Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding in Public

Wondering about the pros and cons of breastfeeding in public? Check out our thoughts on the issue & give you tips on dealing with any difficulties you face.

If you have chosen to breastfeed, you are without a doubt, going to face the task of feeding your baby in public.  It seems these days this is a hot topic, with women taking a stand and posting pictures of themselves feeding their babies in public.  This is not what this article is about.  I just want to discuss the pros and cons of breastfeeding in public. Although the cons are more like difficulties you will face rather than actual cons, so keep that in mind!

Related: Breastfeeding in Public: Is it Indecent or Natural?

Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding in Public

With breastfeeding you will never run out of supply.  You can’t leave your milk at home (that would entail leaving your boobs at home, and while sometimes you might wish that were the case, sadly it’s not an option).  So when your baby is hungry, you are ready to feed him.  And that means in public too.

You do not have to worry about forgetting bottles, or worry about leaving one in your diaper bag (I have done that, it is not pretty, just toss it).  Your diaper bag will truly be your diaper bag.  You don’t have to worry about spilling the formula in the process of making your hungry baby a bottle.  Can you tell I have recently done this?  I lost about 15 bottles worth of formula, all over the ground (you might still be able to hear my sniffles). While this is definitely a big plus in the pros and cons of breastfeeding in public, there are downsides as well.

Related: Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding at the Same Time

You will most definitely deal with stares or comments even (people are ruthless) when you feed your child in public.  For some reason, even though this is something that has gone on for centuries, people still have issues with women ‘exposing’ themselves, rather than looking at it as a child eating.

I read something one time that has stuck with me.  A woman was told to cover up, or take her child to the restroom to feed her.  Her response was to ask if that person put a blanket over their head when they ate or took their food to the bathroom to eat.  Brilliant!  Me, personally, I would (and have) used a cover up but it was more for myself than for the general public.

Because society has chosen to still think breastfeeding is a taboo act for the public, there are limited (if any at all!) places for a woman to comfortably feed her child in public (short of going to the restroom, and that is just not comfortable).  A friend of mine just had a baby and is going on vacation.  She asked a bunch of us if we knew if the places she was going would have a spot for women to breastfeed.  To my shock, they do advertise a comfortable area for breastfeeding women!

Breastfeeding is not an easy task in itself and it really is a shame that it is not made more easy for a woman to comfortably feed her baby while in public.

What is your experience the pros and cons of breastfeeding in public ?  Did you find it easy to do?  If you were out for a long period of time, were you able to find a place to sit and feed your child?  Share your experiences with with us in the comments below!


20 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding in Public”

  1. The only con I ever found with breastfeeding in public was that when my daughters got older they would be overstimulated and kept pulling off to look around. I never once got a rude comment or stare and I nursed my girls for 14 and 18 months. A few times I actually got positive comments such as “I like your nursing cover”! It does make me sad that some moms have potentially been put off breastfeeding in public because of rude comments.

  2. I breastfed when my baby was hungry, I did however, try to nurse before an outting, not because I thought there was something wrong with nursing in public. Stopping to bottle feed would have been just as time consuming. I was always shy so I was very discreet. It certainly doesn’t bother me to see other moms feeding their child in public if done with taste. Great article.

  3. I guess we can never satisfy everyone. I see nothing wrong with breastfeeding in public, as long as it is tastefully done and I really don’t see it being done any other way. I would say that there is less than a .00000001% chance that a mother breastsfeeds to be on display so why society has to give her a hard time is beyond me.

  4. I’ve had three kids so far and have breastfed all of them, anywhere I was. For the first two, I tended to cover up or seek out more private places to breastfeed. For the third, I was a bit more “who cares” about it. I figured that both of us were good at doing it so I could do it discretely even without a cover. In fact, at one wedding, I nursed my daughter without the person SITTING BESIDE me noticing until I was done!!! 🙂 I’ve never gotten negative comments about it. I do appreciate the fact that there are more places available for moms to take care of babies (which includes change tables as much as comfy chairs for nursing or calming fussy babies), although in one mall I was in, that place was so far out of the way I knew I’d never walk all the way down the mall just to feed/change the baby there. I have one picture of myself breastfeeding, in all the years I’ve done it (almost seven now); my husband took it as a joke at the zoo, because I usually have the camera and take pictures and I’d given it to him. I do try to do it discretely and I’ve never posted pictures of myself doing it (though I did share that one picture on my blog in a post about nursing, because you can’t see anything in it). Anyway, thanks for sharing your perspective! 🙂 I do agree that breastfeeding is so convenient for mom and baby! 🙂

