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Monday, November 01, 2010

Breastfeeding in public

Yesterday, Alex, Toby and I went on a leisurely walk around the West Village. (It was such a pretty fall day!) Toby breastfed a couple times while we were out, and Alex took a few photos, which I figured I'd share.

Since Toby was born, I've met so many wonderful moms who are nervous about breastfeeding in public--they worry that people will give them weird looks or say something negative, or they just feel uncomfortable baring a boob.

I totally understand that, and when I was pregnant, I thought I might be shy, too. But once Toby was born, I actually found myself feeling surprisingly passionate about breastfeeding in public. After all, I figured, I'm feeding a child, and what's more important than that?

I was also really encouraged by my friend Leigh and her blog (she writes a lot about breastfeeding). When Toby was one week old, I breastfed him in public for the first time, and I actually texted Leigh to thank her for inspiring me. She wrote back, "You fierce, fearless mama! You go right ahead." I loved that. :)

When I was pregnant, I had also read a few stories about restaurant owners or random passersby saying negative things to nursing women now and again, so I came up with a phrase that I'd have at the ready, just in case. Want to hear it? :) I planned to say, "It's my legal right to breastfeed my baby anywhere in public or private; if you have a problem with it, you can look away." Haha, sounds dramatic, but I felt good knowing that I'd have a reply, if the situation ever arose! Luckily, strangers have actually been great. You know, 99% of the time, people don't even notice that you're breastfeeding (it's so subtle!); and when they do realize it, people have even walked by and said, "Aw, that's so sweet," or "Isn't that beautiful?" which was a nice surprise.

Overall, I'd love to encourage women to feel proud to nurse their sweet babies in public. As you can see from the photos, it's really modest (the baby's head covers up almost everything; and I'm also wearing a Boob nursing shirt). At this point, I've ended up breastfeeding Toby all over the city, and it has been a wonderful, fun, cozy, intimate, freeing experience. Now I barely think twice about it! I just bust out the boob!

Anyway, I want to give a huge thumbs up to all you mamas out there, no matter what you choose to do! If you don't want to breastfeed in public, by all means, don't; but if you do want to or are thinking about it, please feel encouraged to go for it. And know that I'll be here in the blogosphere, rooting you on. xoxoxo

320 comments:

1 – 200 of 320   Newer›   Newest»
naturally nina said...

i absolutely love love love this post. the end. :)

Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

You go girl. NOw that I'm pregnant, I have a new view of almost everything. The only thing clear to me is that I need to let go of every preconceived notion and just love.

Kristin Hjellegjerde said...

Love that you dare! I always did, got in trouble on the airplane once, the flight attendant threw a blanket on me and I was not being promiscuous at all...

Diana Mieczan said...

Really love your phrase! Its totally right. I think breastfeeding is such a natural thing and very beautiful as you are feeding your child...I have a few friends in Paris and they never can understand women in other countries who shy away from it. Go girl!

Joanna Goddard said...

kristin, that's appalling!!! i feel for you!!!!

TheSensesFive said...

This is awesome Joanna! Leigh is right, you are a fierce, fearless mama! It's so good to see more mothers like you feeding their babies when they need to, no matter where they are, not when & where it's convenient to anyone else. xoxo

wonderchris said...

Beautiful pictures - of such a beautiful moment between mom & baby. I love that!

Thanks for your reply - I will be using it if/when I ever need.

You ARE fierce - and I love that too!

Kaity Teer said...

awww what a great mama you are!!

Jen said...

Thank you SO much for writing this! It is so important for women to breastfeed in public, for so many reasons! I've rehearsed a similar response too :) but luckily never had to use it.

Anonymous said...

My friend felt nervous about breast feeding in public until her ravenously hungry baby began to cry-no scream with hunger in public. Then she said she didn't care who saw! Besides you can't even tell.

The Neo-Traditionalist said...

Good for you Joanna! When I have babies I will proudly publicly breast feed and think of this very post : )

xx Katie

Ulla said...

:) You go ahead!:) Its completely natural and beatuful:) Look to us in Scandinavia:)

Melissa said...

fantastic!
On a completely practical standpoint, I'd rather have a mother feed her baby than have to listen to a hungry babe. I was on a plane recently (in the middle seat, no less) and the mother with an infant on her lap next to me asked if it was alright for her to breastfeed there. Of course! She was awesome and had one of those little aprons to be discrete. It kept her little girl quiet and happy for a 2.5 hour flight. As a non-mother, it was a) nice to be asked; b) nice to see someone else handle it so gracefully; and c) nice to be next to a happy and content baby on a completely full flight! I can't imagine having to manage a bottle regimen while traveling. Mothers are truly remarkable in their fortitude and planning.
go go go, Joanna!

Joanna Goddard said...

YAY! thank you for all these lovely comments!

gemma said...

LOVE. THANK YOu.

Caroline, No. said...

Very cool, good for you. I like your response, I'd be far less polite! x

Gogo said...

How great! It is sweet and beautiful and I love pictures of breastfeeding moms and seeing them out and about. Baby and mama always look so happy.

I'm glad you posted about this. It might inspire others to feel as comfortable or, if they aren't breastfeeding, to be welcoming and inclusive of nursing moms.

Ami said...

I love this. Isn't it crazy that in Europe this is so widely excepted but in North America we feel reluctant to?

Sara Szatmary said...

You look so beautiful and happy in these photos. If that's not enough to change someones mind, I don't know what will.

Melissa Blake said...

Lovely post, Joanna!! :)

Caroline, No. said...

PS: I have a random question. What do you use on your hair/what is your routine? I have the same hair type as You but mine never looks as nice! Do you blow dry it?

x

D&D said...

i mean, theres plenty of ladies with their boobs hanging out of their shirts that walk around these days anyways - i'd be happy to see a boob out bc of breast feeding! ha!

Joanna said...

I love these photos. What a fierce, cool, sweet, french-chic mama you are.

e is for elephant said...

I don't have kids yet but I loved this post. It made me very happy :)

http://elephantyears.blogspot.com

esdelope said...

You go girl!

Becca

Kasia Dietz said...

Lovely photos! All women should feel so proud to breastfeed in public :) It's true that in France as in most of Europe it's regarded as very natural.

Laura_NEAPOLITAN said...

