Public Breastfeeding 101
Public Breastfeeding 101
Corky Harvey & Wendy Haldeman (Board Certified Lactation Consultants/Co-Owners of The Pump Station) gives expert video advice on: What is 'public breastfeeding'?; Why would I breastfeed in public?; What do people think about women who breastfeed in public? and more...
What is 'public breastfeeding'?
I suppose public breastfeeding is breastfeeding anywhere outside your home or your car. But that could even be public, you could be in a parking garage. I guess I just never really think about it because you just need to feed your child and wherever that is, when they're hungry they're hungry. So I guess if you're not in your home, I guess its public.
How do males generally respond to breastfeeding in public?
Honestly, in my experience, especially for the women going back into the work place, men have been more supportive. Yeah, I think that's true. I think women are more critical. I think that's very true. A very famous one comes to mind, Barbara Walters just went nuts with that woman breastfeeding on the airplane. The Nursing Mothers of New York all got together and had a huge nursing in front of her office. I think that's where they coined the term “lactivist”. Yeah. I think that's the first time I heard it. Yeah, I heard that one too. A few years ago I was on jury duty here in Santa Monica. And during my lunch break I went out in the mall and every where I looked there were women breastfeeding and I knew them. They said, “Hi Corky, how are you.” I said, "what are you guys doing.” And they said, “well, a security guard booted a woman out of the mall for breastfeeding on a bench, right out here and they had all gotten together and the legality of it was that they wanted to just make a point. There is a organization here, a breastfeeding task force, and there is a lawyer that works with them and she went on news that night just to say they are trying to make a point here that it's illegal in this state for that security guard to have done what he did, and let's have our employers educate their employees for what's legal and what's not. So they were just bringing that to the fore. This woman that was asked to get off an airplane that has been huge in the United States for raising conscientiousness about what the law really states.
What are the alternatives to breastfeeding in public?
Well some people would choose to carry a bottle of formula but we encourage women if they were going to a place where they really truly did not feel at ease with their breastfeeding to take a bottle of express breast milk with them. They could do that. They could. Wendy: Although people who have not breastfed and don't understand the process to them that is just an obvious and easy thing to do because they don't understand how it works. And a mother who chooses to take a bottle of her milk with her in public, she has to have pumped that breast prior, she has to keep it cold, she has to worry about warming it up if her baby doesn't like cold milk, and then there is her own discomfort. And people do not understand that breasts are not faucets that you can turn on and off. So if that mother goes an X amount of time without nursing or relieving her milk she gets extremely uncomfortable. And that can cause her health issues down the line. Corky: She could get plugged up and that could lead to metastasis. Wendy: It's not that easy. Corky: But there are times if a woman absolutely going somewhere where she absolutely felt she could not do this then, and I had that experience myself. I said, I said before I had my first child I will never nurse in public. And in two weeks I was nursing in public, I lived in Washington D.C. My mother was visiting. We went touring and I was nursing in public within two weeks. It was a very interesting and freeing experience for me.