Breastfeeding in public around the world
This is a collection of notes about attitudes towards public breastfeeding in different countries around the world. On this page are comments from Americas, Asia, Australia, and Africa.
If you, dear reader, know how public breastfeeding is perceived in some country, because of living there, having visited, or otherwise, please leave your comments using the form below. Is nursing in public common or rare, what are people's attitudes, and so on. We greatly appreciate your help in building these pages!
On this page:
State: West Africa
I was priviledged to visit the country of Benin in 2005 and again in 2008. I was
with a group from church doing a 2 week dental mission trip along with missionaries
who served in the area. As a Lactation Consultant, I was thrilled to see the public
breastfeeding especially out in the villages that were more remote where we held
clinics. Around the village, most women felt free to go topless as they went about
their chores of daily living. Breasts were not considered sexual objects as they are
here in the US; breasts are for breastfeeding. Women did cover up when coming to
clinic or going to church, but there was no hesitation whatsoever when it came time
to nurse her baby. The most special mom I witnessed was when we were going around
visiting and praying with local villagers, was a mom with twin toddlers. When we
went to pray, she got on her knees, latched both twin toddlers on to keep them quiet
and bowed her head in prayer. I went on to share with others, it was literally,
anne k hardin
In Southern Egypt, most women don't breastfeed in public (due to religion). When I had my 1st child, I often breastfed him at home or while in the company of close FEMALE friends. It's not that breastfeeding is frowned upon (It's actually encouraged and not breastfeeding is sometimes frowned upon), it's that it's not encouraged in the public.
Breastfeeding is very natural in my country - you even see it in tomb paintings. All the women in my family and my friends' families breastfeed. My mother suckled me, my brothers and sisters whenever we were hungry, even if it was in public - she always kept her breasts covered. We were all nursed for around 2 to 3 years (which is also normal here), except for my youngest brother she is now still breastfeeding - he is almost 4 years old. When I have babies, I will also nurse them as long as they want.
Egyptian women can't try beastfeeding in public because of our habits, and beside this, it's forbidden as our religion tells us.
Ghanaians see breastfeeding the surest and purest way to nurse a baby. Wherever you are, no matter what u are doing, you are expected to feed your baby if the need arises. If you dont and the baby keeps crying you end up with heaps of insults from onlookers and you are suspected of stealing the baby. The culture in Ghana frowns on exposing the body in public even the cleavage, but then exposing the breast for baby feeding purposes is highly encouraged.
In the country of Ghana you can breastfeed your baby anywhere once the baby cries for it. If your baby cries and you don't breast feed your baby people draw the conclusion that the baby is not yours.
I would encourage every woman to breast feed her child as this bonds them together. That is the belief of we ghanaians.
In Ghana bottlefeeding is for orphans, babies whose mothers cannot produce enough milk, upper class wannabes and expatriates. Ghanaian women breastfeed - everywhere and anywhere. The poor ones just whip it out, let it show. The rich ones have special tops made so its not ALL hanging out. Growing up I used to watch my neighbour breastfeed her baby - all the kids would gather and stare in astonishment...and NO ONE had a problem with it. If you grow up thinking its normal, you will NEVER be offended.
PS>...this is not the 'Africans run around naked' thing. There are very high levels of decency and even tight pants are frowned upon. But you baby's gotta eat! Formula is useless. Breastfeeding ALL the way.
I grew up in Ghana, West Africa and saw women breastfeeding all the time - my teachers in school, women at church, traders at the market, neighbours - and they did so without cover and without shame. Ghana is a very conservative country, low-cut tops are frowned upon, but breastfeeding is okay, its actually encouraged.
In my country, breastfeeding is normal. In fact, a woman who doesn't breastfeed is frowned upon. The only women who don't breastfeed are usually under strict doctors orders.
Breastfeeding in public is normal. I have been raised around this and seen many women whip out a boob in public without a cover up and no one gives a second thought to it. Breasts, especially of a nursing mother, are not regarded as sexual. My entire family has been nursed. I was breastfed by mother till I was 2 years old and my aunt breastfed her baby till she was one year old.
In Kenya breastfeeding is the most preferred way to feed infants unless there are some contraindications. Breastfeeding in public is not an issue. I have seen mums do it in public buses and in public places. If baby cries they just whip it out, although they cover with a baby blanket. In rural areas, most often they don't care. It's something everybody is used to, they just whip it out regardless of how many people are might see them. Respect to all breastfeeding mums. That's the way to go. Keep your kids healthy and smart. If you wanna know the difference between breastfed and formula fed, just look around any town in America, they have group homes or special homes with kids with emotional problems and very low IQ, they trade this for their boobs!!! Breastfeeding or not, boobs naturally sag due to increased size and number of milk ducts due to pregnancy. SAVE YOUR BABY FROM HEALTH PROBLEMS AND MENTAL RETARDATION! BREASTFEED!!
From my childhood, I been seeing women breastfeeding their babies anywhere. In Liberia people don't have problem with babies mother breastfeeding their kids anywhere in public. Mothers breastfeed wherever the baby request for food, they feed him/she to be satisfy. Our babies Mother don't have problem of breastfeeding their in public, they feel proud of themself been a mother.
I am Evangelist of the Good news of the Kingdom of God, For me at least babies mother should breastfeed their babies somewhere secret, etc.
Breast feeding in Libya is very common, like in other African countries it is encouraged and expected even for working mothers. In public where women only then yes, you can see mothers feeding their child, however if in mixed areas then it is frowned upon. I have only come across one lady feeding in public, however baby was covered with her long scarf, thus enabling her to feed her child and keep herself modest.
A few of my friends have turned to breast pumps, so that that baby can be fed if she is not at home or in public, however it is not a widespread thing, and also owing to the hot climate in Libya it is not really practical.
Im from Madagascar and I live in Switzerland since 10 years. People in Madagascar are very shy and you rarely see a Malagasy girl with topless on the beach, only the tourist. But breastfeeding in public is normal because the baby can eat everywhere like us, we can eat sandwich and big Mac everywhere, why babies must wait or must drink with bottle in public. And we (the mother) doesnt have excuse anymore because now, there are special shirt for breastfeeding, you just can see the baby and the mother, nothing else
I think its stupid to say that its embarrassing, now we see so many nudes everywhere. The question is that its important for the baby and the mother to be quiet during breastfeed.
I spent six months in Morocco. My first exposure to BF was on a train. A young woman who sat near enough for me touch suddenly put a crying infant to breast. She seemed totally unconcerned about me as she nursed and happily cooed to him. I was later to see BF most everywhere I went; these nursing Arab moms were some of the happiest women I think I have ever seen.
I do not deny being fascinated my the female breast as a sexual object. Yet I find the female breast equally fascinating as a nurturer. I've read much about the relatinship of mothers and infants and find the breast often as a primary part of the maternal-infant bond. I just do not understand why a process of millenia should be abandoned in a few decades. My studies and my sojourn in the Arab world have made me an extreme proponent of BF. To all you nursing moms out there may you be welcomed wherever you go.
Breast feeding is not a problem in Nigeria at all, but getting mothers to do it the right way is the problem. Up till now some people still have challenges with the issue of not giving water and herbs at all during the first 6 months.
In every culture in Nigeria every mother is expected to breastfeed her child except for some serious reasons. In fact, in some societies, even neonates who lost their mothers during birth are usually breast fed by relations who re-lactate to do so, some are even breastfed by their grand mothers.
The mothers, especially the uneducated can breastfeed anytime and anywhere even in the public buses. Some even breastfeed while working on the farms, for example while planting crops and baby who is trapped to the back is hungry, what the mother does is shift the baby to the side, still strapped to the mother, she brings out the breast, then sticks it in the baby's mouth and continues her planting. The educated usually try to stay secluded places to breastfeed.
In this country, people expect to see a woman pregnant as soon as she gets married and when it doest not happen, there is usually anxiety and pressure on the couple particularly the woman. When such a woman eventually gets pregnant she will always do what she was told to do in the hospital in order to keep her baby alive.
In Nigeria breastfeeding is encouraged for the first 2 years of life and exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months. However among a lot of the working middle class, they supplement with formula or choose not to breastfeed either due to work or ignorance.
In my mum's generation it was considered "local" (rural) to breastfeed and enlightened town folk usually bottlefeed their babies. Sadly some people still feel the same way.
It's is perfectly normal to see a woman breastfeeding anywhere anytime, however depending on the environment discrete breastfeeding may be necessary. For example at a wedding, church or in the office people you would cover your breast while breastfeeding or wear something that would not reveal your breast to maintain some level of modesty. People don't usually whip out their boobs esp. in an urban setting. I am a breastfeeding advocate and currently working on setting up a website to promote breastfeeding especially among the middle/upper class. Your website is great.
Generally, breastfeeding is the only culturally acceptable mode of feeding babies in Africa and specifically in Nigeria for the first two years of life. Breastfeeding is encouraged at any point in time be it, in the open / public or in isolation. The belief of Africans specifically the Yorubas is that breastfeeding is an ingredient of promotion of closeness to mothers and a concept of bringing the mother and child closer to one another. Unfortunatelly, the sound and nutritionally unique concept was discarded secondary to acculturational influence of western education and introduction of feeding formular.
