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How is nursing in public seen
in Europe?

 

Norwegian magazine cover featuring a breastfeeding toddler
Norwegian magazine cover featuring a breastfeeding toddler
Source: JennyIdaH






Point de ravitaillement - ad picture of a baby looking at mom with a smile, just coming off mother's nipple after nursing
This ad photo was seen on the side of a newspaper vending machine in Switzerland. It says: "Point de ravitaillement" - place of resupply.
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Radtke, Seattle, WA.

Breastfeeding in public in European countries

This is a collection of notes about attitudes towards public breastfeeding in different European countries.

Africa     Asia     Australia     North America     South America    

England-UK

I breastfed my little girl for 5 months exclusively and then for another few months alongside formula and solids. I live in London and am glad to say I have never had anything but a sense of approval from passers-by or restaurant staff etc. The first time I attempted to breasted in public was in a restaurant and my baby was 10 days old. It's a bit stressful the first few times but soon it becomes really natural. I made myself do it. I was not prepared to sit at home all day with a baby! I found it so convenient to be out and about and be able to sit down whenever my baby needed to feed.

I worked out what worked for me, like black vests under all my clothes so I could lift my jumper up and the vest and bra down and therefore expose no flesh at all once the baby was latched on. I breastfed in public in Paris which I was nervous about by the famously rude Parisian waiters were lovely. I even breastfed at lunch everyday in a ski resort in France and never felt any disapproval. I am Irish and my sister recently had a baby and unfortunately I think breastfeeding in public is still a taboo in Ireland.

But I agree strongly with previous comments. A critical mass of women need to start doing it openly for it to become normalised. I felt brave but the first few times I breastfed in London but I think it's harder in other countries.

Laoise


I'm 20 years old and still breast feeding a 16-month old, and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon. I'm a single mother and I'm incredibly proud of my work and hope it's the best for my baby, here in the UK I'm on of 0.51% of under 21s still breast feeding beyond 5m! Cc

Rebecca shaw



I read the statistics the UK re breastfeeding and it seems that breastfeeding when baby's first born is becoming more common here - it has increased from 71.7% to 73.7% in the past couple of years. However at the 6 week health check only 46% are still breastfeeding. I think a lot of this is due to the (perceived) attitudes of the general public. Although I have BF in several cafes, pubs, shopping centre etc, friends do make comments like "I can't believe you just got your boob out on the bus!" People like to have something to complain about and they would whinge about a crying baby for a 30 minute journey, so they'll just have to live with me feeding her!

I think it's because in the 1950s/60s a 4 hour feeding routine was "the norm" right from day one so many women struggled with establishing their supply and started to formula feed, so it became a rarity. My granny who is 78 has commented that my little girl "can't be hungry again" when she is on 3 hourly feeds - I have explained it is because BF babies digest the milk quicker! I have never had any negative comments and the only time it has caused embarrassment (theirs, not mine!) is when I am managing to BF so discreetly that people come and put their faces right up close to have a look at the baby...

Sophie W



It makes me so happy to see all the positive comments on breastfeeding around the world, but makes me want to cry about my own country. I have three grown up children, who I breastfed for an average of three years each. I had to fight for my decision and take lots hostility from others (including nurses at the maternity hospital), back in the 80s. Now, although breastfeeding is encouraged by the midwives (at last), the residue of uncertainty still lingers on with young mums' today. Only 3 percent of UK women breastfeed baby beyond five months old (see link below)

www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly/About-Baby-Friendly/Breastfeeding-in-the-UK/UK-Breastfeeding-rates/

They seem to believe that it is a bad thing to breastfeed in public, and that if they do 'dare' to do it, they must 'cover up themselves', in case a pervert is watching them. Because of this, many women will pump their breast-milk before leaving the house, so they can give it to their baby in a bottle. I can only hope that things get better, and women in this country believe in themselves and the wonderful achievement of giving their baby what nature intended.

concerned English woman


It is uncommon to see women BF in public, unless they are with a group, perhaps meeting up. It is very common to see women bottlefeeding, on the bus, in the park AND increasingly more so, these days, talking on their mobile at the same time. It tends to be more uneducated women that bottlefeed from the start and many women complain that they feel pressurised by the hospital and health professionals to BF, many young women think it's disgusting and yet will wear plunging necklines in the daytime. They don't seem to have the confidence to feed in public.

When I BF my children, no one ever bothered me when I fed them and maybe they felt they better not! Charities and the NHS try very hard to promote BF but unless we see more of it our young people won't think it's normal, convenient and satisfying.

FA


I think in England, breast-feeding is widely encouraged however, there are still a lot of mixed feelings towards women who breast-feed in public. Personally, I feel there is nothing more natural in the world than feeding your baby this way and no woman should be made to feel embarrassed or discouraged from doing it in public. In fact, in England, by law, a woman is allowed to breast-feed in any public place and anybody who tries to stop her can be taken to court.

Olivia

A number of years back I was in a restaurant as a party of 4 men for a business lunch, a couple of tables along there were a couple of mothers discretly feeding while dining and a man on another table complained to the waiter. The waiter started asking the mothers to stop so I stood and called to the waiter that we would be leaving if he continued, he did continue. In a louder voice I asked for others to stand and support the mothers and about a dozen others also stood. The manager came out from somewhere spoke to the waiter then the man who had complained and politely told him the women were welcome to feed if they wished and if he still objected he was welcome to leave after settling his bill, he rushed his meal and left.
I told the manager to put the cost of the womens meals on my account, he promptly said he would not be charging them. When the women finished they packed their buggies and left, a few minutes later one returned, came over to our table and gave me a thank you card, we got into conversation and she said the two of them treated themselves to lunch out while they could as they had just heard that the company they worked for had gone into liquidation and lost their jobs and companies maternity pay.
The result was one of the other guys in my party gave them both a job setting up and running a creche at his company and I became a godfather to both their babies. The restuarant set up a Kiddies area with more suitable seating for toddlers and feeding mothers. and got more customers into the bargain.

Harvey Hess


Wales

My daughter is 13 months old and is breastfed. Breastfeeding is beginning to become more popular here, but generally it's only the middle class that breastfeed. Younger mothers and mothers from a more working class background tend to give their babies formula. I firmly believe that this is due to a lack of support and of education on the importance of breast milk. When I gave birth, around half of us breastfed, the other half didn't try and weren't encouraged to either. On the question of feeding in public, I did when baby was a new born, after 6 months I never fed in public because I've had as one negative comments regarding feeding an older baby. I wish I had the confidence to feed her anywhere, it's a shame that society treats nursing a toddler as something shameful. When my daughter was 11 months, a friend said that my breasts should be in my husband's mouth by now and not my baby's. I have done a lot of research on the benefits of nursing and don't intend to stop until she feels ready. All this judgement is nonsense, it's totally natural, you don't see cows giving their calves a bottle just because there's other cattle around!

Helen


South Wales

I had my son in South Africa where breastfeeding is much more accepted. The first 14 months was a joy as we were able to go out for the day without worrying out bottles, etc. We moved back to the UK when our son was 14 months and even though I continued to breastfeed him, I felt a pressure to stop because it wasn't the norm. However, I didn't want to stop so joined a breastfeeding support group and through that support, I reaslised that what I am doing is perfectly normal and I shouldn't be embarrassed at all. My son is 21 months now and he is still breastfeeding at night and sometimes in the day. If we are out and i need to feed him, I just make sure I am discreet and most of the time, I don't think anyone notices. i think breastfeeding is wonderful and wish Wales was much more accepting as it is such a beautiful experience!

JF


I live in south Wales UK. the general public here have mixed reactions/opinions to breast feeding. There are many women who breast feed in public- I was one that at first was very embarrassed, however the support group that I attended weekly along with practise helped me gain confidence as we continued to feed. By the time my daughter self weaned at a quick 1 years of age, I would discreetly feed her anywhere any time. We have many suppport groups in wales. I along with fellow volunteers have trained as peer councelors. We do weekly hospital visits & are currently applying for funding to set up a support group for breast feeding families from 0 to 5yrs.

Shaz

Wales
I am a mother in Wales, and I have only once breastfed my child in public due to embarrassment and humiliation. This is becuase Wales(similar to England) is very judgemental about issues such as the perfect body etc. I would love for Wales to follow in Norway's footsteps, and accept that breastfeeding is a way of life that is helpful not only to baby but mother too.

Arianwen

London
Breastfeeding is very rare where I live. All of my age group (teenagers) are repulsed when I say I want to breatsfeed my child. My mum was and is the only one breastfeeding in our family. Extended breastfeeding is definitely a no-no and even my auntie told me it's disgusting and unnormal for toddlers to breastfeed. That prevented me from telling her that I wanted to breastfeed extendedly.

It's very rare where I am from to see young parents breastfeed amongst all races. I think only the older mums do it.

ms williams

I feel relaxed breastfeeding my 10-month old in various cafes and parks where I live in South East London. There are lots of bf mothers in this area, which helps. As someone else says here, as the child gets older they can be more distracted and 'pop off' unexpectedly. For this reason I just make sure she's really hungry before feeding her now. I've fed her in some more sub-urban South East England areas, where no one else was feeding, but found that the confidence I'd built up at home made me feel ok. I find that hardly anything shows if I wear a tucked in vest with a loose top on top. Pull the vest and your bra down and the loose top up. Your tummy and back are covered by the vest and the loose top falls softly on your baby's face covering your breast.

LC

I am almost 3 months in to exclusively bfing my baby girl. I have bf in the car, on the beach, on the promenade at the coast and under trees in parks and gardens. I have joined a number of groups for new mothers, one - 1st time mums, is a scheme set up locally by the NHS, every mother there (about 12 of us) either is still bfing or tried it - I think even in the last few years there has been a massive increase. I have found lots and lots of support available locally, and was given more assurance to do it publicly when a health professional advised me I am protected by law to do it in public places.

