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Talkback: Breastfeeding your baby in public



  • My baby is 15 months old now and I am still breastfeeding. I sometimes feel a bit weird when I meet newborns in the feeding rooms. My baby looks soooo big. During last 15 months I was breastfeeding almost everywhere, including the plane, the company christmas party and my estate family fest. I don't feel confident, I can see people watching, but I've never heard any bad comment in this country.

    It is a different story in Poland, where I come from. I had to breastfeed my girl in the shopping centre, and two older ladies stopped and told me to cover my tits. Literally. In the UK even yound lads don't comment, even though they are usually quite loud about everything.

  • im glad you have had a positive experience here, i have to say the general public have never given me any bother, obviously people will look as its a rare sight most places women hide up,

    Well done for managing so long, my little girl just refused a little while back, shes to nosey to pay attention and eat, her lunch takes her ages as everything around hers far more interesting!

  • I think people's attitudes are changing.When Harry was a baby I had to use the "baby change and feeding" room in Debenhams in Canterbury.It was a changing cubicle in the toilets,next to all the other loos,with those sort of partitions rather than walls.Just seemed really grubby.On completely the opposite end of the scale I used a communal room up Bluewater when Bridie was tiny.There were microwaves for bottles,little tables for toddlers,comfy feeder chairs for Mums.Don't know if it's still there,couldn't find it last time I went,but they do have lots of individual parent rooms.I did see a lady breastfeeding on a bench in the main mall there though,nobody made a fuss.I only noticed her cos she was a Chinese lady and had these gorgeous little newborn twins with masses of lovely black hair.

    Maybe in time people will just get used to seeing it,attitudes are better than they used to be

  • jo the bluewater and lakeside baby rooms, are the best, we went when jack was small. great for a rest lol! Our debanhams has lovely rooms too, the 'family bathrooms' fab its a huge room with two loos, one small one for kids a low sink and normal on change stations table and chairs for kids and its soo clean!

    cant fault it, also our mothercare worlds one is great has the lovely glider chairs, whereas boots in town, id rather feed at the local dump than in there, its awful!

  • I've breastfed all over the place - open cafes in the middle of a shopping centre, parks, theme parks, doctors surgery, synagogue, tube train...

    I never got any comments other than those of the 'what a lovely cuddle your baby is having' variety, and I honestly think that most people didn't notice that I was doing it.  Being a multitasking mummy I was often having a cup of tea and reading the paper at the same time.

    To be honest, I always found feeding in front of a load of strangers easier than feeding with my dad or fil around - to start with they would get up and leave the room, but eventually they realised that I wasn't going to get my boobs out and wave them around, so they started ignoring the feeding.

    When my middle child was born, my eldest used to feed his dolly by lifting his t-shirt.  Because they are so much older than my youngest (there's nearly 7 years between 2 and 3) they will remember very clearly that their sister was always breastfed.  Hopefully this will help them make informed choices when they become parents.

  • My boy is 3 now but I breastfed him for 9 months until I couldn't stop him nipping me (he got teeth at 4 months).  I refused to used baby feeding rooms and be hidden away when it was something so natural.  It was harder the first few weeks to have this attitude but by the time he was a couple of months old I carried on feeding whatever, wherever, if someone had a problem, they would have to move, not me.  Having said that the most I had were a few tuts and suggestions about those fabric things to cover up - which I definitely wouldn't use, it's not like you can see anything anyway, and I wasn't ashamed of breast feeding so I wouldn't cover up.  I fed him everywhere from in the doctors waiting room, to in a fish a chip cafe in the Lakes to a favourite stately home we often visited.
  • I often feel like I'm making it even more obvious I'm feeding my baby when I use covers and we both get fed up and it takes twice as long.  As my sister said to me while bottle feeding her daughter - just get on with it and stop her screaming!  That thing (a feeding apron) is like sticking a sign on u to "look what I'm doing" (it was bright pink) and has not been used since!