What lovely pics! I wish I was "better" at breastfeeding in public, but I have a squirmy baby who loves his nursery glider best. Crossing my fingers that it will get easier as he gets older. Thanks for sharing these details of your life and encouraging moms in your always-charming way.

Kristen said...

These photos are beautiful! I've been considering cutting my hair but this post is inspiration for me to keep growing it out :)

Victoria said...

Totally agree with you as I've breasfed my kiddos all over the world. The most natural thing ever and if someone isn't comfortable with seeing it, they should look away.

Meghan said...

Loved reading this post! I am nursing my infant and do so in public all the time (I have to or my older child would be at home all the time) and I love your phrase to say if someone says something negative to you! I've tired to think up one before but couldn't come up with anything as good as yours. :)

jif said...

YES! It is astonishing to me that some people find it "offensive" or "indecent" - after all, breastfeeding is what boobs are really for! I choose to breastfeed my twins because it was sooo much freer and easier than always having to have to carry bottles, formula, thermoses, all the equipment required. As an American living in Germany, I can vouch that the attitude here is similar to the French, breastfeeding in public is no big deal. Although, breastfeeding two at once always created a bit of a spectacle! Gorgeous pictures, enjoy the intimate time with your beautiful boy!

kkatmpls said...

Beautiful post! I wish all breastfeeding moms would feel ok about public nursing...it is really so discreet and helps people see how normal it is! And so convenient!

Although I'm still nursing my 2-year old and that does get us some looks on the odd occasion when I still do it in public (skinned knee, etc).

Eric and Jill said...

I desperately needed this! I was too shy to bf in public with my first baby (Leo) who's now almost a year old (which of course has severely limited me!) and still breastfeeding. Thanks, Joanna! I'm going to be braver with the next! And I'm more than ready (just need one of those handy dandy boob T's!)! xoxo

waitingforulises said...

Sweet xxx

http://yentonceselmebeso.blogspot.com

kkatmpls said...

Oh, and doesn't it melt your heart that Alex wanted to take pics of you? Nothing warms my heart more than when my husband would join me and put his arm around me while I was nursing on a bench or something...so supportive and full of love:)

Hollie said...

haha I love that you had your reply ready for use!! People can be so rude. I will never understand why others feel the need to comment negatively regarding what someone else is doing! Of all the things I've seen people doing in public, I'd have to say feeding a baby is the LEAST offensive!

Gosia said...

A friend of mine was very anxious about breastfeeding in a restaurant so she asked a waiter if it would be okay, and he said she could go and brestfeed in the toilets. how rude! Babies want to have their lunch too! I wish she had your response or never asked!

katie said...

thank you for posting this! i am a week from my due date and am curious how i'll feel about breastfeeding in public. here in florida they've made it the law to be able to breastfeed in public and i even have a card that i can show people if they give me a hard time.
and the more women who breastfeed in public, the more it will become socially acceptable.

Jennifer said...

I've tried several times to compose a comment that would express all of my feelings on this post and this topic, but I'll just keep it simple and say: You rule, moms! If someone doesn't like public breastfeeding, it's their problem, not yours :)

BlondeShot Creative said...

wonderful post! You have so many readers that its great for that many women to hear these things.

yasmine said...

When I was in grade school in Manila, my homeroom/math teacher would breast feed in front of us while she lectured. Nobody cared about it, whispered, gossiped about it. It was a normal thing. She was discreet of course. Sometimes she'd place a piece of cloth over, sometimes not. There was nothing malicious about it--just a normal, everyday motherly thing to do. And I've seen this done often enough by others. There's nothing sexual at all. It totally boggles me how people can see this as an uncomfortable or even dirty thing.

Anonymous said...

Great post. My mom is a midwife and she would say absolutely the same things about breastfeeding as you! Thank you for your inspiration. A.

winter blue said...

you go girl!

sk said...

What a great post!
Thanks so much for sharing.
Also, you look so stinkin' cute! I love your outfit. Where are your jeans from???

agirl said...

FABULOUS post. Keep saying it loud and clear.

Gretchen said...

A terrific post, and I hope all nervous-to-breastfeed-in-public mamas read it and are inspired to give it a chance. I am by no means a hard-core "lactivist," but I did find myself feeling very good about nursing my children in public: you get happier kids, which any restaurant patron, for example, should appreciate! The more Moms breastfeed in public, the more it will be accepted, and the more comfortable everyone will feel. So, just do it!

Petite Marie said...

Thanks for sharing...I think that breastfeeding is so underrated these days and it should not. My daughter is 2.5 now and I still breastfeed her today (not when we're out anymore, since she doesn't do it so often anymore). I loved breastfeeding her in public too, but was always a bit worried because Mass (where we live) did not have any breastfeeding laws (that changed a couple of years ago) but it was never an impediment for me. You go girl!

LPC said...

Go you. I nursed both of mine, for years, and in public. Even as toddlers. It's probably, in retrospect, the single best thing I did as a mother. I hope this generation carries on and, what's the term, represents...

Valerie said...

I'm totally on board with you on the fact that you shouldn't be ashamed to feed in public. However, I do recognize that it makes some unintentional observers uncomfortable. I don't think that covering up with a baby blanket would be a sign of shame - merely a respect for others.

Heather Gray said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this!

My son is now 4 weeks old and I was feeling strange about breast feeding in public. I have a few lunch dates with girlfriends this week and I was stressing about feeding Finn and what people would think. I have been feeling anti-social and cabin fever big time... so this is increasing my anxiety about feeding him in public. Your post and images have calmed these stresses and inspired me to nurse anywhere I need to. Thank you again!

Toby is growing so quickly! I have enjoyed watching him grow and your wonderful motherhood stories. Thank you for sharing so generously.

Best, Heather
http://littlebundleofgraymatter.blogspot.com/

Claire Gibson King said...

you look soooo beautiful!

Anonymous said...

i'm going to be honest: breastfeeding a baby in public makes me rrrreally uncomfortable. i think there are a couple reasons for this. 1) i'm not a mother and 2) i'm not a mother! maybe it's because i saw some breastfeeding moments that were a little uncalled for (like a woman in the 1st row of a show i was in) but i understand that it's a beautiful thing with Mom to connect with her baby that way. i also think it's great that women have that right and are comfortable enough to do it. i am by no means a prude, maybe it's because that connection is so personal that i wouldn't want to do it in public.

