Stop staring, I’m only breastfeeding

This is always a “hot” topic in mommyhood. I’m tired of hearing it’s inappropriate for women to breastfeed in public. I understand that sometimes it can be overwhelming but it’s part of life and has happened for centuries!

The brave Alyssa Milano shares a blissful breastfeeding photo on Instagram along with a quote from writer Milan Kundera:”Ah, the joy of suckling! She lovingly watched the fishlike motions of the toothless mouth and she imagined that with her milk there flowed into her little son her deepest thoughts, concepts, and dreams.” Read more about this here.

Photo Credit: Alyssa Milano Instagram
Photo Credit: Alyssa Milano Instagram

Of Course I was one of the happy moms who was so proud of her for posting that picture because honestly I’m not sure if I would ever post a picture like that on social media yet however I breastfeed in public and I can say it’s the same mixed feelings I receive.

I’m breastfeeding for 2 years and I think I’ve seen the good and bad of it. It may be heading towards the ending of my breastfeeding journey with Kitana but I still treasure the moments we shared while nursing although at times it was exhausting. For many women, breastfeeding is a dream come true because not everyone is fortunate to breastfeed while others think it’s a curse to society.

breastfeeding in public

Dear Public,

Please note: When I’m breastfeeding in public, I’m not seeking attention. I just want to feed my hungry child, I didn’t mean to seek attention nor was I trying to offend you. After all we are in a public place, therefore, we can’t all expect things our way.

I’ve breastfed in toilets, beaches, while walking, restaurants, hospitals, cars, airports, the plane, and the list can go on… but I’ve always got the stare.

I remember this one time at a restaurant, the owner told me to remove myself from the room because she thought my daughter would stop breastfeeding and damage all her artwork. Really?! . She would leave the sweet breast milk just so she can break your frames? She hated the idea of me breastfeeding in her restaurant and made all the excuses she could to get me out of there, the 2 occasions I visited (forced by family). My husband was not impressed and that restaurant owner even got a bad review on TripAdvisor

Many people around me feel uncomfortable for me, they always give me side smiles (I know what you doing but I’m not going to say much).

Well, today I want to tell you what I think about breastfeeding in public. I’m sorry that you feel uncomfortable but I would prefer breastfeeding than walking around with a shorts letting my ass cheeks hang out. Wait? That’s suppose to be okay though?

Before birth, everyone pushes you towards breastfeeding but afterwards people wonder why you breastfeeding. We living in the 21st century where not everyone wants to breastfeed and that’s okay. No one should be forced to do something they not comfortable with but isn’t it time we realised that breastfeeding in public is REAL and it aint going away?! I understand there’s a time and place for everything but I think moms are forced to breastfeed in open places because we are not given the “treatment” we deserve in shopping malls and restaurants. I only found 1 mall in Johannesburg which caters for breastfeeding mothers. (They have a nursing area with seating).

I try to breastfeed in closed areas and if I can’t I always use a jacket/blanket to cover but my daughter hates it, I’m sure she feels suffocated but it’s something I do to respect others around me. Breastfeeding in public can be beautiful if done in the right way (there’s no need to over expose your breasts), I think we as moms need to consider others around us but we also need support from others to encourage us and make us feel like we normal and not aliens. It works both ways!

Why is it that breastfeeding isn’t okay but the revealing clothing (close to none) in public is totally fine?

Six Tips to Braving Breastfeeding in Public by What to Expect, read more here.


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Hi, I’m Shan. I’m an entrepreneur and a sucker for good adventures. I was listed in Forbes Africa 30 under 30 2019 and just recently launched my start-up – MomSays.

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  1. 2014-11-09 / 23:03

    I love this! I am breastfeeding going on 15 months now and I get the stares all the time! I’m so over it and defending it though. I usually smile and tell them to fake a photo;)

  2. 2014-11-09 / 23:47

    This is one of the main reasons why establishments here in my country have breastfeeding stations. A lot of people really do stare.

  3. 2014-11-10 / 00:06

    Its been crazy on the social sites over this last few weeks is noting wrong with it its natural .

  4. 2014-11-10 / 00:27

    Don’t have kids and am really not around them a lot. But I am a HUGE believer in respecting the rights of others! People are so judging and they should just get over it! Seriously it is a natural thing to do and I just people would leave mothers alone, let them do what they need to do and move on! Great post!

  5. 2014-11-10 / 00:28

    I’m a pretty shy person. I’m wondering when I have a kid – how brave I’ll be to feed my child in public. I know it’s completely natural, and I’m excited for it. But, I guess it might be something you get over after having a child.

  6. Courtney
    2014-11-10 / 01:47

    I’ve never understood why people freak out about this!!! Its just a boob people 😉

  7. 2014-11-10 / 02:28

    I must admit…as a woman…even when I see a breastfeeding mom, I get uncomfortable just as I would if I saw a girl with her butt cheeks hanging out of her shorts, or a guy with a plumber’s butt crack. I am not against breastfeeding in public…babies need to eat and it is what mothers naturally do…but I think everyone handles seeing someone else’s skin in different ways (when babies are not feeding under a covering).

  8. 2014-11-10 / 03:12

    This woman was breastfeeding right next to me in public a couple weeks ago and I didn’t notice until she was almost done, lol. Seriously, I think most people wouldn’t even notice if they weren’t looking for it so they could complain.