I haven't been addressed appropriately or inappropriately by anyone, but I am always prepared to fight my corner knowing I am backed up by law! Having said that my hubby is a police officer and he wasn't aware of these laws.

I am so pleased I have been able to do it and know the joy and pleasure I get from knowing I give my baby everything she needs. I want to encourage all new mums to try it, and to try and get through any pain or cracks or frustration - especially when you are so sleep deprived (I had it all)
BR



I am a male so perhaps you might like my views and experience. I am 60 now, and back in the 50's I remember my mother breastfeeding my baby brother outdoors on the beach, with a towel discretely placed.

With our own children, (late 70s 80s), there was a big push for breastfeeding again and my wife was successful in this (I recall it could be a painful process, with cracked nipples, and would have been all too easy to give up). She was discrete in public, although with a younger baby (below 3 months) it is hard to be out all day. Our two boys were breastfed exclusively until about 5 months, and then slowly weaned off, but still had a night-time suckle for some time afterwards.

The problem as they get a bit beyond 3 months, is that they are easily distracted by other sights and sounds as they develop, and they are constantly 'unlatching' to look around. This, rather than privacy, was the main reason to seek a quiet place.

From a man's point of view, it is difficult to know how to react if you see a woman breastfeeding. Usually the mother is intent on the baby so you do not meet eye-to-eye. But if you do then a smile is better than looking away swiftly. Good luck to all who are doing the best for their babies.

S.A.

I have tried BFing in cafes when unable to get back to my car, and, being discrete have had no problems. Added support from husband in shielding gives me confidence - if I don't feel conmfortable the baby will just pick up on that and make a fuss. I always thought it was rare to see a mother BFing here but since having my baby I have suddenly realised all those mothers in Starbucks with a sleeping baby on their lap are actually feeding! I guess a degree of common sense is useful - baring whole breasts in a public place would, I am sure, cause comments, giggles, staring etc. I am always worried about being asked to leave somewhere if spotted but so far so good. I know that shops such as Mothercare and Blooming Marvellous have feeding rooms which you can use even if not buying anything.

I am travelling by train form London to Nice soon and was wondering how the French react to BFing as it will be long journey if I have to hide in the toilets!

CT

I have only seen one woman breast-feeding in public (or at least that I can remember) which was on the bus home from school. Many of the other children were sniggering, but I was more mature. I also couldn't help but look. The woman didn't seem to bothered by that fact and just smiled at me. Personally, I believe more women should breast-feed in public. I plan to do it when I have children in the future. At the end of the day, it's about what's best for the baby, and if the baby needs to feed, milk shouldn't be denied because people see it as inappropriate when it's a natural process

Katie

My daughter is almost 10 months old and I still breastfeed and I have had no adverse reactions from people when I have feed her in public, although I always ask the staff if I am in a cafe etc.

MYJ

I BF my son alot in public. I just used to wear easy acess clothes LOL, never had any comments made to me. Lots of older women gave me smiles and nods. People would come over to see the baby and not realise I was feeding him. Lots of younger women are curious, I didn't make any other mummy friends who BF. In fact I don't know anyone who BF.

Rubes

I have an 11 week old daughter, I had a difficult labour and had to have an emergency caeserean, I had wanted a natural birth. However breast feeding gave me a sense of accomplishment both of us enjoy BF. Because of this I was determined to bf in public I was very nervous at first but I have been discreet at all times, though in the back of my mind I am always fearful of someone asking me to leave an esablishment it hasn't happened yet maybe attitudes are changing.
Someone wrote in the other comments that not enough women do it, I agree whole heartedly, if more women bf in public then it would become part of the norm, so far I have not seen any other women bf in my area.
I am very lucky I have a fantastic husband he is very supportive and helps sheild me when I am sruggling to latch baby on at the start,you know what its like other bf's when sitting in an awkward chairs with awkward tops! even more so he is proud of me for doing it. It is strange how something so natural is frowned upon in certain arenas so much.I am travelling to Bulgaria, are there any rules governing against bf? if not what are the general attitudes to bf?
To finish off keep strong all you brave public bf mums, let's set a precedence for the future mums.
Ali

I think breastfeeding figures are quite good in the UK now - 60-odd percent. But in public I agree, it feels embarassing, though in fact British people tend to be too shy to say I they disapprove anyway! If you bared a whole breast you might find people giggling.

I'm pushing myself to feed where it's comfy and have refused to do it in public toilets. It feels liberating to bf in public and overcome by British reserve!

abigail

My son is now 7 months old and has never been given formula. We have been all over the place and never had a negative comment about feeding publicly, possibly because we are very discreet about it as most women are. The brits tend to have a bit of a breast obsession (look at the carry on films!)and I think this adds fuel to the anti-public feeding bods who conveniently forget that there's very little, if any on display. I know a number of newish mums and can count on 1 hand those who breastfed past a few weeks. There's a huge amount of pressure to breastfeed when you have a baby but very little support for those who find it difficult; I know mums that were scared to tell their health visitor that they were stopping but were given no help/encouragement to continue. Even the growth charts are based on formula fed babies despite government guidelines to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months! There needs to be more NHS support available to new breastfeeders to increase numbers, only when it is seen as more common place will attitudes start to change.

Rachel

I think it's great that so many women other than myself breastfeed. I was determined to breastfeed whilst I was pregnant and all my midwives and health visitors were very encouraging, one because its so rare to see a breastfeeding woman nowadays and two because im still only a teenager. My fiancees mother told me I would loose my milk in a week and would never get it back and tried to constantly get me to formula feed, have you ever tasted anything so disgusting, it tastes like flour and water!!compared to a mothers milk anyway! My daughter is now a healthy 11, nearly 12 month old and my milk is pouring out of my earholes! My fiancees dad wouldnt be in the same room as me even when my baby was only hrs old he aparently feels 'uncomfortable' with the situation because he's a catholic, he is only uncomfortable when it suits him, and in my own flat i'm expected to cover up or leave the room, covering up disturbs my baby now breastfeedings natural and shouldn't be taken for granted. I've been discouraged from breastfeeding in public, but I feel comfortable some people are really pleased to see young mums feeding babys, but with all the paedophiles around who knows if you are safe im still a child myself! People who believe breasts belong to their partners dont forget what they were originally given to us for, baby comes first, men can care for them selves, a baby relies on its mother, wether adopted or not a mother is a mother so long as she cares for another who loves her back and needs her.Keep it up ladies!!x

Pam

My daughter is two months old.
Cultural attitudes have not helped our breastfeeding. It is a very subtle pressure, but nevertheless there, to breastfeed in a place away from public view. Many restaurants and public places, such as railway stations have no clean or comfortable area where you can go to breastfeed your baby. I find reactions from family often difficult and at the beginning found myself getting stressed out. and often resentful when visiting, (or even having visitors in my own home) as feeding my baby always meant going into a 'quiet room' away from the main social event. Strangely enough, larger public gatherings were less of a problem. My confidence is growing as time goes on. I had a row recently with my sister who objected to a woman who was 'agressive' about her breastfeeding. After having experienced how difficult it can be, I applaud any woman who breastfeeds in public as she is an instant role model for others.

FL

I am breastfeeding my ten week old son and have done so on the bus with the help of an Australian lady who "shielded me" and held onto my pushchair, in a gallery cafe and restaurants. I have noticed that men are generally a bit embarrased and older women incredibly encouraging! Women in their twenties /thirties who dont have children seem the most sceptical - so far.

I got v.dirty looks from someone I would have classed as "right on" whilst my mum's friends are incredibly encouraging and have been cooking Indian porridge and sweets which they believe will help increase my milk supply!

Also, I have been trying to find a good sling for a short (I am only 5ft 1'') to help with the breastfeeding. It can be tiring without a cushion in public places. Has anyone found a good one?

Thanks
shahira

I know several mums with babies similar in age to my daughter. Half of them never breastfed, a couple switched to formula after a week with insufficient help to continue and in pain from bad latches. A couple more continued to around six months... At one year I am the only solitary one!

I have seen one other mum feeding in public - and I met her through a breastfeeding support group. I have never personally had any negativity but I have read a huge number of highly offensive comments on various message boards about "whipping out [our] blue veined tits" and comparing public breastfeeding to defacation and/or sex.

Every time I read something like that I dispair for the future generations who may never see a nursing mother or in fact know what it is breasts are *for*. I was approached recently by an eleven-year-old who was full of questions. "Won't baby be hungry without her bottle?" was the one that got me. She had never some across the idea that breasts were for babies.

I am personally quite sure that the same people who write objectionable things about breastfeeding mums "inflicting themselves" upon the general public have no problem with browsing porn. The British corner-shop-culture is rarely without its top-shelf nude mags, though I think public nudity is still a major no-no.

How can the tiny ammount of flesh on show when I feed be a problem compared to the lack of clothing covering many teens the moment warm weather hits? It's a huge double standard here. SLC

Most women here are die-hard formula feeders - hospitals and health clinics are very quick to give the baby formula if 'things aren't working' in my area - (but there are some baby friendly hospitals about where it is done differently).

I am the only person I have seen for about a year nursing in public - and I do nurse my 22 month old in public quite a lot. We live in South East London. We do generally go to the same places we always have done in the week so we know we are 'safe' to be ourselves, and no one has ever commented - I think it may be because I look too normal! I have two older children and a husband with me when we go out for the day at weekends and no one has ever said anything critical when we go to other places. I do know of other breastfeeding mothers in our area, but they tend to stay behind closed doors.

When my babies were small, the only comments I ever had were favourable - lots of coos and smiles. There was a piece in the local paper a few weeks back where two mothers had been asked to leave a department store because they were nursing - but there was a huge backlash. That said National Breastfeeding Awareness Week (in May) is always met by a lot of extreme views in the press - and this incident was reported at the same time as NBAW!

Most mothers are interested in breastfeeding, even though they 'couldn't do it themselves' I have had lots of interesting discussions with them. One or two, however, see breastfeeding as disgusting - seeing their breasts as sexual objects only, and very much their husbands' property.

