How to Stop Being Insensitive By Publicly Breastfeeding

Nipplegate…the Struggle is Real

Public breastfeeding has created a divide between the public breastfeeding moms and those who are opposed to their practice.  Wanting to bridge the gap, I perused the Internet and discovered actual questions from people who are vehemently opposed to public breastfeeding.  Until we address their concerns and embrace compromise, Nipplegate will continue to erode the fabric of our community.

Lactation Liason to the Rescue!

As your Lactation Liason, I am here to answer the most burning questions on your behalf.  I realize that you are capable of speaking for yourself, but the lactophobic community will not directly address you.  Try not to take this personally.  It’s not you.  It’s your nipples.

Again, these are actual questions that were asked.


“Why can’t she be discreet and cover herself?”

In the spirit of community, the vast majority of nursing mothers will compromise on this one.  They agree that they will usually keep their breast covered in public.  There are some that would not commit to this, but we find their free spirits to be refreshing.  Surprisingly, most nursing moms found it to be a reasonable request and reported that the ritual of wearing clothes was one they had already been practicing.  They will only take their breast out in public places while their babies are nursing.  Even then, most of them will leave the unsuckled one tucked away.  We hope that you will entertain this negotiation since breastfeeding a baby through fabric is difficult.  In fact, we have yet to have one mother report a successful latch through any of her clothes.  Someone suggested that perhaps covering the baby with a blanket may be the solution.  To gather more data on this possibility, we decided to attempt to eat a meal while covering our heads with a fleece throw blanket.  The results of the investigation determined that this was not practical.  We couldn’t see our food to eat it, the temperature became stiflingly uncomfortable, and it was impossible to connect with people at the table due to lack of eye contact and the inability to hear clearly.  We conclude that the babies would experience the same.

“Is it appropriate for a woman to breastfeed in front of a lesbian?”

I must confess that we did not anticipate this question, but I am glad that you asked.  Before addressing this topic, we felt that we would be remiss if we neglected to present this question to the lesbian community since it is their comfort level that is in question.  Thankfully, lesbians report no discomfort with this practice.  In fact, they seemed to understand wholeheartedly what it is like to have people stare and judge you in public.  They have also experienced shame towards something that was precious to them being labeled as perversion.  Their support was a welcome relief.  Had they responded differently, breastfeeding moms would have been expected to come up with some protocol for identifying lesbians prior to breastfeeding.  The lesbian identification protocol surely would have included shouting “Excuse me, diners of this fine establishment!  Before I breastfeed, I have to know if there are any lesbians present!  Identify yourself, lesbians!”  Luckily, we have dodged that bullet.

“Nursing mothers think that they can just breastfeed wheneverhowever, andwherever they want to.  Shouldn’t we they try to make people more comfortable?”

The answer is a resounding “YES!”  Moms from now on will only breastfeed their own babies in public.  You no longer live with the threat of you or your loved ones being nursed against your will.  I was not aware that this was a problem, and I got full support from the moms.  It was all a big misunderstanding.  They thought that the twisted grimaces on your faces were those of judgment.  I was able to reassure them that you were terrified that they were going to force their nipple into your mouth or the mouths of your kids.  I am grateful that we were able to get to the bottom of this.  You are right.  That does make everyone more comfortable.

“You realize that a man could get turned on by seeing a woman’s breast, right?”

This raises a crucial question.  What do we do about public arousal?  I have encountered this problem a few times lately.  Walking to the restroom at a restaurant recently, a man noticed me and he seemed to find me attractive.  This also happened when I was pumping gas.  It wasn’t a problem as these men were not threatening to me at all.  It now occurs to me that your people are concerned with the public arousal epidemic in general.  Honestly, I cannot come up with a viable solution.  Surely I wouldn’t be expected to avoid restaurants and gas pumps.  The only option seems to be to ban public arousal.  One obstacle to overcome in the ban implementation will be catching the aroused offender.  I checked with the nursing mothers and they said that they don’t notice a swarm of raging erections descending upon them when they are breastfeeding.  It seems that they would notice this.  If the public arousal ban is the course that you want to take, I have one request.  Please wait to implement the ban until it has been confirmed that there will be no more Magic Mike or Fifty Shades of Grey movies.  I don’t think I can afford the citation.

 “Well, pooping is a natural function too.  What’s the difference between doing that in public and breastfeeding?”

We are really glad that you asked this question.  Nobody wants people in our society going around thinking that poop and breastmilk are the same.  See, poop is filled with contaminants that our bodies are eliminating in order to keep us healthy.  It is not meant for people to eat.  If you have been doing that, please stop immediately.  On the other hand, when you pour a glass of milk from the carton and drink it, you are not eating cow poop.  You don’t have to feel badly about that anymore.  We now understand why you keep suggesting that moms should nurse their babies in the restroom.  Now that you know that milk and poop are different, everyone can eat in public- including the babies.  The moms have promised that they will not defecate in public.  The babies would not make the same commitment.

While there are more questions that you have posted in cyberspace, I truly believe that this is a positive start to finding our common ground.  Feel free to enter this conversation and end Nipplegate once and for all.

~This article originally found on Pump Out The Volume

Kristy Kemp

My name is Kristy Kemp. I created Breastfeeding Mama Talk back in September 2012. My motivation behind creating Breastfeeding Mama Talk was to be that support system for breastfeeding mothers around the world.