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Altogether, Now. Breastfeeding in Public Is Legal

I know, I know. These breastfeeding in public blogs keep appearing and reappearing every so often. But how can I help it when retailers of one sort or another do things to new moms that are illegal?

The latest incident, as reported by Sarah, mom to 6 1/2-month-old Sasha first appeared last Saturday on a Brooklyn baby yahoo message group. Her posting:

On Wednesday I was in Ikea Redhook in the middle of breastfeeding, fully covered, when I was told I had to stop doing "that" and go to the nearby family bathroom. The Ikea employee and security guards were extremely rude to us. I was hustled off to the bathroom and then had to wait because someone else was using it. I was humiliated, my daughter was upset from being interrupted in the middle of her feed. When eventually I gave up and headed for the car to finish feeding, the security guards who had seen the entire event insisted on checking my receipts. I'm putting together a formal complaint to IKEA. I was wondering if this has happened to anyone else?

Now, in fairness to IKEA, the store is just about the most kid-friendly place I've ever seen. We dubbed it "The Indoor Playground" when the boys were small. Kids regularly can play in the kid product area. There are ball pits (if you don't cringe at the nastiness of those things). The restaurant has baby food. There are designated play areas and a little slide for kids within the store itself. And the company has a global health initiative aimed at children.

But as we all know, one incident in one store can cause an uprising. So, why should this one be any different?

IKEA's U.S. public relations director Mona Astra Liss had this to say:

"IKEA is one of the most family friendly retail stores. We have breastfeeding rooms for moms, changing areas, child friendly restaurants and then there is Smaland (IKEA's kid drop-off play area).
This incident is being looked into as this totally goes against our culture and focus on family."

Sarah, meanwhile, reported to other parents who supported her and gave her advice on the Brooklyn moms listerv that the New York Civil Liberties Union has agreed to take her case.

Since this question bubbles up repeatedly and new moms clearly need to know how to handle these breastfeeding situations:

If you were, like Sarah, told to move while breastfeeding in a store, how would you have reacted? Would you have cited the legality of breastfeeding in public or would you have allowed the store's employees to hustle you out of sight?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  July 27, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Previous: Precious First Borns, Neglected Seconds and So On... | Next: Nudity in Children

Comments


"If you were, like Sarah, told to move while breastfeeding in a store, how would you have reacted?"

I would have known that if I played my cards correctly, I would have just won the lottery.

Posted by: jezebel3 | July 27, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

I would have stayed put and said "really? Seriously? It's 2009 - get with the program. And if you push this any further, you're going to see yourselves on the nightly news, and not in a good way."

Posted by: stephs98 | July 27, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Jezebel3 is on to something, this is akin to a lottery win these days.

I would have told the store employee that she was not only violating Ikea's family friendly store policy, but that she was violating state and federal laws that protect a woman's right to breastfeed her child. Then I would have asked the employee and the security cards for their names and store employee numbers (if they exist) and told them that they would be PERSONALLY named in the ensuing lawsuit, that the ACLU would likely be handling for free on my behalf. I also would have mentioned that I'm sure that the Ikea powers-that-be would also like to thank the employee personally for getting them sued, especially as this type of suit would bring them bad publicity and public humiliation for violating their own store policies.

But then again, I'm a lawyer with a new baby to boot ... I wouldn't take that kind of crap when I know I'm int he right... and I advise all my friends the same way.

Posted by: raynecloud | July 27, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

If the store provides a lounge or facility for mother's to breastfeed, why did this woman choose the middle of the store? Perhaps she is an instigator.

Personally, if a store employee asked me to "move along" - I would move along. I managed to breastfeed 2 babies for close to 9 months each without having to resort to furniture stores as a feeding area, a little planning goes a long way. This lady had a 6 month old baby, not a newborn that needed to each every 2 hours.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | July 27, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

It may be legal but it's still disgusting. I equate it to public urination on a sidewalk. Sounds to me like that woman was an instigator, just trying to start an incident. If IKEA has a feeding room, why was she doing it on the sales floor?

Posted by: Baltimore11 | July 27, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Cheeky. I don't see the problem with using a family room for nursing (assuming this "family bathroom" had a lounge area with a comfortable seat meant for that purpose and wasn't just a toilet and sink). I'll admit that the last time I was at Ikea, I ended up nursing the baby in the furniture pick-up aisle, but if I'd been challenged, I would have moved.

I am 100% in favor of nursing, whether in public or in private, and I'd stand up for any woman's right to feed her child. But I don't think that that right trumps all sense of logic and courtesy. If a store is nice enough to provide nursing facilities, then I don't have a problem being asked to use them.

Posted by: newsahm | July 27, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I love the urination analogies. They are hilarious. My kid isn't going to let a drop of milk hit the floor.

I actually didn't know there was a feeding room at Ikea. I wonder if she did.

As far as being an instigator, real lactivists know that does more harm than good for the cause. I'm guessing she was just a mom out with her baby.

Now, what would I do? I'd tell them it's legal and they are free to call the police as I am free to call the media.

Posted by: atb2 | July 27, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Re Breastfeeding rooms at IKEA: I don't know if this particular IKEA has a breastfeeding room for moms. I've e-mailed that question to Mona Asta Liss. Like atb, though; the first I'd heard of breastfeeding rooms at the store was when Ms. Liss told me.

Posted by: StaceyGarfinkle | July 27, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I should add: once it turned out that the family room was occupied, I'd have had no problem if the mom had continued feeding her daughter wherever she could.

I guess my opinion comes down to:
-Store-provided nursing facility is first choice;
-If that's not available, look for a quiet corner;
-If that's not available, do what you have to do.

Posted by: newsahm | July 27, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

She shouldn't have to use a feeding room - and my God, she was covered up people! As a mom who nursed, you never know how long it's going to take and it's ridiculous that she be expected to sit by herself, tucked away in some kind of room that is isolated from everyone else. I've visited those rooms before - they are often warm, stuff, and doubling as storage rooms for trash. Not so fun.

I NEVER thought I'd take such an "activist" view here (if that's what we're calling it), but I think it's crazy that she was made to feel so bad about the whole thing, esp when she was being pretty modest about it.

Regardless, corporate IKEA clearly realizes they screwed up as they are now quickly trying to make public ammends!

Posted by: stephs98 | July 27, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I don't see how IKEA was in the wrong here. An IKEA store is private property. Management can ask anyone to leave for any reason or no reason.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | July 27, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I don't see the big deal about public feeding. Mothers are discreet and you'd have to be staring really hard to see anything you wouldn't see at the beach. It wasn't an issue for us as we were supplementing from the start (two very hungry babies).

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 27, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

i'm with Cheeky here - maybe the employees/security were rude, but is it really that horrible of a request? you can't see their side of this at all? if there's a place designated for breastfeeding (which, btw, is a very nice thing for them to provide), but you decide to do it on one of the sofas, then why is it such a big deal to be asked to relocate?

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | July 27, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

afsljafweljkjlfe: New York law protects a women's right to breastfeed in any public or private place that the mother is allowed to be in.

Here's a summary of the laws by state:
http://www.ncsl.org/Default.aspx?TabId=14389

Posted by: StaceyGarfinkle | July 27, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

The title of this entry is misleading. While breastfeeding in public may be legal, Ikea is private property- not public property such as a park.

Private property owners may set their own rules as to what is considered appropriate. For example, it's perfectly legal for a man to walk around outside without a shirt on. However, stores frequently do not permit men without shirts to enter.

Though it doesn't sound like the situation at hand was in line with Ikea's general policies, they would have a right to ask someone breastfeeding to do it in a private, set-aside area suited for that purpose (as they have breastfeeding rooms available).

I'm not taking a position either way, but just pointing out that breastfeeding being legal in public has nothing to do with what goes on in an Ikea store.

Posted by: danilynn17 | July 27, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

My DD is 6.5 months old. She still nurses every 3 hours during the day (that is counting from the start of one nursing session to the start of the next). She will not take a bottle from me.

That being said, I usually try to plan outings so that I can either be at home, in my car, or someplace semi-private come nursing time, but it's not always possible.

If I were in Sarah's situation, I think I might have mentioned the law, but generally, I'm not confrontational, especially when I have a screaming baby in my arms.

Posted by: skm1 | July 27, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

afsljafweljkjlfe - Is that true? Can you toss out anyone for anything? We all know "no shirt, no shoes, no service" and men's clubs. But you can't toss people out because of their race, right? I have to admit, I'm ignorant here. Can a lawyer chime in?

I do know that this was against corporate policy.

Posted by: atb2 | July 27, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

StaceyGarfinkle, sorry, I didn't see your post about the NY law- you posted while I was posting. I'm not familiar with it, my post was more of a generalization. I'd have to look into it more. I have a hard time seeing how the government can dictate what private property owners can and cannot allow. It's an interesting topic.

Posted by: danilynn17 | July 27, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Some folks would fuss, others would move and some might hope for a big settlement. I'm sure my wife would politely say she was staying put until she was done breastfeeding and that would be that. It's an isolated Ikea employee who was not aware of the company's policies.

Posted by: KS100H | July 27, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

To those who think the breastfeeding in public laws don't apply to privately-owned property: in Iowa, at least, the store would be considered a "public accommodation" and so the law applies. It is no more legal to treat a store customer like that for breastfeeding than it would for being black.

Perhaps all the mothers feeding bottles should be shuttled off to an out-of-the-way, oppressively hot or freezing cold room to do their thing. Or we could let hungry babies be fed, period.

Posted by: cairycat | July 27, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I have to say that I've nursed my child on the Mall and in Nordstrom's Women's Lounge. If I had been approached (which I never have) that security guard would have been wise to be very polite while letting me know that a room existed at the store. I still wouldn't have moved. Unlike this mother, I didn't usually cover my baby's head either unless they were being distracted. Bottom line, I would never interrupt a feeding.

Posted by: flabbergast | July 27, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

cairycat - the discussion is not about feeding bottles, it's about breastfeeding.

if the rooms provided are freezing or oppressive, that's a legitimate gripe.

i have no issue whatsoever about women breastfeeding covered or otherwise in public places, stores or restaurants, but why not be considerate instead of obstinate?

if there's a room to use, why don't you use it? just because you don't like it? doesn't sound very civil.

when we go to ikea we feed our toddler in the restaurant, not on their furniture displays. is this so different?

when wife breastfed, it was messy about 1/3 of the time. i would think just from a practical perspective it is kind-of rude to feed a baby on a furniture display.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | July 27, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Aaarrghhh...
Oh good lord, the employee's neurotic squeamishness is the thing to be truly annoyed at here, not a hungry 6 month old in need of a snack. Please keep your shame issues and breast fetishes to yourselves and grow up!!! It's a mother's job to take care of her baby, not to waste her time accomodating other people's bizarre emotional hangups. Humor those of us who happen put our babies first by pretending you are an adult for the few uncomfortable seconds that you might notice us breastfeeding and keep your mouths shut.