  5. I think it is great to breastfeed in public. I just do not see while the entire breast needs to be shown. You really are not giving others the choice you are asking for. There are many nursing tops that cover the top of the breast. I nursed 3 of my 4 children., The babies head was not covered but my breast was. My opinion

  6. I just commented on another breast-feeding blog, so I’ll leave a similar comment here. I see nothing wrong with discreet breast-feeding in public, for all the pros you mentioned. Those who don’t like it can just turn away. Breast-feeding a baby is less of an “exhibition” than the way some women in particular dress (or DON’T dress) in the summer!

  7. I always breastfeed in public. My son is exclusively breastfed and refuses to take pumped milk in a bottle. If I’m in a really public area, I simply use a breathable blanket to drape over my chest. I find it to be really easy and convenient. Best of all, no bottles to constantly wash-lol

  8. I don’t think I can comment on this very well. I couldn’t breastfeed for health reasons. My son has always bottle fed. He’s totally fine though. 🙂

  9. Babies need to eat when they need to eat. That being said, I’m modest so I always went to a discreet location and covered up with a blanket. I’m fine with anyone who’s more free about it, but I just wasn’t.

  10. As a breastfeeding mom (I breastfed previously for 14.5 months and now 22months and still going) there is no con. It’s simply feeding a baby. I do it whenever and wherever needed. Not so much anymore as my 22 month old usually only wants to nurse at night for comfort, but when they were younger and we were out I nursed when needed If anyone has an issue with it – that’s their own problem. Breasts are intended to feed and nourish our children, my kids know what they are for an when we see breastfeeding moms out and about my kids don’t even notice. It’s normal! They were the same before I even nursed.

  11. My babies are now 12 and almost 9 years old. They were both breastfed babies. The only difficult part is when you are out in the public but with a blanket, hungry baby is content and feed. My babies will not take bottles and pacifier, the only way is breastfed them especially my preemie who went home for the first time at 4 pounds but now is one very healthy baby.

  12. I breastfed both my boys and a total of two years breastfeeding, only once did I ever get a sideways glance, and never from men. Men have totally been accepting of breastfeeding. Instead it was older ladies between 65 and 80 that gave me quite the stare, several eye rolls and head shaking, huffs and puffs and even a walk by at my local Olive Garden. They were definitely put off by it, but I was amused watching their behavior. Only once though in the two years I had nursed. Another thing to think about is if you aren’t used to putting a blanket or cover up on at home while you nurse, doing so in public can confuse the baby. My son didn’t like something covering his head, he’d be hot or start sweating, plus he enjoyed looking around as he breastfed and not only that, he needed to have eye contact with me while breastfeeding. it was our little bond. He’d giggle or smile while feeding and if he couldn’t see my face, it would upset it. So often I wouldn’t cover up, but I made sure I wore a nursing top an showed as little skin as I possibly could. Its hard, but I wouldn’t change it.

  13. Whenever and wherever my son was hungry was when we breastfed…public or not. If people have a problem with it, it’s there problem. I think it’s completely fine to do anywhere. Plus, you can do it discretely if you’re modest.

  14. I don’t see what the big deal is and why people get so upset when a woman is breastfeeding in public. I am the type of person who could care less. It don’t hurt me and it does not affect my life. Breastfeeding has so many perks for the baby, why would anybody be against it?!

  15. Pros of breastfeeding in public: my child gets to eat. Cons of breastfeeding in public… ummmm… Nope! I’ve been told to pump a bottle. But she’s never had one. So, I just keep on feeding my love until she’s done! I don’t cover, but I don’t flash my chest all over the place, either!

  16. Interesting article. I think its actually unusual for mums to be approached or criticised in public. Mums can discreetly feed without going to a special area. Or wearing a cover up. A vest top to pull down and a loose top to pull up works brilliant. Sat in a cafe or restaurant, to the side if you’re more comfortable. Sat on a bench in a park. I’ve breastfed for over 7 yrs (in a 16yr period) and I’ve breastfed from parks, churches, playgrounds, shops, restaurants, cafes, trains, plains, beaches, museums, and jumping on London buses. I’ve never been confronted or challenged. I believe the biggest challenge for most new mums is that media breastfeeding in public when its actually nosensationalizesitsl, thousands of mums do it, with no issues other than occasionally leaking milk. Xx

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