Jennifer said...

To each there own and it's totally a personal decision, but I'm just going to put it out there that public breast feeding gives me the willies.

It always has and is a big reason why I've chosen to bottle/formula feed, I'm just not comfortable with the idea... but that's just me.

JAMIE said...

Bravo, you beautiful girl! It IS cool in France and a ton of other places where needs come before nervousness...

Good job. You make me proud to be a woman!

Heather said...

Thank you for posting about this. I have always felt that the more women breastfeed in public, the more 'normal' it will be to the general population and therefore, less stressful for the next crop of moms. Thanks again!

kate said...

I have to say the only time I've ever been freaked out by breastfeeding was when I was waiting tables and a lady whipped out the boob... and started feeding her 6 year old.

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

Thank you so much for this post, Joanna. I have 4 children and my youngest is 8 weeks old. I have breastfed them all, but will confess in this public forum that I have always been a little trepid about it in public.

This post is empowering.

Annie said...

At one time, it was socially unacceptable to show ankle in public. I think as more moms take a stand and more people realize that this is just about a mother/child relationship (not about the sexualization of the female body), public breastfeeding will become less and less of an issue.

Amanda Swann said...

I read recently that Kim Kardashian had tweeted about a lady at the table next to her breastfeeding her baby and how she thought it was gross. I remember thinking this from the same girl that made a sex tape and posed for playboy? How could she possibly think breastfeeding was gross. That seems so backwards! I think it should be such a natural and beautiful thing.

The Cheeky Cafe

xo sara said...

hooray!
i totally thought i would be shy about breastfeeding in public, too... and, as it turns out, i am so NOT shy about it!!
i don't even think twice - it is so freeing *and* cozy and awesome.

xo sara

megan said...

I love you for this! KUDOS!

Wood-Mama said...

Great post Joanna!
We breast-feeding mammas have to stand together! I am still breastfeeding my second son. I used to have a phrase ready on the off chance someone would ask me to go to the restroom to breastfeed (there are sometimes those little nooks in public washrooms with a chair):
"I'm sorry but I'm not moving, if you don't like it why don't you take your lunch to the bathroom and eat there?"
I have never had to use my phrase yet! ;-)

jessica quadra photography said...

it reminds me of the seinfeld episode when the guy elaine is dating whips "it" out in front of her on a date (he whipped "it" out?!), but then he gets offended when he sees a mother breastfeeding in a hospital later. anyway, it's hilarious. i don't see the big deal. you're right - you're feeding your child for crying out loud! some people act as though they've seen someone peeing in public. sheesh. more power to you!

Notes from Holly St. said...

thanks for this post! i often think about (and get nervous about) breast feeding in public once my little one arrives. your story has made me felt a little more empowered and brave about the whole thing!

LPC said...

One more thing. Breast feeding isn't actually all that intimate, once you're used to it. It's comforting, but it doesn't feel all that private.

Anonymous said...

I think the coolest thing in France is that nobody judges you whether you decide to nurse in public or not or most importantly whether you decide to nurse at all or not. I like that people let you be the judge of what's best for your baby (and yourself). There's no pressure for new moms to go one way or another. If you can breastfeed that's amazing, if you can't or decide not to, that's fine too. As they say over there 'mieux vaut une bouteille donnee avec amour qu'un sein avec reticence' (better to give a bottle with love than a breast with fear). I personally struggled with breastfeeding and knowing this helped me a lot.

Anonymous said...

This post is so inspiring!

Ellen said...

Thanks so for this post! I appreciate your take and eloquent response. I breastfed in public, but used trusty Hooter Hider. I have an active toddler who was a very active and alert infant - no "curtain" would have been too distracting for him :-) But if I have another child, I will definitely think back to this post and series of beautiful images.

Tracey said...

Beautiful pictures. I'm always so jealous of people who look so effortless when they do it...namely people with smaller boobs than me! Although i part fed my babes up to 10 months ish when they lost interest, i can absolutely say that having big boobs is no fun when breastfeeding. I literally had to hold up my boob with one hand and hold the baby with the other. Although i did feed in public occasionally i can definitely vouch that i did not look as beautiful as you! If i had free hands when feeding i would definitely have done it all over the place and my reply would probably have been far less polite! xx

Simply Mel said...

I breastfed my crumb in public until she self-weaned at 23 months ~ hear me roar! Excellent post!

Alicia Marie said...

I love this post and will have to budget in one of those boob shirts. I have bf both of my boys in public, on planes and in restaurants. ( I am nursing my 3 month old as I type this) I was nervous at first, but with the help of a great nursing cover, I just did it.
Though you are quite brave with no cover. My boys were/are very active while nursing and I not sure if I could contain everything :)

Love,love this!

The Gourmet Traveller said...

You look absolutely beautiful.

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

I have really mixed feelings about this. I think if you can breast feed, do it! And it shouldn't matter where you do it. It's also great that there are "public figures" like you, Jo, who are paving the way for social acceptance; however...

I had two difficult pregnancies and had A LOT of trouble breastfeeding. I breastfed and pumped (a lot!) for as long as I could, but ultimately, both of my children were formula-fed. I think there is a stigma there, too. It's like if you formula-feed, you are a failure, and you don't care about your baby. I wish someone would take a stand for those moms, too. It's really hard to read posts like this and see all the supportive comments and not feel really, really awful, like it's being rubbed in my face or I'm being "one-up'ed" a bit. But, I guess if I don't like it, I should just stop reading, right?

Gina said...

Thanks for posting this. I encountered some drama while nursing on an airplane once...The story's on my blog:

http://ginaandkris.blogspot.com/2008/06/mothers-rights.html

Thankfully, after two kids and plenty of public nursing, this was my only bad experience...and I was glad I had a response at the ready!

Ali said...

Good for you! My son is 16 so I nursed in public with no crazy stares or unwanted looks, I didn't even use a blanket to cover up...

Nursing is beautiful and natural! I stare more at people who give bottles and make no eye contact with their children while feeding them honestly.

I will say, however, I did stare the other day at the woman who entered my store and nursed her 3 yr old... GET A SIPPY CUP WOMAN! lol

Anonymous said...

Thank you for an awesome post. I breastfed both my sons in public and plan to do the same with the next one once he or she is here!