THE Colostrum International, a non-governmental Organisation (NGO) that focuses on breastfeeding as the first fundamental right of the child has also recognised breastfeeding to be the perfect tool for national reconstruction. Government should establish strong policies in support of nursing mothers during the formative years of the child. the decision by employers of labour in financial institutions telling female employees not to get pregnant is a conflict with the womens right.
It has also been observed that some decisions by some employers of labour in the financial institutions are not future-friendly. By telling their female employees not to get pregnant within certain period is in conflict with the womens fundamental human rights, not baby-friendly and highly discriminatory, likewise, setting incriminating targets for women with unrealistic conditions of service, are some of the plights of our women that we need to draw attention to.
Because they are never available to take care of their children. They go out in the morning and come back late at night leaving them no time to guide, monitor, counsel or even protect their children.
It believes the period of the lives of the youths are becoming more and more endangered as their mothers are working outside the homes, which compels them to leave their babies at an age those need them most.
Any one can give child custodian, for example, nannies, any teacher can give a child cognitive attention, but the emotional, social, moral, positive attitudes and behaviours are grown and nurtured at home with much love and understanding. Also, every Mothers Day will be used to draw the attention of parents to what they owe their children.
These are training, teaching, both require time (the 3Ts).
Children need to be shown how to do things and see them do it to the point of satisfaction, encouraging and fine-tuning till they get the values, moral and culture of where they are born. This is a work of not only patience, but also that of commitment, which are mostly found in parents. The lack of such support produces delinquency, stealing, lying and a gamut of misbehaviour in children.
MARTINS E. N. MORDI
(COLOSTRUM INTERNATIONAL NGO)
I am American, from Illinois, and I lived in Rwanda for a year. In Rwanda, breastfeeding in public was socially acceptable. Women with breast problems, lesions on the breast etc. would expose their breasts while begging for money. Women breastfed while begging. Women even breastfed in church (mass in Rwanda is regularly 3-6 hours long!), and they don't have "discreet" covers like we do here-- they just whipped it right out. I found it hard not to stare just cuz I'm not used to it, but that's ok cuz they were also all staring at me too (cuz I'm white) heehee.
In Rwanda though, I don't think that the reasons for public breastfeeding being ok or for health reasons. I got the impression that breasts are generally just not considered sexual there-- legs are. You can't wear shorts there-- no skirts above knee-length. I once spoke with a woman who used to be a nun and she said that it's ok for a man to touch your breasts when you're not married. You'd better believe no American ex-nun would say that!
Breast feeding in my country, it depends who's feeding. If it's a young lady like a first give born they feel shy, but old mamas they dont care to feed their baby in the bublic anywhere and nobody interested.
I just spent two years in Tanzania, Africa, and I never saw a baby suck a bottle during the time I was there. Very few stores carried baby bottles. Due to poverty, most Africans can not afford imported, canned, expensive baby milk. Imported products cost 3-10 times more than normal price. If an African mother goes dry, she gives the baby goat milk or finds a nurse maid.
A number of women especially in rural areas breastfeed in the public and do not feed their babies on formula milk. The working mothers in the urban areas breastfeed for a short time and give their babies formula as they have to go to work. They both face challenges bf in public because people do not see it as polite. As a breastfeeding mother and a promote, supporter and protector of breastfeeding I know my rights and I dont mind breastfeeding at any point as long as my baby wants to eat because I know no one can feed under a blanket so I dont even cover my baby because I know what magic breastmilk has not only to my baby , ma but the community too. Can you help me do advocacy as far as breastfeeding is concerned and fing me funding to my breastfeeding project where advocacy is a component? Many women feer public attitiude because its not seen appropriate jeopadising their babies health and others do not know the value of breastfeeding
In Uganda,it is very normal to breastfeed in public. In fact, if a mother's baby cries in a public place, everyone requests them to breast feed the child. People don't mind anyone breast feeding in public although nursing mothers over expose their breasts because no one minds.
In Zambia, I grew up seeing women feeding their childred everywhere. Formulars are only used in cases where the mother is not there for some reason. Society ecourages women to breast feed and is cofortable with it. There are no known topless beaches or things of that sort
I am originally from Zimbabwe but now live in the UK. For the last ten years I have been here, I have only ever come across a woman feeding in the women's toilets!! not in publc. In my country breastfeeding in public is a norm, infact if your baby is crying and you don't give him the breast you are frowned upon or told off by people!!
I am originally from Zimbabwe but now live in the UK. For the last ten years I have been here, I have only ever come across a woman feeding in the women's toilets!! not in publc. In my country breastfeeding in public is a norm, infact if your baby is crying and you don't give him the breast you are frowned upon or told off by people!!
Africa (no designation)|
(The person who wrote this comment does not necessarily live in Africa anymore)
Thank you for promoting breasts as organs for nourishment. I was trying to wean my 4 month baby, but she won't give up easily, so after reading about breasts, I'm going to continue breastfeeding her until she weans herself. I feel bad about not breastfeeding my 4 yr old daughter longer than 3 months. I was misinformed about formula and breastfeeding. I come from Africa, and there's no issue about mothers breastfeeding their babies in public or anywhere they want. When it's a baby breastfeeding, people don't look at the breast as a sexual thing. If one makes a comment about it, they will definitely get into a verbal fight with the mother, besides only the rich can afford formula. That's why women in developing countries breastfeed for 1+ years.
"Across Africa, women can be seen carrying sleeping or sometimes giggly babies on their backs, swathed in cloth. The babies move to the sway of their mothers' hips, synchronized throughout the day, bending with them as they collect water or sweep the floor and rising again when the women stop to rest.
Africans consider the traditional method of toting their children the only true version of day care. When it's time for feeding, the food is right there as a mother shifts her child to the front of her body, nestling the infant to her breast."
Breastfeeding in Israel is accepted and is promoted (La Leche is very active) but unfortunately many women wean when they go back to work (which is often after three months) and switch to formula (sometimes with very sad consequences; a while ago there was a scandal with a formula called Remedia whose composition got changed by mistake and it lacked Vitamin B1. Some babies died and some infants sustained profound neurological damage. It was a very big scandal). Judging from the women I know and the WHO only few women nurse past 6 months and formula is big business there and very affordable.
Here in Israel, breastfeeding truly is the only way to go - early on. There is a HUGE market in formulas though, and most kids go through a formula phase after weaning from the breasts. My next door neighbor's 20 month old still drinks some formula (from a sippy-cup) and the mother gives the remainder to the neighborhood cats.
In non-religious cities, such as Tel-Aviv, breastfeeding in public is FAR more common - in relatively religious cities (Jerusalem is 40% religious and is considered to be relatively religious) you'll rarely see a breast, though women do breastfeed under their shirts or somehow covered up in public. I have never seen what you mentioned about covering up with cloth diapers here... but then, more israelis use disposables than many other countries.
In Israel breastfeeding is heavily supported and promoted by hospitals, paediatricians and the general community, and rates are very high. Many women breastfeed in restaurants and cafes, at the mall, or anywhere where their baby might be hungry. Some women like to place a cloth diaper over themselves while latching on, others just slip the child under their shirt quietly. In general people are supportive. It seems that countries that are more open and relaxed about bodies and sexuality are less worried about the "exposure" that might take place.
It's widely acceptable for a mother to breast feed on need anywhere in Jordan. Bare breastfeeding in family setting even in front of nursing woman's father, uncles, or brothers is acceptable yet bare breast feeding in public (as in many parts of the world) is considered an act of indecent exposure. I do believe that all hospitals, work places, malls, supermarkets and all public places should have a nursing station or private room where a mother can exercise the the baby's right to be breast fed. My wife, bless her, is too shy and is a decent person. So to overcome the social embarrassment she bought a custom made cover to enable her to breast feed anywhere, even in buses and airplanes. Breast feeding is a God given bless for nursing mother and a heavenly gift for babies. Everything should be done to enable caring mothers to express their full motherhood.
I was born in Jordan and was raised there too. Breasfeeding Is very common and normal there. Most mothers breast feed their kids in public with out being bothered by others. They are very supportive about nuriting their babies and feeding them any time they are hungry.
But since I moved to the United States, NY, I see that breast feeding in public is not as comfortable. People give you different looks and stare at you while you need your privacy.
I am an Indian. I was travelling to Dubai on a flight. My baby was breastfed that
time. My wife was hesitant, but upon seeing the baby crying she started to breast
feeding. I covered her and the baby with a news paper. The guy on the other row was
staring like an animal. I wondered how this reckless person is staring at a woman
who is feeding the baby? I was very angry and at the peak of losing control, I
wanted to punch him. But keeping control of me, I just wondered if some one stares
at his wife's breasts when feeding the baby, what would be his reaction? These guys
have to grow up!
