English (United Kingdom)French (Fr)
Home Wellness Articles Breastfeeding Nursing Discreetly: Breastfeeding in Public (Part 1)

Nursing Discreetly: Breastfeeding in Public (Part 1)

Written by Pathways Magazine   
Wednesday, 01 March 2006 00:00
Article Index
Nursing Discreetly: Breastfeeding in Public (Part 1)
Page 2
All Pages

The term ‘nursing discreetly’ typically refers to covering up the breast and especially nipple while breastfeeding in public. Some women use a blanket to cover the whole situation, including the baby. The need for discreet nursing stems from the idea that seeing an exposed breast supposedly arouses sexual feelings. Indeed it does so in the United States, but only because this society is so obsessed by women’s breasts and has MADE them into sexual objects. However; this perspective is peculiar to United States and some other countries that have been influenced by US culture. In times past a breast was not considered a sexual organ and therefore there was no need to conceal nursing. This is still true today in many parts of the world.

It is good to be discreet in presence of others if you know they might be offended by your breastfeeding— which is true if you are nursing in public. However, it is worth considering what is really considered more discreet and getting less attention: a blanket set-up might only point out in big letters that you are breastfeeding; whereas lifting your shirt quickly and just enough to let baby latch on is probably much more unnoticeable. And, when people don’t notice or pay mind to your nursing, you are being very discreet. (In fact, the older baby might plain refuse to nurse underneath a blanket or it might sometimes be dangerously hot to nurse with all covers on.)

Nursing DiscreetlyAlso, for the laws’ sake you do NOT need to cover yourself up totally with a blanket. There is nothing in the legislation stating that a nursing mother would need to only show x amount of bare skin/nipple. It naturally takes a little time to get baby to the breast, and is very common for older babies to sometimes let go of the nipple to see what’s going on.

So, don’t be overly afraid if your nipple shows for a LITTLE while getting your baby to latch on—it is just part of the normal breastfeeding experience and people should understand that. Many nursing moms find that people in general don’t stare, and after a while they become more comfortable with nursing in public and don’t think about it anymore.

As far as being concerned about men staring at the partially bare breast, some men indeed might get aroused by the sight, but many probably just try to not pay attention. Men are simply curious about female breasts and breastfeeding since society has made it a taboo. They are not necessarily looking at you with lust, but are simply interested, as it is something they may have not seen before. It is well known that if you make the taboo available and expose it (whatever the taboo might be), then it gradually loses its attractiveness. For example, at a certain time in the past, a woman’s ankle was a fetish—today men are not turned on by seeing women’s ankles.