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Public breastfeeding

(191 Posts)
Nanban Wed 04-Jul-12 18:42:53

A furore today with a crowd of breastfeeders occupying a cafe who had asked a breastfeeding mother to move to a more discreet table! The manager had to apologise and grovel to a bunch of frankly over-endowed breastfeeders. Yuk. Has the world gone totally mad - what girl/woman would walk down the street with her bosoms all-a-hanging; what man, flashing his privates wouldn't be arrested for indecency.

Frankly, if I am out and about, I do not want to be part of an act that should be private and quiet and personal! If I want to see bosoms I can open a porn magazine, or page 3 of a newspaper - I do not want them at lunch.

Faye Wed 04-Jul-12 21:49:03

D2's seven month old baby tugs at the shawl when she is being fed, she doesn't like being hidden away. GD will also stop feeding if her mother is talking to someone, she likes to be fed while her mum sits quietly but is not bothered by others talking.

I actually don"t understand the problem with seeing part of a woman"s breast when they are feeding their baby, that is what breasts are for. No one seems to be bothered when a woman wears a very revealing top showing lots of their breast but complain when a baby is being fed.

jeni Wed 04-Jul-12 21:54:32


Anagram Wed 04-Jul-12 21:56:14

And surely it's only the nipple which is airbrushed out of photos, not allowed in advertising etc. If a baby's feeding, the nipple is obviously out of sight!

Annobel Wed 04-Jul-12 22:06:13

I was never averse to breastfeeding anywhere or everywhere, but it was always a good opportunity to sit down with the baby and read a book while he had his fill. I got through a lot of short stories while I was breastfeeding no 1. No 2 had to take his chances! And he did. My DiL wore a nice baggy sweater and stuffed the baby under it. He didn't suffocate.

Mishap Wed 04-Jul-12 22:07:16

Martin Parr, one of my all-time favourite photographers, has made a career of photographing ordinary people going about their lives, and many of these pics are at the seaside. One classic was taken in Spain I believe and shows a mother sitting topless on a beach, bottle-feeding her baby - brilliant!

glammanana Wed 04-Jul-12 22:34:52

I would much rather see a mum breastfeeding her baby in a cafe than someone stuffing an oversized beefburger into their mouth.

Barrow Thu 05-Jul-12 09:14:33

This protest happened in Bristol and was featured on the local news. The full story was that the cafe involved did welcome mothers who were breastfeeding but one of the employees had asked a mother to move to a corner. In defence of the OP I have seen breastfeeding mothers who are not discreet and who stare at anyone around them almost willing them to object. Some of the mothers on the protest where very "up front" with their breast on display.

I think we have all seen the different attitudes, one where the mother is discreet and bonding with the baby, the other where the child is simply "latched" on and the mother then continues whatever she was doing, talking, texting, smoking or whatever (and yes I have seen this) ignoring the child until it has finished.

Nanban Thu 05-Jul-12 09:18:56

Well, that started a fantastic conversation - if a tad one-sided. The phrase I latched onto was - the height of intimacy between mother and child - that didn't mention sharing a table with complete strangers.

As an add-on to lack of awareness of others - one woman got up from the front seat of the bus with a child of 2+ years latched on and joined the queue of people going downstairs. How can that be a beautiful moment?

As for 'our newspapers' being full of naked bodies - we have a choice to buy or not to buy.

And, yes, the displayed breast feeder could so very easily just flip a shawl around and offend, embarrass, no-one.

Is there no-one out there who agrees, or is that too politically incorrect?

j04 Thu 05-Jul-12 09:28:28

there's a video of what happened on here

No commentary but worth watching.

j04 Thu 05-Jul-12 09:32:18

It's obviously a cafe where the mums meet up. That can't be bad.

Nanban. I over reacted a bit there. Sorry.