Posted by: pinkoleander | July 27, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

We don't know if she was on the furniture. She could have been in the caf, where we would expect food to spill. BFing my nearly 6 month old is actually pretty neat, if you don't count the vomiting, which kids (and sometimes adults) can do any time, anywhere, including on the furniture at Ikea. She probably wouldn't have made herself cozy on a fabric couch knowing she would soak it.

Posted by: atb2 | July 27, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse


Typing one handed while nursing my 4 mo. old...

I have never been approached for nursing in public, which I do almost every day, and have done several times in an Ikea restaurant. I've got an active 4-year-old so sitting at home to nurse isn't really an option. I always cover up, though, and often position his stroller to give some added privacy.

If anyone did ask me to move, I'd ask why (it's possible someone wanted to look at what she was sitting on and didn't want to approach her), and unless it was a really good reason, remind them of my state's law and say that I doubted the federal government intended for mothers to stay closed up at home when it recommended the breastfeed their babies for the entire first year.

Two more thoughts:

What do you say to kids who ask, "What are you doing?" and won't take "Feeding my baby," as a final answer? Again, I'm ALWAYS covered up.

Also, I got FAR more feeding comments when I bottle-fed my older son for medical reasons. People would accuse me of abuse, being too stupid or lazy to breastfeed, or, my personal favorite, say, "Why don't you just give him a cigarette?" This was said multiple times!! Compared to that, breastfeeding in public has been a breeze!!

Posted by: sjneal | July 27, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Really, Baltimore11? Disgusting? Really? I continue to be amazed at people who find something so natural to be disgusting. And yes, before you protest, it is natural. You think the milk shows up after birth for the heck of it? And read her post, please: she was shuttled off to the restroom which was in use; the Ikea PR person indicates their stores have breastfeeding rooms, not the poster (I can tell you that all three in my area: 1 in VA, 2 in MD are missing said rooms). And the restroom -- do you eat your food in the bathroom? The poster NEVER says she was on a display breastfeeding. For all we know she was in the cafeteria or on a bench near the exit. And interestingidea1234: I have never made a 'mess' while breastfeeding. Never. Regardless, the woman was fully covered, not giving a show, so no, she should have never been approached, and certainly not rudely.

I would have never moved. I do take issue w/breastfeeding on displays; other people are in the store to make purchases so no one has the right to simply park down and keep them from doing so -- breastfeeding moms, men waiting on their wives to shop, children -- no one.

Posted by: 1moreandthen | July 27, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

yes - my assumption was that she was in the furniture portion of the store, not the restaurant. if she was in the restaurant she should've told the security guard to f off.

but it's a bit of a stretch to say that an infant isn't messier than an adult/teen. adults generally don't spontaneously vomit unless they're sick.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | July 27, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

As kid-friendly as IKEA aspires to be, it's still possible that this incident began life as a misunderstanding. It's possible that an employee asked her if she might be more comfortable in the family bathroom, thinking that she might prefer some privacy, but the tone of voice came across badly, causing her to believe that she was being ordered around. Presumably there have been plenty of instances in her past where she has gotten the stink-eye because of her breast-feeding, so it's entirely understandable that any suggestion may sound like disapproval. Tempers flare from there.

Posted by: tomtildrum | July 27, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I think I would have left the store without buying anything - informing the IKEA employee that his/her conduct had just permanently lost the store a customer. THEN followed up with a formal complaint, plus posting details of the incident on every appropriate web site I could reach. And of course, never buy anything from IKEA again.

Posted by: member8 | July 27, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Though I am an ardent supporter of a woman's right to breast feed in public, if the posted sign clearly states "No Food or Drink", I think that the mom has an obligation to honor the policy, as well as bottle feeders. However, if a business or organization doesn't have access to an area where eating and drinking can take place, such as public transportation vehicles like Metro busses and trains, I think an exception for breast feeding should be granted.

And a public restroom is no place to eat or drink for anybody

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 27, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Though I am an ardent supporter of a woman's right to breast feed in public, if the posted sign clearly states "No Food or Drink", I think that the mom has an obligation to honor the policy, as well as bottle feeders.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 27, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter what you think, Gomer. A law applies to this case. Thank God.

Posted by: jezebel3 | July 27, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, I'm waiting for the next presser where Obama gets asks his opinion on this matter. I expect him to say, "I don't know all the facts… but the Ikea and security gards acted stupidly."

And then invite Sarah and the Ikea employee over to the White House for, um, uh, ice cream...

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 27, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Less skin shows when a mom is breastfeeding than when she is wearing a bathing suit at the beach. Have you seen what people wear (or don't wear) in public these days?? Give me a break.

Posted by: susa1 | July 27, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Was the patron white and the security guard black?

Just sayin'.

Also, check the immigration status of ALL of the employees at Ikea. Viene la migra!!!!!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: bs2004 | July 27, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Was the patron white and the security guard black?

Posted by: bs2004 | July 27, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Was the patron good looking is probably more to the point.

Posted by: jezebel3 | July 27, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Hooray for Pinkoleader! You perverts with a fear of breastfeeding have way more important issues to deal with than when and how I feed my child. See a counselor. Sheesh!

I think I would actually laugh if someone asked me to move while I was feeding my son. I breastfed my son in public until he was a little over two years old. I never, ever heard a negative comment - and I nursed walking in the grocery store, in the pew at church, on a comfy couch while we were shopping in a furniture store, at a State Fair, anywhere and everywhere we went. Frankly, I don't think anyone ever noticed. They probably just thought I was snuggling him a little bit low.

Along the way, someone gave me a handy card that quoted Indiana's breastfeeding laws and I kept it with me in case I was ever questioned, but it never was an issue. I say - the lady in New York has a case.

Posted by: stephanie_carol | July 27, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

when wife breastfed, it was messy about 1/3 of the time. i would think just from a practical perspective it is kind-of rude to feed a baby on a furniture display.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | July 27, 2009 10:39 AM
-----------------------------------------
Breastfeeding isn't suppose to be messy. Your wife is doing something wrong.

Posted by: Soguns1 | July 27, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

interestingidea1234- The problem with your vomit argument is that it implies babies shouldn't be in Ikea at all, since they are prone to vomiting. You can feed your baby in the bathroom, and (s)he may still hurl all over the couches 10 minutes later.

Posted by: atb2 | July 27, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I was GOING to say that as long as women are covered, they should be socially allowed to breastfeed anywhere they darn well please. But then I read some of the ridiculous comments, like from cheekymonkey and Baltimore and feel like they deserve some good breast-feeding-boob-flashes. Grow up. You seriously want women to have to sit at home for a year while they kid grows up? Why can't you just avert your eyes if it makes you uncomfortable? And to tell someone to breastfeed in a public restroom is really really really gross and extremely inconsiderate. Do YOU want to eat in a bathroom?

Posted by: tsyzer | July 27, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Can't answer this till I know just where she was when breastfeeding. I guess my question is to all those who would be defiant in this situation and those who would breastfeed uncovered just about anywhere in public why WOULDN'T you want to be discreet and in a somewhat private area? Do you want to flaunt this? Invite stares from nosy kids? Actually you must be discreet because I can't recall the last time I saw someone breastfeeding in public!

Posted by: deltadelta | July 27, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Those who are posting anti-breastfeeding comments wouldn't be here today if their mothers hadn't fed them when they were babies. Bottle or breast, a baby has just as much right as anyone to eat in public.

I nurse my 1-year-old, uncovered, whenever she is hungry. When someone at a restaurant suggested that I cover up or move to the bathroom, I suggested that she put a blanket over her head and finish her dinner in the ladies' room.

You can be as offended as you want, but the law in most states protects a woman's right to nurse her baby in any public space.

Breastfeeding is beautiful and life-giving. The fact that some men and women are such zombies of popular culture that they can't see past the breast-as-sex-symbol is their own problem.

Posted by: baranv | July 27, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

atb2 - do you walk around holding baby over the furniture displays? in my experience the baby was in a bjorn-type carrier or a stroller - both of which would make it hard for the baby to puke on the couch.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | July 27, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I nurse my 1-year-old, uncovered, whenever she is hungry. When someone at a restaurant suggested that I cover up or move to the bathroom, I suggested that she put a blanket over her head and finish her dinner in the ladies' room.

Breastfeeding is beautiful and life-giving. The fact that some men and women are such zombies of popular culture that they can't see past the breast-as-sex-symbol is their own problem.

-------------------------------------------

Bravo to you!

Posted by: Soguns1 | July 27, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

There is no way I would have BF my baby in a restroom.

The guard had no business approaching her at all while she was feeding the baby.

All current breastfeeding mothers and mother who have breastfed in the past need to write, email or otherwise tell Ikea that what the guard did was wrong.

And to all you people who are worried you may see a little nipple while a baby is eating his lunch. Grow up, keep walking and buy your cheap furniture. No one says you have to look, just like I wouldn't look if you were doing PDA with your significant other.

Posted by: supersonic2 | July 27, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Darn, darn, darn - some folks have ALL the luck. I breastfed 3 kids, starting back in 1989, and fed them whenever and wherever they needed it. I never, never got a "do that elsewhere" comment. . .and I was sooooo ready for them. (Not to the extend of having the law printed on a card - great idea!) So, in reply to the original question, I would have refused to relocate to the bathroom and asked to have a manager come over and make the request in writing, signed, so I could send it to Ikea HQ with my complaint.

Everyone has their breastfeeding story - mine is that I found it to be a real ice breaker among the older men I had to work with; they all wanted to brag about how their daughters or daughters-in-law were breast-feeding and how supportive they were of that. Guess they missed their chance to be superdads back when they had their own kids - some even offered to help burp or change diapers!

Posted by: drmary | July 27, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't get it. What's she suing for?

The company admitted their mistake and are investigating the incident after reaffirming their commitment to being a family-friendly place.

People who bring lawsuits for no reason other than to make a public issue out of something -- and to pick up some nice money into the bargain -- just make it more difficult and expensive for people with genuine legal problems to get help.

No one was injured here. This woman was embarrassed, and that's a shame. However, this isn't a legal case; it's a matter of miscommunication.

Back off, ladies, and stop trying to make a crusade of every infringement of the breastfeeding laws. Just do your thing and know that it's legal.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Darn, darn, darn - some folks have ALL the luck. I breastfed 3 kids, starting back in 1989, and fed them whenever and wherever they needed it. I never, never got a "do that elsewhere" comment. . .and I was sooooo ready for them. (Not to the extend of having the law printed on a card - great idea!) So, in reply to the original question, I would have refused to relocate to the bathroom and asked to have a manager come over and make the request in writing, signed, so I could send it to Ikea HQ with my complaint.

