Breastfeeding in public

What would you do if you saw a restaurant manager berating a woman for breastfeeding her child in public?

That’s the premise of an interesting episode of ABC’s program, “What Would You Do?” The show set up a scenario at a caf wherein a nursing mother was told she was gross for breastfeeding in public and then told to stop breastfeeding or leave the building. Cameras captured some customers eventually coming to the woman’s defense, while others told her to cover up, turn around or that it also made them uncomfortable.

Seriously, people? She’s feeding a baby, not putting on a topless dance to enjoy with your morning coffee. And if you’re looking so closely that it’s making you uncomfortable, than I think maybe you’re the one who shouldn’t be out in public.

I was glad that this episode showed so many people telling the manager he was out of line. One women even pointed out that mothers have a legal right to breastfeed in public. That piqued my interest, and after some research through La Leche League, I found that most states do have laws protecting the rights of breastfeeding moms. Only three – Idaho, Nebraska and West Virginia – do not. Some laws, however, only protect public breastfeeding for a child up to 1 year old, while others only protect the right to breastfeed on state-owned property.

Wow, who knew that where a baby’s next meal is coming from could be so heavily regulated by law?

I’ve never been very shy about my body, so I don’t get why some people are so squeamish about breastfeeding. I had no trouble feeding my baby whenever and wherever we were.

But I know for many moms, breastfeeding in public is embarrassing. I recall one of my friends trying to wedge into a tube slide at a park rather than feed her infant out in the open.

It makes me pretty sad that this little social experiment on “What Would You Do?” could even exist in our society. It’s too bad people are so skittish about breastfeeding, especially because our children are paying the price for it.

What do you think about breastfeeding in public? Does it make you uncomfortable to see it or to do it? What would you have done in this caf situation?

Leave a comment encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.