If woman feed her baby and the peoples are seeing her, of course they like to see her breast more and more and may be they come hot and like to do sex with that lady who is feeding. And I think it is not good that any lady feed her babies in public places. If she want yes, she can move to the place where no one can see her.
you cannot see any women feed his/her child in public places in Saudi Arabia. Its prohibted here and ladies are very shy to do that but some of them breastfeed in closed areas but they cover breast
I am Iranian. Even though women are forced to wear head covering in public, I have seen many woman on even crowded public transport breast feeding. Granted it is more common with older and poorer women. The very young and trendy don't do it as much in public. In small villages and towns people breast feed very where in public and it is considered not a sexual act. Similarly women breast feed in front of their family members and friends openly.
you cannot see any women feed his/her child in public places in Saudi Arabia. Its prohibted here and ladies are very shy to do that but some of them breastfeed in closed areas but they cover breast
State: North Tamil Province
Breast feeding in public is not a taboo in Northern Province. Tamils are consider mother who feed infant as goddess and they respect those. Breast feeding [is] considered as healthy and religious importance for us. Breast in myths and religion considered as symbol of fertility and bounty
In Sri Lanka, mothers of infants aren't ashamed to breastfeed their hungry babies just because they are in public. I've seen mothers feeding their babies in buses but making sure that their breasts aren't unnecessarily showing.
I personally find the breasts of a woman as a beautiful and bountiful part of hers - be it of sexual or nutritional value. But the breastfeeding mother only incurs feelings of love and joy for both infant and mother and even the people around her.
I also personally feel this issue is not something to discuss because be it public or at home, your infant's hungry when it's hungry! And a mother would (and should) give nothing but the best to fill the baby up! And what could be better than love-turned-milk?! All women should breastfeed their infants. A baby's nutrition and love is way more important than beauty or work!
State: Western Province
Sri Lanka is quite a conservative place by Western standards (though we are quite liberal by Asian standards). Women do not go topless at the beach, but they have absolutely no hesitation about breastfeeding in public.
You can see mother's breastfeeding their babies on buses, parks, government offices and almost every other public place you could think of. There was a major campaign to encourage women to breastfeed in public, and one actress, who has never done a nude scene in films, bared her breasts for free for the public service advertisements.
My mom told me that when she was young she was breastfeeding me at a Zoo, and some Westerners ogled at her. Sri Lankan men will ogle at women much more than western ones, but never at nursing mothers.
Breastfeeding is considered something sacred and natural, and I hope it remains that way in my country for generations to come.
In Bangladesh breastfeeding in public places is common, especially among poor mothers. Mothers breastfeed whenever the babies cry for food, but they prefer covering the breasts if they are in buses, trains. Still, many mothers bottlefeed their babies, especially upper class mothers. Government, NGOs encourage exclusive breastfeeding for first six months.
Breastfeeding is a common practice among Afghan Mothers, but as we are muslims and covering all parts of body is from Islam. Also we have a problem that even with one family a mother connot feed her baby in front of male family members. What we want to have to increase mother day care and feeding centers in public areas where mother is not able to feed her baby in a public area.
Dr Homayoun Ludin
Dear readers, I am from India, here breastfeeding is quite common and ofcourse as a
mother myself I breastfed my baby for 2 long years that too many a times in public.
Here most of the people behave themselves when they see a mother breastfeeding and
of course help them by not showing attention towards them. Of course there are
people who stare and pass comments but as a mother we should ignore all those
people. My husband used to encourage me to breastfed in public and ask me not to
worry even if some part of my breast is visible. So I strongly recommend and support
Breast feeding in public is not at all considered as a sexual activity in our
country. But at the same time women in our country are shy to feed the baby in
public because it has been noticed that men just try to peep into the privacy of a
feeding mother, which makes a lady ashamed of the act. It's difficult to accept but
it's a truth.
State: Utter Pradesh
You can not see any women feed their child in public places in India, especially in city areas. You see it in the remote areas in rare cases, especially who are illiterate and village ladies\women. They also not used to wear the undergarments also. where they engaged in feeding no one watch it or see it as it is their routine in her farming time when their kids were weeping they open her breast and entered into the mouth of her kids.
State: Siliguri, West Bengal
I grew up in Siliguri and found that breast feeding in public is very common. Mothers do not feel shy to breast feed their babies although in most cases they try to cover a bit with their sarees. At home though, the are quite comfortable to expose their breasts completely even in front of male members of the family.
In Punjab women are aware about breastfeeding. This is a common in Punjab. Educated and upper class mothers are hesitant breastfeeding in public, therefore they use milk bottle for child.
State: Tamil Nadu
Women in this part of India are expected to breastfeed their babies. It is highly encouraged for the benefit of both mother & child, and most women do it discreetly in public, covering any exposed parts behind their sari. All the women in my family have done it for at least a year or two with each baby, if not more. My mother breastfed me for 3 years, alongside my younger brother who she also tandem-nursed with our youngest sister, nursing us for 3, 4, and 3 years respectively. She said she had to get more discreet breastfeeding us in public as we got older as the sight of an older child still being suckled at the breast would draw unwelcome attention from men.
Ya... breastfeeding is not at all bothered in Bihar. Here most of the women breast feed without covering... even they do not shy to show their breast to the public.
I am born in India. Here breast feeding in public is not an issue. Indian women do not hesitate while b/f they give priority of child hunger more than shy, but they often cover with a sharee. Our government promotes breastfeeding because mother's milk for infant enhance his growth and anti-disease capacity.
State: WEST BENGAL
Breast feeding is common in Kolkata roads. Here in every corner and roads mothers are feeding breast to their child without any cover. Sometimes it creates problem to younger due to nudity of any younger mom.
Hi, previously Indians were cultured enough & respected all women (except wife) as mothers, but western Culture(?) regards "women" as objects of enjoyment. This is the root of all problems. So even though Indians are becoming Westernized, but still it has been noticed by me personally that people still respect breastfeeding mothers even in public. Mother is a respected role in India. & generally mothers day is new concept for us as most of Indians still bow down & offer respects to mother & father almost every day. So let's teach this value of regarding all women as mothers & problem won't arise.
Compared to all other countries, India is a country where you can breastfeed your child in any location. It is a part of culture, highly recommended, supported and easily accepted by people. I have never seen anyone feeding their babies with lot of sophistication and concern. It is pretty common to nurse babies here. Pediatrists in India would throw the bottle. Here it is necessary to breastfeed the child for at least 6 months. Whereas in United States I have not observed many mothers feeding their child in public. In India you can feed your child in a car. You need not park the car or store the milk in bottles. Hence I have taken the decision not to travel to any other countries before 6 months. Thanks for posting all the comments from different countries. HAPPY BREASTFEEDING TO ALL MOTHERS!!!
Breast feeding is acceptable in India. I am 26 and have baby and always breast feed. People are considerate and never felt insecure breast feeding in public. There are some incidents where youngsters may stare but one should not mind it. They are just curious probably and suggest young women should continue breastfeeding as need arise. I never had any problem breastfeeding my baby among friends, relatives, and in public. I try to cover up where possible but often is not possible so I do breast feed without any cover as baby feels uneasy. People have always been kind to mother feeding baby.
Breastfeeding in public is very common in Kolkata. I have seen many women breastfeeding their babies in buses, trams, trains and other public places. Some of them cover but most of them do not. It is not considered a sexual activity here.
State: West Bengal
In India breast feeding is common & respected. In the 80's because of marketing tactics of child feed companies, breast feeding was on decline, but now it is back in full form.
The Indian saree is designed such that it acts as a perfect dress for breast feeding. Mothers do not need a shawl or special garments to breastfeed.
I have seen my mother breastfeeding my brother (14 years younger to me) and a cousin sister brestdfeeding her son.
In public where outside males are present, they would feed under their saree, not exposing anything at all, but at home they usually had the whole breast out and uncovered.
Breastfeeding is common in India. However, it differs from region to region, and person to person. In Meghalaya, breastfeeding is essential and mothers of all ages do it in public without any inhibitions- Be it a family gathering, parties or doing their daily chores. In Mumbai, with the exception of the slum dwellers or the poor, I rarely see mothers breastfeed their babies in public especially if you are from a middle class or higher background; or working and educated mothers. Sadly, mothers have become busier and too sophisticated to breastfeed a baby! This trend follows right back to their homes where breastfeeding is done discreetly, behind closed doors.
Ii see mothers feeding their babies in public all the time, especially in ladies' compartments in trains. Pavement dwellers don't have much privacy anyway and many of the women don't cover up. Somehow, a new mother's breasts are not sexualised, in fact a feeding mother is respected. No one seems to mind, not even the usually leery men. Especially poorer mothers are quite oblivious to stares. There will be a baby hanging from her nipple and she will be stirring dinner. It is only the upper class westernised women that are a little uncomfortable. They will carry their milk in bottles or cover up and be very discreet. But traditionally, its not a taboo at all.
Breast feeding is indeed common in India. Women on an average breast feed for at least 6 months, most continuing to do it till the baby is at least a year old. Formula from day 1 is not at all common. Even working women will be on leave for the 1st three months after the delivery and breast feeding is encouraged by both health care professionals and by the family. Women feeding their babies is a common sight on the trains and buses. Educated women do prefer to feed in private, but when that is not possible, they do feed their babies in public. However breast feeding is not considered as something to flaunt to the public. Men do move away or look away when it happens. To any foreigner planning to travel to India, I want you to know that no one will frown on you if you feed your babies in public.
Breastfeeding is a natural thing. If someone see a lady breast definitely he will see. In India I have seen many women feeding their babies. They will cover the part.