No one, however, bats an eyelid at the multitude of semi-clad women in advertising or topless women on the beach.
Jane

I feel I must disagree with the idea that most women in Britain formula feed. Throughout my pregnancy it was assumed that I would breastfeed, indeed the midwives and literature that I was exposed to push it very, very strongly, almost to the point of making one feel guilty if one does choose to bottle feed. There is an awful lot of support for breastfeeding Mums here as well, with hospitals providing breastfeeding counsellors for women who are experiencing problems.

Unfortunately, in my experience it is rare to see a Mother breastfeeding in public in Britain. Possibly the stereotypical view of uptight Brits scares Mums off it?! I myself was asked not to breastfeed in front of my Mother's partner as it made him feel uncomfortable, an attitude I of course respect in their own home, but do not agree with in public places. What can be more natural, loving and normal than a Mother nurturing her child?

Alex

I have a 4 month old son, who has never tasted anything other than breastmilk. I breastfeed in public anywhere (using discretion, but certainly no cover-ups/blankets) whenever he needs feeding. All our friends , including childless ones think that it is great, and I have had no negative comments/reations at all. Older ladies have come up to me and congratulated me for feeding my baby! I live in the west country where I think people are more into natural living, which may be why I have had such a positive experience.
MRV

Most mothers is the UK start out breastfeeding, and then introduce the bottle very early on. There still is quite a bit of controversy over breastfeeding in public places, as it is not seen as acceptable. It is nearly unheard of for a woman to breastfeed in public, and very unlikely that one would breastfeed in front of even close family members. Of course, topless beaches are considered "foreign" and "European" and too sexy for families. Many people might say that they approve of breastfeeding generally, or that they don't see any sexual overtones, but the reality in practice is quite different. I am pregnant now, and my mother-in-law is adamant that I should offer my child a bottle from the begining, so that I "have some time to myself" and so that I can "get along in public." Being from Southern California, where I grew up seeing open breastfeeding often, I think that the common British attitude is very unnatural and uptight. I am glad to see that organizations like the National Chilbirth Trust are attempting to turn the tide and encourage more women to breastfeed.

LRGA

Firstly, thanks to setting up this website - I'm trying to organise a holiday with my breastfed baby and need a country that's open to breastfeeding in public! Secondly, I'd like to disagree with LRGA above in that I breastfeed everywhere and haven't come across any problems or even disapproving looks (which in england is saying something). If people are uncomfortable they are probably too polite to say anything. My experiences are limited to London and the south east but I've breastfed everywhere (cafes, train stations, galleries , restaurants even trains and buses). Having a 6 month statutary maternity leave (extendable to 12 months) means that a lot more people breastfeed and for longer than ever before. It is also very actively encouraged by the NHS through the midwives and health visitors as well as the NCT and the La Leche league. I'm pretty sure the stats are better than the US (prob due the 6 month mat leave. On the other hand topless beaches are rare and ntot approved of generally (but this could be the weather as much as the attitude!!!)

SLS

I am an American living in London and I have never had a problem breast feeding in public in four years of nursing my two kids. No comments, no dirty looks, I've nursed in front of my inlaws, friends, in restaurants, in parks, in Buckingham Palace while on a tour... I don't think the attitude is particularly uptight.

And while topless beaches might not be the norm countrywide there is a nude beach in Brighton.

IMEL


Scotland
Scotland and Spain

I had my first son in 1995 and breastfeed him for 2 years and 9 months. When he was a year old I became pregnant with my second son. I was told that my milk would dry up and the taste would change and my first son would hate it...But he didn't, if anything he loved it more!

When people realised that I was pregnant while feeding a toddler they did stare a little and questioned my motives! Of course when my second baby was born (by emergency C-section) I was in hospital for 5 days and the first most important milk after the birth was all his. I made a conscious effort to 'tandom feed' my boys and I felt that my 22 month old toddler should not be pushed out by his new brother! ...

10 years after my first baby and now with a new partner I had my baby girl (in 2005).

With my sons breastfeeding had come naturally and I can honestly say that no-one ever complained - Although I never actually got round to tandom feeding in public!

I did have some really painful problems with my daughter. I thought I was an expert at it and had become blase about positioning, resulting in the most excrusiatingly painful cracked bleeding nipples. At 10 weeks old we flew out to Spain and the simple fact of the sun on my bare nipples cured me. I have fed in public places and openly on the beach - without much cover and the only people who stare dissaprovingly are the English tourists.

Personally I think the world needs to change it's attitude to breastfeeding and women as a whole. We need to crack this perception that the breast is solely a sexual plaything. We also need to teach the mothers of the future what is right for baby and I believe that the first step is to get rid of bottles with pretend milk in that come with most baby dolls these days. My daughter has been given 'baby dolls' as presents and I have removed the bottles.

Scotland, England or Spain I have fed with quiet confidence and discretion. No-one has ever asked me to stop or move - they wouldn't dare!

AJO



The Scottish parliament has just passed a law [in 2005] making it illegal to request that a woman should not breast feed in a public place (restaurant, shop, municipal office, etc).
The idea is to promote breasr feeding and emphasise that it is good and natural.
This law is for Scotland only. The rest of the UK has yet to catch up

Irma

I've got a four week old daughter and so far we have organised our trips out around feeding, going out straight after a feed, knowing we've got at least four hours. I've only fed her in public once, and it went really smoothly - I was very happy with ourselves! The cafe was nearly empty which helped at lot, and she latched on straight away which was an enormous help. It's not so much people's reaction to breastfeeding in public (although I do hear quite a few tuts when someone else does) for me, its more a case of I'm not sure how to do it without a nest of pillows around us! One side is fine, but on the otherside we do the "rugby" hold, which I can't even contemplate doing without pillows - how does anyone else manage?
As to people's reaction on breastfeeding in public, most tend to avoid eye contact with the mother out of sheer embarassment, but they're embarassed in case their eyes drop below the neck line, not because they're disgusted at the sight... I have found it's mainly old women who tut at nursing mothers, although my Nanny said she was discouraged from breastfeeding my mum, so maybe this is why...

LFB

Ireland

My friend has an American exchange student over right now and a few days ago we were in the park when a woman sitting near us started openly breastfeeding her baby without trying to cover up at all. My friend's exchange student thought this was really weird and asked if woman in Ireland were allowed to do that and he said "of course, why wouldn't they be allowed?"

I couldn't believe him when he said that in America women were expected to "be discreet" or cover up so I looked it up on the internet and that's how I found this website!

Roy

I live in Ireland and breastfeed in public whenever my son needs it. I don't mind if people have complexes about. I try to be discreet obviously. The only time I had a real issue was when we were visiting a tourist attraction a group of French tourists couldn't stop staring and some of the group even stopped and were obviously taking about what I was doing. ( speak french ) However there was a smaller group of American tourists and one of them commented when the saw me "How European." I thought it was funny. But in general I have no issues nursing in public in Ireland.

K L

Hi all, I'm French and I'm living in Ireland. Here as well some people are staring at me when I had to nurse outside. I never had a bad relexion about that but I can see that it's not a common thing. Anyway, I am gonna participate in the Breastfeeding challenge on October the 1st 2011 with my son, to help the cause, to show that it must be tolerated to nurse in public

Lauren Haase

I moved to rural Ireland 1 month ago and have breastfed my 12 month old son discretely in restaurants. I have never received any disapproving looks or comments, only encouraging smiles from other (usually older) women.

MT


I am a mother of three and I breastfed them all for at least a year. I'm still breastfeeding my 13 month old now. Out and about there is no problem whatsoever feeding so long as you aren't putting on a show. Only once have I found people staring and that was an ignorant group of teenage boys in a McDonald's. They must never have seen a boob before because they all stared but I am now very experienced at covering up while still allowing baba to breathe so I knew there was nothing to see and it made me laugh rather than upset me.

The problem in Ireland is bitter old women over 50 like my mother and mother in law who didn't bf themselves and now will demand say pretty much anything to make you feel bad about doing so. My mother keeps telling that some old lady she knew way back when was certain she made her daughter backward by breastfeeding for too long! I know that's offensive in more than one way. The ignorance of the older generation here is shocking. It's because breast feeding was the domain of the travellers and lower strata of society I think. So I have to breastfeed my babies in a closed bedroom when I visit my inlaws and she'll leave a restaurant if I try to breastfeed there! Last Friday evening we had an early dinner out with the kids in a steakhouse for my husband's birthday. She tagged along (yippee yahoo). She wanted me to feed baba in the loo! So there is a huge prejudice among older women against bf. All my friends bf. Everyone tries it (some a lot harder than others - I'm sick of hearing people saying "I can't breastfeed" cos everyone can. If not, one hundred years ago there would have been a lot of hungry babies!
Millie


My daughter is seven months old and I nurse her whenever and wherever she was hungry - shops, restaurants, pubs, even once in church etc etc. Nobody has ever said anything negative to me nor have I ever noticed anyone staring etc. All of my friends except one have breastfed. Usually they stop at about 3 months. Many of them felt quite uncomfortable about feeding in public - this was more due to the fear of negative reactions rather than any actual experience of them. Not many Irish women have fed in public until recently so there are a lack of role models. I am proud to feed my baby in public - hopefully I will inspire other mothers to do the same. Often I notice other mothers feeding - other people around them may not know they are feeding as Irish women are very discreet when doing so. Therefore public nursing may be more common than people realise. I found specially designed nursing tops excellent - but not enough are available in Irish shops at reasonable prices.

