It isn’t illegal, it isn’t unnatural, but breast feeding in public is a touchy subject in our culture today. Again, it is not illegal; in fact there are many states with specific laws to provide breast feeding facilities and education to promote breast feeding. But face the facts; some people are simply uncomfortable with mothers breastfeeding openly. In restaurants, benches, pool side, etc, even with proper coverage it can be disconcerting, but it is your choice. Breastfeeding is a wonderful, natural process and you should not be afraid to practice it. However, if you feel a little trepidation, simply remember these three D’s of polite public breastfeeding.
1. Discernment. You know when your child needs to eat, but you know when a situation is simply not appropriate. Use discernment to avoid awkward or possibly offensive situations before they happen. Maybe wait to feed your child in the car after your shopping, or excuse yourself to the ladies room instead of feeding on a rest bench at the mall.
2. Discreteness. This goes hand in hand with discernment. If you cannot wait to feed your baby at a more convenient time, seek out a quiet withdrawn location. Many malls are required to have a family bathroom and or an actual room designed for breastfeeding mothers. But in other establishments, seek out of the way places that are comfortable for you and your baby. Perhaps excuse yourself to your car (with the A/C on) or the ladies room when eating out, and not feeding your baby at the table.
3. Diplomacy. There are those who will take offense, or turn up their noses, or possibly confront you. In the end it is your choice. Properly covered, there is no law prohibiting you from feeding your child in almost any location. You are in the right, but be as gentle and understanding as possible. Breastfeeding is very foreign to some people and a little understanding will go a very long way. Be tactful when dealing with the bigots and remember that there are those who support you.
Breastfeeding in public is a personal choice that every breastfeeding mother has to make. It does not have to be an awkward ordeal. You have the right to breastfeed in public, with a little discernment, discreteness, and a touch of diplomacy, you can rest easy that you are within the law of your country and common courtesy.