People have gone back to the practice of Breast feeding specialy due to pressure from UNICEF and other international agencies. Otherwise there was a decline in the last decade. People still stare at a mother breast feeding. After all breast is considered a sex organ. So the mother is embarrassed to breast feed in public. An uneducated may feed in public if the baby cries, but an educated lady will wait for cover, just to avoid peeping toms. The more educated the lady, she prefers not to breast feed in public. People generally will not miss a chance to look at a bare breast. So topless breast means a lot of on lookere.
It had been common some 25 yrs back. Now hospitals promote breastfeeding. So moms are encouraged by elderly ladies when it comes necessary to feed the baby in a public place. breasts are beautiful and boys and even elderly men love to look for a glimpse. In India, no woman would be molested even by a drunkard when she feed her baby. The culture in India consider it sacred for a mom to feed her baby from her bosom. When more and more moms do the breastfeeding in public, the awareness for breastfeeding would surely increase and at the same time, the inhibition and shyness go down in decreasing pace.
Breastfeeding in public in India is very common and people do'nt even pay attention that much. I have a 2 year old son and I am still breastfeeding him and sometimes I had to breastfeed him in park, shoping mall during airtravel and I feel great and never shy as this is a natural way to do it, nature gave us breast to feed our babies so why to shy.
Breastfeeding in public is not at all seen in my state.About ten years before,breastfeeding in public was common. Now breasts are considered as a sexual organ and so breastfeeding in public is considered as a sexual act. People are not hesitant to breastfeeding.But breastfeeding in public is considered as a sexual act
Educated mothers don't feed their babies in public.They are also little hesitant to breastfeeding. But in rural areas, mothers breastfeed in public. In rural areas also, some mothers feel shy when someone look at her breastfeeding and she may go to a corner or try to hide her breast with some cloth. Also some males have the habit of looking hidingly at a woman breastfeeding. I am a 23 year old male. I live in a rural area. I have seen my cousin sister breastfeeding in pressence of me (I was 11 years old then),my mother,her mother,my cousin brother (he was 20 years old then), a lady doctor and a nurse. But now more and more women in rural areas are feeling shy of breastfeeding in public and they usually breastfeed in a corner and try to hide their breast with some cloth. Also most people consider breast mainly as a sexual part. I think, since breastmilk is the right of a child, breastfeeding in public should be encouraged
Mother's milk is child's birthborn Right. Breasts only purpose is to feed child. Every mother should be proud of it giving to her child. My wife breast feed our daughter for 3.5 years. she never hesitate in breats feeding in public. It is my request to all mothers,please do not deny your child's right. Feel free and you all Mothers will feel the feelings
In our country (INDIA), breastfeeding is very natural and public will cooperate her to feel easy while b/f except few, who glances for few minitues. Breastfeeding in public among educated women is to be encouraged. BARE BREASTS IN INDIA IS "NO No". Personally I would like to encourage my "wife to be" to breastfeed the baby in public.
I personally believe that breast feeding in public is neither an offence nor an obscene. Its a mother's descretion whether she is comfortable b/f the baby in public or not. Here in India, most women wear a Saree and they b/f there young ones very comfortably, while some use a cloth to cover themselves.
State: karnataka - Bangalore
I am Divyasimaiah, Breastfeeding is not an SIN to be done in public. I have noticed that the Road romeos will be hunting for the breast feeding seen in public places like: Railwaystations & Bus stands mothers should neglect those persons because if mothers care about them their kids will die out of hunger. Public should support the kids to have their food. The persons who peep breast feeding will also have female relatives they should keep in mind
In indian society, b/feeding in public place is common. Public support to mother. If mother is a young lady,she do cover their by apart of clothes. But some time they not care who looking her. If she is from poor labour class, mostly on duty they have chance to get offtime to get feeding their babies.When a mother have chance to cover herself in public place, she do. Public also care her to do like it.
breast feeding is a natural feeling of a woman and for a baby it is essential one. so why to see breast feeding in connection with sexual way. in india it is very comman that young mothers brestfeed their babies in public and public also helps them by not starring at them and covering them. other than one or two may gave a glance of that but many just avoid seeing the scene and they may even leave the scene.
In indian society, b/feeding in public place is common. Public support to mother. If mother is a young lady,she do cover their boobs by apart of clothes. But some time they not care who looking her. If she is from poor labour class, mostly on duty they have chance to get offtime to get feeding their babies.When a mother have chance to cover herself in public place, she do. Public also care her to do like it.
I am an Asian Indian living in the US. I have a 7 month old and still nursing. Nurturing my baby by breastfeeding was and is my commitment. It is very sad that things are changing with many Indians. Mainly educated women is less interested in nursing thier babies, they either think it is hard work or they escape from breastfeeding in order to get back to work. I was shocked when couple women from India advised me to stuff my baby with more solids so that he could breastfeed less and I could be free. Infact I feel free and blessed by breastfeeding. I wish many educated women relaize the advantages of breastfeeding. Thanks
Educated mothers don't feed their kids in public.. they usually opt for a private place.. but in rural areas, those from working community feed in public...
In Pakistan b/f is quite normal. I can share my experience. I have seen two or three
poor women even beggars b/f on the streets and I saw their breasts and they didn't
even care. Though any educated woman would never b/f in public at all.
At home women are quite comfortable and b/f when required. They try their best to
not do it in front of other male family members. But they don't mind children around
when they do it.
State: Karachi Sind
Feeding to your baby is a natural thing but being a woman it's your responsibility to protect your assists from others. In our country most of woman feed their babies in public places but with protect them from others.
Mothers prefer breast feeding in Pakistan. In rural areas mothers don't mind breast feeding at any place. In cities mothers take care for any indecency but they are not worried to feed at any public place. Particularly women avoid feeding in front of their relatives. Although many times it has seen women not minding open their breasts and nipple show.
In rural areas of Pakistan or family gatherings (urban and rural both) one can always see a woman who would breast feed her baby in front of others but she will pull her head cover on her chest to hide it from public. No one would think of it as sexual. However, young educated women prefer not to do it. I argued with my wife that she should do it when the baby is hungry by covering herself or going to a secluded area but she refused. Somehow, in her educated family she was taught that it is prohibitive. Especially at my in-laws home she would not take the child to other room and feed, and just argue that everyone would know that I have gone for breast feeding. This annoyed me at times as I considered it perfectly normal. We were raised in a a family with no sister but our mother taught us while we were young and other women in family breastfeed in a social gathering to respect them. I think my mother did a great job it teaching us values and she was educated too.
I'm from the UK. I worked as nurse/midwife in a hospital in Pakistan for 13 years and travelled a fair bit. I was aware of a lot of BF on public transport, where the breasts weren't seen. It was more obvious in the hospital, where it was common to see a woman with her whole body and even face covered, but a breast hanging out for a baby or young child. The tribal women were particularly casual about this; I remember a woman lying with a breast out of her clothes (baby was asleep) in front of workmen whitewashing the ward. Some Afghan women had zips in their bodices, others just slits, and toddlers would come running up, pull out a breast and suck it like a mango, then run off again. Women in a plaster cast (old-fashioned treatment for TB spine) would have a 'milk bar' cut out. Unfortunately, formula advertising and promotion by ignorant health professionals undermined confidence, and I saw many babies die from bottle-feeding.
Breastfeeding is very common in Pakistan and encouraged because of the Islamic ruling on trying your best to breastfeed the child until he/ she is two. However, it's not done much in public and only done with the baby and the woman's body well covered.
In social/ family gatherings though, it is more usual, but again, with everything covered.
The norm was to breastfeed for 18 months to two years which declined briefly in the cities with formula milk advertised excessively and women becoming more concsious of keeping their bodies looking 'perfect'. However, it's going back to breastfeeding for the full term, i.e. two years.
Breast feeding is very common in Pakistan. Even working women take babies to their working places and feed them. It is free source of pure milk full of vitamins and protein.
According to Islamic teaching there is emphasis on mothers to addoped breast feeding for their babies up to two year duration. The practica exercised can significantly reduce a risk of chronic diseases both to the mothers and the babies.
Syed Nadeem Ahmad
Breastfeeding is very common in Pakistan, thanks to our cultur and Islamic rules about breast feeding. But breast feeding in public is very rare. Women do breast feed their babies in public by covering themselves. Trend of breast feeding is decreasing in workning educated women.
No, its no BREST FEEEDING IN PUBLIC is less than 0.01% in Pakistan [in other words, its not], because in ISLAMIC SOCIETY, BREST FEEEDING IN PUBLIC is not accepted while this is beside the point that MEN loves to watch if they get a chance
I lived in India for 4 years and another 4 years in Nepal. Breast feeding was very common and accepted in both countries. In Nepal it was common to see mothers breast feeding their childreen on the bus, in markets, at hospitals. It was never an issue with anyone. I was surprised on return to the US how some people have a problem with it. It seemed so natural and healthy in these other countries. Makes you wonder who is more advanced?
I was born a premie at a time when there was no mother/child contact. Kept in the incubator. All the children that are Breast fed are very fortunate to have that loving experience with their mothers.
