Good for her!

Occupy Mama, Brighton edition

When Claire Jones-Hughes was told to stop breastfeeding her four month-old in a cafe in Brighton, England, she didn’t simply button up and go away. Jones-Hughes, the founder of  brightonmums.com, summoned a flash mob of 40 mothers and babies to the cafe to protest.  The Brighton protest is part of a growing movement in England to normalize public breastfeeding.

The sad part of the tale is that most British women wouldn’t have felt comfortable joining Jones-Hughes’s protest. According to a poll by Mother and Baby magazine, 65% of British woman are uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public. I was surprised to see that 41% of American women feel the same way. Some mothers no doubt simply don’t feel comfortable exposing a breast in public, but I do wonder how much public disapproval has to do with it.

If any readers would like to share their breastfeeding-in-public stories, please do! I’d appreciate hearing from you.

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4 Comments

Filed under Breastfeeding, Maternal-child health

4 responses to “Good for her!

  1. I’ve been breastfeeding for the past seven years and have breastfed in public more times than I can count. I usually try to do so in a manner that feels comfortable to me. I live in a progressive town that doesn’t blink at a mom nip, but I’m now visiting family in Boston and I feel more aware of the public eye when nursing.

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  2. I always wore a hooter hider while breast feeding in public but I still made people uncomfortable. One time in an ice cream shop two woman got very upset and asked me “why would you do that here?!”.

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  3. Ania

    I breast fed my son in the Bay Area in California, and only once had an issue with breast feeding. There was the day that I was nursing my son while completing a purchase in a small shop, and the male proprietor held the credit card receipt so I could sign with my free hand. There was the meal at a local Mexican restaurant when the owner came over to tell me how wonderful nursing was, and that his wife had just weaned their baby. For the most part, people just ignored what I was doing.

    The one time my breast feeding was questioned was at my son’s day care. He had been unusually fussy and they had called me to pick him up early because he wouldn’t stop crying. When I arrived, he was uninterested in playing and asked to nurse, so I sat down at the edge of the playground and let him nurse. One of the day care teachers asked whether I would like to go inside. I said that no, I was quite comfortable, but that if she wasn’t I could go elsewhere. She said that she thought maybe there was a rule against nursing in front of other children. I said I doubted it, since California has a law stating that women may nurse anywhere that they’re otherwise allowed to be (excepting private residences) and I didn’t think the day care could make such a rule without violating state law, but I could relocate if the lady herself was uncomfortable. She dropped the argument about then and shuffled off.

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    • Hi Ania,
      It’s nice to hear from you again! I hope all is well with you and your family. I think we are very lucky to live in a part of the country where public breast feeding is by and large seen as a non-issue. I’ve heard that before – someone using the threat of a “public decency” violation to persuade a woman to cover up – but mercifully not too often.
      Take care, and thanks for writing,
      Mark Sloan

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