    Her friend who is horrified at the thought of bf hadn't even realised I'd been feeding my daughter while drinking my tea and talking to her for 30mins until I had to wind her!  She has since discovered she's pregnant and wants all my feeding tops!

  • have to admit - I don't understand why people have to test others reactions to breastfeeding in public, has anyone ever bothered doing it with bottle feeding mothers?

    I had more comments that I was doing something wrong with that than I have had with breastfeeding!

  • I'm all for being allowed to do it wherever, whenever.

    I was very proud of my (normally shy and retiring) wife having a massive go at a shop assistant once for telling her not to feed our baby in a shoe shop.  I almost felt sorry for her, especially as she was the Saturday girl who had clearly been put up to it by the regular staff.  Needless to say, our son got his meal.

    I was slightly embarrassed on leaving, however, to see a sign saying "no food or drink to be consumed on the premises".

  • I breastfed all three of my children and can honnestly say that i never had any negative comments or 'looks'.

    I feed anywhere and everywhere when my babies were hungry, including reastaraunts, swimming pools and even in a rugby club where my husband played!

    I am not a get your boobs out infront of everyone kind of person and feel that most breatfeeding mums dont just strip off and sit there with their boobs out, after all no-one actually needs to to feed a baby! I also never used any special feeding blankets or tops. Just a happy medium!

    I have had conversations with people who had no idea i was feeding a baby at the time, and the only time anyone said anything it was a compliment saying how lovely it was to see a baby being breastfed..

    That said, i think as mums we dont help ourselves, oftern the "look" we receive is actually not a look of disgust, but one of praise but we get ourselves in the mindset that everyone will be negative so thats what we see. Maybe the next time we see a baby being breast fed we should say hello to the mum and compliment her - i know it made my day when i got praise for it

  • I think the saddest part is that the only really bad reaction she got was from another group of mums. Surely we should be supporting each other regardless of our choices?

    I am lucky that in the last 28 months of breastfeeding my daughter I have never had a bad reaction (god help anyone that tries) and I have breastfed in some unusual places including getting about 60 breastfeeding mums together in one of the busiest train stations in the country.

    Well done for showing the nation that breastfeeding is normal.

  • I've breastfed everywhere I've been over the last seven months: toddler groups, the library, restaurants, coffee shops, benches in town and at theme parks, even on the front seat of a bus. I'm very discreet and I don't believe my boobs can be seen, though it's obvious what my son is doing. I have encountered no objection at all or been made to feel uncomfortable. In fact, most people don't pay any attention to me at all. I've been happily surprised. And if people didn't like it, I don't think I'd stop feeding my son to please them because my confidence is pretty high thanks to all the good experiences I've had.
  • I agree whole heartedly with this article...its incredibly sad that we need a law to allow mums and babies do what is entirely natural any time they need to.

    I was always a very proud breastfeeder and worked hard at standing my ground and not letting myself get bullied. The amount of time I was asked to go 'do that' in a toilet!!!! I wouldn't expect shopworkers, security guards etc to eat their lunch in a toilet so why should my precious baby?!?!?!

    I've even walked around the super market pushing my trolley and breastfeeding my son - when its got to be done, its got to be done!!!! :)
  • i love this article, it comforts me to know there are other mums who are the same as me.

    i don't have a problem with breastfeeding in public. i fed my son for a year and am still feeding my 7 month old daughter and have only ever had 1 bad experience where a "woman" didn't want to come into the same baby changing/feeding area as me because she "didn't want to see me doing THAT"!! but she made herself look a right tit in the process of huffing and puffing with her pram so the laughs were on me really!!!

    as for feeling 'letdown' about not getting my boobs out anywhere, i totally agree!! its a running joke with me and my other breastfeeding friends (from the baby cafe, does anyone else go to one?) that we've had our boobs out everywhere!! my all time best was infront of the vicar!!!!! 

    so, apart from my grandma asking me if i were 'one of those germaine greer types', my breastfeeding experience has been and still is fab and i would say to anyone, don't be shy!! be proud that you're doing the best for your baby and certainly don't let anyone make you feel ashamed!


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