Breastfeeding in Public: Just Be Mindful

Your baby is screaming, letting you know it’s mealtime and he is STARVING and getting louder and hungrier by the second. You’re sitting in a busy restaurant, the diners are shooting you dirty looks, letting you know that they expect you to shut that baby up so they can dine in peace. To appease both complaining parties, you discreetly lift up your shirt, unhook your nursing bra, perhaps put a cover over yourself and put your baby to breast. Now, everyone is happy, right? No screaming, hungry baby to disturb anyone. Yet, you’re still getting disgusted side-glances. You can’t win.

The problem with breastfeeding in public is, no matter the fact that it is one of the most natural things on the planet, it’s what women are given breasts for, so many people are inherently uncomfortable around women nursing their children in front of them. Particularly when it is in a restaurant where there isn’t much movement, aside from lifting a utensil filled with food from plate to mouth.

It’s one thing when the nursing mom is able to breastfeed discreetly at the table, then it is shame on the other diners for their judging stares. The trouble I have, as do many, MANY others is, when the entire breast is whipped out in order to nurse. It happens to be disrespectful to others. Personally, when I’m out to dinner with my children, I don’t feel that they should have to be watching someone nurse their child uncovered. It makes my kids very uncomfortable, even though I used to sit on my couch and nurse my youngest in front of them. But, I’m their mother, it does happen to be a different circumstance.

Here’s the thing, by all means, nurse your baby wherever you want. Absolutely. I’m all for it. Your baby is hungry, then feed him. But please, be mindful of the fact that there are others around you and just be discreet about it. Urinating is a natural process, exactly the same as breastfeeding but we don’t do that in in full view of others.

Here are what a few of my friends have to say on the breastfeeding in public matter:

Lou: Somehow, society has managed to take breastfeeding and pervert its purpose-it isn’t a tactic to attract men, it isn’t obscene, it IS perfectly natural and does not need to be hidden away behind closed doors. The thing that surprises me is that it’s WOMEN who issue the outcry against it-and I can’t help but wonder why.

Elise from Globetrotting in Heels states: I don’t have a problem with it, not do I see a bit of a problem with it. I do that that not all venues might be the right place for it-any place you wouldn’t bring a young child (a date-type restaurant, especially in the evening) is probably not a place for a baby OR a breastfeeding session. But in general, as long as you can manage it discreetly, I don’t see why you should be relegated to a bathroom or hidden in a corner to nurse!! Ridiculous.

That being said, I have to admit I never quite felt comfortable nursing in public myself, even in front of my own family, but it doesn’t make me uncomfortable to have a friend nurse her baby while at lunch or having coffee or something.

Mary from iNeed A Playdate says: Boobs are not just for show, they are functional. If it is a choice between (screaming, cranky) hungry baby and your comfort, I will (and still do) pick baby over your discomfort every single time.

I don’t believe women shouldn’t be allowed to breastfeed their children in public. Not at all. Our children and their wellbeing are our number one priorities. I do believe, however, that there is a certain amount of tact involved when nursing in a public place. Just be mindful of your surroundings and use a bit of common courtesy, that’s all I’m saying.

photo courtesy of Flickr and is not meant as anything other than a picture of nursing that I thought happened to be adorable.

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Melissa Brodsky

Melissa has been sharing too much of her life online for the past five years at She recently Co-Founded a social media company aptly titled Smart Savvy Social ( because she and her business partner are both smart AND savvy. When Melissa isn't cleaning up after her 5 kids, 6 cats, 2 dogs and various other household pests, she can be found obsessively twittering as @rockdrool. 


  • Mary Johnson

    I sort of agree with you – I try to be discreet but it does not always work… That said, I have never had strangers make a big deal or openly be offended.  It has only been my family (because they knew, not saw what I was doing) so I must be doing something right.

  • Amylillyblad

    How can you describe urinating as “exactly the same as breastfeeding”?!  They are nowhere near the same thing!  One is a natural form of providing nourishment and the other is expelling waste from the body.  Maybe if you educated your children on what breasts were created for instead of attaching sex/shame to breasts, your children wouldn’t be so uncomfortable.