Maria del Mar said...

...Really beautiful pic!!

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

I think it's just wonderful! And, the pics are so sweet. Brava to you Joanna ; )

Meghan said...

I love this post.
I love that you are fearless.
And I love Leigh. She is amazing.

Tracey said...

Deanna - I think only you can make yourself feel awful. You shouldn't listen to people who judge you for stopping because you just found it too difficult to continue. If you can, great, if you can't hey you gave it a go, it didn't work out, you moved on and were probably a better mum for it. Chin up. No baby is better off breastfeeding with a mother in despair. xx You should read away. Don't let praise for brestfeeding be any reflection on your choices. They were yours for a reason.

Anonymous said...

You do have the right to do this...

However, as someone who was taught quite strictly by her mother how to be a lady, I'd say that this doesn't fit the bill. There are some things that should remain private - and since most babies tend to somewhat of a schedule, I feel that it can be quite appropriate to plan for that. Motherhood (parenthood, in general) requires a shifting of priorities, from yourselves to another life... and I do not think it is asking too much for your to act accordingly. While there may be things you WANT to do, you can plan differently.

Anonymous said...

This is so inspiring and lovely in every way!

Lucy at IntoCalico said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Gorgeous pictures of you and your baby!

Lucy at IntoCalico said...

I think this is so beautiful! What a little REVOLUTION..or should I say EVOLUTION of the modern world...of peace and love!I always feel this way sunbathing topless on the beach or naked, so good for you!!!! I think it is the truth! Thanks for sharing, this is inspiring!

xo

peace and love from Espana

Lucy

Lucy at IntoCalico said...

ps: you are beautiful! And such a cool Mom!

Anonymous said...

Anon - A schedule of 2.5 hours wouldn't give you much chance to go out though! I would have been house bound. What a pleasureable way to spend my life ?!

You must have been super lucky or you never went out?

lilla.u said...

Aaaah! This post is great!

I'm a mother of two little sons. I have breastfed both, and really liked it. In Sweden it's ok to feed in public {at least at most places}. Travelling around the world has always made me feel a bit stressed though. Especially to the US or UK ... so you showing those lovely pics of you & Toby in NY and also writing about it makes me H.A.P.P.Y!!

Yay!

day said...

Lovely pics. I'm still getting the hang of the modest latch on (my little dude is six weeks old). You make it look so graceful. Thanks for the inspiration!

Dana

Wendy said...

Right on, Joanna! My oldest is about to have her first baby (little boy) I'm going to send her the link to this entry. Very cool!

Melissa said...

Joanna - Have you ever seen the little cards you can print out and keep in your bag to hand out to other breast feeding moms?

They essentially say thank you for setting a good example for future generations and breastfeeding is something to be proud of.

I keep meaning to print some off myself as I just passed a nursing mom in the airport last week and wished I had one to give her.

Go girl!

bright lights, big cities said...

haha, I didn't even notice you were breast feeding until after i read on!!
(goes to show your point, huh?)

well great post. I'm not a mother yet, but giving power to women is always good for me! (especially if they are caring for the next generation!)

Keri said...

I love this post! I think that the lack of maternity leave and some people's attitudes toward breastfeeding make it very difficult for American women who choose to breastfeed. But people tend to fear the unknown, soooo as you and others normalize breastfeeding it's gonna get a lot better. (from a mama who's still breastfeeding her two-year old, and if you think that's strange, the Canadian Pediatric Association now recommends it).

C and N said...

so cool. Thanks for sharing!

thelittlesister said...

Thank you for this post! I rarely comment on blogs, but felt compelled to today, and will now head right over and link my friends to your blog!

I am also very grateful to the support system I had when I decided to breastfeed, and feel a strong desire to advocate for breastfeeding moms as a way to pay it forward. Our kids deserve to have food whenever and wherever they need it!

monica said...

oh joanna, you look like such a cool mama!

Charly said...

I am 28 years old, and so far, I have been unable to get pregnant... Your post made my heart swell and break at the same time. To all the beautiful mamas out there, you go right ahead and do it, for it is the most significant you will ever feel, and your babies will forever be grateful for it!!! Greetings from Venezuela.

la franglaise said...

Joanna, you are glowing in the photos. It is so beautiful to see a woman breastfeed.
I thought I'd be too shy to nurse in public as well but in the end it came really naturally and a lot of the times, people just thought he was asleep in my arms it was so discreet. Breastfeeding my baby was the most incredible feeling in the world. Have you planned to breastfeed Toby until a certain age? xx

toria said...

Thanks for this post. my baby boy is 6 weeks and i do feel a bit shy doing it in public, but this made me feel a lot better! thanks!!! x

astrid irene natalie said...

this is so good to read Jo!!! I'm not a mum, nowhere near haha, but my friend got told off on the bus not to long ago and it made me really mad!
thank you so much for this post!

Lexie, Little Boat said...

this definitely deserves a hearty "you go girl!" .. solidarity, siter jo!

Stacey said...

I'm so happy that you posted this! I also breastfed my baby(now 19 months old) in public too. You look great doing it too!

Rose Umbrella said...

I have always been on the fence about breast feeding in public but I have to say you changed my mind. Breast feeding is a beautiful natural part of life.

heather said...

you are FABULOUS, and breastfeeding is BEAUTIFUL!

wishful nals said...

good for you! and you look gorgeous doing so. :)

Amber said...

Love it! And absolutely adore your shirt...I have an 11 week old and just can't seem to justify the high price of a Boob shirt, but after looking at these pictures, I just might have to get one! So modest and so easy all at the same time.

Little Pinwheel said...

I am still breastfeeding my son, and loving it. We are past the feeding in public as it is only twice a day now, and whenever he feels the need to wake me up during the night.

I too was a little nervous with my first feeding in public with my first. I would get the wrap and try to drape it across us to hide. One day I found it too hard as she was fussing about and I removed the wrap and I learnt how to be discreet for those around me that may have been uncomfortable, and for my own modesty.

there does come a time when they are so interested in what is going on around them. on and off the boob, on and off, and more on and off! you will get really good at being quick to put it away!

beautiful photos x

Stephanie said...

I am nursing my baby as I read this post. What a great subject to address on your blog. It's refreshing! I really appreciate the images shared and also the link to the nursing top--super helpful! You've given many of us confidence to do the same.

