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My Official Statement on Nursing in Public (NIP)

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding her son.

I have yet to blog about the issue of nursing in public (NIP). The reason is because it has been blogged about so much that I have struggled to find my own voice on this issue. I have instead spent time in Facebook threads defending women who choose to breastfeed in public. I have engaged in soul crushing arguments with trolls and defended my own photographs on sister pages that have been so kind as to share my message. I have decided that I must stop doing this. My heart hurts, my soul is dark and my energy is draining. I think I have heard every argument against NIP, so I never need to engage in another discussion to learn where the opposition stands. Instead I need to write my own piece on it and allow it to stand on its own. Ladies and gentlemen, please go get a cup of tea or coffee. Cancel all of your appointments and turn off your cell phone. Sit back and relax. Here is my official statement on NIP.

Breastfeeding is normal and natural and no one needs an excuse to do it. We can breastfeed in public because we are allowed to be in public. I do not have to cover myself if I do not want to. I do not have to do anything to make anyone else more comfortable. It is my responsibility to care for my child, it is your responsibility to manage your feelings about that.

Abby Theuring, MSW

**If you would like support nursing in public read my blog course Become a Badass Public Breastfeeder in 7 Days.

 

 

Comments

  1. Well said!!

  2. Short and sweet! And I don’t blame you on not wanting to engage in threads about the matter anymore. I have a 1 year old nursling now and have heard every breastfeeding argument and issue beaten to death online. I have yet to see a person say, “You know, you’re right. I will support breastfeeding and NIP now.” It’s fruitless. They will change their minds only if they are open enough to, which, let’s face it, 99.9% of the trolls are not.

  3. Sing it sister. Nothing to justify here. I can nurse my baby in public because my baby is hungry in public. Now move along.

  4. Perfect.

  5. I breastfed all three of my children everywhere for from 12 mo to 4 years depending on the baby’s preference. When at home I did not cover. When in public I tried to be more discrete. I was not comfortable with stares of others nor did I care to make others uncomfortable. Years later a young woman sat with her breast exposed in front of my husband while she teased her baby with it. She was being exhibitionistic in order to get attention from my husband who was trying to ignore her.
    I am a strong advocate for breastfeeding but consideration and care should be used when nursing in public. There is a fine line between caring for your baby and being exhibitionistic for the sake of attention. There are men reposting the pictures from this site just to get a look. I get it, I think many more get it than you realize, I just saying consider what might be going on in the head of an adolescent male or pervert. I’m wishing there was a happy medium where we could care for our babies comfortably without causing unwanted attention and issues to others.

    • Sue, you’re bang on. I’m all for breastfeeding, but my husband would be extremely upset if I was showing off my breasts to other men. I use a cover when there are men around. They don’t cease to be breasts just because they’re feeding my babies. I believe women should breastfeed modestly and be considerate of men who don’t want to look but may be tempted to.

    • The only people who need to be comfortable are mother and baby! I love your statement! Can I share it?

    • Sue,
      It seems like your experience might be better explained by your own insecurity with nursing in public. Trying to get a mans attention by breastfeeding seems pretty absurd… breastfeeding is about the furthest thing from sexy. If that’s a turn-on to a man, what a strange strange man. Yuck.

    • Rachael D'Angelo says

      Sue, I am a fellow citizen of society. I am offended and absolutely revolted that you would call a mother who is nursing and playing with her child an ‘exhibitionist’, especially as a man would view it as sexual.

      I lived for several years in the Gulf. There, I often would get lewdly stared at because I was showing, even in conservative clothes, one inch of the skin of the wrist. I have heard about Western women being raped on a beach in Morrocco in public because she was in a bikini and wearing so much skin that the man “couldn’t help himself”. Even in our own more modernized countries, we have similar thinking when it comes to women somehow being responsible (or even calling her a slut or an exhibitionist) for a man viewing her lewdly, or even assaulting her. I’m sure you’ve heard people rationalize rape if the woman was drunk or wearing skimpy clothes- it’s the same mentality; women are responsible for the bad behavior of others, and we blame her for it. If you think about it, 100 years ago we would have had the same thing happen for showing more than a little ankle. We fought long and hard to gain every inch of skin that we could comfortably show in public without being judged or attacked because we were seen as a sexual object- a thing. I hope you think of that the next time you wear a short sleeved shirt, or shorts, or pants, or show anything below your neckline and are only doing it because it is comfortable and right.