Hi I am originally from Nepal living in US. I am enjoying my bonding with my 21mos old breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is very common in the Country where I am came from. you see mothers breastfeeding in a bus, waiting area,resturant,sitting among familis, sometimes in the streets. People don't even bother to look at them coz everybody knows it is natural, and everybody does. that's how babies are fed.
In Beijing, breastfeeding is viewed as a positive thing, and bfing in public is fine.
However, many higher-income women think they can't and bf education is awful (like saying "I couldn't bf because I didnt make enough milk"- often told to them by a doctor- and quitting early, thus letting their supply decrease so they really couldn't) People from the countryside don't have this issue- they just push through bfing because they have to- so it is sometimes viewed as something rural people do, but rare for city folk.
So... it's sometimes viewed with extreme curiosity- especially if you are a westerner.
My redheaded self and blonde baby get questions and thumbs-up all the time when we nurse in public places. (Chinese grannies constantly give me thumbs up for nursing) Never gotten ANY rude comments, but lots of genuine curiosity and many, many people telling me how "lucky" I am that I can bf and giving me their sad story about how they couldn't.
In China breastfeeding is very common in the countryside.
Breastfeeding's getting more popular in Hong Kong but public nursing's rather uncommon. People are really shy here so most breastfeeding moms either bottle feed expressed milk in public or do it at home/in nursing rooms at malls.
I'm comfortable to breastfeed just about anywhere in public with my nursing blanket. Sometimes but very rarely I do get occasional stares from curious onlookers, only a few times some unfriendly stares but honestly I really don't care. In some restaurants they offer me an empty room / place so I can do it privately. Having said that, I have only seen another woman breastfeed with cover once.
I do hear "I don't have enough milk" a lot as most moms, though well informed of the benefits, not informed of the demand supply mechanism nor supported by their hospitals / OB / PED / families / employers. Most moms are working moms and find it very difficult to continue bf after the 2.5 mths maternity leave, even when they're willing to go through the hassle of pumping.
Breastfeeding in Hong Kong is regarded as very rude and is indecent exposure in public. I have never seen a Hong Kong woman breastfeed their child in public. If mothers want to breastfeed their child, they either do it at home (and bring out bottled milk) or in the washroom cubicles. Once in an immigration office, a mainland Chinese woman was breastfeeding. She wasn't stared at, but the people who accidentally glanced all walked away, and started badmouthing the mainland China woman.
I am an American living in Okinawa, an island prefecture of Japan. Here in Okinawa life is more "laid back" and I have seen (over 3 years of living here) many local Japanese women breastfeeding in public. Some use covers and some just lift the T-shirt a little and discreetly put the baby to the breast. I have never, ever seen a breast exposed. They are very modest. The Okinawan women who are my friends say that no one expects a nursing baby to go hungry and cry for the sake of modesty, and you are expected to feed your baby, whether in public on a bench or in the nursing rooms. Only once was I asked to go to a private room to nurse, because I was in a restaurant, and I refused to leave my seat and feigned like I did not understand the Japanese language. (I had several small children and we were all eating! Sorry - I was a paying customer and was well covered up with a shawl). I think she (waitress) was trying to shoo me into a room for MY comfort and privacy, rather than because she was worried about offending all the customers, who were not paying me any attention.
Breastfeeding in Japan is not an issue. People tend to get hot under the collar about. Most Japanese women seem to use a mixture of both. I have only once seen a Japanese woman breastfeeding in public, but I have seen several Western women doing it (my sister breastfed everywhere in Japan, as did my friend) and never got any unpleasant reactions. Japan is not into staring as a culture, but still it would be advisable to use a muslin square as a cover.
I think there aren't any real opinions on the matter here in Japan, the mothers I talk to tend to try out breastfeeding, but it doesn't seem like anyone is really for or against. It seems to me like they aren't aware of the true benefits of breastfeeding and the possible set-backs of formula -- without information to guide them, they rely heavily on family and what their mothers did, etc. In the context of a group of mothers, there isn't much need for modesty, so I've seen other women bare all and not care -- they do a lot of public bathing here (men and women separately) so I think they feel more comfortable with nakedness when it's in appropriate contexts (baths, breastfeeding, young kids running around naked, etc). Like the others have said, in most department stores, there is a nice room just for feeding babies -- but also in that room they have a hot purified water spout and sink, separated for the explicit purpose of formula feeding. Never seen anything like it in America.
I breastfed my toddler (18 months) on a local train while visiting Tokyo -- only businessmen and my American friend were around. The men already thought I was a little strange and my son was being so loud that I don't think they cared much that I was quieting him down a little. It was strange because they're already so likely to stare because I'm foreign, I didn't necessarily enjoy the extra stares. I got the sense that only foreign women would be allowed socially to do something like that -- I don't think Japanese women would ever breastfeed on a train or bus.
I think Japanese mothers want to breastfeed but society is not very helpfull. When you are in the hospital, there is so much publicity of formula milk (this is prohibited by some international law, I think from World Health Organization, but there is no punishment for companies who do it).
Most old ladies look at you friendly, but some make a face showing they dislike it (who is asking their opinion?)
Breastfeeding rooms in department stores sometimes are common, but they are slowly changing to spaces separated by curtains. It seems women feel ashamed of breastfeeding in front of other women.
I think Japanese culture used to be more natural, but it is changing to a more "moral" or shide culture. But most places out of Tokyo seem to be so different, maybe also about breastfeeding.
About other places different from breastfeeding rooms, I found they don't like people to breastfeed (even covering yourself), but normally they don't tell you anything. The only places they have asked me to "hide" myself ironically are places for mothers and children. In some of them, breastfeeding rooms are not an option, but the only place you can do it.
Another interesting observation: most women who stop breastfeeding too soon need so many excuses ("it is easier", "convenient", "this way the baby don't cry at night", ...) all absurd from my point of view. But if they need excuses is because they know they are doing something wrong to their babies, but still prefer public opinion from people they don't know and they won't see again. In societies with too much "moral" or where women get the right to work, most babies lose the right to get healthy feeding.
I'm dutch, but live in japan. Here breastfeeding is promoted and many women are breastfeeding, although I see many women giving formula also and in the hospital a lady will come to promote and give you samples of formula... I never saw any woman breastfeed in public, but in every big department store there is a very good baby changing and nursing room. At times there will be more than 15 women nursing in there! All older ladies assume that you breastfeed and always advise you on food that is good for producing milk. I think I would breastfeed discreetly in public here if I had no choice. I gave birth here so I don't know how it will be in holland where there are no bf rooms, I suppose I will feed in public more easily there then here in Japan.
It is common for hospitals and childbirth clinics here to require women to breastfeed, they expect women to go home successfully breastfeeding their infants. I have only seen women here breastfeeding in the waiting room of a childbirth center. In America, women who breastfeed in public most often cover the top of their breast with a nappie, but in Japan, the women I saw just bared the whole breast shamelessly while carrying on conversation. It was surprising to me, because in general Japanese women are very modest about their breasts and rarely show cleavage or wear sexy tops.
I was born in Taiwan and lived there for 14 years- during which I do not recall ever never seen women breastfeed in public. My mother, according to her nurse expertise, gave all her four children a combination of breast milk and formulas. However, now that I'm educated on human physiology and reproductive health, I knew something is fishy about what she said. All her children are about one year apart, which means it is highly unlikely she breastfed much at all, otherwise her hormones would've prevent her from conception so soon after each baby. This also makes sense since I've never bonded with her, and learned that I was send away in the care of grandma and bounced off between aunties and cousins. Another confirmation that she didn't b/f is that after some 30+ years, she developed breast cancer. So, all women out there, please breast feed your baby. It's so important for you, your baby, and your relationships.
I now live in California, and have seen 2 friends who'd b/f anywhere if their baby is hungry. However, aside from them I don't see many others do it.
I hate to say that, but breastfeeding is not really common in Taiwan. But after the government and hospital try to promote the advantages of breastfeeding, breastfeeding people were getting more and more. But still less then 10%. Mostly people use formula feeding their babies. I never saw any woman breastfeeding in public. Well, most Asian people are really shy. Showing their breast in public is really not a good idea.
I was tried to feed my baby one time in a shopping mall. My baby was starving. I didnt have time to find a quite place to feed him, so I decide to breastfed in public. And one of female worker came to ask me to leave, or move to restroom. I was so upset about it. Becoz she said its shame I didnt use any cloth to cover it, and people could see my breast so easy.
After that, if I am going to breastfeed my baby in public, I will always cover it.