Everyone has their breastfeeding story - mine is that I found it to be a real ice breaker among the older men I had to work with; they all wanted to brag about how their daughters or daughters-in-law were breast-feeding and how supportive they were of that. Guess they missed their chance to be superdads back when they had their own kids - some even offered to help burp or change diapers!

Posted by: drmary | July 27, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse


God, what a pretentious bore!

Posted by: jezebel3 | July 27, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a mother yet but honestly...

I admit, I'm a bit confused with some of these arguments. I don't think anyone is telling you to go sit on a toilet or something to breastfeed, I think the suggestion is for bathrooms with armchairs or a sitting area. The bathroom comment falls apart there- because 1) your baby has no clue that it's in a bathroom and 2) you are not on a toilet, a grimy area or having to stand

Also, if I was being cradled, a baby and eating why on earth would I care if there was a blanket on me? Sometimes I think people are really a bit over reactive.

The suggestion is to breastfeed until they are a year old- really? At a year old some babies can walk, and they talk and have teeth. Ouch.

Posted by: kallieh | July 27, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

My God Martha, IKEA has puritans!

We have just simply GOT to get over our fear of breats. I mean, really. Take my lovely Secretary Miss Stein. We can't allow the affairs of State to interfere with the affairs of State.

We were each a baby once. What were we the product of?

Come on sexaphobes,,, get over it.

Posted by: WmJLePetomane | July 27, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Kallieh--

Yes--you are confused. You say you're not a mother yet. You will discover--the hard way (as most of us do!)--the futility of trying to keep an older baby covered while nursing, the impracticality of always nursing in a bathroom when you have a newborn (who typically wants to nurse 23.5 out of 24 hours per day), and--if you choose to breastfeed for an extended period of time--the profound physical and psychological health advantages of nursing a child beyond infancy.

Posted by: baranv | July 27, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

ok yeah the beach, i admit to wearing a skimpy bathing suit. But come on, i hate this phh it's my right to nurse stuff. I got in trouble one in a public place because i had on a dress which was a very low back. Nothing was exposed except my back, it was a cute sundress. I have nothing on top so nothing was hanging out. It was Ikea who asked me to leave, that i wasn't following their "dress code". Some other girl has hear rear end out, and it wasn't a problem.

My sister nursed for 2 months, and timed it so she never nursed anywhere but her house. It isn't something anyone really wants to see.

Posted by: redsoxprincess88 | July 27, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted to respond to an earlier comment someone made about the DC area stores not having nursing rooms. The College Park store does, and it's actually quite nice - an upholstered armchair, bright lamp, and a couple wall-mounted bead mazes that I presume would occupy an older sibling while the baby is nursing. I'll admit though, we had several visits where I nursed in the cafe before I discovered it! Had I been asked to move, I would've been embarrassed, but grateful since it really is a nice private room.

Posted by: thriftygrrrl | July 27, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"Like atb, though; the first I'd heard of breastfeeding rooms at the store was when Ms. Liss told me."

Don't you bother to ask? Or do you just expect there to be a banner over the entrance saying "We have a breastfeeding room"?

Geez. I'd think that'd be the first thing you'd inquire about when you entered the store. That's what the info booth just inside the door (in every Ikea I've ever been in) is for.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I would have told the guard that I was protected by law. Also, I would have asked the guard if he eats in the bathroom or if he makes his children eat in the bathroom. I personally don't eat in a bathroom--that's not what it's for. Oh by the way, could someone tell the guard that we are mammals and then maybe explain what that means. He must have been sleep during his first grade biology lesson.

Posted by: lucyjilka | July 27, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Have any of you "get over your fear of breasts" people every considered that maybe others aren't scarred by the dominant overtone that breast = sex image (which I agree, it's definitely there), but that others don't really want to see a breast out and about just because they'd rather not?
It's not a fear of "oh no, boobs are not pure!/modern culture has hypersexualized them" it's more a "well, wasn't expecting to see anyone partially naked today." When you're not expecting it, it can definitely startle you. The same holds true for some of the really hoochie outfits that some women wear, whereas if I go to a beach, well then I'm kind of asking for an an onslaught of naked flesh.

Personally, I've got nothing against breastfeeding in public as long as it's not invasive of my space. Do I want to see it? No, not really. But if it happens? Whatever. I'd want to go to a more private/less trafficked area, but like I said - if you're not shoving your breast under my nose, so what?

And I agree, kjohnson3 - where's the need to sue? I feel like almost anyone will take an opportunity to sue these days. So... winning a case and getting money for damages is going to help you how....? That's just my general reaction. I feel like doing some more grassroots organizing, boycotting, and spreading the word among other breastfeeding mothers is more appropriate to me in this case.

Posted by: dajack02 | July 27, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Many of our day-to-day bodily functions are natural but are not acceptable to do openly in public spaces. Breastfeeding is the same thing.

Breastfeeding is wonderful and I am a huge supporter but I'm also a huge supporter of civility and common sense. Baranv-I do not object to open, uncovered breastfeeding because I am sexualizing the mother's breast. I object to it because, as the saying goes, your rights end where my nose begins. If I am paying to eat a meal in a restaurant, I am, in part, paying for the ambiance which, for me, does not include a half naked woman with a child latched on to her nipple. I would have the same objection if a man had multiple buttons undone on a shirt, exposing his chest or anything else.

If we were all just a little more considerate of others and THEIR rights rather than being defiant and pig-headed, the world would probably be a much nicer place.

Posted by: historybride | July 27, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

If breastfeeding in public, then men should always be allowed to walk around shirtless and women should always be allowed to wear halter and tube tops. It's the same concept.


When i have kids, i will be investing in some nice bottles.

Posted by: redsoxprincess88 | July 27, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"If I had been approached (which I never have) that security guard would have been wise to be very polite while letting me know that a room existed at the store. I still wouldn't have moved...Bottom line, I would never interrupt a feeding."

While you may have a legal right to bf in Ikea, you don't have a legal right to do so on furniture that's for sale. They have every right to ask that you move into a space where you're not putting their inventory at risk (from baby puke, dribbles, etc.).

My suggestion to bf-ing moms shopping in stores that have dining rooms is to go there. It would be perfectly appropriate to feed your baby where everyone else eats, and you wouldn't risk damaging furniture.

As to never interrupting a feeding, good luck with that kid a few years down the line, when he/she has no ability whatsoever to cope with the normal circumstances life. A kid who doesn't learn the value of Plan B early on is bound to become insufferable later.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Breastfeeding isn't suppose to be messy. Your wife is doing something wrong.

Posted by: Soguns1

-----

Now, now. That's uncalled for. Sigh. I hate it when someone that I largely agree with is just rude for no reason.

There are plenty of ways that breastfeeding could be messy without "doing something wrong" - a baby that's prone to spitting up, a woman who tends to have leakage problems, or a baby who tends to unlatch frequently (as mine sometimes did, which can lead to spills).

Posted by: a1231 | July 27, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

My views of breastfeeding have been reflected in many of the statements above, the law allows woman to breastfeed in public. What I was more miffed about is the security guards checking the woman's receipts! When my kids were little and I had them in a stroller, I remember being followed in a mall by a guard as if I had shop lifted! Don't these people have anything better to do than harass a woman and her baby! And yes, I consider this behavior by the security guards at IKEA harassment!!!!

Posted by: rauth | July 27, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

kjohnson3- Nursing rooms are usually pretty obvious, with signs all over an department you'd expect to find kids, and Ikea isn't shy about their family friendliness. It's not something I think to ask about, since they are still relatively rare. And depending on the circumstances, I may or may not choose to use one.

interestingidea1234- The Bjorn is a perfect opportunity to do some good hurling damage. The stroller, not so much. If you're out testing couches, your baby is likely to be in close proximity to a couch. F and I don't make a mess nursing, and she hasn't damaged any Ikea couches, but she has gotten ours a few times.

Posted by: atb2 | July 27, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

historybride: Amen.
Many many stores provide areas just for this purpose, but many women won't use them just because they insist it is THEIR God given right to nurse where THEY choose.
Obviously they are only into their own personal gratification and rights - and not anyone else's. I believe they are called liberals.

Posted by: sandynh | July 27, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see some support (no pun intended) for the non-BFF fans. FWIW, I grew up on a farm and witnessed, ad nauseum, calves slurping up to mom cow, and our prize sow stretched out in the pig sty with piglets latched onto each teat. So, whenever I see a mutha nursing in public I think of the cow and the sow. You are just lowering yourselves to the animal level. Defiant and pig-headed is a great description.

There are people in this day and age who would really prefer not to see that and it's quite embarrassing to a lot of people. Everything I am today I owe to my mother.

Posted by: Baltimore11 | July 27, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Baltimore,
Breastfeeding is not the only thing we share with animals. Like us, animals also eat, drink, sleep, and exhibit a huge variety of behaviors that we share. You are not some non-physical being that does not engage in animal instincts and behaviors. In case you had not noticed, when you go the the bathroom, your crap stinks just like anyone elses (including a dog's).

Posted by: emily8 | July 27, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

baranv: Please cite to said "profound physical and psychological health advantages of nursing a child beyond infancy."

Posted by: JJ321 | July 27, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of legality, breast feeding in public is obnoxious to many people. There are other options, such as using the feeding rooms available or planning one's days differently. Our child-obsessed society overlooks so many rude behaviors, and many mothers seem to feel that the world revolves around them and their children--will these be the same mothers who insist that the institutions of society absorb whatever the kids throw at them?

Posted by: stonecarver | July 27, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"interestingidea1234- The problem with your vomit argument is that it implies babies shouldn't be in Ikea at all, since they are prone to vomiting. You can feed your baby in the bathroom, and (s)he may still hurl all over the couches 10 minutes later.
Posted by: atb2 | July 27, 2009 12:31 PM"

Well then, yeah, they shouldn't be in IKEA at all. Or in any other retail environment where inventory can be ruined by baby puke.

Parents do have a responsibility to be careful, and taking your baby into a setting where products can be ruined and made unsalable is irresponsible.

Go into the dining room, or use one of the zillions of benches that are always in the customer service areas at IKEA. Just stay clear of the inventory.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The fact that this is still an issue and the fact that there are still people who actually think what happened at IKEA is ok will never cease to amaze me. If I was the woman in this case I would have sat there and made them call the police. I am pretty sure real police are trained on this and would tell the IKEA to go away. Plus then for the sheer embarassment it would have cause I would sue the store. Just to make a point!