(Not sure how you can call breastfeeders "over endowed" though. Isn't that part of the deal? grin)

whenim64 Thu 05-Jul-12 09:36:36

A peaceful and happy protest with a warm welcome from the cafe owner. I bet his takings go up after that lovely publicity grin

vampirequeen Thu 05-Jul-12 09:47:25

The women were being so upfront (sorry no pun intended) to make a point. A waitress had not only made a mother feel uncomfortable but then chased her into the street shouting abuse. The cafe owner put the sign up after the demonstration and made the most of his free publicity but declaring that his cafe is now feeding friendly.

absentgrana Thu 05-Jul-12 09:55:07

I was hugely impressed when shopping with my daughter and her newborn in a mall in New Zealand. To reach the parent and baby room, you press a button on the wall and large mirrored doors slide open, then close once you have entered. Inside is a large airy room with nappy changing surfaces and sinks, free microwave ovens for heating bottles or baby food, an enclosed area for older children to watch television, comfortable seats and two or three cubicles where mothers can breastfeed in private if they wish to. There are also loos and the whole place was spotlessly clean. I bet there's nothing like this at Westfield or Blue Water.

Mishap Thu 05-Jul-12 10:13:32

I cannot really believe we are still discussing the pros and cons of public breastfeeding - I thought the world had moved on a bit!

The waitress who kicked up a fuss was out of order and some Mums found a way to tell her so. That's fine.

whenim64 Thu 05-Jul-12 10:28:35

Agreed Mishap.

It would be good to see those mums parading through newsagents and showing the shop managers the top shelf stuff that offends them when they bring their children into the shop.

I once asked a W H Smith manager to remove such magazines that were positioned directly above children's comics. He spoke to me as though I was talking nonsense. When I went in a week later, they had been moved, but why should our children be faced with confusing images of women's breasts, and we still get arguments about using breasts for their natural purpose?

Greatnan Thu 05-Jul-12 10:41:52

Nanban - you expressed your feelings and some of us expressed ours - being politically correct has nothing to do with it. No doubt if some other members agree with you they will feel free to say so.
For myself, I see nothing wrong in the sight of a breast and calling the mothers 'over-endowed' was not helpful to your cause.
Surely you realised that your post would provoke some disagreement?

AlisonMA Thu 05-Jul-12 10:47:51

I fed mine in public over 30 years ago but I did it discreetly. I don't think anyone even notices if you are careful and surely we should all be considerate of other people's views, whetheh we agree with them or not. My DiL won't even feed in front of her own mother!

I do think some women thrust their breasts out in public as if they are making a point and there may be people who would prefer not to see it done quite so brazenly.

A gay male friend of mine posted something on FB a while back along the lines of 'if you don't like seing breastfeeding in public, its your problem not mine!'

j04 Thu 05-Jul-12 10:56:29

How much breastfeeding does he do then Alison?! grin

AlisonMA Thu 05-Jul-12 11:04:27

None at all j04 (well as far as I know!) Twas nice though that he was presumably supporting a friend.

ginny Thu 05-Jul-12 13:08:15

I see no problem with breast feeding in public as long as it is done discreetly, and I believe most mums do this.
Personally I don't want to see womens boobs whilst I eat my dinner anymore than I would want a man to sit there without a top on.

Ariadne Thu 05-Jul-12 13:20:28

Oh, I don't know ginny - it would depend on the male body sans top! I can think of quite a few beautiful bodies that wouldn't disturb my dinner one bit! Might disturb me,

Greatnan Thu 05-Jul-12 13:33:34

I am puzzled - why would anyone find the sight of breasts unpleasant?

wisewoman Thu 05-Jul-12 16:09:12

I hesitate to say anything as I will probably, like the OP, be pounced on for my views. Of course breastfeeding is best and should be done wherever baby needs fed. However, there is a group of what I would call "militant breast feeders) often seen in local cafes John Lewis etc, who seem to me to be less concerned with nurturing their babies than making a point - and as for three and four year olds pulling down their mother's tops in the middle of cafes - that can't be about nourishment as they are often downing "babyccinos" and eating muffins as well! Well, I await condemnation!

whenim64 Thu 05-Jul-12 16:23:40

I know quite a few women who feel strongly that breast feeding for at least a year is good for their baby, and they have busy lives so do make use of any facilities that are conducive to breast feeding when they meet up with friends. I have sat in a cafe whilst my friend has breast fed her baby, with my own babies who I would feed if they needed it (I usually would feed the babies before going out, but sometimes timings just don't work, or babies need pacifying by offering them the breast).

I don't see being enthusiastic about breast feeding as earning the activist label - they are just enthusiastic - a baby who doesn't need or want to feed won't bother.

When I look around places like the Trafford Centre, I see many more young women bottle feeding their babies in public - how come this isn't noticed?

Anagram Thu 05-Jul-12 16:46:20

Well, it isn't really comparable, is it?