural way of nurturing young. Pathetic that there are people out there who are so far removed from the natural things in life that they will go so far as to tell us that the way we are built to feed our infants is wrong. Truly pathetic. Interesting that they say these things anonymously - as though they know what they are saying is something that society has conditioned them to say and so very very wrong.

  15. I want to give you a big huge HIGH FIVE! Amen to this post.

  16. Nicely put.

    Just one niggle: you wanted "discreetly" where you wrote "discretely." I definitely nursed more discretely when I was tandeming, but that had little to do with NIP! ;-) ("Discreet" is the adjective form of discretion; "discrete" means separate or individual.)

  17. I just can't wrap my mind around the ignorance of these people. I'm a new mom of about 7 mos and if I'd have known about how self centered people are, I would have made helping to educate society about nursing my life's cause moon's ago. I'm so proud to have found what I can truly say I can help change the world with, and as a currently NIP mother appreciate all of you alls commitments to change society's mind. It is an overpowering uphill battle and I'm sure as you all have also experienced, the argument is exhausting!

  18. Love it!

    And IF you come up to a comfortably nursing mother/child, you'll probably distract the kiddo and nursing will take longer trying to re-situate after your "help".

    And, first Anonymous person, WOW you should look into homophones.. they teach the difference between their/there/they're and your/you're in what? 3rd grade?

  19. Ironica, thanks for pointing that out, fixed it.
    I am kind of baffled by the response to this article... How am I to sleep tonight?

  20. Good post. I have had a nursing mom visiting my house ask to borrow blanket to cover up. I wouldn't have pushed one on her, obviously (I later in the evening fed my own squirm worm without one), but it's not impossible for a nursing mom to want a blanket, either.

  21. Sleep soundly mamapoekie with your little one tucked in at the breast. For the one or two nasty people out there upset with what you write you support ten times more parents in need of support. :)

  22. I laugh at the comments like the first 2! And the fact that they are commenting anonymously! They were probably bullies when they were kids. Or they don't want women to nurse in public because they are deathly afraid that their significant other MIGHT get a glimpse of another woman's *gasp* breast! Actually, those things are just sad not funny, but, either way, they are just insecure and trolling to incite reaction.

  23. I am still nursing my 9 mo old baby boy, but I wouldn't dream of not covering myself in public. It is legal, but we are not wild animals. We should have enough respect for ourselves and others to be discreet about whipping our bewbies out in a public place.

  24. I remember seeing a woman nursing in a restaurant once and hearing another woman comment negatively about it at another table. I was so proud of the nursing mom I wanted to stand and point and clap, but in the end I didn't do anything except send her a smile and notice she was trying her hardest not to make eye contact with ANYONE! Including me.

  25. "If you still feel the need to do something when you see a mother nursing her child, smile at her. Tell her how wonderful it is to see a mother nurse her child. Tell her how great it is that she is giving her baby the most natural, wholesome food she can."

    Ummm...I do appreciate you intention, but I don't like folks commenting on what I'm eating in a restaurant or congratulating me on eating particular foods, so why would I want to hear ANY comments when I am feeding my child? Personally, I would find your suggestion patronizing, to say the least.

  26. uhg, I read this this morning and came back to it now because while I was out with my mom today she tried to cover me up as I was nursing while walking along the beach. I asked her why she wanted me to cover up. I asked if I was making her uncomfortable. She said she was not uncomfortable, but that she didn't want some old geezer to stare. I said I didn't think it was possible for anyone to stare at us while we were walking and that I wasn't too worried about making other people uncomfortable. Then I added that I thought it highly unlikely that some old geezer would start following us just to stare at me NIP. I left it at that.

    Now that I came back and read the comments I just feel tired. I really wish people would love each other more. I am praying for it. Why do people take themselves so seriously. Its just a human body. When we are old we will be vulnerable and fully exposed just like we were when we were infants. If we are blessed to make it that far. In the meantime I pray that people will appreciate the beauty around them; that they can be present in the moment and feel the true love that can be witnessed by those near a woman nursing her child.

  27. In modern consumer society, the attack on mother-child eroticism took its total form; breastfeeding was proscribed and the breasts reserved for the husband's fetishistic delectation. At the same time, babies were segregated, put into cold beds alone and not picked up if they cried. ~Germaine Greer

  28. from a grandma who BF all her kids and now my daughter BF her girl .It is wonderful natural don't listen to the hang ups of others enjoy your babies they will be grow so fast. The bond you have will never go away

  29. I was nursing my newborn while at my daughters soccer practice session the other day and had a mother come and sit with me :) She had talked about when she had her children 18 yrs ago she tried breastfeeding her oldest and was doing well until she got pregnant again, she was misinformed however and stopped nursing her baby because of it. She later down the track learned she didnt have to and wished she had kept going. She then had trouble feeding her 2nd and didnt have enough support to continue... but her last child she was determined and fed him till he was 4 years old.