As it is IKEA is truly the MOST family-friendly place I have ever been. And I have been to at least 3 of them. They do all have Family rooms where you can nurse, change your baby and use the bathroom. But the fact is, you do not have to use them. I have 3 kids and if we all sit down to lunch at the IKEA retaurant (which has great kids meals and baby food and bibs and bottle warmers) if my wife needs to feed our baby she is going to do it there at the table. There is not one thing wrong with that at all and defy anyone to argue otherwise. Babies have just as much of a right to eat their lunch as we do.

Posted by: happydad3 | July 27, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a mother yet but honestly...

[snip]

Also, if I was being cradled, a baby and eating why on earth would I care if there was a blanket on me? Sometimes I think people are really a bit over reactive.

The suggestion is to breastfeed until they are a year old- really? At a year old some babies can walk, and they talk and have teeth. Ouch.

Posted by: kallieh | July 27, 2009 1:17 PM

A) Obviously you aren't a mother yet - the whole rest of your post makes that very, very clear. So, in the spirit of education I offer the following.

Some babies don't like having their head covered with a blanket. Especially if mom has large breasts, it can make breathing a little bit challenging. It can also make the little one too warm, and that can increase the spit-up/vomiting after a feeding. Been there, done all of that. Both my sons (now 17 and 12) were experts at pulling blankets - or any other coverings - off of us both by the time they were 4-5 months old.

Yes, US recommendations are for at least one year of breatsfeeding. But internationally, WHO (World Health Organization) recommendations are for a minimum of *two* years. The US is a behind the rest of the industrialized, "first world" countries on all our infant health statistics, which suggests that WHO recommendations are better than ours. It's not a big deal to nurse a toddler, either. Some of them love it! Younger son certainly did.

And babies get their first teeth around 4-6 months, and it's pretty easy for them to learn not to bite if mom takes them off the breast immediately if she feels any teeth at all. Both of my guys got one *good* bite, which got them a good loud pop on the cheek (one or two finger slap makes a loud, startling noise but very little or no real pain) and me yelling "OW", and neither one ever tried to bite again.

Learning to breastfeed is a lot like learning dancing with a partner. Both get used to the other's moves, and both cooperate to make it as smooth and effortless as possible.

Posted by: SueMc | July 27, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

atb2 hit the mark here: it's not always about "private property". In Philadelphia, there is a city ordinance that treats nursing mothers as a category similar to sex, race, or sexual orientation. In other words, if you toss a woman from your place of business because she is nursing, you are committing the legal equivalent of tossing her because she is black.

Posted by: stalkeyedfly | July 27, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Actually, kjohnson3, depending on the state and its specific law pertaining to breastfeeding, a woman may be well within her right to nurse while seated on furniture at Ikea. Perhaps you should check your facts before pretending that you have legal knowledge.

And while you're checking your facts, you may stumble across the extensive body of research that reveals the many benefits of breastfeeding and mother's responsiveness on long-term psychological outcomes (e.g., Britton, Britton, & Gronwaldt, 2006, to name just one of many studies). These things foster a secure parent-child attachment that helps the child become more independent and confident in adulthood, not "insufferable" as you mistakenly suggested.

And for those who don't want to see a nursing breast in public, you know, you don't have to watch.

Posted by: baranv | July 27, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

SueMc- Thank you for clarifying. I really do appreciate it, it makes a lot more sense to explain the reasons behind arguments then just the combative "would YOU like this?"

Posted by: kallieh | July 27, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

sandynh writes:

"Many many stores provide areas just for this purpose, but many women won't use them just because they insist it is THEIR God given right to nurse where THEY choose.
Obviously they are only into their own personal gratification and rights - and not anyone else's. I believe they are called liberals."
-----------------------------------------
Most liberals I know are very much against having one person's rights trump anothers'. Of course - then again, the same can be said of most conservatives that I know...

But as for your main point - it's not a "God-given right" - it's a privilege granted by law in many states. It might distress you that folks are actually allowed to exercise legal behavior, but that's your issue...

Posted by: iamweaver | July 27, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Legal or not, it sounds like a lot of people think public breastfeeding is obnoxious, similar to urination and (worst of all) liberal. Does anyone actually encounter folks who share these opinions in real life? Other than the random Ikea employee, does anyone from this offended class of people ever speak up? We're going on a half decade of public breastfeeding (without a blanket!) and haven't had any complaints yet, just compliments. Are people just goofin' on this blog?

Posted by: KS100H | July 27, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

JJ321--A fact sheet and bibliography citing studies of the benefits of breastfeeding can be found here: http://www.kellymom.com/store/freehandouts/index.html.

Posted by: baranv | July 27, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

We're going on a half decade of public breastfeeding (without a blanket!) and haven't had any complaints yet, just compliments.

Posted by: KS100H | July 27, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Who is "we're"?

Breastfeeding is thought of as ghetto/peasant/low-income by many people.


Posted by: jezebel3 | July 27, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

KS100H asked: "Does anyone actually encounter folks who share these opinions in real life? We're going on a half decade of public breastfeeding (without a blanket!) and haven't had any complaints yet, just compliments."

Interesting question and topic for a survey. Like you, we only got compliments (both in the US and outside). Just how often does this happen?

Posted by: drmary | July 27, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"I grew up on a farm and witnessed, ad nauseum, calves slurping up to mom cow, and our prize sow stretched out in the pig sty with piglets latched onto each teat."

I don't agree with Baltimore11 on most things. However, this observation got my attention, because it explains why many people object to public breastfeeding.

For some of us, it isn't the sexuality issue at all but the whole idea of having the kid slurping away at its meal somewhere other than where meals are generally taken: the kitchen.

You wouldn't plunk your 5-year-old down on display furniture and give him/her a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. Or put your toddler in the same spot and give him/her a juice bottle.

So why should you be able to have your younger children eating in public?

I generally don't like watching anyone's kids eat, no matter how old they are, because they're usually pretty disgusting. And this isn't really any different.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Breastfeeding is thought of as ghetto/peasant/low-income by many people.


Posted by: jezebel3 | July 27, 2009 2:21 PM

That should be "many ignorant people": you left out a very important word in that sentence. Those who are educated about child-rearing and breastfeeding generally don't share that opinion of it.

Posted by: SueMc | July 27, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Breastfeeding is thought of as ghetto/peasant/low-income by many people.

Posted by: jezebel3 | July 27, 2009 2:21 PM

That should be "many ignorant people": you left out a very important word in that sentence. Those who are educated about child-rearing and breastfeeding generally don't share that opinion of it.

Posted by: SueMc | July 27, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse


How do you know?

Posted by: jezebel3 | July 27, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm a trial lawyer, so the forthcoming answer is likely obvious, but if this had happened to my wife while she was nursing our sons, I would have address the legal issue while declining to move. I also would quickly demand that the store manager be summoned.

And kudos to the aggrieved mother for letting the ACLU pursue litigation. With big chains like Ikea, such action is the best (and sometimes only) way to ensure that such things do not occur again.

Posted by: JeffreyCowan | July 27, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

If the worst thing that security guard had to worry about was a nursing mom, I think she needed more work to do. Good grief.

In my nursing-while-out days, I would gladly use a nursing room if one was available, but that was hardly ever the case. And I can't nurse in a bathroom! Even if that wasn't completely gross, you just can't tie up a public bathroom for 20 minutes. It isn't fair to other people who might need to use it.

As for the "some people would rather not see that" argument, well, who cares? There are LOTS of things I would rather not see- people in booty shorts. Old men in speedos (shudder). Teenagers making out in the middle of the mall. I am not such a sensitive blossom that I can't avert my eyes when confronted with something I don't want to look at.

Posted by: floof | July 27, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"Breastfeeding is thought of as ghetto/peasant/low-income by many people."

Only ignorant and backward people think this.

Posted by: emily8 | July 27, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Breastfeeding is thought of as ghetto/peasant/low-income by many people."

Only ignorant and backward people think this.

Posted by: emily8 | July 27, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

How do you know?

Posted by: jezebel3 | July 27, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

As a former nursing mom, I have to disagree with all these moms who feel like they should be able to BF wherever they feel like it. Hasn't anyone ever heard of a pump? Whenever my DD and I would go out, not only would I make sure she had been fed before we left the house but also that I had enough milk in bottles to last during our journey. The one or two times I had to feed her away from home, I was able to do in an isolated area in the back seat of my car or in a dressing room. These moms fighting for the right to be indiscreet need to sit down and do a little planning. I really don't want to see you BF your child and I don't understand why you would want to be so bold as to not care about using some discretion. I surely had no desire to do it in public. You're feeding a baby, not making a political statement. It doesn't take 30 minutes to find an appropriate place to nurse and even less time to reach into a diaper bag to pull out a bottle with the same milk you insist on feeding in front of everybody. Ikea mom should have found a better place and I hate that law was passed. Since I've been in the same position as any nursing mom, I understand that this is only a situation of moms thinking they're somehow entitled to special treatment and acting a little spoiled. Let the babies be babies and act like adults.

To the future mom that was asking about BF'ing a 1 year old. That's the recommendation--most of us just don't make it that long.

FTR, I nursed for longer than a couple of months.

Posted by: carladw | July 27, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Farting in public is legal too. Both are rude.

When you need to do messy bodily stuff, go to the restroom or at least go someplace relatively private like your car.

Posted by: Bill64738 | July 27, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

How do you know?

Posted by: jezebel3 | July 27, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Observation.

Posted by: emily8 | July 27, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

To Kallieh - Whether the child knows he or she is in the restroom doesn't matter. You are giving store management much too much credit assuming there are chairs or someplace comfy to sit. Not all restrooms have such and believe me, if you're being asked to move, it doesn't always mean your being asked to move to a comfortable place.

Historybride - Your comments are what's unacceptable, not breastfeeding. Why is there such a limitation on acceptance? The majority of women here have NOT mentioned that they bf uncovered. I for one don't particularly enjoy having my boobs out for show -- that's not what they're for. But I do have the RIGHT to feed my child however (and usually wherever) I choose.

Baltimore11 - All I can do is shake my head at your ignorance. It is so utterly complete. What do you think a woman produces milk for? The animal comment was just plain idiotic and I realize people post just to be morons so I'd rather think you were just being antagonistic rather than typing your actual belief.

Posted by: 1moreandthen | July 27, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

One messy bodily thing we do is eat. And we routinely do that in public. And children are not the only ones who with disgusting eating habits. Don't see a reason to single babies and toddlers out.

Posted by: emily8 | July 27, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"Only ignorant and backward people think this."

How do you know?

Posted by: jezebel3 | July 27, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Observation.

Posted by: emily8 | July 27, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding?

Posted by: jezebel3 | July 27, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Nope. Are you?