In contrast to Vivian's breastfeeding experience, I've had a very positive one. I've been living here for a little more than one year now (moving here temporarily from US) and to be quite honest, everyone in the public have been very kind and supportive of me breastfeeding my child. In restaurants they would offer me an empty room or space to breastfeed in private. In shopping malls, they have a nursing room in the children's department. In stores they have dressing rooms available, and if not then the car is always a good option. I've become comfortable enough to breastfeed just about anywhere in public. I do get the occasional stares from some people, but they are just curious onlookers who don't interfere with my time. I always make sure to bring a small blanket, nursing cover, or jacket to conceal too much breast exposure. My husband or friend is always there to hold up a cover for me while the baby latches on, but once the latch is successful there really isn't too much to see. Having said all that, I have never seen another woman breastfeed in public. Many Taiwanese women do not chose to breastfeed because they are either uninformed about the benefits or do not receive enough support from family members. Plus there are many working mothers and they probably do not have the time to breastfeed exclusively, or think it is too much of a hassle to pump and store the milk at work. I've heard countless of times from mothers "I didn't have enough milk so that's why I stopped breastfeeding." They are not informed enough about a breastfeeding mother's nutrition, that they have to eat ALOT! If they don't eat and drink enough fluids then their bodies will not produce enough milk. It's like a supply and demand when the baby suckles, but they all seemed clueless as I patiently tried to explain to them that a pleasant breastfeeding experience is possible. In addition, infant formula seems to be the most popular thing to feed babies nowadays. Everywhere you see there are commercials on TV and advertisements telling you which formula is the best. It seems perfect because it comes in a package easy right? I personally love breastfeeding my daughter and we have this wonderful bond that I treasure very much. Im not saying that everyone should breastfeed because it is sometimes too inconvenient for some women, however, I think if they try to read more information about breastfeeding then they will want to give it a try. Who knows? Maybe they will grow to love it and continue breastfeeding.
State: NCR-quezon city
Breastfeeding here is very much legal but not always done, especially here in the
metro. A lot of mothers nowadays see breastfeeding as a hinder in their current
lifestyles; as a result they give in to formulas. Formula companies are also very
aggressive in advertizing because of the law here, but still they get to have
doctors to prescribe formulas to new mothers. I think we as a country need more
empowerment and support to those new mothers and give our doctors a little bit of a
push in teaching mothers, not only OB's but also pediatricians as they are the often
questioned doctors by mothers.
State: Regin III
Breastfeeding in public here in our country is legal.. But it is better if you are a mother and breastfeed your baby in public in a modest and discreet way. It is very unethical to show other people your breast as well as your baby feeding on it.
I would say breastfeeding is still the best for babies. In our place I am happy seeing a mother doing so, specially when she feels that her baby is craving for it. Our place is not so subjective about it, as long as it is beneficial to the baby, even in public.
State: kuala lumpur
I agree that mothers should be allowed to breastfeed her baby anywhere anyhow she and the baby wants! It's the perverts that can't control their lust that makes their partners decry other women who breastfeeds. Believe me I have women telling me to cover up or move elsewhere but no man has said anything but smiled or looked. Of course there are pervert men who will stare and stare either discreetly or not. I don't care. My tits are not for only sex matters. It is also made for my babies. And my babies have full rights to them.
In Malaysia, I think majority of city moms bottle feed. In rural areas, most mothers breastfeed. It is not uncommon to see a mother breastfeeding her baby in a bus or on a train or at a bus station. It is more uncommon to see a mother breastfeeding in Starbuck or in the city, actually. However, breastfeeding is catching on in Malaysia and a lot of awareness are being promoted. Since breastfeeding my now 6 month old daughter, I have also noticed a lot of city moms breastfeeding at the malls and in the public. Asian are generally understanding and in my experience, not many will stares, except kids. Most adults will discreetly turn away if they are aware that you are breastfeeding. Some even gave approving smiles. I have been breastfeeding for 6 months now, most of the times in public. Of course, I wear nursing wear as it is more discreet than slinging a wrap over your shoulder.
Asians are mostly shy people. Asian mothers usually look for a room or a quiet corner to breastfeed. Newer shopping malls usually provide nursing rooms for privacy of breastfeeding.
I have seen mothers breastfeeding their babies in a bank and on benches in shopping malls. I have even breastfed my baby at a coffeeshop, but I looked for a seat with some privacy.
I am from Indonesia. And I disagree about bjarne comments regarding breastfeeding in
Bali or Indonesia in general. I don't know how long he has been living there but in
Indonesia mothers are really encouraged to breastfeed their baby. We don't have
formula companies giving away free sample in the hospital or even have their
advertisement hanging on the wall. Formula is expensive and not everybody can afford
it, besides breastfeeding seems to be a part of our culture. Some women breastfeed
with cover or without cover or feeding the baby in the traditional sling. And they
do it everywhere.
I have never seen a mother breastfeed a child in Indonesia. A new bill in Indonesia from 2008 make woman a criminal if you can see her breast. My wife don't care a breast feed our child. Normal culture in Indonesia is to give formula milk from first day, becauce many women there breast will look bad according to their husband.
Breastfeeding movement starts to grow within the life of modern moms in Indonesia. Lots of malls provide comfortable, discreet nursing rooms nowadays in Jakarta. I myself breastfeed my children and still nursing my 6 month old son and when nursing rooms aren't there, I'll use the breastfeeding cover and sit at places with least exposure. So, although it is common for women to breastfeed in public, in Indonesia, we do it as decent as possible, at least doing it with cover. I've never seen any women who breastfeed in public with their breasts hanging out openly, unless if I go to rural area or slums in the city. We're pretty cool here in Indonesia about breastfeeding in public, thank God, as it is the best food for the baby. And I hope the knowledge and awareness about breastmilk is best is growing more and more everywhere in the world.
I'm still breastfeeding my 8 months baby daughter. I had no problem with breastfeeding in public. I don't care what people say if I have to breasfeed my baby in anywhere I like. Though, I'm a shy person, so every time I want to breastfeed my baby, I always use a breastfeeding cover. But until now, I never had been offended by someone when I nursing her in public, which is good.
Most people will feed discreetly. But now more and more are open about it. Personally I have seen an Indonesian mother feeding her toddler with no care of her surroundings. She had her boob out and while one nipple is in her son's mouth, the other nipple is being twirled and rolled by her son. I think her son uses the nipple as a comfort thing like sometimes babies need to roll the end of a pillow. I didn't see any people staring at her. Most look away after looking one time. Another time at a theme park a young mummy was tying to feed her wailing son who refused to latch on. I think she was desperately trying to get him to suckle while he was struggling and bawling so she had both boobs exposed totally because she was trying one boob after another. This is the only ocassion I saw people openly staring. It took a while for her son to quiet down and suckle and by then she must be so relieved and exhausted that she forget her other booby is out for all to see. lol! I have seen a lot of women breastfeeding everywhere. Some discreet, others not. One time at a bus station, a boy of maybe age 6 would ocassionally go to his mom and lift her shirt, pull down her bra and suck for a few seconds then run away and come back again to suckle. The mom was busy talking with her friend. One time, her son forgot to pull down her shirt and her breast was just hanging for all to see but she didn't care. lol!
I live in Indonesia and it is very common for mothers to feed their baby in public area even in the bus or during waiting time in any places. And I never think about this matter till I hit this Website.
I live in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. In my country if u want to breastfeed your little one u can do it anywhere. I have one year old baby and I breastfeed my baby anytime she wants to breastfeed. I don't use any cover and people see that women breastfeeding her baby they don't see the sexual side.
You can breastfeed your little one anywhere, anytime unless if it is not a alcohol serving restaurant or bar. People (men) wouldn't stare at you even when you expose your full breast (not using blanket or something) unless he is pervert.
Breastfeed everywhere even without blanket or scarf.
Mother of Zonoo
I've lived here for 3 years and only seen 1 woman breastfeeding in public ..and she
was European. In the cities it's frowned upon, and people dress modestly. In the
less developed regions you might see it more often. I'm sure a woman that breastfed
in public would get a lot of attention, but very little (if any) would be positive
attention. People see it as something to do in private.
Breast should be covered at beaches as well. I've seen European girls walk around
the beaches topless -Thai women think "western" woman are slutty because of this and
what they see on the media. Thailand is quite conservative, most thais swim in
clothes (not swim suits), porn is illegal, as well as sex toys...
State: Chiang Mai
I am a lactation consultant. I did my breasfeeding to my son since he was born until he was 2 without formula. Thereafter, I fed him UHT milk for children in a day time, but whenever we meet each other, he always suck my breastmilk. This had been happened until he was 3 (Now he is 4.6). If I had not been far away from him as personal need, I would have breastfed him as long as he stop by himself. Even though breastfeeding in public in Thailand is not a common thing, I always did breastfeed my son. I had often no shawl. It was not nude. No one could see my nipples because my son latched on it properly. When my son was 2.6 years old, I have been asked many times by lookers that I still have breastmilk. I said yes I have a lot. In the age 2.6, at Takwando Club, where my 6 year-old daughter was practicing, I breastfed my son among a lot of people at the waiting room. First time seeing, some of them made their eyes bigger and some asked me for closer looking. I often do like this at the place until they all get used to my breastfeeding. My son played with them while he was sucking my breastmilk. I think now breastfeeding in public in Thailand is wider acceptable than before. However, just some do, but many don't. I love to encourage women breastfeed.
I'm still breastfeeding my 19 month old but I get a lot of looks from people when I tell them that I'm still breastfeeding. My son
takes half formula half breastfeeding milk a day. A lot of looks! Some say isn't he too old to be breastfeeding? I would say that breastfeeding in public is not that common, especially after the kid turns one.
I am British living in Thailand and breastfed my daughter (now nearly 5) until she was 18 months old. Bottle feeding is increasingly common and regarded as the modern way to do things despite doctors trying to encourage mothers to breastfeed. Breastfeeding in rural areas is very common and whenever I travelled in rural areas with my daughter I was greeted with approval for raising her the "Thai way".