    She was a very lovely lady and it made me feel more comfortable doing what I was doing(wasnt quite ready for NIP yet but when your baby has to eat... you do what you have to do lol). Since then I have perfected my NIP technique so that nothing is shown unless you are standing directly above my childs head just as I am latching/unlatching him which if you were, you would get an ear full.... not a bit of skin is shown AT ALL

  30. I am 22 years old and have a 5 month old baby. (he is my first) I believe in moderation. I don't like to offend people but on the other hand I am proud to be a nursing mother. Because of the sexual emphasis put on boobs in our culture today I carry a light blanket to keep myself covered. My little baby hates his face covered so I only cover up any exposed skin. My husband said he feels more comfortable with me covering up to a certain extent because he said a lot of guys think sexual thoughts when they see a baby attached to a breast. I don't want to cause any guys a problem so I choose to cover up or just nurse in a different area if possible.

  31. Just thought I'd let you know that I linked this post on my facebook page. Thanks for the thought provoking post.

  32. Love your post. :)

    Why do we think it's cute when kittens and puppies are nursing and not babies?

    My nine month old hates to be covered up, so we don't cover up. I've never felt uncomfortable NIP. When baby is hungry, she eats.

  33. ahhh... just think how boring life would be without "flaming trolls". If we were all just patting each other on the back it would get boring. So thanks annonymous, for inflaming our sense of indignity.

    I do recall how strange it seemed to me, way back when before I had children of my own, when my older sister started nursing whenever and whever she saw a need. It DID take a little getting used to, but we all got used to it. When my turn came around, boy was I grateful she had paved the way for me.
    Nursing is a learned skill... we like to think it's so natural and easy, but it isn't. I like to think I'm doing the public a service by nursing publicly. Young women NEED to see nursing in action and become used to the sight. So that when their turn comes around, they are mentally prepared.

  34. Anom- Nothing more gross!!! I dont want to see your tit or your dam kid sucking on your tit! next your gonna just tell your kids to run naked everywhere cause its "your" way of raising them...or maybe that we can just clean up there poop so everyone can smell it and enjoy that too! mothers cover up or go somewhere to feed your little leach

    Anonymous said... 5

    Why should I be made to feel uncomfy cause u want to whip your tit out? there is plenty of options to feed kids that dont include exposing matter how much u think its "cute" or part of "motherhood"

    My son, in the summer, does basically run around everywhere naked and there is no poop to clean up, I am smart about it. Both of them are (if not the same person) against people having children so their opinions mean nothing at all.

    I loved it when people would bring me a drink and would sometimes even send whom ever was out with me to get me food as well. I got extrordinarily hungry and thirsty whilst breastfeeding my son so it was always appreciated :)

  35. Hey "anonymous" who is so grossed out by BF & seeing "tit" - do you not understand that breasts were made purely for that purpose - to feed and nurture a baby?? They are "mammary glands", found in every mammal and used to feed their young, be it puppy, kitten or baby! It is only our culture & society and ignorant people like you that have attached all the sexual stigma with the humble breast.
    One more thing - guess you were bottle fed, huh?!!?

  36. Anon- Nothing more gross!!! I dont want to see your tit or your dam kid sucking on your tit! next your gonna just tell your kids to run naked everywhere cause its "your" way of raising them...or maybe that we can just clean up there poop so everyone can smell it and enjoy that too! mothers cover up or go somewhere to feed your little leach

    Since when does breastfeeding turn in to 'running around naked and cleaning up poop'! Anon- you are truely an idiot. A closed minded idiot. Would you rather our babies scream? Would you then label us 'bad parents'?
    Also- my child is not a leech- that is just offensive and rude.
    If you are a man, I pray that no poor woman ever has to deal with your stupidity.
    And if you are a woman...I just dont know what to think.
    My son deserves to be fed, just like anyone else, and I will not do it in a bathroom just so you can feel comfortable!

  37. I read this post a while ago and now found it again. I added a link to this post in my blog post (I hope that is okay?) that I posted for World Breastfeeding Week. Thank you for a great post!

  38. @Skiingmama, of course that's ok! Thank you!

  39. I have to say that I do not find breast feeding in some public places appropriate such as doctors offices there are too many germs there!!! or like busses or other places like that which could contaminate the feeding think about it?!?! gross but I think that there are many places to do it and with all the cute boobie bibs and things they have come up with for feeding your baby you can do it anywhere and no one will even notice what your doing so you don't even have to worry about someone bothering you! just an idea really I don't want to offend anyone but as I was doing research for a report I came up with some opinions


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