Lindsay Jewell said...

Thank you. Breast feeding is the most natural thing in the world! I think it's sad that we've skewed the human body (namely breasts and their function) to the point where people could possibly consider it 'gross' or 'inappropriate' to breast feed in public. I'm angry that I would ever have to feel self-conscious or explain/defend myself about breast feeding, but your post gives me hope that I'll have the courage to deal with it when the time comes. :)

jaime said...

just last night, i was eating dinner with a group of friends and my baby got hungry. i asked what to do. should i feed at the table, bathroom, or car? i was told to go to the car. my sister ended up keeping me company while i breastfed in the car. i broke down to her telling her i dont know how much longer i can breastfeed because it seems more like a punishment. earlier in the day i had to breastfeed in a public bathroom. i feel so alone in this. when my friend's baby gets hungry, she easily mixes up a bottle of formula and feeds at the table. i'm just tired of being banished from the room every time my baby is hungry. so really, thank you ever so sincerely for posting this.

Aura said...

This is wonderful, Joanna. I'm also really happy to see that you're still nursing Toby. I have to return to work 5 weeks after my baby comes in April, and I hope I'm not disturbing the nursing pattern to much. I guess I will just have to spend thirty minutes between clients in the bathroom pumping :)
I hope I have the courage to openly breastfeed. I live in a very conservative state, and I rarely see women breastfeeding in public. If ever. But the cover-ups sell really well around here! I should have gone into that business and taken out stock.

Keep up the good work, Mama.

Penelope said...

Interesting post, Joanna! While I agree that breast feeding is wonderful, healthy, and completely natural, I'm a little taken aback by the responses on this blog and on your facebook from mothers who are still breast feeding their toddlers. Isn't that pushing the envelope a little?


Also, what do you think about those smocks? At the restaurant I worked at, I would get lots of complaints from several people about mothers who would breast feed in the middle of the dining room. Of course, I never asked any mothers to stop...but it makes me think it would just be easier and more comfortable for everyone if mothers would just quickly tie a smock around their necks. Thoughts?

conceivedandcomposed said...

Good for you!! As a fellow new parent, we've also had to make the executive decision on whether or not to breastfeed in public (my wife, obviously). I think most younger parents are more hip to breastfeeding in public than previous ones. But as a voluntary compromise, my wife decided to buy what was essentially a $40 apron, lol. But this ended up being entirely unnecessary/cumbersome anyway. Like you said, it's just a boob, lol.

Danita said...

THis was by far the best cup of jo post in months, I loved it!! Gorgeous and the photos are beautiful, you go jo!!!

Carey said...

beautiful post! thank you!!

Joanna Goddard said...

deanna, oh, i hope you don't feel bad! i would never ever want to make a mom feel bad for formula-feeding her baby -- i'm sure that was the best decision in your situation! absolutely!!! whatever moms want to do is fine and wonderful. i just want people to feel that they have a choice to do whatever they think is best and not feel restricted :)

girloliver said...

Thanks for this post...I was always nervous about breastfeeding in public, but at the same time it didn't stop me. I like your plan, and wish I had thought of it, just having a phrase ready to be used probably would've made me more comfortable. I will definitely remember this for my next!

Joanna Goddard said...

penelope, thanks for your comment! i personally think that hooter hiders and smocks are fine for moms who want to wear them, but i wouldn't want to wear one. i know Toby would hate it because he likes to look around (and also up at me) while feeding; and i also wouldn't want to have one more thing to have to carry around. i just think that breastfeeding with a nursing shirt is soooooo subtle and modest that you really can't see anything. i truly think it would make it MORE obvious if i wore a smock -- like a big sign saying "hey, everyone! i'm breastfeeding over here!" :)

Joanna Goddard said...

anonymous, i hear you about shifting priorities when you have a baby, and working your life around them -- absolutely!!! i stay home the first half of the day to make sure Toby has two good naps. but babies thrive in fresh air and i wouldn't want to keep him home, or only go a few blocks from my house, for his first year of life, just so that i can run home to feed him. if we're on a lovely walk, or at the playground, and he's hungry, i wouldn't want to deny him, or go back indoors for seemingly no reason other than to breastfeed indoors, you know what i mean?

Mollie said...

breastfeeding is wonderful and amazing! my first was born 2 months ago and it has been such a bonding experience. do you have any favorite nursing bras? i have had a hard time finding comfortable and attractive ones.

Joanna Goddard said...

tyler carine, i think i'll breastfeed him for a year, but i totally support people who do it more, less or not at all -- totally up to each mother, of course :) xoxo

Joanna Goddard said...

i love all these comments -- so inspiring and thoughtful and thought provoking and wonderful!!! thank you for sharing!!! xoxoxoox

Lady Gabby said...

Awesome!
Please check out my blog if you get the chance. Any feedback is appreciated! Thanks so much.
www.lady-gabby.blogspot.com
xx

michelle said...

Lovely post and important issue to discuss.

Funny, I nursed in public feeling fine BUT if I was visiting relatives, I felt self conscious. Something about having my brother-in-laws watching me felt off-put. So I would go to a spare room or use a nursing cover (hate those sometimes).

Also, I think it depends on how well your baby nurses. Baby number 1 required a nipple shield, which was very messy and required the breast being exposed a lot as I would put it on, put it on again if the baby knocked it off, etc. Baby number 2 nursed great so it was much easier to nurse in public. Much more discreet.

Go mamas!

chelsea said...

You go girl! I love it. I've always thought we should be more accepting of breastfeeding in public here in the states. Glad you posted this!

Joanna Goddard said...

gosia, i AGREE! who wants to go into a bathroom for half an hour and sit on a toilet seat?! oh my goodness, the waiter should have encouraged her to feed her baby at the table and enjoy her meal!

and, jaime, you POOR thing! i wish i could beam myself through the internet and give you a hug!!

Lindsay said...

So inspiring and so beautiful! I can't wait to breastfeed in public-- and I love your just in case response! I'm going to borrow it!

Jenni Austria Germany said...

you do such a great job of expressing your opinion eloquently without offending others or stating your beliefs as absolute truth. :) the pictures are great and i love that you came up with a standard response in case the issue arises at a restaurant or public place! :)

dear olive said...