      Woman’s rights in general aside, a woman’s right to breastfeed her child without a cover, and without judgement from you calling her an exhibitionist, and without a man sexualizing her is the most vital, unarguable, sacred right there is.

      The way to change what ”sick” men may be thinking- which will happen in any society, including one where a woman walks around covered head to toe in black- is to ignore it; to shame anyone (like I am shaming you now) that blames the victim or somehow says she is trying to attract that negative sexual attention, and by fully supporting breastfeeding with no snide comments of ‘be discreet’ or ‘cover up’ because you are implying there is something to be ashamed of or to be criminalized for.

  6. Pay no mind to the ignorance you know will show up in the comments here. You said it well. That’s all that needs to be said about the subject. Rock on and go boobies!

  7. @Sue – I hear that argument for lots of subjects regarding privacy and I will never understand it. What is going on in the MIND of someone else is absolutely none of my concern. As long as those THOUGHTS do not turn into actions, there is no harm in them at all. If someone (ANYONE) is getting their jollies seeing me breastfeed my baby – have at it, I really don’t give a damn as long as their thoughts never become more than thoughts.

    • My thoughts exactly. Anything you do can stir ssomething up in someone’s mind. It is out of our control. Who cares anyway? I only care about action not what someone is thinking. Start worrying about that and your head will spin. lol

    • Hey! Yeah! Let’s just all be nudists! Who cares what others think? (not)

  8. Awesome and very well said. You don’t need a reason to NIP other then your baby is hungry. And he or she deserves to eat wherever you are. 😀 You are one awesome lady!

  9. Nothing more needs to be said, really. 🙂

  10. Fed my boy til 2.5 and loved it. Fed him all over the place and never had a nasty comment. A couple of times I thought I might, and *I* was the one being judgemental.

    e.g. I got myself a pot of tea in a cafe, and he woke up (isn’t that always the way!) so I thought I’d feed him before I had my cup of tea. Latched him on, and the waitress came past, then spoke to the manager, who then came over. “Oh no,” thinks me.

    “Excuse me, but are you feeding your baby?” she asks.
    “Umm, yes, he’s hungry, is there a problem?” says I, prepared to go into battle with statistics and legislation echoing round my head.
    “Oh no, we just wondered if you’d like us to take your pot of tea away and replace it with a hot one when he’s done.”

    WHAT? I get to feed the baby AND get a hot cup of tea? Made by someone else? That I get to ACTUALLY DRINK!

    The boy and I used to go in there a lot after that. Fabulous woman, fabulous place.

  11. Really nice article.I never need to engage in another discussion to learn where the opposition stands.Cialis Online

  12. I walked all over Legoland with my 9 week old (at the time) attached to my boob. No one was the wiser. It was hot and I could easily pull down the sleeve of my tank top. Even nursed him on the boat ride. Had I worn a nursing cover it would have screamed NIP. Sometimes I do use a swaddle blanket and in restaurants I always used a cover to keep him focused, but it got harder as he got older. Luckily I have never had a mean comment said to me. I really feel that it just looks like you are holding the baby. Last weekend I was sitting on a couch holding him while he slept in a store and my sister was trying things on. I saw myself in the mirrors and it looked to me like he was nursing when he wasn’t. From my point of view things look like NIP when they may not be. It struck me as funny.

  13. BobbiDee Riley says

    I have gotten past all the stairs in common that I get for breastfeeding in public, the last woman that gave me a hard time I looked around and saw that there was a woman feeding her baby with a bottle and I told the woman that told me I was wrong for doing it that she better go tell the woman with the bottle the same. The woman was so shocked that she just turned around and huffed away lol I am now breastfeeding my second son who is 21 months and I said my first son tell he was over 2&a half and I was pregnant with my second son I have learned it does not matter what anybody has to say I am doing what I need to take care of my children I don’t have to worry about having formula with me what the water supply is like carrying bottles around our breast milk is with us no matter where we are and it is the best for our children and I stand up for that everyday and thank you for helping me have that strength!!!!!

  14. EXACTLY! Well said!

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