Irish breastfeeding women have legal protection through two different pieces of legislation. We are legally entitled to feed our children anywhere and staff are legally obliged to try and deal with anyone harassing us. Topless sunbathing is not generally acceptable in Ireland. Low cut tops etc are very common in pubs, nightclubs etc. Mens magazines are widely available. It is not necessary to have bare breasts when nursing and it is fair to say that a breastfeeding woman in this country shows a lot less breast than the average woman in a pub on Saturday night. I wouldn't like to be the person who asked me to stop feeding my daughter - especially if my husband is with me.

jh

Breastfeeding is not very common in Ireland, which is a real pity. The more who openly breastfeed the better, it needs to be more open. I am still feeding my 12 month old daughter, I have never had any negative comments. There are a few rare feeding rooms in shopping centres etc, but they are smelly, where you change baby nappy. I will not feed my daughter in a toilet!! The law is on our side in Ireland, you can legally breastfeed anywhere in Ireland, you are covered by the equality law and the intoxicating liquors law!!!! That means you can feed your baby in licensed premises. It's great feeding here, but a bit lonely. My family do not approve of bf, it's all bottles and formula, we need more bf, more healthy mums and babies~!!!!

Orr

Breastfeeding very common amongst my friends in Dublin and in rural areas also, and all friends I know were relaxed enough breastfeeding in public. I breastfed my 3 children, each for about 7 months, and enjoyed the freedom it allowed me all around Dublin. We spent our days outdoors, going to parks, restaurants, shopping centres and I breastfed without anyone ever commenting or any disapproving glances at all. Also breastfed on the Intercity trains many times without comment.
Now, my 4th child is not the easiest to feed, a very noisy and choky feeder so far (altho only 4 weeks - he might settle) - so I'm avoiding public feeding until things improve.

Nar K

In my experience, I believe that public breastfeeding is not widely accepted in Ireland (I'm Australian). I say this through experience of living there for 3 years & a 2 month holiday with my Irish husband & our son (then 6mths old). We stayed with my in-laws & was told that I had to feed him in our bedroom with the door closed. Once during a family gathering a relative (who also had a baby the same age) opened the bedroom door while I was feeding. She was mortified and continued to apologise profusely. She later explained that she like most mothers she knew bottle fed and didn't get support from her mother/ nurses with breastfeeding.

I once saw a woman breastfeeding in a mall in an outer suburb of Dublin (I'd wondered if she was a tourist). There were nappy changing facilities with a seat in there but very smelly & uncomfortable (not sure if this was typical). I didn't notice breastfeeding rooms in rural areas nor in Dublin.

I typically discreetly breastfed in the car when out of the house, as it was overtly frowned upon the times I did feed him in cafes.

Overall I felt very stressed out about breastfeeding him while I was in Ireland & gave him his first taste of formula milk to make traveling easier. On the upside, you can buy pre-prepared formula in cartons which is handy when on the move.

Bronte

I have a 7 week old baby boy and I live in the west of Ireland and have (discreetly) breastfeed him in several cafe's/restaurants without comment. My father was the only person that seemed embarrassed to see me breastfeeding, and he's American. I have also seen several other women nursing in public in my area over the past few years. I must say the hospital nurses and public health nurses are very encouraging about breastfeeding and the hospital provides a breastfeeding support group for new mothers. As it is illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding mother to stop or move from any public place in Ireland, I would never feel uncomfortable exercising my right to feed my baby in public.

Angela

Breastfeeding is uncommon in rural Ireland. Formula is the norm. Only 22% of new mothers in the county where I live attempted breastfeeding at all, and the vast majority of them quit before the baby is six weeks old. I have never seen a woman breastfeeding in public here. I am breastfeeding my 21-month-old and most people I meet seem to find that to be very unusual and disgusting.

Breastfeeding rates are higher in the cities than in rural areas, but Irish breastfeeding rates are still lower than America's.

L

Switzerland
I have 2 sons who were both breast fed fo a year. I never encountered any problem or negativity when I breastfed in public, always been encouraged and praised by those around. I never felt anyone was looking or ogling inadvertently and never had any dirty looks.

Dee

Most people here breastfeed, but it has taken a lot of work to get here. Most hospitals are certified baby friendly. Breastfeeding in public is considered not a big deal.

Olivia Vuille-Breen

Netherlands

I am an Australian living in the Netherlands with four children, two born in Aus and my younger two in NLs at home. In Australia I always breastfeeding in public, had it down to quite a fine art and think it would have been rare for anyone to have copped an eyeful of boob.

When I had my daughter 8 weeks ago I asked the midwife about attitudes to feeding in public and she responded as I would have expected - didn't see any problem, like many things (prostituion, being naked in saunas, smoking hash) I figured feeding your young baby in public would go unnoticed.

Four days ago I visited the Rijk's museum and when my little girl decided she was hungry and started to cry loudly in well echoed tall ceiling end rooms, I sought out a bench in the hall by the stairs out of the exhibition part. After about 3 minutes a young staff member came past. A minute later he came back to tell me he had somewhere private he could take me. I said I was fine, no one could see anything and asked if there had been a complaint. There hadn't but he replied 'we don't want to offend other patrons and we want to ensure there isn't a complaint'. I guess my complaint wouldn't have counted, nor the complaints of other patrons having to put up if she'd continue not to be fed - it was 2 degrees outside. The 'private place' was the storeroom, with a stackable stool they'd pulled out for me to perch on, about the size of a toilet next to the fire hydrant. I was (and still am) so shocked by this reaction (I honestly think the staff there feared they'd be reprima nded if they allowed me to stay in the open) I snapped some pictures as I thought maybe I was going a bit barmy. Since then I have heard someone was asked to leave when feeding in the cafe of the Bijenkorf the largest department store in the Netherlands. I can't believe the hypo racy and it has truly left me feeling uncomfortable about some of the attitudes living here.

Melinda

My daughter is now 10 months old. When she was younger, I breastfed her virtually everywhere, including at restaurants, family parties, busy trains and at church. I use clothing especially designed for nursing; hardly anything of my breast is visible when she is latched on. I have a picture of Mass when she was baptised; it looks like I'm just holding her and nothing else. Currently nursing in public is difficult, because my daughter is very easily distracted by all people and noises. Therefore I try to find a quiet place nowadays, not because I'm ashamed.

This is my own story. I don't see or know many women who nurse in public so easily. On the other hand, I never got negative comments from strangers. Actually only my own mother was not very comfortable with me nursing her grandchild while we were eating out, at a family party of at church. It just took her a while to get used to it, now she's not commenting on it anymore.

Edith

In my country almost every mother starts breastfeeding het child after birth. But often they quit because of problems in the first week(s). The mothers that go on breastfeeding are less then 25% when the child is 4 months old.

I teach women about delivery, pregnancy, breastfeeding etc. while they are about 30 weeks pregnant. In these lessons I wonder why so less women know about the advise of the WHO that it's very healthy to breastfeed your child at least 2 years. Six months is more like common here in the Netherlands.

Feeding in public will get you some strange faces around you, but is accepted and there are even some special 'breastfeeding cafes' is larger cities.

Good professional help in starting breastfeeding is very important, and there are lactation-profs around which you can call or consult about your specific problem around breastfeeding.

Myself, I am feeding my daughter still, she's almost 11 months. I intend to go on, don't know for how long.

Bare breasts in general are more and more accepted on the beach. But for me, I really don't accept that. I won't go there with my children because I want them to grow up with a sense of good morality in the midst of this over-sexual world/country.

Jeanine

In the Netherlands about 70% of the mothers breastfeed their babies after they're born. After about three months only about 20% of the mothers still breastfeed their baby exclusively. One of the reasons for this is that maternity leave ends after three months. I have breastfed my baby (now three months old) in restaurants, in the car in car parks, on a bench in parks, on the beach etc. I don't use a blanket, but I am discreet. I have never had any comments, because I think most people don't even notice I'm breastfeeding! I think it looks as though I'm holding a sleeping baby...

By law, you are allowed to breastfeed your baby in any public place.

Eva

Belgium
I've seen a lot of women breastfeeding in Antwerp, Brussels, .... No problem in the Flemisch speaking part, and I think likewise in the French-speaking part. Men tend to avoid looking at their direction (they don't want to be seen as oversexed - don't be mistaken, they are interested). But I've never seen anyone object to this. Some clothing shops, restaurants, bars, furniture shops... offer a little well equipped secluded place where you can change diapers or breastfeed as well. Just be discrete. On our beaches monokini is allowed, but only laying down. In practice this means you can sun but not run around or swim in monokini. But tourists are never fined. You'll probably have a lifeguard making a remark, but typically German tourists will be running around and swimming in monokini then minutes later again, with a desperate lifeguard making the same remark again. The law dates from long ago and since allowed the number of monokinis decreased and those who want it just go along.
A nude beach is available as well. There are no special rules there, as long as you're naked.

DS

Germany
Breastfeeding is encouraged especially as a means of allergy prevention. This reasoning is kind of odd in its statistics: The former West Germany has far more allergies than the former East Germany. However, the former East mom was back to work immediately and the former West mom was a housewife until "baby" finishes college. So now we're supposed to behave as in former West Germany to obtain results as in former East Germany. Let's see where that gets us 50 years hence.

European76

I'm American and only lived in Germany for three years, but I credit that fact with helping me breastfeed. We couldn't give birth to any children. I had tried to nurse my first two adopted babies but I didn't think nursing in public was even a consideration. I was embarrassed at the thought of it and the fact that I had to use a feeding tube device made it even more intimidating. I was also afraid that if anyone found out I was trying to breastfeed an adopted baby, they would think I was crazy. Of course, it takes a lot of suckling to bring in a milk supply for someone who has given birth. It takes even more to get lactation started in someone who hasn't even been pregnant. With my first two babies, we nursed part time, for a while. Although I think I was producing a tiny bit of milk, I was not nursing them enough to really get a significant milk supply going. It was good for bonding and all, but I was always very disappointed that I didn't get farther, and frustrated, especially when they were sick, that I could not provide enough breast milk to support their developing immune systems.