Posted by: emily8 | July 27, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I think there is some confusion here about the word "public". Public means government owned land, like parks, government buildings and streets.

Ikea is not a "public" place. It is private property. So are restaurants, malls and many other places we are used to regarding as "public". The owner of private property, whether it's a home, store, restaurant or other business can set limits on the behavior of it's guests.

So before you get high and mighty with the owners of a business, please keep in mind that you are a guest.

That being said, I can tell you that as a breastfeeding mother (which I have been for many years), I would certainly take my business elsewhere were I treated badly about breastfeeding, and I would never accede to breastfeeding my baby in a filthy bathroom. Furthermore, I would pass on word that that business was to be avoided by others.

But, frankly, as long as my breastfeeding was discrete, while I got dirty looks from a few people, I found that with time they got over it. In fact, folks near us on airplanes and in church generally came to be pretty glad about it -- even if they initially were uncomfortable -- once they learned how effective nursing is for keeping babies quiet.

It's true, though, that there are a surprising number of people (especially older ones) that are extremely uptight about breastfeeding. Attacking them doesn't make them less uptight, however. When people seem stressed about my breastfeeding or seem to be suggesting that I go elsewhere to do it, I just cheerfully point out that if I wasn't nursing him the child would be screaming his lungs out right now, and which would they prefer? Most back off at that point, and learn to look the other way.

Posted by: MichelleF1 | July 27, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

carladw - why are you assuming the women posting here are all bfing while uncovered? Only a few have said so and I'm assuming the majority of women are like me, and covering up. Not for the sake of others' displeasure, but b/c giving a free boob show isn't the point of bfing.

Bill64738 - rude how? and did you really equate bfing w/farting? what messy bodily stuff are you referring to? again, bfing should not be messy. to the earlier poster who mentioned leaking and all that -- you take precautions.

Everyone needs to chill the &%#! out. If someone has the right to wear short short w/half their butt out, w/tattooes on both cheeks or men feel they should be allowed to simply step alongside the street and urinate, surely me feeding my child, while covered, shouldn't be such a cause for concern.

Posted by: 1moreandthen | July 27, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Some folks have mentioned using a bottle - bottle vs breast arguments aside, why should feeding a baby a bottle of breast milk in public be more acceptable than feeding it the same thing direct from the source?

One of my kids recently remarked that she thought the nipples on babies' bottles looked obscene. The eye of the beholder?

Posted by: drmary | July 27, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

to jezebel3
"Who is "we're"?
I am speaking for my family.

Posted by: KS100H | July 27, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I think there is some confusion here about the word "public". Public means government owned land, like parks, government buildings and streets.

Ikea is not a "public" place. It is private property. So are restaurants, malls and many other places we are used to regarding as "public". The owner of private property, whether it's a home, store, restaurant or other business can set limits on the behavior of it's guests.

So before you get high and mighty with the owners of a business, please keep in mind that you are a guest.

Posted by: MichelleF1 | July 27, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Read the friggin' New York State law that applies in this case, lawyer wannabe!

Posted by: jezebel3 | July 27, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"Babies have just as much of a right to eat their lunch as we do."

Yes, happyddad3, they do. In the restaurant, not on the sofas.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I often nurse my baby in public without ever giving it a second thought. Never once has anyone ever said anything negative to me. Many, many women have approached me and said how wonderful it is that I'm bf'ing, that they wished they had or that they were so happy they had been able to. Of course, I live in a town where the major industry is aerospace engineering / missile defense, so I imagine most folks here are a little more educated, well-traveled, or whatever it takes to understand that being polite means you don't stare at someone who is eating.

Posted by: jaxom | July 27, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Malls, stores, restaurants are all considered quasi-public places that the law can regulate. The same reason that IKEA can't say no blacks or no Jews or no Catholics is the same reason it can't say no breastfeeding. Federal and state laws say it can't. Anyone gonna argue that IKEA is really a private place and therefore it can say no black people can shop here? I would love to hear that argument!

Posted by: happydad3 | July 27, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Y'all might want to check out the "CheckUp" column in today's post - there's a link to the CDC's proposed plan to prevent obesity in America. It includes plans to encourage and support breastfeeding, because:

"Breastfeeding has been linked to decreased risk of pediatric overweight in multiple epidemiologic studies. Despite this evidence, many mothers never initiate breastfeeding and others discontinue breastfeeding earlier than needed."

Posted by: drmary | July 27, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"Babies have just as much of a right to eat their lunch as we do."
Isn't the point of this whole blog post that the law says babies have greater rights? (even if some people don't like it)

Posted by: KS100H | July 27, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse


"Babies have just as much of a right to eat their lunch as we do."

Yes, happyddad3, they do. In the restaurant, not on the sofas.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 3:03 PM ---------------------------------------

First of all kjoghnson3 how do we even know she was on a sofa not on a bench or in the cafe. Secondly, the same people complaining about BF would say no whether it was the cafe or on a sofa. Their whole argument is that it should not be in public and she should plan better or go to the family room etc. In fact i would assume most of these people would complain more if they have to see it while they are eating.

Posted by: happydad3 | July 27, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I haven't assumed anything and I am aware that most moms have said that they are covering up. Some don't do as well as others and have even stated that their babies would pull the blankets off. Nursing outside a private area is not discreet no matter how well you think you may be covered up.

Why not feed from a bottle? You're not losing nutrition from doing that? If you need a sitter that's exactly what you would do. A bottle eliminates all the obstacles of BF'ing and the baby still gets fed the same milk. The rule of thumb is that BMilk is best, not BM from the source is best.

I'm not an advocate for people walking around half dressed either. Just like I don't want the slightest glance of someone nursing, I don't want the glance of anyone's cheeks either.

Posted by: carladw | July 27, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"Actually, kjohnson3, depending on the state and its specific law pertaining to breastfeeding, a woman may be well within her right to nurse while seated on furniture at Ikea. Perhaps you should check your facts before pretending that you have legal knowledge."

bananv,

Ok, how about this... It's rude, disrespectful, and irresponsible to do this when you know your actions may damage IKEA's goods. Even if the law is on your side, basic courtesy still demands that you respect property owned by others. The fact that there are a zillions sofas at IKEA doesn't entitle you, morally or ethically, to use them for your personal convenience when that use may cause damage.

Why is this so hard to understand?

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"Even if that wasn't completely gross, you just can't tie up a public bathroom for 20 minutes. It isn't fair to other people who might need to use it."

I thought this was particularly interesting because you feel you can tie up a couch in a retail locations for 20 minutes. If I am shopping and I see a woman breastfeeding her child for 20 minutes on a couch I am interested in, I would probably walk on by and never really look at or buy the couch. Basically IKEA potentially loses a sale because someone has made themselves at home for 20 minutes?

I don't let my kids jump on (at all) or sit on furniture for extended periods of time at retail locations because it is rude, so why is tying up a couch in a retail location by a mother breastfeeding not rude? It may be perfectly legal, but perhaps rude.

I can't believe this rehashed discussion is still going on, or that I even bothered to post again. Is this the 114th or 115th time this topic has been covered - from every angle no less! pun intended.......

Posted by: cheekymonkey | July 27, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"And kudos to the aggrieved mother for letting the ACLU pursue litigation. With big chains like Ikea, such action is the best (and sometimes only) way to ensure that such things do not occur again.
Posted by: JeffreyCowan | July 27, 2009 2:34 PM"

This may be true in relation to a recalcitrant company, but IKEA is quite committed to being family-friendly. This is an isolated incident at a single store in the chain; corporate headquarters is looking into it, and you can bet it's unlikely to happen again with this particular chain.

So, why sue? For money. And I'd expect a trial lawyer to advocate taking legal action. Money in your pocket, pal.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

kjohnson3 wrote: "It's rude, disrespectful, and irresponsible to do this when you know your actions may damage IKEA's goods."

Many in this discussion have assumed the woman was sitting on Ikea furniture. She could very well have been not sitting - many women use a baby sling (or strong arms) to breastfeed on the move. If that were the case, would that change anyone's opinion?

Posted by: drmary | July 27, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Ok, how about this... It's rude, disrespectful, and irresponsible to do this when you know your actions may damage IKEA's goods. Even if the law is on your side, basic courtesy still demands that you respect property owned by others. The fact that there are a zillions sofas at IKEA doesn't entitle you, morally or ethically, to use them for your personal convenience when that use may cause damage.

Why is this so hard to understand?

Posted by: kjohnson3
------------------------------------------

So does this mean you shouldn't chew gum at any store? It could fall out and damage the couch? What if you are writing something down about an item, you probably shouldn't have a pen either because you could damage their products with the pen or get ink on something. I guess you should never bring a drink in the store either, what if you spilled something?

The point is, there are a ton of things we do at stores like IKEA that could dmage their products and no one is saying we have a moral obligation not to do those things. That is just a thinly veiled excuse for people who don't want to see breast feeding. If not, all shopping would have to be online because it is the only way we can guarantee not hurting the merchandise!

Posted by: happydad3 | July 27, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow. And to think that so many people feel that the controversy over public breast feeding has to do with the indecent exposure of the female breast. Personally, for the rare times I've seen it, I thought of it as a very graceful, beautiful act of both physical and emotional nurturing between mother and child.

I think the Ikea incident has nothing to do with the visual aspect of breast feeding, and the laws are intended to protect women from being apprehended from indecent exposure for this purpose. So for those who think breast feeding looks gross, get over it.

However, the store owners not only want to protect their property from damage and the risk thereof by designating specific areas that women can breast feed in their stores, they also have a responsibility to maintain reasonable sanitation standards. Nobody wants to sit down on a cloth display couch and rest their arm in a puddle of somebody else's body fluid that has been regurgitated, spilled, or spit up by a baby. Sure, there's mom's right to breast feed, but also there is an issue of safety and the spread of disease through germs that should be considered when making and enforcing these laws.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 27, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"Also, if I was being cradled, a baby and eating why on earth would I care if there was a blanket on me? Sometimes I think people are really a bit over reactive."

DS 1 was wonderful, would eat anywhere and i would put a blanket on his head, and he was perfectly content.
DS2 = well, completely different story. He would just knock it off, no matter what was there, no matter what I did. Not as much as a joy to nurse in public, given that I was much more exposed, and I don't care what they rest of you think, this was not the best FOR ME.

As for IKEA - they have a nursing room near the registers in the one near me. I can't IMAGINE that it's not in every single other IKEA. If you've never seen it, that is surprising to me.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | July 27, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"You're feeding a baby, not making a political statement...Since I've been in the same position as any nursing mom, I understand that this is only a situation of moms thinking they're somehow entitled to special treatment and acting a little spoiled."

carladw,

Thank you for your wonderfully rational assessment of this issue.