Gorgeous, important message. I was always confident about breastfeeding in public, only I never wanted to expose my boob way out there, it's reassuring to remember it can be pretty discreet if that's what you wish. It's a beautiful thing you're doing for your baby. Kellie xx

jennifer@nicolejanehome said...

It's such a nurturing natural thing to do. If people don't like it, that's their problem and their hang up. Keep it up, all you young mothers!! The people who will support you and appreciate you WAY outnumber those who won't!

Erin said...

Right on :) The more women breastfeed in public ... the more "normal" it will become. Like you said, "what could be more important then feeding your baby?!?"

Shanti Knight said...

I love your hair, particularly in the third picture down... And übercute coat, too ;)

Gabrielle said...

i always breastfeed in public, but i made sure to cover my breast. why? well, even though it is natural, and healthy... some men, and some women might not think of it that way. they see a breast, and they think sexually. i didn't want to give anyone a chance to sexualize* what i was doing.
also, i think it's natural to be shy... we should listen to ourselves and our comfort level. breasts should be private and revered, even if they are being used to benefit an infant.
boobies are boobies are boobies.

Camilla Leila said...

you know i think americans are funny. they have a problem with seeing nudity or something as beautiful as a baby being breastfed by it's mother but they have no problem with so much of the vulgar, sexual crap that is on tv.

i think the value system is off...

you bust out that boob lady!

Catherine said...

I find it so difficult to understand how anyone can view the sight of a woman nursing her child as anything but divine! I still remember seeing a mother nursing her child on a park bench overlooking the ocean and it looked like the most serene moment. Beautiful. You look very stylish in your outfits, breastfeeding tops and all!

Catherine said...

I also had to mention the neighbourhoods you photographed are so charming, and Toby's check pants are the cutest!

Leah D said...

Here here for breastfeeding the babes. Funny story though, I once was on a date and looked down at the crosswalk below the coffee shop we were sitting in and saw this woman and....flesh. I said, "Is that woman.." and my date finished, "Yes, yes she is." Woman was breastfeeding while crossing the street! Totally out there! Definitely made that date memorable! :)

blue hour designs said...

I breastfed both my boys EVERYWHERE. It's not like indecent exposure, like you said, their heads and the shirt cover up everything anway. It is the most natural thing in the world, so why be ashamed??

It is a beautiful thing :)

Sarah said...

good for you. keep it up!!

risa said...

Thanks for this wonderful post! I breastfeed both my children in public...over 20 years ago. Sometimes I feel it's a little sad that we don't seem to have progressed much in those 20 years...maybe even moving backwards at times. But hats off to young moms like yourself who are braving public opinion...to do what is only natural...feeding your babies!

Cathi said...

It's been 20 years since I have breastfed in public and I never thought of not doing it. I don't recall ever getting any negative feedback either. It's our right, after all and I'm with you - if someone doesn't like it, look the other way! Great post and adorable photos! xxoo :)

Anonymous said...

Lovely post!

I feel that a lot of people who don't support breastfeeding in public might not understand the following:

The American Association of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year of a child's life and for much of that year a child will need to eat every 2-2.5 hours. This is timed from the BEGINNING of of each feed which gives a mom 1.5-2 hours of time between feeds. If women can't comfortably breastfeed in public then they are basically discouraged from leaving the house for a year. If our society/medical establishment is going to encourage mom's to breastfeed then we need to become more accepting of breastfeeding in public. Breastfeeding is hard enough without having to worry about what people think of you.

Thanks Joanna!

Anonymous said...

I like when women breastfeed in public because I feel like each instance takes the definition of what a breast is back a little closer to what breasts do.

It takes the whole plastic/fetish/Montag theme down a notch. And I think that's pretty great.

Margaret said...

I went to Paris with my then-4.5 month old and breastfed her the whole time--but I must correct you that it's not exactly "cool" in France. I saw exactly ONE other woman breastfeeding the entire time I was there and while French women do breastfeed they generally only do it for a short period of time (a few months). And another thing, there are basically NO changing tables anywhere in Paris. We had to use park benches and at desperate moments, the ground. NYC is far more babycare friendly than Paris.

Linka said...

This is such an encouraging post! Thank you so much! I have been so nervous feeding my little on in public. I usually pump and bring bottles if I knew I would be out and one day I ran out of bottles and I nearly had a panic attack! My sister reassured me that it was okay and kept me covered, but I was SO nervous and embarrassed on what others would think, but you know what? You're so right! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Kate said...

Thanks for this post, Joanna. I'm about to take our first plane ride with my 6-month old and have been nervous about nursing in such quarters. This gives me encouragement! Hoorah for you and all breastfedding mothers!

Merrilyn said...

What a beautiful tribute to the most wonderful thing in the world! I nursed both my babies for 14 months, and I still miss it. To the "anonymous" poster who suggested you schedule outings around baby's feeding schedule, that's all well and good until the baby decides he or she is hungry at an unscheduled time. I always tried to do that myself, and it works OK when you have just one child, but when you add an older child to the mix, you are just going to be out and about more, and feed the baby wherever the baby needs to be fed. I have nursed both my children in all manner of public places very discreetly and happily, and never had a negative comment thrown my way.

Anonymous said...

You. Are. AmAzing!. & So too is your husband and your beautiful little peach Toby.

Much love and admiration from Vancouver Island,

Marissa & my little 10 week old baby girl Coco.

xxoxoxo

Em-Jae said...

"I just bust out the boob." Ha, I love it. Kuddos to you!

PS - That tank is a seriously amazing find. I'm pretty sure these should become a mandatory baby shower gift!!

clinka said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I nursed both of my babies until they were 1yr old - there is nothing better (for BOTH baby and mommy!). Toby is gorgeous!

Keep it up!
jbxo

norbyah said...

i learned very quickly with my first baby, almost 8 years ago, that my boobs were not private anymore. in the hospital, i had all sorts of doctors, nurses, and lactation consultants poking and prodding to make sure my son was latching on correctly or that i was supporting him correctly. when my family all came to visit, they had their heads right down near his face and by my boob because they were infatuated with the natural beauty that breastfeeding is. i thought i'd be nervous about breastfeeding in public, but it came naturally to me. and, three children later, i'd have it no other way. i had similar experiences to you; people hardly noticed or they made a sweet comment.

thank you for writing this post. it is a topic i am passionate about too!

