Polk Moms

Connecting moms in Polk County, Fla.

Why do people still gawk at moms who breastfeed in public? My sister breastfeeds her baby and does so whenever or wherever it is necessary. The other day we were at lunch at a restaurant and were asked to either go to the bathroom or leave. I couldn't believe it. What exactly should we have said? Of course, we left but it was disturbing that the manager took this type of position.

I breastfed both of my children for the first year of their lives. They are both in college now so attitudes towards breastfeeding, if any different, were less tolerant than today's. I breastfed in public on numerous occasions and never had any problem at all with doing so. I always chose to be very discrete but I've noticed over the years that many women seem to have a need to display their breastfeeding. There is simply no reason for anyone but the baby to see any breast when nursing in public. Mom's shirt should fit loosely enough for the infant to be easily tucked up under it and the bottom can then be used to cover what is going on. A light blanket over mom's shoulder can also help to provide a bit of privacy. A form-fitting tanktop may not be the best choice while spending the day out with the baby. That seems like a small price to pay for providing one's child with proper nutrition. These strategies become more difficult if nursing a child much beyond the first year as it's harder to fit the larger child under a shirt. However, they can eat other foods if hungry when in a restaurant. If a nursing mom is following these guidelines and a proprietor feels the need to discourage the mother from feeding her infant in public, consider it a reflection on the establishment, and avoid giving them your business in the future. - K.M. in Fort Collins, CO

FROM JODIE:
Breastfeeding in public whenever or wherever is legal in all states except Idaho. For some reason, they haven't taken a stand on the topic, except to excuse a breastfeeding mom from jury duty. However, it is the right of any business to ask a breastfeeding mom to leave their establishment and/or move to the bathroom or some other area to do so privately if they deem it necessary, especially if someone complains. Personally, I'm all for moms who breastfeed anywhere they need. Some people say that as long as the mom is feeding her baby under adequate clothing, blanket or other concealing material, they're okay with it being done in public. However, if her breast is exposed, this might cause other patrons to feel uncomfortable and may cause young children to point and giggle whether or not they've had it explained to them that it's nourishment for the infant. Either way, it seems there's always going to be complaints about it from individuals who simply don't get it. Don't make a scene, simply vote with your dollar and don't go back.

CAN YOU HELP?
Each time I go to a grocery store, a restaurant, a park, etc., I hear back and forth arguing between children--as young as two to three--and their parents. Then, my own two children, same age, say exactly the same words to me. What in the heck is going on with today's kids and parents? Are parents afraid to tell these bratty kids to shut up?

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