So many of these women really do think they're entitled to exceptions and special treatment when they're pregnant or have infants/toddlers.

Many competing retailers have upped the stakes by providing special parking spaces -- right next to the handicapped ones -- for pregnant women and mothers with kids. What gives? Do they really consider themselves impaired because they're pregnant or have kids?

These gals need to be reminded what the feminist movement was all about, as they enjoy so many of its results while blithely rejecting those that are no fun.

It's great to hear some basic common sense from a woman who dealt effectively and efficiently with these same problems before there were special exceptions.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

kjohnson3----

you mean you actually have a problem with malls providing closer spots to women who are pregnant? Give me a breal already today. How could you possibly care. they are providing a convenience to their customers. And just so you know...pregnancy is a disability under the law and qualifies women for short-term disability pay. It is also a disability under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) that guarantees women their job back for up to 12 weeks after they have a baby. I think you need to expand your thinking a little here.

Posted by: happydad3 | July 27, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"Why not feed from a bottle? You're not losing nutrition from doing that? If you need a sitter that's exactly what you would do. A bottle eliminates all the obstacles of BF'ing and the baby still gets fed the same milk. The rule of thumb is that BMilk is best, not BM from the source is best."

With my oldest, I was never able to get anything with the pump no matter how hard I tried. They just don't work for some people. And one of my twins would never take a bottle (it was a real pain, believe me). Bottles don't work for everyone.

Posted by: floof | July 27, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

If the store provides a lounge or facility for mother's to breastfeed, why did this woman choose the middle of the store?

Personally, if a store employee asked me to "move along" - I would move along. This lady had a 6 month old baby, not a newborn that needed to each every 2 hours. I don't feel that a child this old needs to be fed in the middle of the store have some respect for other shoppers and go to the family room. I happen to be a grandmother and don't care to see it being done in a store.

Posted by: Saml81452 | July 27, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Parking for pregnant women is unnecessary. It isn't illegal for a non-pregnant person to park in one unlike in a true handicapped spot. Plus, if a woman has an issue that is complicating her pregnancy enough to merit special parking she would likely be put on bed rest and not allowed to go ANYWHERE!

Posted by: carladw | July 27, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I just read these comments while pumping breastmilk in my office for my 5.5 month old - just some context for my comments.

I wanted to respond to those posters who are in support of public breastfeeding, but who think women should be covered, as well as to the posters who think women should give bottles of breastmilk while in public. Before having my son, I thought both of those were completely reasonable (though I did support public breastfeeding then too). But I've since learned, as other posters have mentioned, that babies don't always have discretion in mind while they're eating! My son loves to play with my clothes, blankets, whatever is in his reach while he's nursing. He rubs them, pats them, etc., often pulling them off his head and uncovering my breast. If I try to cover his head while he's nursing, within about 30 seconds, he pulls the blanket off. If I spend the whole feeding (25-30 minutes) trying to re-cover myself, it turns into quite the wrestling match.

In terms of bottles, for an infant who's nursing full time, it's actually really logistically difficult to pump milk to take along on outings. Many women have to pump several times to get enough for one feeding, because the baby is drinking most of the milk. The only way to get enough for a feeding is to pump *in place of* a feeding - and if you're not encouraging of public breastfeeding, I would guess you'd like public pumping even less! Not to mention, having to keep the milk refrigerated, carrying bottles around, etc. It's a logistical challenge, to be sure. Actual nursing, from the breast, is so much simpler. There are already so many complicated things about going out of the house with a baby - having to do all that extra work is just crazy. For those who think nursing moms need to just stay at home then - I guess there's no convincing you, but I'm sure as heck not going to stay sequestered in my house because you are uncomfortable seeing a couple inches of skin in public.

Posted by: michinny | July 27, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not a mother yet but honestly..."

This sums up your post perfectly.

There are many things that are legal in this country that I don't like. Here is a list of them:

man boob (otherwise known as moobs)
girls who wear shorts so short their butt hands out
loud talkers
people who stink
people who spread out and walk slow
people who aren't mothers, but post about how mothers should act

These are all legal. Should I cry every time I am out an encounter one of these issues? I mean, I have rights too you know.

Stinky people who sit on a couch could make the couch stink. Girls with short shorts could get their short shorts cutties on the couch. Loud talkers could startle me causing me to fall, get hurt and bleed on the couch. Slow walkers could cause me to get frustrated because I can’t get around them and make me throw all the pillows of the couch on the floor, which would get them dirty. The moobs could make me vomit on myself and the couch.

The people who aren’t mothers who try to tell me what to do with my kids could end up under the couch, which could frighten other people away.

Posted by: supersonic2 | July 27, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

i don't believe the not taking the bottle comment force them too. My niece didn't enjoy it at first but now she loves it.


My sister had enough with nursing after 8 weeks, to painful and annoying.

Posted by: redsoxprincess88 | July 27, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"These gals need to be reminded what the feminist movement was all about, as they enjoy so many of its results while blithely rejecting those that are no fun."

Can you tell me what it is all about?

Thanks Gal!

Posted by: supersonic2 | July 27, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The "why don't you just use a bottle?" and "why don't you just pump?" and "why don't you just go somewhere else?" arguments are missing the point. You don't know the mom, you don't know the baby, you don't know her schedule or the baby's schedule or the breastfeeding issues they're having (or not having). It's like questioning someone's medical decisions - it's none of your business. Maybe they have a good reason, or no reason at all, but it's not your place to question it.

I breastfed my son for 9 months, and managed to arrange our schedules so that we rarely had to breastfeed while out, because I didn't want to have to argue with people about it. When I did have to feed him while out, I was discrete, and tried to find someplace relatively private. I once fed my son, standing for 30 minutes in a dirty bathroom, and it sucked. But I'm sure some people are more than happy I suffered through that so they didn't have to see me sitting somewhere in public with a blanket over my shoulder!

BUT, still, if we had to be out all day long in total public - say we were tailgating and going to a football game - then I had to feed him somehow. It wouldn't work to just pump and bring bottles, because I had a lot of trouble getting enough out of pumping, and even still if I went all day without feeding him then I would become engorged and be in a lot of pain...and potentially diminish my milk supply.

Wait, I'm sorry, was that too much information? Okay, then stop questioning my decision to breastfeed in public, and you won't have to hear the reasons.

Posted by: a1231 | July 27, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

One of the reasons why I breastfeed in public, discreetly of course, but not in hiding, is that I think it is a perfectly fine thing to do in casual public situations, and the more women do it, the more accepted it will become. Of course we should be considerate. I would not do it at the opera or an expensive restaurant, simply because I would not take my children to such places. But in places where the presence of children is appropriate, breastfeeding is perfectly acceptable and should be no big deal. I won't hide because I have nothing to be ashamed of. If people have a problem with that, I consider it their problem and not mine. Honestly, in all the years I have nursed, it has not been much of an issue.

Posted by: emily8 | July 27, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

i don't believe the not taking the bottle comment force them too. My niece didn't enjoy it at first but now she loves it.

My sister had enough with nursing after 8 weeks, to painful and annoying.

Posted by: redsoxprincess88

-----

Force them too (sic)? I'm glad your niece took to the bottle relatively easily, but that's not true for all babies. If a baby rejects the bottle, the recommended strategy is to calmly and repeatedly introduce the bottle, usually from someone other than Mom, perhaps in the middle of the night or at another not-fully-awake feeding until the baby tries it and gets used to it.

Starving a baby who won't take the bottle is not generally recommended.

Posted by: a1231 | July 27, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"Many in this discussion have assumed the woman was sitting on Ikea furniture. She could very well have been not sitting - many women use a baby sling (or strong arms) to breastfeed on the move. If that were the case, would that change anyone's opinion?"

drmary,

Yes, that would change my opinion completely. As long as a woman isn't acting carelessly with others' property, I have no problem.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

a1231 please give up on redsoxprincess she knows everything there is to know about every baby out there.

Posted by: supersonic2 | July 27, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

ah. thanks supersonic2. I figured, but I really wanted to get to say "Starving a baby is not generally recommended."

Posted by: a1231 | July 27, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

My daughter refused the bottle when she was about 3 months old. It was slowly reintroduced by my husband, but she would never take it from me.

Posted by: emily8 | July 27, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

There are plenty of ways that breastfeeding could be messy without "doing something wrong" - a baby that's prone to spitting up, a woman who tends to have leakage problems, or a baby who tends to unlatch frequently (as mine sometimes did, which can lead to spills).

Posted by: a1231 | July 27, 2009 1:48 PM

-------------------------------------------

Formula-fed babies spit up, so it has nothing to do with breastfeeding. Leaking breasts? Why would both breasts be exposed while feeding? One nipple in the mouth, the other cover by the clothes. A baby that detaches frequently haven't gotten the hang of breastfeeding. (if not is not due to the baby being distracted something else.)

Posted by: Soguns1 | July 27, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if there are some things that we could all agree on? Like...

1. It is legal for women to breastfeed in public.

2. Women who are breastfeeding in public should not occupy merchandise that other shoppers may be interested in, regardless of the potential (or denial of potential) of damage. Monopolizing a floor display for any purpose is rude.

3. Often, it is possible for women to arrange their and their child's schedule so that they can go out when the child does not need to eat or nap (not all children, especially older infants, will nap while out). Often, it is not possible to do this.

4. Sometimes, women can pump and feed their child from a bottle while out. Sometimes, they can't.

5. If a woman is breastfeeding her child in public (by necessity or by choice), it is not anyone else's business to ask her why she's doing it.

6. If a woman is breastfeeding in public, she should make efforts to be discreet if possible, for the consideration and comfort of the men, women, and children around her. If she makes such efforts and fails, those who are uncomfortable should avert their eyes.

7. A woman should not be required to breastfeed her child while standing, or while sitting somewhere gross or uncomfortable, like on a toilet.

8. If a woman is out and there is a family room or breastfeeding room that is convenient and available, it would be considerate of her to use it. (This does not necessarily mean that it's rude of her to NOT use it, I personally think that depends on her motivations. For example, attempting to cause others discomfort is always rude. Needing to sit out in public where your husband can find you is not rude.)

Can we at least agree on these things?

Posted by: a1231 | July 27, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

"The point is, there are a ton of things we do at stores like IKEA that could dmage their products and no one is saying we have a moral obligation not to do those things."

happydad,

You're being disingenuous here. You know what I mean, and you're coughing up ridiculous examples.

Indeed, people should always be careful of others' property. Adults ought not to do things that carry a genuine risk of damaging things, and we make these choices based on the likely degree of damage that could occur.

So, would a woman be more or less likely to cause damage using an ink pen vs. feeding and burping her baby?

Would this woman be more or less likely to cause damage by chewing gum vs. feeding and burping her baby?