Barbie said...

Beautiful pictures, beautiful post! Enjoy this amazing bonding time with your little Toby. My little guy is 2...I miss those moments.

Jen from SewnNatural said...

YAY YAY for you, that's awesome. I had a very similar experience - and I still happily (and fiercely) nurse mine wherever we happen to be and she needs to. Thanks for a superb post.

east side bride said...

YOU ROCK ;)

mallie83 said...

Beautiful... I still haven't had the guts to feed my almost 8 month old in public. Thanks for the inspiration.

Sarah said...

Yay Joanna! You are amazing. I love the way you stand up for yourself without ever coming across as bitter or rude. Now that is what makes a lady. And very cute red chucks!

Juliana said...

Bravo Joanna! Your post is very inspirational and the photos are sweet of you & your babe. It made me think back to those tender moments when I breast feed my child. I'm a pretty modest girl but at the time I felt empowered by my body's ability to nourish my child. I tended to use a blanket in public when nursing, more for preventing staring disapproving looks than for my own privacy.

asiabonacci said...

Thanks for sharing. Having breastfed two babies (just about everywhere) I can tell you I've had only one completely negative comment directed at me, which almost precipitated a fight between my husband and a teenager (oops). Mostly, people are great. I even tried out breastfeeding in public when living in the Deep South and if anyone had a problem with it, they were too polite to say so! I appreciate your taking a stance; your sphere of influence might encourage some tentative mamas to breastfeed in public. (PS why does Blogger not recognize the word "breastfeed" or any of its other forms?!?!)

anyta said...

you'r SUCH an inspiration! Luv, Anita (from Singapore)

Lillian Marie said...

Breastfeeding in public is very normal here in the Philippines. I've breastfeed my daughters too ... and as a public health physician, I've always advocated breastfeeding..it has a lot of benefits for the baby.. and more intimate bonding...

Lisa Griffin said...

good for you! if we managed to push them out they should definitely be able to be fed in public! you look great and he looks adorbs as always!
www.indramaticfashion.com

chiara said...

Great post! So wonderful.

I, too, was apprehensive about breastfeeding in public. Sometimes I think it's more strange to nurse in front of friends and family, in some odd way.

I read somewhere that you should say, "Why don't you go eat in the restroom?" if someone ever suggested you feed your baby in the bathroom.

I just wish it was seen as the normal act that it is! Hopefully your post will help people realize that.

GingerLand said...

First of all, may I say that I absolutely adore you, Joanna, so you must know that I love your blog and this comes from a total place of love love love!

Second of all, may I say I applaud your modesty, and your consideration that not everyone feels the same way about breastfeeding. After all, isn't that what manners are all about? Consideration for the feelings of others around us?

Having said that, I am uncomfortable with women breastfeeding in public. I am ALL ABOUT breastfeeding if that's what's best for your baby. But in the same way a mother needs to plan ahead for naps, diapers, etc. when it comes to taking her baby to a public place, it's my feeling that a mother should plan ahead when it comes to feeding her child.

My suspicion would be a good majority of people are not comfortable with it, especially when there is breast exposed. I've been in situations where a mother felt free to make me and others uncomfortable by breastfeeding at a social gathering, dinner, or even work.

While it is certainly a right to do so, that doesn't mean it's considerate. I technically have the RIGHT to do a great many things. Talk loudly in a movie, wipe a runy nose at the dinner table, arrive an hour late to a party, flip someone off while in traffic. But there are standards of social behavior, and the reasons behind those are to make others comfortable.

I'm proud that in America, we still have a hold out on many of those old-fashioned manners that, in my mind, are just about consideration of others.

Leslie said...

i say go for it, too, but it is a whole lot easier to nurse discreetly when you are naturally small chested. as i am, and it seems you are, too (no offense!)
larger breasted women have a harder time keeping it all concealed, so they tell me. i always felt grateful that way!

marta said...

you are my hero. i love how much you talk about your new motherhood. i'm so with you, girl. keep up the breast work there is. xo.

Colleen said...

Gosh I love girl power!! Way to go Jo!! xoxo

fizzleout said...

Good on you! In Australia we now have a law that means it is discrimination if a restaurant owner asks you to leave for breastfeeding your baby. I think it is a fantastic step in the right direction, but also that people need to change their attitudes if they do think that it is offensive.

There is nothing offensive or inconsiderate about it, and it is funny that they would not be offended by someone feeding their baby from a bottle in public, and there are breasts everywhere in magazines, on TV and movies, on billboards. People need to loosen up a little!

I have to say again how much I love your blog and am enjoying watching your beautiful baby grow up! Toby is the cutest!

Colleen said...

Joanna-gorgeous photos of you and Toby. I love your coat so much. I always have trouble wearing a nice coat with Converse shoes.

just lei said...

The pictures were lovely! Awesome that you are breastfeeding without shame or guilt out and about!! I work for a clinic where we promote breastfeeding and we give these business cards out to our mommies that say "Its the Law" -

if you want a neat quick read on more breastfeeding info: http://www.breastmilkcounts.com/

Good luck to you and Toby!!

LPC said...

Oh, and I always try to let young mothers know, as I pass, that I am 100% in support of their public nursing. Sometimes I just give them a little thumbs up, sometimes I tell them I did the same and my kids are great:).

Susan said...

You go girl! I breastfed my kids in public all the time and am totally so proud of any mamas I see doing it too. It is a loving thing. I have to say that most of the time people just thought my babies were snuggled up and napping.

Chiara said...

Good for you!!!
xoxo
www.joiedevivre-chiara.blogspot.com

Rachel said...

The first thing I noticed in the pics was Cafe Cluny...only after a minute did I realize you were breastfeeding! Proves how subtle it is!

Anonymous said...

This is so sweet! My babies are now 14 and 12:( This made me remember how much I loved breast feeding them! Simply lovely photos...thanks for sharing.

Amanda said...

I love this post. I don't think anyone should feel ashamed to feed their child in a healthy and natural manner. Especially when it is such a subtle act- I see more boob in the average bar than I see from breastfeeding mothers.

Kate said...

Joanna, that's so awesome! Good for you! And thanks for sharing your encouragement!

miss sarah said...

