Breastfeeding in Public? Bravo!

I LOVE seeing pictures like this of celebrities out and about unabashedly nursing their babies. Yea Maggie Gyllenhall!  Ironic that she played a character that made fun of Attachment Parenting in Away We Go, isn’t it?

We need to see more of this from all mothers — and especially mothers like Maggie who have social influence.  This photo is a few years old — I’d love to find another more recent of any other celebrity.

I recently learned about a fellow mama in Austin who stopped to nurse at a HEB grocery store in Round Rock and was asked by one of the managers to please use the bathroom.

Many breastfeeding advocate mothers including myself were quick to come to her defense offering to write letters, join a “nurse-in,” and boycott HEB until they make a public announcement declaring a store policy that supports and welcomes breastfeeding mothers.

I don’t know the laws in other states or countries.  But in Texas — believe it or not — women have the right to breastfeed their babies ANYWHERE they are legally allowed to be.  Amen to that.

Texas.  The state with the so-far-right board of education that recently voted to remove Thomas Jefferson from world history standards because he favored the separation of church and state. They opted to replace him with the study of religious icons, St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone.  They also voted to draw attention to the negative, unintended consequences of Affirmative Action and Title IX.  Alarming for Texas and beyond with Texas being one of the largest buyers of text books in the country. You can read more about this in the recent Times article.

But I digress.  Back to boobs in public.  Texas stands by it legally.  Yee-Haw!

It’s actually legal in Texas to be topless period. There’s a natural springs that is walking distance from my house called Barton Springs in Austin.  It’s known for being a hippy hang-out and women sun bathe topless there all the time.  A little eye batting here and there. But nobody says a thing.

A woman exposes part of her breast to feed her baby however and some people file complaints. I had my own extreme experience with this last summer when I stopped to nurse my baby on the town lake trail (a stone’s throw away from Barton Springs) and a women approached me to tell me what I was doing was extremely offensive.  Among other things she told me I belonged in a barn with the rest of the barn animals — because that’s what I looked like.

I’ve had a bit of fire in my belly around the subject ever since. In fact, the whole incident inspired me to follow-through on starting this blog where I could write about breastfeeding advocacy and ideally generate some conversations about it.  On Attachment Mama, I’m likely preaching to the choir thought. I’d like to find some opportunities in the future where I can speak about this to an audience with mixed views.

I think we as a community need to start talking about this openly.  We need more stories in the media exploring the subject, sharing photos openly, and reminding the public about laws that protect mothers and babies. And most importantly — we need more women nursing wherever they like when their baby is hungry to start normalizing the practice.

How does your community support breastfeeding in public?  I’m curious to learn about trends and laws in other states and countries.

Boob on mamas!!

Related Post (my first):  Please Join me In Normalizing Public Breastfeeding in the U.S.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

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5 Responses to “Breastfeeding in Public? Bravo!”

  1. Brooke says:

    I’m in Little Rock, Arkansas, and I’ve nursed my baby all over the city for nearly a year without anybody saying a thing to me. (We’ve got the same law as in Texas.) I was at first concerned that it would be a problem, and maybe it will as Sadie gets older, but the most I’ve noticed is a couple of gawks from teenage boys who have likely never seen something so natural (which I guess is what normalization is all about!) happening with boobs. My daughter goes to daycare at a homeless shelter, and she is the only baby there who is breastfed. I nurse her every time I pick her up, and I hope that, on some level, I’m helping normalize breastfeeding among a population that is so unlikely to breastfeed for long.

  2. Daphnie Leigh says:

    I too have been asked to take my baby to a bathroom while I was nursing in public. At the time, I was new to mothering, and I only had one memory of ever seeing someone else nurse their baby (I was 30 years old!!). I was flustered, embarrassed, and pissed off. My reply to the woman was “why don’t you take your lunch and eat it in the bathroom?”. I have recently relocated to Ashland, OR, and I was thrilled to see that our local co-op has a breastfeeding friendly sign prominently displayed in the eating area! Hooray for mamas and babies! It’s a little sad that I feel so elated to see such a beautiful picture of Maggie and her baby, because it sure will be nice when that is simply the norm!

  3. Julia says:

    Nothing is better for baby than mama’s breast! I can’t believe someone had the nerve to say that to you. I suppose she didn’t feel SHE was being offensive with her words? Seriously random trail lady, get a clue!

  4. McClain says:

    another great one! love the picture. Breastfeeding in public is SUCH a ridiculous thing to actually oppose or be offended by that I tend to forget that lots of people do make a stink about it. It’s crazy that this country can be torn apart by debates on abortion b/c of people’s passion to protect an unborn child’s health YET something so vital to a born child’s nourishment such as breastfeeding is viewed as wrong. I apply my mantra as of late: think it through people.

  5. Great post and that pic makes me love Maggie even more than I already do. I have a post about this same topic on my blog cuz ya know I just love to flaunt my boobies around everywhere I go. I live in Dallas btw. And it’s good to know that I have every right to be topless at all times. My nursing fiend of a 2 1/2 year old is going to be delighted to know that as well. Here’s the link to public breastfeeding post if you want to check it out sometime.

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