We did not expect to be able to adopt a baby while we were in Germany, but then along came a little biracial baby who had nearly died after birth and was likely to have brain damage. I started nursing him with the Lact-Aid as soon as he was well enough to come home. Although I allowed him to have an occasional few ounces of formula in a bottle, I nursed him for 90% or more of feedings, with the Lact-Aid, and in between feedings without it. He had a very high need to suck, which helped a great deal in getting my milk going. I had to supplement with formula until he was taking other foods and liquids by cup, but he got a significant amount of milk from me. He also got the best nurturing possible, which I felt was even more important for him, since he was high risk for problems. He was actually advanced for his age in his development. Of course, there were a lot of factors that contributed to our success, but I believe the fact that we were in Germany helped a great deal. I al ways wore tops that lifted up from the waist, so I didn't have to expose my breast to nurse, but the Germans wouldn't have cared if I had. We traveled all over Europe and I felt very comfortable nursing in public, all over continental Europe. The only place I felt a little uncomfortable was in England. That baby didn't wean completely until he was four years old.

After we returned to America, we adopted three more children, who all nursed until they were about two. Although I never felt like it was nearly as well accepted here, my experience with public nursing in Europe had helped me be more bold. I always nursed discreetly and figured if someone still didn't like it, they could just look away. I didn't have much trouble with negative comments or looks, though. I don't think a lot of people even realized that I wasn't just holding a sleeping baby.

There are a lot of great things about the USA, but the attitude toward public breastfeeding is not one of them. Most of the rest of the world has a much healthier attitude, IMO!

Darillyn


I breastfed my son for 12 months as I lived (as an American) in Germany and travelled to Italy, Switzerland, France and Austria. At first, I tried to drape while feeding using a jacket or a nursing cover that ties around the neck. However, draping caused more strange looks than if I just discreetly fed like the Europeans do. One older French woman even commented how conservative Americans must be to use a drape. So I switched to that and never received any more comments or looks.

MT


I had my first child in Germany, and got balled out by the germans for NOT breast feeding in public!! They consider it very natural up to whatever age works for the mom generally. I breast feed him until he was two. My second child was born in the United States. Breast feeding her in public was a nightmare, right from the beginning! I don't know what sexual issues American's have with breasts, but its ridiculous! The number of times people had a fit, even when I was being discrete, was just insane! I didn't care though, I breast feed her until she was 3. It amazes me.... breast milk is the perfect food (and free!) and people in the U.S. scream about nursing a child but have no problem with you giving them the most unhealthy junk food!!!! What is WRONG with Americans??????

Julie

I am an American with an American mother who had 7 children. When we were living in Germany my mother gave birth to my twin brothers in a German hospital by C-section. She developed staph infection and became very sick and weak. My mother said that she was so weak she could hardly move. Because the German nurses knew that she intended to breastfeed my twin brothers, they actually would bring the babies to her, roll her over, latch the babies and alternate sides, ect every two hours so the babies could breastfeed and to ensure that my mother's milk would come properly. My mom said she was so incoherent so didn't really know what was going on but is very grateful that they did it. That, to me, was the best breastfeeding story I had ever heard. Imagine, nurses breastfeeding the babies for you with your breasts! That is major dedication if you ask me.

Mandy

I breastfeed my son (now 2 years, with Down Syndrome) wherever I like, including on trains and in parks and have never, ever encountered any problems. Even ticket inspectors and old gentlemen have been really nice.

It is uncommon to see women breastfeed in public, however. Many mothers choose formula still, although breastfeeding is generally encouraged. People are unaware that two years of nursing is quite normal and very useful. They think that at the end of 6 months of exclusive nursing, it's time to start weaning. One friend of mine thinks that extended breastfeeding makes the child too dependent on the mother, and laughs at it.

Anja Hbel

I am an american living in Germany and I'm nursing my third baby. The other children were born in the U.S. where I was expected to "cover up" or go "somewhere private" while breastfeeding. It is so much different here. I was at a friends house recently and I asked her if it was ok for me to nurse the baby on her couch. She was so confused as to why I was asking HER if it was ok for ME to feed MY baby. Breastfeeding is SO supported here it is completly normal to see a woman breastfeeding in public. It's wonderful!

BB

In Germany where I'm from more than 90% breastfeed their babies. However many still don't manage to breastfeed them fully for 6 months. My son weaned himself at the age of 11 1/2 months which was alright with me. I don't think breastfeeding in public is strange, however I bought a breastfeeding canopy which made it possible for me to breastfeed practically anywhere without feeling observed. I would recommend it to anybody, It made me feel more confident about breastfeeding as people could notice what I was doing when they looked closer but they couldn't catch a glimpse of my nipples;-) If I have a second child I will breastfeed again and I've kept my breastfeeding canopy for future use.

Netti

I'm actually an American expatriate (moved to Germany in 2005). I've exclusively breastfed my daughter for 8 months now (we are thinking about beginning some solids now, but will continue breastfeeding). I breastfeed all over the place, here in Germany: in Ice Cream caf's, in restaurants, in parks, on benches on sidewalks, on busses (though that isn't the greatest place, merely for practical reasons of comfort and having time to sit and breastfeed before your next stop), just anywhere I go. When my daughter is hungry, she gets fed. I never ask if it's okay (unless I am in someone's home, then I think that's only polite, but I have never had anyone say no or tell me to do it in another room or anything.)

I don't 'cover up' (with a blanket or anything), and I don't worry if my breast is 'hanging out' or if she comes off the nipple to look around.

I have NEVER had a problem. The staff has never said anything, if they even notice what I'm doing, they sometimes give me an appreciative smile and then leave me alone for the duration (in a polite way, they don't avoid me or anything, they just let me and my daughter have our peace). And I have never recieved or heard of a negative comment from a customer. I've breastfeed at coffee shop type restaurants, fast food restaurants, and fancy/expensive restaurants. Never a single problem from anyone.

Breastfeeding is VERY encouraged in Germany (for at LEAST 6 months, though I have been told that MOST mothers stop after a year, and many quit around 6 months, but not all.) Hospitals encourage it; it is generally very encouraged. And, the social system also encourages (currently, anyway).. I have been told that I will not need to work for 3 years (until then, the social system will help pay rent, health insurance, food, etc.. though the amount you recieve depends on how much you made when you were working.)

Anyway, the breastfeeding experience in Germany is excellent!

MRB

I travelled around Germany with an 8 month old and breastfed him everywhere. I didn't have anyone react negatively to it at all.

AC

I'm raised in Germany.And it was normal for me to see other moms breastfeed in public. I loved to watch them. It was strange to me to see American women cover their baby with a blanket that's unheared in Germany. Even if breastfeeding in public is normal in cities that is not necessary the case in the country. My cousin lives in a small village and was criticized if she nursed in her garden.

Friederike

May I add a comment as a foreigner (I'm German). In Germany nearly no one seems to care about breastfeading in public, but you also see bare breasts everwhere, in newspapers, tv asf. There seems to be no contradiction in breasts beeing the natural food supply for children and sexual at the same time. Both is 'natural' (whatever you mean by this), since there are no children without sex...

patrick


Honore Daumier; Third Class Carriage. Oil on canvas, about 1863-65
Honore Daumier; Third Class Carriage. Oil on canvas, about 1863-65.
Notice a woman is feeding her baby in the carriage, so we can assume it was common in the 1800s.

France

I'm British living in France and it's true that the younger the child the more acceptable breastfeeding is. There's lots of support for breastfeeding at work/ hospital/ friends/ family. People have asked how long I'll do it for and that to see a child breastfeeding at 12 months isn't right.
In public people sometimes look briefly but I've never had a comment. Let's face it, the French are very 'cool' about showing the body naked. I'm going back to the UK for the first time with my little one and I'm a bit worried about how the Brits react to breastfeeding. I have decided that people need to see more of it to make it normal! So if anyone wants to make a comment them bring 'em on! I think that if people start making comments then I need to show MORE breast not less! Let's face it, girls practically showing their breasts or going out to nightclubs half naked is acceptable but breastfeeding isn't - that's perverse!
As the French would say courage to anyone who wants to breastfeed!

GLD


I have just spent 5 weeks in France exclusively breastfeeding my 4 month old. I have been shocked to not see one other mother breastfeeding in public - I kept expecting to and slowly became more self-conscious over my time in France. I had one young woman come up and ask questions about it - as she was 5mo pregnant and had never seen someone breastfeed! I'm hoping my experience was an anomaly. I was in both Paris and small cities/towns.

Carolyn

In France, not so many women breastfeed their child because of many reasons such as keep a beautiful body, share child care with the father.... But when you breastfeed, which is my case, it is not a problem to do it in public places, restaurant... people won't say anything, even if they disagree (well, we have, at least, some education) or they even might come to say how wonderful it is for the child, how you such a to do so... (it happens to me in the street, in a restaurant, at home). But the problem, is that when your child reach 6 month, it change a bit... it is mostly not understood why a mother breastfeeds a baby after 6 months (most people say that we can't cut the umbilical cord and leave our child leave the nest...). So it is a bit harder to breastfeed in public. Still, thanks to our culture and education, most of the people won't say anything, directly at least.

Well, if you don't really care about strangers around you, everything goes well... which is my case (my child is more than 7 month old)... and breastfeeding remains so nice for my baby and I.
So, it seems that I'm quite lucky compared to some other conutries.

NYR

My first two kids were born (and nursed) in Iowa, USA. My third, now 12 months, is still breastfed. We live in France and although the amazing maternity leave and Working/pumping laws make extended breastfeeding easy, it's still quite RARE beyond 3 months. I have only ONCE seen another mom nursing in public here. Nobody has ever discouraged me from doing it or asked me to leave, but the French really would NEVER do anything so judgemental and prudic (even if personally they think it's distasteful). So, the younger the baby, the more acceptable it is.

As my daughter approached 6-9 months, people did think they should offer me 'advice' about weaning and say obnoxious things like "you will stop before she's 18, right,". Now that she's a year old, even the crche is asking me about weaning. I still pump for her at work and I found out when I returned from maternity that my modern, engineering firm with more than 600 employees has NEVER had a mom ask for a pumping room even though it's mandated by law here.