Wicked post! My response to people who do double takes is, "He can cry or he can eat". And that usually puts an end to it:)

cuppycakeme said...

How could ANYONE think it's "innappropriate" To feed a child? There's nothing more "natural" about breastfeeding your baby. YOU GO MOMMA!

http://www.cuppycakeme.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I've been known to breastfeed baby while pushing older child in a stroller through the mall or down the street. Oh, and while pushing same older child in the swing at the park. No one ever said anything. That was 9 years ago. Then again I live in Canada. I think we are more liberal about breastfeeding here.

Julia said...

That is so beautiful. I am originally from Germany and always felt comfortable breastfeeding in public, but in a modest way. I love the pictures of you with your son. They seem natural and elegant to me.

Thank you for sharing this post with us.

Julia

Selected Treasures said...

Wow i'd never even heard of that before!
www.selectedtreasures.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

You're obnoxious. So. Fucking. Obnoxious. Breastfeeding is great. Breastfeeding in public is fine. But preaching about it and screaming it at the top of your lungs is very annoying. Women like YOU turn me off from motherhood.

Judy said...

So beautiful! I was very concerned about breastfeeding my daughter in public at first, but after doing it once or twice, it was so natural for me. I've had a few stares and remarks, but like yourself, feeding my child is much higher priorty than over someone's ignorance.

You're amazing for choosing to give your child the best source of nutrients!

Em {orange + barrel} said...

100 percent agree! Good for you!

Brittany said...

Joanna, Please do us all a favor and promote health for the rest of Toby's life. So many mother's go crazy for breast-feeding (sometimes judging Mother's who don't) and then feed their kids McDonald's as soon as they can chew.

Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing but a life of health for our children is so much more important.


Sincerely,

Brittany
(Not breast-fed but raised by parents who made incredibly healthy choices:)

Anonymous said...

it's not legal everywhere. a woman breastfed at my job once and was asked by a cop to stop.

Jeanna Bauer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeanna Bauer said...

I personally am no where near this point in my life - yet I applaud you.

Having travelled a bit, it's always surprising to me to hear negative stories about public breast-feeding! Even in a conservative country like Egypt there are no such concerns.

Currently, I work in very cultural setting with refugees from Burma & I feel so lucky to be in a workplace that doesn't think twice about public breast-feeding. In fact, one day as I was typing away at my desk - I looked up to breast-feeding mother at my desk! I just smiled at the new mother... even though we couldn't communicate via language - I hope she knows I think she and her baby are beautiful.

As a strong voice in the world of blogging and women's interest - thank you for putting this beautiful part of life into such an empowering, special, and honest way. You're bringing boobs out from their cover everywhere!

Alejandra said...

Tengo dos hijos y a ambos los amamanté, no hay problemas por eso en mi país, salvo los horarios de trabajo....me parece genial que las mujeres defendamos nuestro derecho de alimentar a nuestros hijos cuando ellos lo necesiten. Saludos desde Uruguay!!!!

Shelia Day said...

"Anonymous" who left the nasty comment above, this is Joanna's blog and therefore she can write what she pleases! If you don't like it, then don't read it. Simple as that.

Joanna, I think your photos are lovely and you were very discreet, which I don't think is problem for most people.

I am not a mother, and I am not offended when a mother breastfeeds. On the other hand, I do not judge when a mother bottle feeds. You have to do what is best for you and your child.

The only time I ever had a problem with breastfeeding was when I went to a professional conference hosted at my university, and the student volunteer registering attendees was breastfeeding at the registration table.

rachel said...

If this is ever a choice I have to make down the road.. I know I'll think back to these words & photos! Thank you, Joanna. A lovely post.

The Slick Mom said...

This post inspired me. I am on child #2 and having trouble breastfeeding in public. It's not that I'm shy, it's more my child. He fusses when he's covered. I use a nursing cover. Also I feel I have no clothing that really works in public. I want to cover my still too big tummy and be discreet. It just hasn't worked out very well. He's only 7 weeks so I'm still working on it, but have been bringing bottles with me for feedings.

jen laceda said...

Breastfeeding is beautiful! I breastfed my 1st child until she gave up at 16 months. Let's see how long this second one will go. 7 months so far...

Brittani said...

your an enormous encouragement. I've gone public only a few times - and my worste experience, at the PEDIATRICIAN! Can you believe it? ... an older man, a father I guess with his older child gave the most un-accepting stares.

I love your line! I think I may have to steal that one in case I ever need it...or at least to have on hand to bring a little more confidence when feeding in public.

:) Keep posting the new mama advice! I love it :)

Bearer of Light said...

Hi Jo !

Just wanted to let you know that where I come from (Sri Lanka) we are used to a lot of acts of breast feeding infants in public. You would see it in Public Transport, cafe's, restaurants etc.. and not looked upon in a pervertish manner by the rest of the public. Over here, Motherhood is treated as sacred and people would respect the fact of Breast feeding and provide all necessary facilities to a mother who wishes to do so immaterial of location.

Hope it would be that great world over :) !

My blog is http://roshographs.blogspot.com/ Please do visit and leave me come comments if you find free time...

Wish your family a great future...

Robin said...

Oh, you make me miss nursing my little guy! Kudos to you :)
xoxo

brismod said...

I've breastfed all my children, in public, private, anywhere, anytime. I've never once had a negative comment when I was nursing my children if I was out and about. This is a great post to take away any perceived tabus about breastfeeding in public - it should be considered normal.

Carissa said...

you are a fierce, fearless mama! I'm not sure how I'll feel when the day comes... I think I'd be a bit shy, maybe I'd use a wrap, but I think it IS beautiful to breastfeed your baby, in private and in public! I'll admit, if I see a woman breastfeeding, I probably do a double take, but not in a negative way! I can't imagine someone being so rude to say something negative to a mom doing the most natural thing in the world. like you said, just look away! you go, joanna! :)

khemy said...

Very inspiring, Joanna.

Anonymous said...

first of all props to you + all the women out there who breastfeed in public! it's a natural thing after all, and there should be no shame in it all! that said, i think it's a little more accepting in a bigger city like nyc (or s.f. where i'm from). i'm currently living in a smaller community where i don't think it would be shunned, but a lot of people would be uncomfortable at least (go figure, in a rural community, huh?). anyway,i think it's fabulous that you are embracing this:)

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