In both of these scenarios, you've got to admit that the former is waaaay less likely to occur than the latter.

On the question of walking around while drinking a beverage, it seems to me that the likelihood of causing damage to propety is pretty high. So, really, no one should do it in a setting where goods are for sale unless it is expressly permitted by management (e.g., bookstores where customers are allowed to drink their lattes while they browse -- a deplorable habit, but apparently ok with the company).

The point is not that one must be able to guarantee that no damage will occur. It's that one has an obligation to minimize the likelihood of damage occurring.

Consequently, gum chewing ok (although I find it to be a pretty disgusting habit); feeding baby not ok.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Formula-fed babies spit up, so it has nothing to do with breastfeeding. Leaking breasts? Why would both breasts be exposed while feeding? One nipple in the mouth, the other cover by the clothes. A baby that detaches frequently haven't gotten the hang of breastfeeding. (if not is not due to the baby being distracted something else.)

Posted by: Soguns1

-----

Uh, ok, so yes, they could spit up and make a mess. And yes, I'm talking about the one breast that is exposed leaking (while getting it out, or putting it away, or when baby detaches). And, no, some babies detach frequently. They play, especially older ones, or they stop eating to breathe because their little noses are stuffed up, or yes, they get distracted. Or that's just how they are, they eat in little bursts.

I'm a big supporter of public breastfeeding, but telling someone that his wife is "doing it wrong" because feeding was occasionally messy was just rude.

Posted by: a1231 | July 27, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"Legal or not, it sounds like a lot of people think public breastfeeding is obnoxious, similar to urination and (worst of all) liberal. Does anyone actually encounter folks who share these opinions in real life? Other than the random Ikea employee, does anyone from this offended class of people ever speak up? We're going on a half decade of public breastfeeding (without a blanket!) and haven't had any complaints yet, just compliments. Are people just goofin' on this blog?"

I can tell you that in about 18 months of public nursing (1 year w/dd1 and 5.5 months so far with DD2), I have only ever received one comment. I was nursing my daughter in the mall, in a quiet corner, and a mall-walker looked over, saw what I was doing and sniffed "that's disgusting." I just stared at her until she looked away.

I will say, nothing radicalizes me like people who take a perfectly reasonable activity (daring to leave the house with an infant, then feed that infant) and act like it's akin to spitting on the floor. I was one of the first this morning to agree with the notion that if a store provides nursing rooms, then it's courteous for nursing moms to use them. But some of the commenters here make me want to nurse anywhere I darn well please, and leave the nursing shawl at home.

And the suggestion that a parent "force" a newborn to take a bottle cracks me up. How does the non-parent who suggested recommend that one do that? Starve the kid until she takes the bottle? Pinch her nose shut until she opens up for the nipple? Sorry, but if I have no practical need to pump, I'm not going to spend the time or the money just so I can avoid the small chance that someone who's anti-nursing will notice what I'm doing and be offended.

Posted by: newsahm | July 27, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I was also amused by the force the kid to take a bottle suggestion. Obviously someone who has never (and probably should never) have children.

Posted by: emily8 | July 27, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"you mean you actually have a problem with malls providing closer spots to women who are pregnant?"

Yeah, happydad, I really do.

There was a time not so long ago when pregnancy was seen as a normal condition. Pregnant women were encouraged to get exercise for their health and the health of their babies. Walking and swimming were considered excellent exercise for pregnant women, and actually most were advised that they could do more strenuous exercise up through 6 months.

Now, they can't even walk through a parking lot. Give me a break.

As for pregnancy being a disability under federal law, that is to ensure that they can take time off for bonding after their babies are born and still have some money coming in as well as a job waiting for them. It's not meant to say that pregnant women in general are disabled physically and, hence, are entitled to special considerations.

If a woman is having a hard pregnancy, she can easily get a handicapped hang tag with a note from her ob/gyn. Women having normal pregnancies have no reason not to walk.

It is saddening to see the wholesale rejection of the gains of the feminist movement by women who want to be coddled. Today they have so many rights that women didn't have 30 years ago, and they (and their husbands) take these for granted and just want more, more, more.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

"Can we at least agree on these things?
Posted by: a1231 | July 27, 2009 4:42 PM"

Yes. Well put, a1231.

I would just add to #5 that, if a woman is bottle-feeding in public, it is not anyone else's business to ask her why she's doing so.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

It is saddening to see the wholesale rejection of the gains of the feminist movement by women who want to be coddled.

Again, please tell me about this feminist movement? I ask nicely before, but you didnn't let me in on your views of this "movement."

You say women are coddled now, but then you think they should be ushered away to a private room? We should have equal rights, but only rights that you think women should have under the "movement."

Posted by: supersonic2 | July 27, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Jezebel said:
"Breastfeeding is thought of as ghetto/peasant/low-income by many people."

As an old sailor once said; I yam what I yam


Posted by: KS100H | July 27, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

It is saddening to see the wholesale rejection of the gains of the feminist movement by women who want to be coddled. Today they have so many rights that women didn't have 30 years ago, and they (and their husbands) take these for granted and just want more, more, more.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse


Oh please. Your complaint about the gains of the feminist movement are ill-informed at best. First of all, pregancy parking spots are few and far between. The few that I have seen are generally in areas that cater to families with small children, and are just a convenience for families. If you have never been pregnant, you will not know that at the end of pregancy, even a healthy one, it can be very uncomfortable to walk more than a short distance, and finding a bathroom becomes a necessity every half hour. In addition, if the woman has small children, as many pregnant women do, then it is nice to be able to park close to the store and avoid navigating a parking lot with a toddler in tow. This holds true for families with small children also. Those spaces are generally not designated only for pregnant women, but also for parents with infants, men or women. And again, they are a convenience for all people who need to shop and run errands while they care for young children. Raising kids is no longer just a woman's job. The men of my generation are doing it as well.

Posted by: emily8 | July 27, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Uh, ok, so yes, they could spit up and make a mess. And yes, I'm talking about the one breast that is exposed leaking (while getting it out, or putting it away, or when baby detaches). And, no, some babies detach frequently. They play, especially older ones, or they stop eating to breathe because their little noses are stuffed up, or yes, they get distracted. Or that's just how they are, they eat in little bursts.

I'm a big supporter of public breastfeeding, but telling someone that his wife is "doing it wrong" because feeding was occasionally messy was just rude.

Posted by: a1231 | July 27, 2009 4:47 PM |
-------------------------------------------

I don't care if it was rude. I'm not here to be polite to anyone. I breastfed exclusively for 5 months, supplemented with formula for 1 month and for months 7-12, it was exclusively formula.
I can tell you that whenever I breastfed it was not at all messy. Pumping milk was the *only* time it got messy. I was a young (20 years old) mother and a nurse taught me how to breastfeed. If my child kept detaching from my nipple, the nurse would tell me that my daughter wasn't getting the hang of it. Yes, as she got older, she would stop sucking briefly, and look around, but then again, I addressed that issue already.
As I said, breastfeeding isn't anymore messier than formula-fed babies. Formula-fed babies spit up as frequently, it not, more frequently than BF ones. Babies spit up.
And it takes all but a few seconds to switch boobs while BFing. In between those 5 seconds, your breast isn't gushing out a waterfall.
Breastfeeding isn't something that is so messy that the furniture a mother is sitting on constantly gets stained.
So I stand to my original comment to the poster-his wife is doing something wrong.

Posted by: Soguns1 | July 27, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I nurse wherever/whenever I want. Avert your eyes if you can't handle it. I think it's a pain to fiddle with blankets and cover ups, just draws more attention. I feel bad for moms who feel that they have to go through this cover-up ordeal, checking and re-checking anxiously that they are not showing any forbidden flesh. They're never going to continue very long with breastfeeding. Seriously, I see more skin at the local mall, but I'm not about to tell those people to cover up, and nor will security. Come on people!!!!

Posted by: sazz12 | July 27, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

So I stand to my original comment to the poster-his wife is doing something wrong.

Posted by: Soguns1 | July 27, 2009 5:43 PM

I wondered about your qualifications to make this evaluation on a blog - but I didn't ask. It seemed like it would come out as a rude gesture - calling you out, so to speak.

So, now that you've provided those *supposed* qualifications unasked, I just have to say: You don't know enough, and it's rude to continue inflicting your ignorance on others. Your experiences aren't universal. You aren't a nurse or lactation consultant. You aren't a La Leche League leader. Get some real training, and then you could actually *help* women who are having problems. What you're doing now - judging others without a sound basis - is no help to anyone.

Posted by: SueMc | July 27, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

"I nurse wherever/whenever I want. Avert your eyes if you can't handle it. I think it's a pain to fiddle with blankets and cover ups, just draws more attention. I feel bad for moms who feel that they have to go through this cover-up ordeal, checking and re-checking anxiously that they are not showing any forbidden flesh. They're never going to continue very long with breastfeeding. Seriously, I see more skin at the local mall, but I'm not about to tell those people to cover up, and nor will security. Come on people!!!!"

As a mom who covered up, stopped nursing in public at 12 months and did worry (at least a little) about being discreet, I can assure you it had no effect on how long I breastfed. DD1 nursed until she was 22 months old -- there just wasn't a need to nurse in public once she was eating mainly solid foods and drinking from a cup.

Look, I fully support your (or anybody else's) right to nurse in public, however they want to. But I'll thank you not to be so snotty about people who act differently than you do.

Posted by: newsahm | July 27, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

"And again, they are a convenience for all people who need to shop and run errands while they care for young children."

And people who need to shop and run errands while they care for small children need this convenience why?

This is an example of the coddling I'm talking about.

Shopping and running errands with kids in tow isn't exactly a new phenomenon. It's one of the reasons that gas-hog minivans became so popular in this country. You moms just gotta have a cruise-sized vessel for running all those errands and doing all that shopping. And with today's bus-sized strollers, you don't even have to carry packages anymore. Just put 'em in with the kid in that playroom-sized conveyance that you use to block aisleways in department stores.

The entitlements you mommies expect from society are astonishing. Pull up your big-girl pants and stop whining about being the object of imagined discrimination. And, for God's sake, stop suing over this stuff. Leave the lawsuits to people who have truly been injured, not just asked to move off the furniture.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | July 27, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Get some real training, and then you could actually *help* women who are having problems.
Posted by: SueMc | July 27, 2009 5:55 PM
-------------------------------------------

Thank you, Sue. By this statement, you've already proved my point. "...women who are having PROBLEMS... They ARE having problems if breastfeeding is a messy event for them.

