ABC News Tests Public Opinion on Breastfeeding in Public

By now, I think we can all agree that breastfeeding is good. It is good for mothers. It is good for babies. It is even good for your bank account.

Still, some people feel uncomfortable when moms breastfeed in public.

All but three states have laws which specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location where they have a right to be.

But the American people are still weirded out by public breastfeeding. According to a Babytalk Magazine, 57 percent of Americans disapprove of public breastfeeding and 72 percent oppose a depiction of breastfeeding on TV. When that magazine famously featured a photo of a mom breastfeeding on its cover, many readers were outraged.

Just a couple of days ago, a Florida mom staged a nurse-in at a school board meeting  protesting the fact that she was asked to stop nursing her 2-year-old in the lobby of her daughter’s elementary school.

Recently, an unemployed woman seeking job counseling was told to stop breastfeeding or leave.

ABC News” What Would You Do?” recently explored the issue of public breastfeeding.  An actor pretending to be a cafe manager bullied a woman who was nursing a baby (actually, an actress holding a doll) to see how customers would respond. You can see the video below.

“I’m running a restaurant, not a porno theater,” the manager said.  “Yeah, I mean seriously, whipping your hooters out here in front of everybody?”

A middle-aged couple overheard the manager’s rant.

The wife spoke up, saying “I have two small kids and I wouldn’t do that out in public.”

“It doesn’t offend me, but it definitely makes me uncomfortable,” her husband added.

Another patron eventually came to the “nursing mom’s” rescue, pointing out that it is legal to breastfeed in public.

I had problems nursing my first daughter and feeling self-conscious about nursing in public didn’t help. Even in New York City, I got plenty of funny looks when I tried to discretely breastfeed at a restaurant or book store. Many moms don’t know their legal rights and some business owners don’t know the laws regarding public breastfeeding.

Moms are told that “breast is best” and feel guilty if they don’t breastfeed. But when they try to nurse in public, they get harassed or are told it’s inappropriate. There’s no reason a woman should feel embarassed or ashamed to feed her baby in public.

What do you think about public breastfeeding?

Photo: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Emijrp/Commons/eo/15

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