For a country that in so many ways is progressive, it's clear to me that the WOMEN are the most disapproving of breastfeeding. I've heard a lot of ignorant comments belitting the benefits and also a lot of women who's vanity (worried about getting saggy) got in the way despite understanding the benefits!

For me, lately it seems there is always a woman at the park who hands her almost 3 year old a bottle of 'lait du croissance' and then, without blinking says to me, "You still have milk?! You should think about weaning!"

Arghh! Frankly, the french don't have a problem with BREASTS, but the DO seem to have a limited understanding of BREAST FEEDING!

sheila

I am british and live in the Charente in France. I am mum to 11-wk old Alex. Whilst pregnant I really wanted to breast feed but one of my main concerns was feeding in public. I was determined that I wouldn't hide away or feed in public toilets. What a joy, no embarrassed or dirty looks. People come over and coo at the baby. I am returning to the UK in a few weeks for a holiday and I am more nervous feeding there than I ever was in France, not sure why I feel like that. So here's to a pleasant experience and hopefully I won't offend anyone whilst discreetly feeding my son.

sharon

I am American, living with my (French) husband and 4 month old son in Paris, France. I have encountered nothing but encouragement here; at least I don't detect criticism. There have been several occasions when either I or a friend have breastfeed in 'public' (bench on the street, parked car in commercial with door open, restaurants) where older women have actually stopped to speak with us, or simply watch for a few seconds with smiles of approval on their faces. I am normally as discreet as possible, covering my son under a light scarf if he'll tolerate it, but have never felt the need to stop feeding or flee to the bathroom.

With that said, we will be visiting my family in California in several weeks. We'll see what the general sentiment is.....

philippa

I travelled in France with a 7 month old for 2 weeks and breastfed him all over the place. I didn't get any rude looks or comments. I didn't see any other women breastfeeding in public (in fact one woman was using up the bathroom stall that had the change table in it at a rest stop when I wanted to change my baby's diaper, so I had to change him in the car instead....).

AC

I have just come back from a holiday in France (near Paris and then in the south of Provence), where I fed by 4 month old daughter in public in various places, including park benches, the beach and restaurants. I had been a bit concerned about whether public breastfeeding was OK in France, but in fact I received a few comments from people, all of them positive. I have never had any comments at home in the UK, but in France several people went out of their way to say how great it was that I was breastfeeding and how good it was for the baby. I also saw other women nursing in public too. A very happy experience all round!

FAA

The situation is similar to the United States.  Breastfeeding in public is rare, bottle-feeding is the 'norm' and breastfeeding rates are not that great.  It's different from the US though, because the French don't have any problems with bare breasts in form of topless women on beaches.
Read here a personal article of a French woman about public nursing in France.

I live in France, and I must say I never saw a woman breastfeeding in public here. I even wonder if they do at home. I lived in the US, and I remember seeing women breastfeeding, especially in public parks. I don't recall anybody watching or complaining or anything. What's the fuss all about? Breastfeeding is good for the kid, so why say it's outrageous? Here in France there are pictures of women's breasts virtually everywhere (posters, ads, magazines, subway...). We get used to it, and it gets kind of boring to see breasts. Not like in the US. So let women breastfeed and encourage them!

Jacques

Spain
I live in Madrid, Spain, but I was born in Honduras, and for me it was perfectly normal to see mothers feeding their babies anywhere when they were hungry (even in church). Therefore, when my first baby was born, it was just natural to me to just pull out my breast when the baby is hungry, and was surprised that I got such strong reactions from the locals: either positive and rave (with a great speech included pro breastfeeding--with my poor baby trying to remain concentrated while eating and me nodding trying to handle the situation) or embarrassed (other women trying to cover you up, or offers to help you into a separate room) or shaming (at one time I thought they were going to throw me out of a place, but luckily the security guy was South American and saw it as perfectly normal and gave me a long time until the baby finished before approaching me discretely, probably by command of a boss, and ending doing nothing since all was done). In conclusion, very little normality.
Here in Spain it seems they are obsessed with being modern about breasts (in Honduras we do not do topless in the beaches), but they still do not see breastfeeding as natural. For them the natural thing is the bottle, even in the hospitals they are always lovingly ready to offer you a supplement bottle. I also carry my baby in a wrap (very useful for the metro and bus), and I get all sorts of reactions, positive or negative, the normal thing is a humongous baby carriage with all sorts of accessories (the more expensive the better). And believe me, I am not the hippie type, just practical.

Yasmina

It seems to be a general interest in Spain to encourage mothers to breastfeed until 6th month because formula is the easy option and there was not much help and breastfeeding culture until now. I gave birth via cessarea december 7th and I'm breastfeeding but I won't do it in public by now, I have not seen any mother doing so in public transport, restaurants, etc and I think I won't feel confortable. When I go back to work (16 weeks from giving birth) I'll use a breast pump and this is what I'll use in case of need before re-start working. It depends on the situation but in general babies get the attention of some people and many women aged 40-50 tend to ask if I brastfeed and seem amazed, so imagine if they saw me doing it !!! they would start with questions and won't let us alone.

SGP

I am multinational citizen. Having been raised amongst breastfeeders, have admired the mother's breast as one of the most beautiful and spiritual forms. I am myself a mother who breastfeeds (19mo daughter) have found the experience rewarding and have encounter no complaints from witnesses from any of the places we lived at (San Francisco, CA, NYC, Barcelona, Spain) much of the opposite has been true, people (mostly women) cherished my breastfeeding my daughter. I believe it's only natural to do so and are very happy with the spiritual, physical and emotional outcome of it.
I do have to mention, though, living in Barcelona - Spain for a long time, I have NOT seen mothers breastfeed their children here. I had various discussions with my spanish girlfriends about this and have come to the conclusion that it's the legacy of Franco's dictatorship.
In the US, I did feel funny breastfeeding because of the frowns, but then! I remembered that in most American cities exists a LOT of stress and that my breastfeeding was not likely the root of their problems.
Yes! we, women, WILL and ARE changing the way our bodies are looked and thought upon. However, we don't have the power to change others but only ourselves.

Patricia

Portugal

State: Figueira da Foz
In my country most women choose BF, it's common to see women BF in public but with some discretion (they cover the breast and baby with a diaper or choose an adequated room). I think that women see BF like a private moment between baby and mother and want to preserve that. It's commom im our beaches women doing topless so I think it's not a sexual question. For my point of view people like to see baby BF because they seem so relaxed and pleasured that is beautiful. I BF my 2 daughters everywhere and I loved it. In some areas in our country (northen rural areas) BF in public is not commom and especially men looked in a sexual way to the women...

Fatima

In the region of Portugal in which I live breastfeeding is the norm. In this region of pt I have never met a mom who disapproves or has chosen not to bf. Unfortunately I find that most moms give up very early nowadays... and it's not even due to work issues. They believe that their milk doesn't do anything after they go to work and doesn't nourish enough. At the first difficulty thet turn to formula. We get a lot of encouragement in the hospital but afterwards there is very little support and I find some nurses misinformed. One told me in the hospital that if she wasn't on a schedule (at least 2 hours between feedings) that she would get colic. I ignored her and just listened to my instinct:) I've seen women breastfeed in public places and I do it to. Nobody cares and it's encouraged by everyone. I've breastfed inside a church and one lady even said, that's how God made us... I'm pretty sure baby Jesus wasn't bottle fed :) You see breasts in deodorant commercials here and when I say that's all censured in North America people ask why. Being topless at the beach is accepted and the Portuguese believe "O que bonito para se ver"!

Lizette Dinis

I am a doctor and I have 2 kids, one breastfed until 2 years and 3 months (then I was 6 months pregnant) and the younger one is 3 years and 10 months and still breastfeeds once a day.
I always breastfed in public. With the first I was a little worried about the reactions, but, besides one or two inappropriate male stare (middle-aged men), and one woman at the subway once who was very shocked I was breastfeeding there, I have just good experiences. Women usually react very well to breastfeeding, and relate with a breastfeeding mother, telling their own stories. Even when the child is 1 year or older. I always hope that the fact I breastfed in public will help younger women and girls to retain, even subconsciouly, the idea of breastfeeding as normal. There are so many images, pictures, etc, of bottles and babies detached form their mothers, that our society needs badly that we assume the responsibility for changing this.
It is still too common to see mother covering their child's head and their breast with something to avoid exposing the baby. This usually disappears as the baby grows (shear practicality!).
Topless in the beach is something easy to do, but, I don't understand why, less and less common in the late years... Men many times look, of course, but they look even if you are not in topless so I'm not sure one can count those looks. But, funny enough, they look more when one is topless at the beach then when one is breastfeeding around. Thanks for the wonderful job!

Monica Pina

I think new moms feel divided between breastfeeding and formula feeding and many times this one gets to win too soon because there isn't enough encouragement or knowledge about breastfeeding. People who are now having babies probably were breastfed babies up to a good age (2 or more years old), unless they came from a rich family who preferred (in the 70's) to use bottles - I was raised like that and so when I chose to breastfeed my daughter, my parent's first comment was "Why, can't you afford the formula?". I didn't mind them and I breastfed her in front of them and I guess they changed their minds, because now I'm breastfeeding my son and they say mom's milk's the best!

So, breastfeeding in public was something a "poor" would do, but not a rich educated woman. She would rather go topless on a beach, but formula feed her baby! Looking at a breast is no big deal, people don't stare at all, still young women avoid breastfeeding in public and I've known some that pump to bottlefeed when going out with the baby. Some will do it but cover the baby. I do stare at that, I find that awkward. Only a few, like myself, will naturally breastfeed the way it's more confortable, either showing more or less, depends on what I'm wearing. People's reactions are of looking away for a second, thinking I may be embarrassed if they look directly at my breast, then they realize I'm not worried so they also relax and take the opportunity to really enjoy a beautiful sight of a baby on her mother's breast. I've never seen malice or ill intentions on anyone, quite on the contrary, it seems to me the breast that feeds is completely emptied of its sexual content (and trust me, I'm very sensitive to any kind of sexual behaviours towards me, even if it's just staring). I still hope more women will learn to breastfeed in public and stop the prejudice of that old idea that only the poor breastfeed. I hope the formula companies will let us get to that.

