Please DO Nurse in Public

To All Mothers:

Despite all of the outspoken people that show off their ignorance by speaking out against public breastfeeding, there are many people in support of a baby’s right to nurse in public.

Let me add my voice in support of you.

When I see a nursing mother in public, my heart lights up with happiness. Covered, uncovered, nursing in an aisle, nursing at the table in a restaurant, on a bench at the playground or at the pediatrician’s office.

You are an excellent example for the children that see you, the young women who may someday nurse their own babies, the young men who see a woman ‘s body as something nurturing. This world is so sex-obsessed, so accustomed to objectifying women’s bodies and shaming them into hiding and hating themselves and surgically modifying their bodies into artificial “perfection”.

You are beautiful. You have chosen to listen to the needs of your baby, to love your baby, to hold your baby close and to nurse him. You have not made him wait, you have not denied him comfort, you have not caved in to your own need to avoid the possibility of being harshly and unfairly judged.

I love seeing you nurse your child. I smile. In seeing you, you give me a boost in confidence every time I must nurse my own child in public.

Wait.. I have three children. All have nursed. All have been fed in public. Why does seeing you nurse your child give ME a necessary boost in confidence?

Not many people speak out about the beauty, the wholesomeness, the example of mothering. Not many people speak about the smiles that they gain from seeing another mom take care of her baby.

Instead we hear from ugly people, virulent and ill-educated minority that feels compelled to show themselves in public as people who are so selfish that they place their preference to not see a baby eat over the baby’s need to eat. They would hide motherhood away from society.

Postpartum depression is worsened by social isolation, by weaning, by harsh judgement of strangers who have no informed basis for their judgement and who simply parrot the most ridiculous phrases ever, suggesting that babies should eat in rooms so disgusting that people try to avoid the need to use them to defecate.

You are doing nothing wrong. You are doing something right. Those who spew baseless criticism or that suggest you hide away, those people are the ones that need to be shamed into hiding. Those are the people that are ugly, disgusting, shameful.

Please do nurse in public. Go out. Breathe the fresh air. Go to the park, the mall, grocery shopping. Live your life. Be social. Be around people. And when your baby needs to eat, don’t second-guess your child’s needs.

For every person that spouts ignorance, there is a person like me. A person that smiles. A person that you pass confidence to. A child that will someday nurse her own babies or that will tell his wife that it’s okay to feed their child. Then beyond that, there are countless people that simply do not notice or care.

Nurse. Offer comfort. Soothe that crying baby. And look for the people wearing smiles. I promise you will find them.

  10 comments for “Please DO Nurse in Public

  1. May 13, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    I love that this is a big topic. I m from norway. And nursing is something 99% of wome do EVERY where. ANY where. I still nurse! Thank u for the post!

  2. Juliec
    May 13, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Thank you for this. I wholeheartedly agree. I am amazed that this topic is still so controversial. I hate those stupid cover-ups and refuse to use them anymore. I also refuse to wait when my child needs to be fed. At the park the other day a little girl was so fascinated by what I was doing that she fell down and hit her head on the slide. I felt bad that she hurt herself and also that what I was doing was so new to her when she had a little brother who was breastfeeding age. I feel bad for all the babies whose mothers are more motivated by social acceptance and image than their babies needs. Thank you all you ladies for creating an environment where it is safe to express these (surprisingly) radical ideas.

  3. May 14, 2012 at 1:22 am

    I always nursed in public and never thought much about it other than that was my baby’s food and s/he was hungry.

  4. @sylasp
    May 14, 2012 at 8:01 am

    I’ll never forget my nephew’s reaction, and face, when he saw me breastfeeding my son four years ago. My nephew was 8 at the time, my son 6 months, and my nephew literally gasped when he saw my breast inside his cousin’s mouth.
    I saw in my nephew’s eyes that breasts were already sexualised objects to him. I found it very sad, so I tried to explain to him but he was not interested and didn’t want to look…
    I live in France, where breasts are only for grown-ups… and I often have to justify my choice and explain that I’m not a slave (well, aren’t we ALL slaves to our children ?^^), and that everything is pretty fine. (I’m a stay-at-home mom and that’s also a sensitive topic around here, so to people’s eyes I’m both a slave to my children and to my husband 😀 )

  5. May 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I think you hit the nail on the head with this phrase: [people] “simply parrot the most ridiculous phrases ever”
    I think that’s the issue in Our country. People can’t think for themselves, they have not been taught how to outthink things. We’ve created a society of rule followers but that means that anything outside of norm isn’t easily accepted even if it’s the greatest thing in the world. I once heard a phrase “people don’t know the substance of anything. They react to symbolism”.
    Nursing mothers aren’t common therefore it’s disgusting. Why? I don’t know but my mama said so and I agree…

    People need to learn to think for tyselves rather than spout stupidity they heard.

    I just had my first baby. I have and I will nurse her in public. I refuse to wear a cover, out if principal, because I shouldn’t need one, because I want people to see the normal act of feeding a baby and maybe get more accostumed to it.

  6. renae
    May 18, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    thank you for sharing this, as a mother who will continue nursing my baby girl until she is ready to be done, I appreciate the support!

  7. Cara-Lynn
    September 12, 2012 at 1:50 am

    The best thing I have seen is my four year old breast feed her dolls when they are ‘crying’. My heart swells when I sit down to breastfeed her sister & she sits beside me to breastfeed her doll. thank you for writing a beautiful blog to support being a mother!

    • sarah
      September 12, 2012 at 8:48 am

      your four year old has a great example in you :)

  8. Monique
    April 29, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    I will never forget my colleagues reaction to a breast feeding mother. I was working at a trade show, pregnant myself, this mother asked if I wouldn’t mind her borrowing our couch to feed her baby. I said absolutely and she said while I’m here please give me a quote, so I gave her a quote while she fed her baby – no big deal! When she finished and left the stand, my colleague said to me, oh my god, she could have covered it up a bit more, she was practically sitting there with her boobs out, I was shocked and taken back, and I responded with, I was sitting right in front of her and didn’t see a thing! Besides, that babies got to eat. It’s very sad that people have objectified the act so much that it becomes embarrassing to get your boobs out in public to feed your child!

  9. Chasity
    May 12, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    I breastfed my first son until he was 18 months old whenever and wherever. I do the same with my second son who is a month old except this time my confidence is better and I don’t care what anyone thinks. I’ll feed him whenever he’s hungry no matter where we are. I plan on letting him self wean and wish I had with my first. My Dad was the biggest reason I didn’t along with a few other highly misinformed people. It makes my Dad uncomfortable still, but he doesn’t say as much about it. It’s not what he grew up around and he doesn’t understand anything about it really. My son’s needs come first and he will decide when to wean himself no-one else. Also, just happened on your blog last night while bf and I love it. You are very admirable and I love your blogs. They teach, share, and explore different aspects and ages of a child. Everyone has their own way, but I’ve learned a great deal already from you. Thank you.

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