From workplace to park bench to a friend's living room, one of the issues every new breastfeeding mom wrestles with is when, how--and even whether--to breastfeed in public.
With three out of four new moms in the United States now breastfeeding during their baby's first weeks, nursing in public is becoming more common. And the tide of support is slowly rising as well. 44 states have legislation that makes it legal for moms to breastfeed in public, according to The National Council of State Legislatures, and more states, including Tennessee, have proposals in place to do the same, according to the Times Free Press.
A recent, informal Circle of Moms poll in the Breastfeeding Moms community asked community members if they thought moms should be allowed to breastfeed in public or only in private. More than 650 members, or 98 percent of those polled, say that women should be allowed to nurse their babies wherever works best in the moment, public spaces included. Only two percent of Circle of Moms members polled say nursing should always be done privately.
Many Circle of Moms community members strongly support breastfeeding in public, but make attempts to be discreet:
“I am all for it,” says Isabel C. in the Circle of Moms Young Mums Due in December 2010 community. “That being said, I choose to not subject everyone to it. I have a blanket and a nursing cover-up. My son needs to eat just like everyone else on this planet and it's what my breasts were made for.”
Sarah T., a member of Circle of Moms Nature's Way UK Community agrees, saying she doesn’t understand what offends people so much about breastfeeding in public: “I just don't understand the issue as long as the mother isn't flashing her breasts about and is discreet,” she shares. “And for the record, discreet is not putting a blanket over the baby’s head, as this is just wrong in my opinion. Why don't we all sit with a blanket on our heads next time we have a meal?"
But some Circle of Moms members believe that if it makes others uncomfortable, breastfeeding moms should cover up or breastfeed in private.
“I strongly believe that if it makes others uncomfortable, especially children, then that person should have an obligation to cover up,” says Suzanne K., who was careful to be discreet when she breastfed her two children. She adds, “Seeing this part of the body naturally makes people uncomfortable no matter how you try to justify it.”
“If no one nurses in public, then the public will not know there are women nursing,” says Laura. “If we don’t nurse in public then young girls will grow up only ever seeing bottles feeding babies. And, if we don’t nurse in public then the snotty people who will make bad comments about it will never get ignored, or set straight. And they could keep on discouraging other moms.”
How do you feel about breastfeeding in public?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.