Erika

I had my baby in September 2004, and I breasfed him until he was 10 months old. I had a very dificuld time doing it because it hurted me a lot until he began to eat 2 meals, but I did it because I know its the best way to feed a baby. I did it especialy because my husband has asma and is alergic to cats, and I was so afraid the baby would inherit this that I sometimes took paracetamol to endure the pain while breastfeeding. Because of this I was not confortable breastfeeding in public, I liked to be in a quiet place with as least people as possible, but when I had to do it, I did it, no mater where. I never saw any bad atitudes towards me, and I never noticed anyone looking to my breasts the wrong way.
Anyway, I wanted to say that I do not regret havind to go through all that pain because my baby is now a very healthy 17 month old toddler, and he was ill with fever only 2 times in his life. I intend to have at least one more child and I will breastfeed him or her for as long as I can, and where ever they need to be breastfed.

Ana

Malta
I'm British living in Malta. I had my first in the UK and the attitude with my second in Malta is very different.
Formula feeding does seem to be on the increase here but all in all it has been a plesent experience feeding in Malta.
From feeding in the hospital to feeding in public I have had support. Although the hospital encouraged bed sharing and rooming in, they did try to take my baby for several hours after my c-section so that I could 'rest'. They had placed me on my side after so I could feed, so I asked for my baby to be with me and they agreed.
When I had to be re-admited shortly after she was born, I was reassured to learn that she could come with me so not to cause problems with feeding and was always prescibed a breastfeeding friendly drug without questions.
I had great support when feeding in public and have never had a bad feeling from anyone. Most would offer comfy chairs or pillows for me.
Most of the older Maltese women pressume that I breastfeed and have often 'given' me advise on what I should or shouldn't eat! It made a refreshing change to the UK, where most advice would be "Put on the bottle quick"
The attitude in Malta towards breasts is how it should be. There is no topless sunbathing although holiday makers do seem to ignore the notices and from what I have noticed about the men; they find the sight of a feeding mum warming and normal.
I will have no worries about feeding my daughter in public until she is happy to wean.

Caroline

Italy
I'm an American living in Italy, I breastfed my son for all of his first year, until he didn't seek it any more. I breastfed in public places, with discretion, and the only person that made any fuss about it was my husband! I have often seen North African mothers breastfeed in public, using a shawl or something to cover them. The important thing is that your child is hungry and you can feed him without heating, mixing, carrying, etc.! My motherinlaw kept saying that I would have trouble stopping, but my son decided on his own.

Susan

Very few women in Italy breastfeed. Few of them breastfeed in public and reactions are mixed. They go from open approval to rejection. Recently we had some mothers invited in restaurants to stop exposing their breast but all went on the papers on favour of the breastfeeding mothers. I breastfeed my daughters everywere though I had to be a bit cautious while breastfeeding a toddler because prolonged breastfeeding in not generally approved.
I was breastfeeding my 3-month old daughter in an outpatient dpt just because I found a chair there. A doctor (a pediatrician) came out and, without knowing me, thinking I was coming to see him started saying that my daughter was far too old to be still breastfeed. NO COMMENT
Often I come across African immigrants and I see that many of them don't breastfeed because they believe that artificial milk is trendy and they wouldn't dream going back to Africa with a breastfeeding baby.
Marina

Sweden

When my first son was born I felt a little bit uncomfortable b/f in the subway or on buses, but when I now b/f my second son I've chosen to do it when it's needed, and life gets much easier that way! I think some men have been a little embaressed at times, but no one has never changed seat. People rather often seem to get relieved when the hungry baby stops crying.
In Sweden it's up to the mum to decide what's appropriate, though she of course is expected to cover her breasts if practical/possible.

Camilla



Basically everyone who can breastfeed does. Breastfeeding is heavily promoted, to the point where bottle feeding is looked down upon by some. Unfortunately, this makes moms who can't breastfeed their children feel horrible.

Yes, women breastfeed their children "all over the place".

I think most women aren't comfortable, especially in the beginning, but aren't about to hide out in some public restroom, so they get used to it. My baby had major problems latching on, so I wasn't comfortable at first. Now it's no problem! However, I don't breastfeed in front of my co-workers when visiting work.

I think some people don't really appreciate moms breastfeeding in public, but they would never say that out loud (especially directly to a nursing mother!). I have never heard of anyone being asked to leave a restaurant for breastfeeding her baby. Breastfeeding is the "norm", so people have to accept it. Many malls also have combined nursing and changing rooms.

It's not that common to see a woman topless at the beach, but it's not considered obscene either.

Anna

Iceland
I truly think that 95% of mothers breastfeed their babies here in Iceland. Its not an unusual sight when you go to a caf that atleast one or more women are breastfeeding and nobody is bothered (well, at least they dont say if the are!)
Maternity leave is 6 months and most mothers breastfeed during that time, though not so many breastfeed past the 1yr birthday. I breastfed my oldest son for 11 months, my second son for 15 months and I have a 4 month old son and I plan to breastfeed him for as long as we both want. Breastfeeding is very much recommended by healthcare professionals and considered the best and the support is great, if you have a problem there are numerous ways to get help, from nurses, midwifes or support groups.

Tota

Sweden
Women breastfeed infants all over the place here. It's very much promoted on maternity wards and take up rates are high. However only around 30% make it to 6 months exclusive feeding and it's rare to see toddlers being NIP. Most babies are weaned before the one year mark.

Johanna

Finland

Feel free to breastfeed anywhere at least in Helsinki region. The cold weather might be challenging in fall, winter and spring concerning parks. It is polite to use some sort of cloth to cover your breast if people are eating/ drinking in the same space with you.

Rosa

I live in Finland and have breastfed my child in public. I am still breastfeeding and my child is 18 months now. I have mainly breastfed in cafes and restaurants or in the park. Nobody has ever said anything (not positive, not negative)to me while feeding the baby/toddler.

I have mostly seen bottle-fed children in public so I guess breastfeeding in public is not as common. Or I have been in wrong places to see it.

Some places have "baby corners" where you can breastfeed the baby in peace. That might also affect the fact that bottle-feeding is seen more.

Bare breasts are considered normal in sauna etc but e.g. topples beaches are not that common in Finland.

As said in other comments before, breastfeeding is encouraged but still the percentage of babies being breastfed is a lot lower than in Sweden and Norway. My opinion is that bottle-feeding is considered too normal here and it's sad. Only 1% of the babies get only breast-milk during the first 6 months. And the breastfeeding stops too soon. Many people think that you should stop breastfeeding when the baby is 1 year old (1 year is the recommended minimum length of breastfeeding in Finland although WHO recommends minimum of 2 years).

I will breastfeed as long as possible and do it in public so that people can see that it's normal! :)

A

Me and my friends go out a lot with the babies and we always nurse them in a public place. If the baby is hungry I put her need first, not some person I don't know who might feel awkward. We've had very good experience and no complains whatsoever. In Finland it's very much- maybe even too much couraged to breastfeed. Some mothers might feel very bad if for some reason they are not able to breastfeed. The ideal way in Finland is to nurse fully your baby until 6 months, and after that with the baybyfood until one year.

Pirjo

I have a five-month-old baby and I have been breastfeeding him and plan on continuing breastfeeding until he is at least six months old. I have nursed him in public almost every day, as we are very active and the easiest way to feed him is to give him breastmilk when we are out. I have not got any negative feedback at any time for breastfeeding, maybe the odd puzzled look but nothing more serious. Breastfeeding is very much encouraged in Finland and good guidance is given for mothers in the hospital after delivery. Though I have not seen many other women breastfeeding in public, I think it's still considered natural and good.

Miia

Breastfeeding is common but situation is worse than in our neighbours Sweden or Norway. Only 30 % of maternity healthcare professionals have had any kind of breastfeeding counselling studies. Almost all mothers tries to breastfeed, but many women find it diffucult without any help or support. Only 3 % of women continues exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months altough it is the official recomendation.
Public breastfeeding is not very common, but you can see mothers breastfeeding in public - less though than mothers giving bottles to babies. I'm happy to say that nasty comments to publicly breastfeeding mothers are rare, maybe partly because we Finns are so shy and not used to talk to strangers. But there are many negative opinions about public breastfeeding - they arise every time when there is discussion about breastfeeding in public.

JR

Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed here, and it's seen as a sign of being a "good mother". However, breastfeeding in public is quite rare; I've only seen one of my friends doing it in public, and a few mothers doing it in nursing rooms of department stores (but I've seen more bottlefeeding there as well). My baby is 7 months old, and I've breastfed her everywhere: in buses, stores, restaurants... I try to do it because I haven't seen anyone else do it, and I don't think that you should live your life withour seeing anyone ever nurse in public. I haven't heard any negative comments, but I've had my share of disapproving gazes, especially from older women. They might also think that I'm feeding my baby in a wrong way, because at the time they were having babies it was told that breasts should be washed before nursing and that the baby should only be fed for ten minutes in every four hours sharp.

Attitudes toward nudity are a bit mixed and ambivalent. Almost everybody goes to sauna, and yes, naked, even with strange people. Some only go with people of their own sex, but it's not at all uncommon to go to sauna in a mixed company. Still nursing in public might be seen somewhat sexual by some, and there are opinions that mothers only do it to get attention by showing their breasts. Some people have told me that they feel a bit awkward around me when I'm nursing, because they're not at all used to it and don't know where to look. And I've always said that they shouldn't view it as ME nursing, it's more my BABY eating, and everybody eats, don't they?

Anna

Norway

I'm 6 months pregnant with my first baby, and I wouldn't even consider not breastfeeding my baby. In Norway 99% of women breastfeed, and you are looked at weirdly if u give your newborn bottle. Bottle-feeding is considered un-educated and for vain women only. After all don't you want what is best off your baby??

