Breastfeeding in Public

When I finished my February Lady Sweater, I wanted to photograph it exactly the way I would be using it.  I nurse my baby many many times a day, and I wear him constantly.  I have recieved mixed responses about this picture:

Is this innappropriate?  I REALLY don’t think so, but some would disagree.  First of all, when I posted this on Ravelry I recieved and huge positive feedback.  I recieved  17 comments, even more messages, and it was favorited 34 times.  All this feedback was so sweet and supportive, everyone telling me how much they loved this picture, and how nice it is to show support for breastfeeding.

On Facebook, however, this was not the case.  I recieved several messages and a comment claiming it was innapropriate and I should take it down.  “We’re all for breastfeeding” they would say, “but you don’t need to show it to the world.”  If this truly were the case, then I would never have posted such a provocative picture.  I NEED to show it to the world.  Our society needs to see this as normal, because unfortunately it’s still seen as indecent.

It’s not their fault though.  The people I’m talking about are super conservative and from UTAH of all places, where no one even shows their ankles or wrists (sarcasm).

I breastfeed in public and I don’t use a cover.  I’ve exposed myself to many people.  It’s not on purpose of course.  It’s important to understand that mothers need to feed their babies.  Babies don’t like being “tucked away neatly” under a blanket.  Mine throws it off, it’s too hot for him to eat his lunch in a makeshift tent.  I’m not whipping out my boobies and flashing people like in “Girls Gone Wild.”  My baby needs access to his food, and if you happen to catch a glimpse, I can assure you, it is NOT for your benefit and honestly you don’t have the right to be offended.

I am very discreet and people rarely know what I’m doing.  The few times I did use a cover it wasn’t very discreet, I ended up making a big scene because it was difficult to maneuver under it.  If any readers out there do use one, that’s perfectly fine.  This is just my personal preference.

When I do nurse in public, I get a great response from other people.  The older men smiling in approval, the grandma who’s been there and misses it, the other new mother who’s needing to do the same, and so on.  My favorite response is when a mother of a toddler sees me nursing and tells her young child that’s how babies get their food.  This makes me so happy, that these children know what normal is.

I understand that things have gotten so much easier for the breastfeeding mother.  I grew up in Utah which is 20 years behind in showing acceptance for nursing in public.  So it’s understandable, but still inexcusible (so glad I don’t live there right now! haha).  I just want to add that it’s not ALL people from Utah, just the few that make life hard for everyone else.

I am SO grateful I don’t have to fight a battle everytime I feed him in public.   I’m glad all the work is done for me, but still it’s unfortuante that the few random people have to be so closed minded.

Finally I want to say that I LOVE Ravelry.  I have found so many great friends there, especially in the Itty Bitty Knits group.  Thanks to all those who commented, messaged and also fav’ed my project.  This positive feedback has been so wonderful, I feel like crying.

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17 Comments

Filed under Breastfeeding, knitting

17 responses to “Breastfeeding in Public

  1. Thank you so much for this! I love it when breastfeeding mothers take a stand for themselves and their babies. I hope you don’t mind that I shared this post on facebook :o)

  2. Hooray for being a proud breastfeeding mama. I am still nursing my two year old and never used a cover or “hid.”

    I was one who fav’d your photo on ravelry.

    My daughter saw a baby being fed at the zoo the other day and pulled me over to see, she was so happy to see that. Now she nurses her babies, it makes me so proud.

  3. Right on Sister!!! There has been all sorts of controversy on facebook about facebook taking down photos and even banning users. Have you heard about it? There is a woman blogging about it now. She was breast feeding her twins tandem in the NICU and was banned from facebook. Nice. 😛

  4. nessa

    Thanks for sharing. Lovely sweater, lovely photo. 🙂

  5. yay for boobies and breastfeeding.

    I feel exactly the same way about trying to feed with a cover. I’ve ended up in a tangle and made a bigger scene trying to get out of it.

    The worst experience I had was when I went to a party at someone’s house I didn’t know with my husband, only a few weeks after Poogie was born. Being polite, I asked where I could feed, because the lounge looked kinda formal and I wasn’t sure that I wouldn’t have a leaking issue and spread milk all over the couch… in fact. I think I’m gonna write a post on it now. You’ve inspired me… thanks 🙂

  6. sauceyjill

    You go girl! I breast fed both my children and I cherish those memories! I love that you are doing something so good for your baby, and yourself. Chin up! You have lots of support from me!
    Jill 🙂

  7. Myrvlo

    Unbelievable that people are schocked about your beautiful picture of a mom taking the best care of her child. It’s not breastfeeding that is shameful, it’s a shame that breastfeeding is being sexualised. Keep going, you rock!

  8. People are so ignorant and inconsiderable sometimes, putting their needs/wants before those of the babies. My baby refuses to nurse with a blanket, and my breasts are large enough I have to always hold the one he’s eating from because his little baby chin can’t support that much weight. So I don’t have a free hand for constantly throwing the blanket back over baby even if I wanted to!

  9. Pingback: » Reminiscing – are you that old already?? (and breastfeeding while looking at soft porn) my-speck

  10. Love your sweater (I need one!) and love your message. How wonderful that you were supported on Ravelry, and boo to Facebook complainers.

  11. Wow, jumped over from another blog who commented on my recent post on a similar topic (Rakster)- in fact my post had the same title as yours. It is sad you got a negative reaction to the picture on facebook- I wrote about feeding in public because I am in Japan but had NEVER seen anyone else feed in public here so was wondering about others experiences!

    I think the sweater is great! WIsh I was so creative.

  12. JamieCatheryn

    Nice sweater! It’s totally ridiculous to expect babies to stay under a blanket to nurse, they’ll knock it off and end up showing more and calling more attention to yourself in the struggle than you would otherwise. I tuck my shirt way down to cover the breast and turn away from everybody out of my own modesty. But really if somebody’s uncomfortable with the amount you’ve gotta show they can put a blanket over their own head.

  13. Dee

    Bravo for you! My daughters are grown now, I am far from the nursing mom of 2 decades ago. Back then I looked for other mothers who were nursing babies for moral support. I did not understand people being against breast feeding then & I really don’t now. I hope people will stop being uncomfortable with this issue in time for my own two daughters to have freedom to feed their own babies in the future. Keep up the great work & keep on advocating.

  14. Why would people cover breastfeeding??? You see it very often here in Western Europe.
    I think you’re doing it right!

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