In urban areas I found using a large cotton shawl took care of any concerns about my modesty when I did need to breastfeed in public places. I used this in Islamic communities but if I was in an Islamic community would normally withdraw from a mixed group and just hang out with the women when I needed to breastfeed my daughter.
During a visit to England I noticed there were a few curious glances but again a large shawl was an excellent way to feed my daughter in peace without encouraging negative comments in public places - it helps keep easily distracted children focused too! I can't honestly say I found London any more hostile than Bangkok but did find that rural Thailand was way more relaxed than England.
Topless beaches don't exist in Thailand and although lots of people do sunbathe topless here it really is frowned against by the local people. Generally speaking, traditional attitudes towards dress are extremely modest - women don't even bathe naked, they use a wrap.
Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand|
Asians are generally very tolerant. And they also go out of their way to make others around them feel comfortable. Likewise breastfeeding in public is a two way street. Many women do it and the public doesn't mind for as long as it's done discretely. That means no visible nipples or breastexposure. Accessing the breast from the hem of a shirt rather than unbuttoning the front provides more coverage. Some people use shawls, cloth diapers or nursing bibs as a cover up but these devices actually call more attention to the act than just learning to breastfeed without baring all. having said that, foreigners (read: caucassians) enjoy more leeway in this department. Anything out of the norm is chalked up to weird behaviour by the angmoh/farang/puti (singaporean/thai and filipino words for caucasians).
Slings are invaluable. It's convenient and it may actually be safer for your baby. Asians are generally touchy-feely with small children. Turn around for just a second and you might find that your baby lying snuggly in a stroller is now in a well-meaning strangers arms being cooed over and kissed. Slings discourage such familiarity.
There are nursing rooms in some places but they're not a must and their certainly not designed for comfort! Find a bench, a coffee shop or keep walking while you breastfeed. It doesn't matter. You're more likely to get smiles rather than stares. If someone isn't comfortable with what you're doing, hardly will they tell you off (although there have been a few stories about moms "scolded" by old "aunties" in singapore. They're more amusing than threatening and with the language barrier for all you know they were giving breastfeeding tips!). If at all, the person ill at ease around you will just move away or avert their eyes. So breastfeed confidently but discretely anywhere and everywhere - malls, restaurnats, cinemas, shops, markets, food centres, hotels, airports, people's homes. even in churches (but be even more discreet; a sling is really useful here. A priest once even blessed my baby while she nursed. I don't think the padre even realized what she was doing). Some places may have rules against BFIP such as places of worship and vaunted old social/sports clubs too steeped in tradtion to keep up with the times.
Don't be surprised if you "hardly" see anyone breastfeed. For all you know the lady next to your table at starbucks with the sleeping babe in her arm has been nursing for the last hour. She's just too good at the art of discretion for you to notice.
The Pakistani society in influenced by the religion or the religion pundits. In rural area the breasfeeding in public in not a harm where mothers feed babies covered or otherwise. In cities, it is not seen in public. Even women avoid in presence of relatives. The topless beaches is a dream and the fundamentalists can enjoy two or three wives, legal or illegal but the poor are aspiring for one.
Breast feeding is very common in Pakistan. Even working women take babies to their working places and feed them. It is free source of pure milk full of vitamins and protein.
I my self am a company manager having 100+ ladies workers and I have allocated a saperate room for ladies. This room is adjecent to my room and I put a hidden camera in it. I keep an eye on the women in that room and when a woman breast feed her baby I watch very closely. This is only to make sure no woman get unnecessary advantage of my relaxation.
It is so commonplace most people don't even notice. When the sight of a woman's breast is commonplace from the time you are a small child, the taboo and awe of the breast is lost. Breast are considered not at all sexual in Latin America unlike they are in the US. I find it almost humerous at the prudeness of our Society over something as beautiful as a womans breast.
In Turkey mothers are seen holy cretaures during pregnancy and after.Breastfeeding is seen very natural and nobody sees a breastfeeding mother as a sexual object it is seen as feeding the baby. Of course it depends on the ladies' being shy or not,too. You know sometimes there are ladies who are even shy to breastfeed or change clothes near even their girlfriends but other than that in Turkey breastfeeding is a natural event and everybody knows that if the baby is hungry he/she needs to feeded.
I live in Australia, I have 5 children ranging from 22 to 3 and all have been
breastfed for at least 2 years, I fed them in public when they needed to feed. I
personally like to be discreet, but never used a cover for my baby. I have never had
a negative look or comment. I find there is a lot of misinformation about
breastfeeding and the risks of not breastfeeding is largely unknown. Many mothers
don't understand how breastfeeding works and assume that they have no milk or
something is wrong with their milk if their baby is crying. The Australian
Breastfeeding Association offers up to date information and free counselling to all
State: Western Australia
I live in the United States but I am an Australian Citizen.Breastfeeding is
encouraged in both countries but women are less comfortable about it in public in
the U.S. WHenever we visited my family in Australia and I was breastfeeding, I felt
very comfortable breastfeeding in public. Other women breastfed in cafes and on park
benches and it is usually done fairly discretely. I became a little more self
conscious as my kids grew older feeling the need to breastfeed more in private when
they were two years old. I wish women everywhere could feel comfortable feeding
their babies in public. To tell you the truth I feel sad when I see a baby in a
stroller with a bottle of formula propped up on a pillow. I would rather hold my
child and share my love as I look down on that beautiful face as I provide my
exactly specific nutrients to my baby.
I bf my 15 month old daughter, whenever she's hungry. I'm pretty modest I guess when
I feed her, usually I have a maternity top on or the like. I don't use muslin or
anything. But I try to be discreet. I've had a few odd looks more as my girl is
getting bigger and twice had rude remarks made to me. It's very unfortunate in this
day and age to be judged either way. We all do our best for our babies, surely? Let's face
it, the sole purpose of boobs is for child nourishment there really shouldn't even be
Australia now has 100% legal protection for mothers who breastfeed in public. Every State and Territory has now specifically protected the rights of women to breastfeed in public. The legislation in most states also includes breastfeeding as one of the grounds for unlawful discrimination in other areas such as employment.
On 24 May 2011, the Australia Federal Parliament also passed changes to the Sex Discrimination Act to make breastfeeding a separate, stand-alone ground of discrimination, rather than a subset of sex discrimination.
It's a sad reflection on society that we need to do this, but good that we have.
State: North Queensland
I was more concerned about breastfeeding in public than enyone else seems to be now that I have relaxed and just do it whenever I need. I have only had positive feedback from people.
State: Western Australia
Some states have the anti-discrimination laws for breast feeding mums, but not WA. We have had numerous mums been asked to leave establishments for feeding their bubs, and they cop all sorts of comments. State government was supposed to have pushed the anti- discrimination law for breastfeeding mums through but are delaying it.
State: Sydney, NSW
I'm not sure how old some of these comments are but thought I'd mention that, in 2010, a mother's right to breastfeed in public is protected under national anti-discrimination legislation. My twins are now 15 and my daughter is 11 and they were all breastfed until they were 1.5 years old. I fed wherever I happened to be when they were hungry, never had any negative comments about it and never felt the slightest bit uncomfortable about doing it. With breastfed twins, you'd never leave the house if you couldn't feed in public! I think Australia is very breastfeeding-friendly.
I come from a female line where all children were bf wherever possible and had very little problem with it. I was breastfed until 14mth, and I am still breastfeeding my 2 and half yr old son. I have found greatly that it depends on the culture. I'm local to the eastern beaches and so often the body is looked upon as a sexual object rather than anything else, however the people I connect with and cafes etc. I go to are for the most part friendly to breastfeeding. I must say that this is not the attitude in relation to expressing (my view is it's feeding without the baby present). I have both breastfed and expressed in shops, buses, churches, synagogues, beaches, parks, cafes, as I'm walking around the shops, in parents' rooms, on the side of the road, in class when I was at uni, basically anywhere if it was time to express or bub needed a feed. In certain circles I was more modest out of respect for others beliefs (such as in religious dwellings), however most of the time I honestly didn't care.
Unfortunately I have been given dirty looks, and even told to feed or express on the toilet by some people. However for the most part people either smile or avert their eyes. My bottom line is that I'm happy with it and don't have a problem... I'm proud to be able to and choose to breastfeed and shall see what happens in regards to weaning, and if others have an issue, it's THEIR issue, not mine. I'm glad the law is now behind us, however I've never had to pull that one out as yet (I actually stirred once and pulled out the breast for full-view for a few moments before helping bub latch on as a couple of women were making such rude comments... needless to say they looked shocked and disgusted, but didn't dare say another word). Mostly I see women being discreet with a cloth etc, however once bub's on there's not much to see anyway.
Sadly a number of my friends had bad experiences with midwives who were rough and thus didn't persist and went to formula, but there's about half and half. Around the beaches, it's interesting that for the most part people are fine with toplessness, however when it comes to feeding they are uncomfortable. This is shifting slightly but it's slow... NZ is even more conservative and discreet, and I haven't spoken to many over there who fed past 6mths. Many more women who are able to are feeding to 12mths in Syd as far as I can see, and mostly it's the older generations who frown, and the mid-younger just aren't used to it yet unless they've done it themselves...just adjustment and transition time.