Posted by: Soguns1 | July 27, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Gotta say, it has nothing to do with 'nudity' or the chance of spilling something icky on furniture. For me, it's just the superiority complex nursing mothers (and pregnant women as well) have that is obnoxious and intolerable. Just the kind of attitude so many women on this blog have, "I am feeding my child, and it is beautiful and special and my right, nay, my obligation to plop down and do it wherever I darn well please." It is not something new, interesting, unique, or special. Like Baltimore mentioned earlier, every mammal does it. Congratulations, you have the skills and instincts of a gerbil.

Sure, you have the right to do it anywhere in public, but that doesn't mean you have to get all offended and up in arms if some perhaps well-meaning stranger recommends the use of a nearby family room, or asks you to kindly not feed your baby on the expensive leather chair. Just accept the fact that it is not all about you.

Posted by: falltillfly | July 28, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

kjohnson3

Now I am just laughing at you because you are either a bitter old lady who never had anything you wanted in life or a sexist man who thinks women aren't entitled to anything that will make their life or the life of their children easier.

Since you cannot or will not back up any of your claims about how we nursing/mini-van driving/breathing moms have ruined feminism, I’ll tell you that you have ruined it. You and every other woman who thinks that just because you didn’t get to breastfeed in public doesn’t mean we should or that just because you didn’t have a flexible schedule at work new moms shouldn’t either.

I have to say that with all your hollering about what feminism did for all us moms of today, you are failing to see that you and other women like you are trying to force us all to be just like you. Many of the gains for woman’s rights in this country as far as flexibility and breastfeeding in public have not come from you or your movement.

They have come from hard working moms like me and some of the other ladies on this blog. You are the worst kind of feminist. The one who thinks all women should be happy for what “you’ve done” and do exactly as you say.

That’s not what I though feminism is about. I bet you think that girls who pose in playboy are being objectified too?


Posted by: supersonic2 | July 28, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Sue. By this statement, you've already proved my point. "...women who are having PROBLEMS... They ARE having problems if breastfeeding is a messy event for them.

Posted by: Soguns1 | July 27, 2009 8:17 PM

Uh, no.

Your repeated assertions that messy feeding is by definition a "problem" with feeding, doesn't prove your point. I can repeatedly assert any kind of foolishness, too.

How about if I stated a dozen times that, "breasts are primarily sex objects, and feeding offpring is only a secondary function"? Just because I say it over and over (and over and over!) that doesn't make it true.

Maybe you should start with some training in debate and logic - then when you've learned how to *think*, you could move on to lactation training if you think that suits you.

By the way, my qualifications are limited at this point. I've been intermittently reading and studying to become a midwife as a second career after I retire. I'm 50 now, and I started after older son was born 17 years ago. I won't be retiring, though, for another 18-20 years, thanks to the recession.

Posted by: SueMc | July 28, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks SueMc, I had also wanted to reply to Soguns assertion that a messy breastfeed meant you were doing it wrong.

By no means an expert myself, and just citing one example, I have a friend that had an abundant supply of milk which meant that the first few minutes of every feed could be messy if the baby didn't latch on immediately. Mostly it was the baby that got it in the face, much to his surprise! But she obviously wasn't doing anything wrong and there wasn't much she could do to correct the "problem" except be ready and fast with a towel.

I don't think that one should assume to know everything about something based on their own personal experience. I certainly don't presume this even though I breastfed my baby for 10 months and had 5 friends going through it at the same time. Each persons experience is unique, or has something unique about it.

Posted by: anon33 | July 28, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Your repeated assertions that messy feeding is by definition a "problem" with feeding, doesn't prove your point. I can repeatedly assert any kind of foolishness, too.

By the way, my qualifications are limited at this point. I've been intermittently reading and studying to become a midwife as a second career after I retire. I'm 50 now, and I started after older son was born 17 years ago. I won't be retiring, though, for another 18-20 years, thanks to the recession.
------------------------------------------
Like I have said and some others on this blog, breastfeeding is NOT a messy event. I've already addressed the issues at hand why BF shouldn't be messy. As I have said a DOZEN times already, spit-up happens regardless of choice of milk. Nipples leaks yes, but while BFing one nipple is covered by the baby's mouth while the other is covered by a piece of garment. Sure you can BF completely topless like I did at home but that was when both nipples weren't leaking so profusely (due to engorement)! Why would you be completely topless when both breasts are engorged anyways? Otherwise, if you didn't care, then it WOULD'VE been a messy affair.
Lastly, if a newborn baby is detachting from the nipple frequently, (s)he hasn't gotten the hang of latching correctly. That's an OBVIOUS given.
Now take those 3 obvious statements and shove it up your ass. Work on your common sense before studying to become a midwife. All the studying in the world couldn't help you.
As a 20 year old BF mother, I had enough common sense how to properly feed my child without making a huge mess.

Posted by: Soguns1 | July 28, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Eh. Lots of mothers *are* inept while learning a new skills.
I've had friends who quit trying to breastfeed after all but a few times because she and the baby couldn't get a hang of it. Stupidity, is all, I say.

Posted by: Soguns1 | July 28, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Simply put; breastfeeding is a clean event for those who have mastered it. ;-)

Posted by: Soguns1 | July 28, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Comparing breastfeeding to public urination? Really? If that is the case then I'd like you to take a big drink of your moms urine.

Re:
My sister nursed for 2 months, and timed it so she never nursed anywhere but her house. It isn't something anyone really wants to see.

Posted by: redsoxprincess88 | July 27, 2009 1:28 PM

Your sister breastfed for 2 months? It is EASY to only BF in private for two months! When you or your sister do it successfully for a year+ then we'll talk.

Re: messy breastfeeding
It can be messy so saying someone is doing something wrong is unfair. Some people leak profusely but if that was the case here...the woman leaking all over IKEA's furniture then I think we would of heard about it.

Breasts are for feeding, that is their purpose. Milk is for nourishment, that is it's purpose. You jerks that compare public breastfeeding to men walking around with their shirts off or women wearing tube tops? Wow...your mom obviously did not have the pleasure to give you the extra IQ points. Your loss.

Posted by: seenbefore | July 28, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Simply put; breastfeeding is a clean event for those who have mastered it. ;-)

Posted by: Soguns1

-----

I don't know what else to say. You're just wrong. I'm glad your experience was that breastfeeding is clean, but that doesn't mean that that's always true. I could explain that you haven't met every single Master Breastfeeder, but it wouldn't matter. I could explain that after my son and I had both "mastered" breastfeeding (I BF until he was 9 months old), there was still, occasionally, some mess - leaking before and after the latch, or if he let go to look around, and the occasional spitup. But you're not going to accept any counter-evidence or argument.

(A logical fallacy to one of your arguments: Yes, bottle-fed and formula-fed babies also spit up. So do breastfed babies. Just because babies also spitup when bottle-fed doesn't mean they DON'T spit up when breastfed. Breastfeeding doesn't "cause" the spitup, but there can still be spitup involved. Therefore, there can be a mess either way. Therefore, there can be a mess when breastfeeding. Without doing anything wrong.)

I know you're not going to admit you're wrong, but you are. I'm generally opposed to being rude, especially in forums like this - where civility is sorely needed - so I'm just going to say that you're wrong.

Posted by: a1231 | July 29, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Once more into the fray - and in the spirit of sharing information and education.

"Like I have said and some others on this blog, breastfeeding is NOT a messy event."

Again, the qualifier is missing - this sentence should have the words "for me" added to the end.

"Nipples leaks yes, but while BFing one nipple is covered by the baby's mouth while the other is covered by a piece of garment."

It's called the 'let-down reflex' when the milk starts flowing. It's great for you that let-down didn't happen until your baby was latched on and nursing. But for some women, this reflex happens when unfastening their bra, before the baby is on the nipple. For some women it happens when they simply look at their baby, or when the baby starts making hungry sounds. For me (and for some other women too) it could happen when I was *thinking* about my baby and not even with him - really handy when I went back to work and needed to pump. It could also happen to me when I was around any baby, not just my own, and that stranger's baby cried or made any baby-noises.

Engorgement can trigger let-down. If my boys had gone a long time since their last feeding, I could soak through the nursing pads, bra, shirt, and have milk running down my front and soaking into my jeans. There were times when I'd unfasten my bra and the milk would squirt 3-5 feet across the room. That's not a feeding problem, that's a woman with a *very* responsive reflex. (I've always suspected there were wet-nurses in my ancestry, and it could have been a reason my mother's family had been in the dairy business for generations. First you nursed the nobles' children, then you sold them your cows' milk.)

Mastitis can also cause early let-down,and make things messy.

First milk, at the beginning of a nursing session, is high in water and low in milk proteins and fats. After the first minute or two the level of fats and proteins increases, and the baby gets more nurishment and less fluid. In hot climates, babies need more fluids, and they will nurse for very short periods of time and detach frequently for that reason. Again, that's not a feeding problem. That's the way babies stay hydrated when they're sweating a lot.

There are many more reasons that *normal* nursing can be messy, and it isn't a problem - but I hope you'll get the idea from this short list of common reasons.

Posted by: SueMc | July 29, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Been there, done that. I experienced letdowns and engorgments.
You would think that any breastfeeding woman with even half a brain would have learned her body after a few weeks and do neccesary adjustments so that breastfeeding is not a messy affair.
BREASTFEEDING DOES NOT HAVE TO BE MESSY, PEOPLE! Learn your body and master the techniques!

Posted by: Soguns1 | July 29, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh. And go ahead and be rude, a1231, if you have that itch. I'm not an easily offended person. I'm quite blunt and can take it if it's dished to me :-) I'm not senile yet. LOL.

Posted by: Soguns1 | July 29, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yes. Master those reflexes. Great advise. Very helpful. Very, very helpful indeed.

Sheesh!

My point was that messy feeding does NOT equal *problem* feeding. Yes, there are solutions for *some* of the reasons for messiness, but the solutions aren't the same thing as correcting a feeding problem.

As for not being "an easily offended person", telling me: "shove it up your ass" - hmmmm - I sure seem to have offended you, deeply, with little or no effort.

Posted by: SueMc | July 29, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

"i don't believe the not taking the bottle comment force them too. My niece didn't enjoy it at first but now she loves it. "


Um, is this serious? I suppose I could have refused to nurse him until he agreed to take the bottle and "starved him out," but what would be the point? I'm a stay-at-home mom. I don't really care if he takes a bottle or not, and it was only an issue for a few months until he was old enough to drink from a cup. It's a mild inconvenience, not worth wasting my time over, and not worth fighting with a tiny baby over.

Posted by: floof | July 29, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I suppose bottlefeeding is a messy affair also. You know, you can always spill the milk inside of the bottle while handling it.
And that 'shove is up your ass' comment wasn't by me being offended rather than me being rude. An idiotic comment would've got that comment even though it didn't neccessarily offend me.

Posted by: Soguns1 | July 30, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

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