Ingrid


First and foremost I must say that this is a wonderful and educational site.

It's shocking how breastfeeding is looked upon in the U.S.A. (people getting arrested is just sad). I'm from Norway, where things are a bit different (obviously). Unlike in the U.S.A., new mothers in Norway are actively being encouraged to breastfeed. I looked up some numbers about it too: 80% are breastfeeding after 6 months. One third is doing it after 1 year. Public breastfeeding is of course legal, and is more or less socially accepted, even though most women feel uncomfortable doing it in public.

The sexualization of the breasts here in Norway isn't as bad as in the U.S.A, but still they are a bit "no-no" and should be covered up. But there is an exception: topless sunbathing on public beaches is very common here. In recent years, girls have become more self-conscious about their breasts: size, shape, etc (based my observations). Must be because of the increasing pressure to have the perfect body and all that. According to Dagbladet (Norwegian newspaper) 70,000 women have opted for breast implants during the last 20 years (Norway's population is under 5 million people).

Arne



In Norway, breastfeeding in public places is nothing special.  Nobody frowns on it; it's just not an issue.  The breastfeeding rates are very high (which is so good!).  In Norway, 97% of the mothers are breastfeeding at one month, 88% at 3 months, and 80% at six months.   In fact, in Norway the society is gone the other way from the United States, and you're almost stigmatised if you don't fully breastfeed your baby at six months and if you introduce solids before six months - you have to make excuses to the health visitor! 

Denmark
In Denmark it is normal to breastfeed a babies the first 6 months- using formula has practically been banned, but there is a growing acceptance of women, who are not able to breastfeed. Except for fashionable cafees and restaurants you can breastfeed anywhere and breastfeeding is regarded as a natural way to not only feed a baby with milk, but also to give the baby close physical contact to it's mother and make baby feel safe and calm. I don't know anyone who has ever felt that their breasts have been 'sexualized' while they were breastfeeding in public.

Ingrid


As an American living in Denmark, I can see and feel the difference in BFing in public already, and my baby is only 6 weeks old. Then again, one can go to the beach and see naked breasts, so clearly, breasts are quite as sexulized as they are in the US. I plan to EBF until my son is a year old, though I'm hoping till he's 2. I will admit to being nervous about traveling home and BFing in public there, but I guess I'll just have to deal w it as it comes. Still, I'm incredibly saddened that this is even an issue. Most of my friends quit 'BFing before their babies were months old! This is almost seeming like the norm now. My poor son, not only will he be raised vegetarian,but he's going to be breastfed long after most other children ;) (he also has an unusual name!)

Meagan

12 and 13 years ago, when I was nursing my sons, nursing in public was quite common in Denmark. I nursed in busses, restaurants and even on the street - discreetely with a cotton diaper draped over my breast. I never received negative comments or looks. Today, however, puritanism is on the rise in Denmark. I see very few women who breastfeed in public and several restaurants ban public nursing. Nursing is still more common than bottle feeding, but with the general obsession with implants and the "perfect" body, many young girls have an alienated view on their own breasts. In the 70's and 80's it was common for women of all ages, shapes and sizes to be topless on the beach - today this is, unfortunately, a rare sight.

Gry

Poland

I agree that there are mothers' rooms in every shopping centres, where they can BF children or change a nappy. However, BF on streets and in parks is not common. When I was pregnant I was searching different forums and chats on BF, being a mother and stuff connected with bringing up children. There were lots of negative opinions on the view of BF mothers. People, even women, used to say that the view is not nice, it's disgusting, makes them feel vomit etc. That's really sad. But, BF is gaining on popularity in Poland, again. A few years ago it wasn't. There's even a note on each pack of instant milk for babies that mother's milk is better and should be the only.

Sophie


Breastfeeding in Poland is very common-you can find a nursing rooms in almost every department store, you see women breastfeeding in the parks, restaurants etc. but almost all of them use covers.

kasia

Ukraine
State: Kiev
Yes, there are loads of benefits to breastfeeding babies but I haven't seen this act in public to my surprise. I guess people are afraid they might get dirty looks.

iryna

Hungary
In Hungary most women want to breastfeed but more than half of them stop before the baby turns 3 months old because of lack of support from the health care professionals and family and friends. It is not common to nurse in public but those who are more educated about breasfeeding on demand do whereever they are. I heard about people sent out from banks, hospitals, museums, cafes for nursing and I organized a campaign to raise more awareness that this is normal and natural. The Global Breasfeeding Challenge is a Canadian initiative: which geographic area has the most breastfeeding babies, as a percentage of the birthrate, latched on. At 11am local time. Around 300 sites all over the world join this campaign every year. This year the campaign in Budapest attracted a lot of media attention which I hope will lead to some changes in attitudes in the near future.

Szandi

Romania
In Romania many mothers brestfeed their babies but not in public. I did not visit my country after my baby boy was born, but my mother breastfed all my brothers and sisters, in fact the little one was brestfed until she was 2 years and 7 months of age (which is considered pretty old). But you have to be discrete about bf in public. You may get some said from the men which I find it pretty dumb from them thinking about they've grow the same way.

Emma

Moldova
It is so interesting to read that all these small European neighbors have such big differences when it comes to breastfeeding. In Moldova breastfeeding in public is not uncommon, breastfeeding is chosen over bottle (cow milk or goat milk is the "formula", especially in rural areas where formula can be expensive and inaccessible. Believe it or not- kids turn just fine. Public breastfeeding is done discreetly, and no one will say a thing against it. It is actually considered a graceful act....

Adelina

Serbia
In Serbia, women in general at least attempt to breastfeed and there is traditionally a general positive attitude towards breastfeeding, but many women stop if problems occur because there is not enough support and information from doctors. For instance, a woman may not be encouraged to persist during a nursing strike caused by teething, or helped with issues such as inverted nipples, etc.

Breastfeeding in public is not TOO common, but it is not frowned upon or deemed "immoral" or "disgusting" by ANYONE. Many women seem to be shy about exposing their breasts - topless sunbathing is not common either - but there is no PARTICULAR bias against seeing women breastfeed per se. Traditionally minded people, who might otherwise object to indecent dress, have much more understanding if breasts are exposed because of breastfeeding.

In a church, for instance, I have witnessed the Archbishop encouraging a woman to breastfeed her just-baptized baby during the service.

All in all, I'd say we have no inherent problems with breastfeeding in public and just need a bit of fine tuning for breastfeeding to be even more prevalent and successful.

Danica

Slovenia
In Slovenia breastfeeding in public is totally normal and nobody would dare say a word to you. It is culturally completely accepted that babies are breast-fed and in fact it's strange to see a baby being bottle fed, I have rarely seen that. Formula is expensive in Slovenia in relation to salaries, and most women would just see it as an additional expense. Formula is not paid for or subsidized by the health care system, to my knowledge, even if the mother has difficulties or little milk. There is 12 months paid maternity leave and women really use this time to bond with their babies, taking them everywhere with them and feeding whenever the baby cries. My observation in 12 years of living here, is that Slovenia is an extremely baby-friendly country, children "rule" and are accepted and expected everywhere, and that includes breastfeeding.

pd


In Slovenia breastfeeding is being increasingly encouraged. Most of my friends breastfeed. Extended breastfeeding is still taboo, but women usually breastfeed for a year or so, because we have 12 months maternity leave. They usually stop b/f when they return to work. Breastfeeing in public in normal and I never had a bad experience or a comment on b/f in public. And I literally do it anywhere.I think we are quite open about those issues.

Anja

Bulgaria
In Bulgaria most women bottlefeed their babies because most of them do not know how to breastfeed. They never saw a breastfeeding mom, so they doe not know how to latch and there is no one to help. If you have problems with BF in Bulgaria, you are advised just to wean! Medical stuff and especially pediatricians or midwives are not acquainted with basic "rules" about BF so they advise the young mothers to feed the baby every 3 hours (more often is a mere crime!), they also preach that nightfeeding is something dangerous and the baby has to be given water in the night! The women are advised to wash their breasts with soap before every feeding and the result is sore nipples. When there is a problem with bf, they easily reccommend the use of artificial substitute. And this is not all...
If you are the one of the luckiest moms who can manage bf despite these advices, you are being looked at as a weird creature. When I told my relatives that my baby is going to self-wean, even if I am to breastfeed him for more than 2 years, all laughed at me as if I had told a joke.
Still, I breastfeed my baby outside but I have to find discreet places because my 10-month boy is easily distracted by everything. Still, people see me breastfeeding but they just look. I never heard a word. In my town I never saw a mom who breastfeeds out. Maybe there are some, but I never saw one.
In Bulgaria there is an absolute lack of breastfeeding culture. I hope that I will see the end of this awful negligence soon.

Anelia

Greece
I am a French citizen living in Greece. My daughter is 4.5 month old and exclusively breastfed (I plan to wean her sometimes after 6 month old). Everyone (from Greek husband's family, friends to complete strangers in the streets/restaurants) is congratulating me about breastfeeding my child. There is no institutional support for breatfeeding (no lactation consultant at the public hospital, no home visit to check that breastfeeding is going ok, no financial help for renting/buying efficient pumps, etc). There is no problem for pumping at my work, but no one seems to know of any specific law regarding pumping at work (or even breastfeeding in public for that matter). I have breastfed in a number of public places and, in the worst case (very rarely), I got some dirty looks. Some men are a bit unconfortable around women breastfeeding in public, so I always try to be very discreet. My feeling is that very few Greek women actually breastfeed for longer than 2 months. I recently saw a documentary on the Greek national TV about breastfeeding, and the baby mouth/mother nipple were blurred, as if they were x-rated... which could mean that most Greeks feel unconfortable about breastfeeding? Finally, as in many European countries, a lot of incorrect information about breastfeeding goes around, which may lead to high breatfeeding failure rates...

CSM

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