  9. michele d
    2014-11-10 / 03:34

    Great post! But I rather keep my comments to myself.

    • 2014-11-10 / 15:40

      Not hating if you don’t like it :)…

  10. 2014-11-10 / 03:51

    I breastfed both of my kids. It is a beautiful and natural thing to do. I do not understand why people get so upset about it.

  11. 2014-11-10 / 04:39

    I’m thankful that with both my sons I was never asked to leave a public place while breastfeeding, however I have surprisingly gotten the worst comments or glares from elderly women of all people. One time a lady at a restaurant we frequented loudly said as she passed by “there is such a thing as public decency you know.” I was shocked. Of all the people who I thought I had in my supportive pocket, elderly women have not been the biggest fan of it. I recently learned its because that was the start of the formula feeding generation. Oh well….

  12. 2014-11-10 / 05:56

    I commend anyone who is able to breastfeed. I, unfortunately, could not produce breast milk. I try to respect those feeding in public and give them their privacy.

  13. 2014-11-10 / 07:15

    I have 3 kids and have collectively breastfed all of them for more than 10 years. With my first is was scary to nurse in public, but I learned to get over it. What’s more annoying for people around me? A hungry screaming baby or a quiet breastfeeding one? Now with my 3rd, she’s 4, and we’re still nursing, and sometimes it’s in public – now when she’s super tired or hurts herself.

  14. 2014-11-10 / 07:38

    It’s only natural, there is no reason to be ashamed of breastfeeding in public, I don’t get why people are against it.

  15. Fi Ní Neachtáin
    2014-11-10 / 13:38

    I really don’t understand what the big deal is surrounding breast feeding. If someone doesn’t want to see a baby feeding from it’s mother then don’t watch, simple as that!

  16. 2014-11-10 / 15:08

    To be honest I haven’t encountered it that much in public. And when I have to do it, I really don’t see anything offensive about it. I discreetly cover up and feed my baby. feeding tents (nursing cover) are absolutely niffty, and easy to construct . –…/free-pattern-to-sew-your…/

  17. 2014-11-10 / 15:47

    I have breastfeed all 5 of mine and still breastfeeding my 18 month baby and I get not just stares but rude comments even from my family! I say get over it! I use a wrap most of the time.

  18. 2014-11-10 / 15:49

    It’s a natural thing and I believe the more moms will not pay attention to people who stare, the less discussion about it. It will become an usual thing and people will concentrate their drama needs onto something else 🙂

  19. 2014-11-10 / 16:08

    I actually have a not even two week old and already have had people staring at me or looking and thats with me being covered up and only have gone one or two places. People need to get over it in my opinion. Sorry hits a little close to home 🙂

  20. Elizabeth O.
    2014-11-10 / 16:50

    Breastfeeding’s a natural thing. Hope people can be open-minded.

  21. melissajane01
    2014-11-10 / 18:52

    I’m always amazed when someone is asked to leave a store or restaurant for breastfeeding. I think that is horrible. I mostly breastfed in private but there were times I breastfed at Disneyland or the park. Most of the time I was around other breastfeeding moms so it was never an issue.

  22. 2014-11-10 / 19:26

    I don’t thing people doesn’t have to feel uncomfortable if someone busy doing breastfeeding in public places.

  23. Heather
    2014-11-10 / 19:42

    I’m so glad we are over the bf in the daytime thing and now it’s just the night. But it is tough in public, Nicky also did not like the cover but anyway…

  24. Melissa Smith
    2014-11-10 / 20:36

    I really don’t understand what is so incredibly taboo over nursing in public. I really think people need to just get over it & accept that it’s a part of human nature.

  25. 2014-11-10 / 22:00

    I breastfed three kids and seeing another mom breastfeed doesn’t even make me flinch. I do, however, notice my sons ask questions when they see someone doing it. That’s when I explain that is how they ate as babies. I guess I don’t see what the big deal is, it’s easy to be discreet about it and a baby has to eat.

  26. 2014-11-10 / 23:35

    When I was breastfeeding I would just put a blanket over me and baby. I do admit I always tried not to do it in front of people that were uncomfortable with it though. Thanks for sharing.

  27. 2014-11-11 / 01:33

    You’re right – it’s funny that EVERYONE is so pro-breastfeeding while a woman is pregnant and then afterwards many people do seem uncomfortable with it. I only breastfed for a short time and then pumped, and I never think it’s weird to see people breastfeeding in public or anywhere.

  28. 2014-11-11 / 02:10

    I breastfed in public but was always covered up but that is just me because I didn’t want others seeing my breasts.

  29. Mrs. Mashed Up
    2014-11-11 / 06:15

    Preach! LOL I breastfeed in public. I try to do so modestly…. however when my son is hungry I am going to feed him. People stare, I stare back. My baby beats random folks all the times.

  30. 2014-11-11 / 17:12

    I had my children really young, so I was already dealing with self consciousness. People staring while nursing was just awful. They’d even stare if I had a blanket over my baby. I honestly don’t see what the big deal is. It has never bothered me at all and never will. I remember being at my aunt’s house and even though I was using a blanket to cover up I was told to go into the back room.

  31. 2014-11-12 / 21:07

    If I am not mistaking, I believe there is a law in NY that you cannot be asked to leave a public area for breast feeding your baby.

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