Babies-Toddler Vivian | 02 Mar 2011 03:52 am

What to Do When Someone Complains About You Nursing in Public

Do You Know What To Say If Someone Looks At You Funny Or Says Something Unkind?

You may find this hard to believe, but in all the years I have nursed my children in public places, I have NEVER been on the receiving end of an unkind remark. And, from what I’ve heard from other moms, it’s pretty rare to receive such a comment.

So, your chances of having to put up with something like that are pretty low. In fact, most people will never know you are feeding your baby, especially if you are wearing a nursing top and your baby is tucked into a sling while nursing.

However, if you’re still uncertain about breastfeeding in public, maybe you can be reassured by the fact that it is legal, right and the best thing for your baby.

With that said, you’d probably still feel more comfortable if you only knew what to say and do, right?

Well, for starters, if you see anyone staring at you, I think the easiest thing to do is just smile at them. After all, you are contributing to the health of the next generation and you are setting a beautiful example for other women, young girls, and expectant fathers.

However, if smiling is not enough for you, there are a number of other ways you can react.

  • Ignore the person by looking away or down at your baby
  • Inform the person by sharing a few of your thoughts on how important breastfeeding is to both you and your baby
  • Humor may be the key. If you’re quick on your feet, make a joke about the situation or yourself
  • Acknowledge the person’s viewpoint. Then, ask a few questions without agreeing or responding to criticism
  • Empathize with the person so they know you understand how they’re feeling, but stand your ground when it comes to nursing in public

In my state, we have a law that gives a mom the right to breastfeed “in any place she has the right to be.”

Along those lines, a few organizations created and distributed little cards that some moms carry around which summarize the breastfeeding law. The idea is to hand a card to anyone who might give us a dirty look or make an unkind comment.

I don’t expect I’ll ever need it, but my confidence did rise a level when I slipped a card into my purse for a quick retrieval.

By the way, did you know that in most parts of the world, no one takes any particular notice of a mom nursing her baby? My sister lives in Africa and says nursing in public is very common there. No one thinks twice about seeing a mother breastfeed her baby — it’s simply expected of all moms.

In fact, in most cultures around the world, breasts hold no sexual connotations. They are perceived as existing for the sole purpose of feeding children.

Wow! I often wonder how the U.S. got to be so backwards in this area.

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