I'm glad, proud and feel privileged to not only have been able to breastfeed, but to have never been afraid to feed my child in public.
I knew a woman who fed all her babies (6 of them) til they were 5. I thought it awesome.
But generally speaking breastfeeding is not popular where I live. I was grateful though to have other women to breastfeed alongside when I had my first child. Having that fellowship was wonderful. Then with my 3 younger children I have known less bfeeding mothers but I have seen an incline in breastfeeding in public, i.e. women feed in church shops anywhere.
Women are very discreet with breastfeeding but not to cover or hide.
Others probably don't notice.
Babywearing can help once you learn how to feed in a sling. Slings are quite popular now.
Bare breasts are generally seen as a sexual thing which is weird to me! But yes they are largely used in advertising perversely.
I have never had any confrontation about breastfeeding my 13mth old in public! I had a lot of issues with my first child though, I just never felt comfortable with it and would hide in the parent room... Now I feed with pride wherever I am!! Knowing I am giving my baby comfort, food and love - what could be better :)
In my experience, I believe that public breastfeeding is widely accepted and well accommodated for in Victoria and South Australia. I breastfed my son in cafes, park benches, beach... anywhere we were when he was hungry. I've never had comments when doing this. Though I have at different times noticed people quickly looking away when they realized what I was doing. I've seen many mothers breastfeeding in public - commonplace. When in malls/Department stores I usually head for the baby change & nursing rooms because they are usually quiet & comfortable making feeding easier. In my mothers group of 12 all but two breastfed until their child was at least 6 months old.
I felt comfortable breastfeeding, and saw them as a food supply device rather than 'my breasts'.
Topless sunbathing at popular suburban beaches is rarely done by locals.
State: South Australia
Women here breastfeed in public all of the time. I breastfed both my daughters in public many times, and although sometimes I felt self conscious about it, I never had any negative looks or comments. Women here won't usually "pull out a breast" though - it's normally a case of discretely fiddling with the latch on a nursing bra & lifting the corner of your top.
I had my first baby six months ago and am exclusively breast feeding him. Since he has no other food, I have to breast feed him where ever I go. When he was one month old, he would be really distressed if I delay a feed so I had to feed him many times in public. I was a very shy woman but my child is important to me more than anything else so I fed him anywhere. Then I became used to feeding him public. I have no bad experience so far. People tend to forget that breasts' primary usage is to produce milk. When a baby starts drinking only a small area of the breast would be visible. People dont mind women wearing low cut dresses or short skirts but frown upon a breastfeeding mother. Thankfully I did not come across any situation like that. Even if someone says something it would not put me off. I love my baby and I will feed him anywhere I wish. I think men who stare at a breast feeding mother's breast are the ones who needs councelling and education.
I'm quite surprised that people think breastfeeding in Australia is uncommon or at least in public. I had 5 children in Australia and breastfed them all, for as long as I could, 10 months to 18 months when my weight dropped to 48 kilos and my supply dropped. I have breastfed everywhere, at the children's school, in the supermarkets, restaurants. I have never had a negative reaction about feeding in public. However the perception that it is uncommon does encourage me to continue the practice of public breastfeeding now in the U.S. Germans have no issue with public breastfeeding as I lived there for the last 2 years. They feed anywhere warm enough to pull up your top.
There has been a determined effort recently to promote breastfeeding in Australia and the feeling I have is that it is becoming more frequent. There are however concerted efforts to see mothers continue to use formula and it is necessary to keep up the effort to promote breastfeeding.
There has also been a drive to make it (breastfeeding) acceptable when done in public. Shops can display a special sign to say breastfeeding is permitted and a woman can then nurse in public if she so desires. It is most dissapointing to still see so little breastfeeding still being done in public. I can only twice recall seeing a woman breastfeed in public in Australia. Once was in a doctors surgery where I saw a woman sitting beside her mother; she lifted her sweater and with the baby on her lap started breastfeeding it. She was able to keep the sweater raised just sufficiently with the fingers of one hand to allow the baby to nurse discreetly as she bent over it. With the mother to assist her and watch over her she obviously felt secure and completely at ease.
The only other time I saw breastnursing was in a large department store at a table fairly near me. The young mother was sitting with her husband and had her blouse unbuttoned and was breastfeeding. Nobody seemed to take much notice. When she finished she quickly buttoned her blouse then held her infant out on one arm and ate her lunch with a fork using her other hand. She seemed to manage easily with her free hand. She seemed to be quite unconcerned.
As to how women feel about breastfeeding in public there is still some reticence about it. I have seen a woman breastfeeding under a shawl. Most prefer to use mother's rooms or baby change rooms specially set aside for the purpose or to nurse very discreetly so it is not noticable at all. My suggestion is that if a woman wants to become accustomed to breastfeeding in public she should have her mother with her or take her girlfriend for security and for company. She can then make the choice as to when or if she wants to go by herself. Because there are some difficulties with breastnursing most women do not breastfeed for the requisite two years apparently six months is nearer the norm. I have noticed that in some overseas countries women nurse for much longer and there is a certain amount on the subject on the internet.
There is some opposition here to women breastfeeding in public. Interesting some seems to come from men who feel left out.
Attitudes towards bare breasts are that they are only accepted in some situations for instance at some men's clubs and I think certain beaches. Many would not approve but feel they cannot do much about it. It would not be acceptable for a girl to bare her bosom in public.
I have lived in Australia for the past 15 years, but am originally from the U.S.A. I am quite frankly astounded at the commentary on this site from Australians in reference to the attitudes towards breast feeding in the United States. Where in the world are they getting this erroneous information? Breast feeding has always been strongly endorsed by the medical profession in the U.S., but, like Australia, the people themselves still maintain their Victorian attitudes towards the bared breast. Having lived for many years in both countries and having directly experienced the attitudes in both countries, I can, without hesitation say that there is no difference whatsoever between the U.S.A. and Australia in regards to public nursing.
Breastfeeding in Australia is largely encouraged, although hospital staff can sometimes be pushy and insensitive when b/f is difficult to establish--which often makes the problem worse! I have b/f three beautiful babies for 15-20 months each time. As far as feeding in public, I have encountered leering males and disapproving older women, but also a lot encouraging smiles and positive comments, too! It was much worse in France (we travelled from Paris to Rome with 2 kids and a 9 month old baby) where people were quite openly disapproving of my discreet b/feeding in public places, usually out of necessity. (I would always choose a quiet, feeding baby at the breast over a screaming baby waiting for parents to find boiled water to make up a bottle!) In Italy, people on the street seemed to relish the sight of a b/feeding mother and babies in general, and it was often an experience that began conversations.
As you may know, here in Australia, public attitudes re breasts and breastfeeding in public are much rhe same as in the USA. However community acceptance of breastfeeding in public has grown a deal over the last 20 years, fortunately, especially if done discreetly.
I have to say I am absolutely astonished at the status of breastfeeding in the US! Here in Australia breastfeeding is encourage by all health professionals and you are given lessons in hospital after giving birth to your child. I always assumed that a country like the US that sees itself as being socially, economically and technologically advanced would have a deeply entrenched culture of encouraging breastfeeding which is by far the best way to nourish a child in its early months or years. formula is regarded as very inferior to breastmilk in Australia. I breastfeed wherever I find myself and expect people to accept this. I have never experienced any strange looks or embarrasment because of it.
During coverage of hurricane KAtrina I have read two accounts of mothers being distressed because they were "forced" to breastfeed due to lack of formula! This horrified me. Please please American sisters and brothers help to spread the news that breastfeeding is the BEST way to look after your baby!
I would like to say this is a great site to read, thanks for having it :)..
My eldest child is 17 now and when she was born it was very much formula all the way, I never even really knew about b/feeding.. I was so glad to find out more about b/feeding by the time I had my 2nd child 8yrs later.. Since her I have b/fed 2 other children as well, the last I recently weaned at just over 2yrs of age due to being pg again and a huge drop off in my milk supply.. It has become very common here to b/feed, I always b/fed in public, I was discrete but I never used a shawl or blanket, that made it more obvious.. I have seen women b/feeding in public and people do look, but the more we women do it the more people will feel comfy about seeing it and doing it.. I always b/fed in front of family and friends, they supported by decision to b/feed so long.. I feel it is a babies food supply and if they are hungry then they should be fed where ever you are.. I think people just need to get over it and accept it is *the* most natural thing for a baby, but all in good time :).. We do have topless/nudy beaches here and even though I don't go to them I have been told alot of people do, so there is not much of an issue with that in the appropriate places..
I have been breastfeeding my baby for over a year now and have found the community very supportive. Public breastfeeding is definitely accepted here in Sydney.
It is common for a woman around Australia to breastfeed, although they do get frowned on by the community. Last year we had a politician feed her baby in Parlimentary House and there was a major media issue about it. I think that breast feeding discreetly is fine - after all it is only natural and I am sure that everyone in this world has been breastfed at least once.
I read your comment about how breasts are seen as "sexual" in the USA. Up here in Australia (that's down under from where you are) it is nowhere near seen as so. We have many topfree beaches. Plus its not a crime to breast feed in public, or at work or on public transprt. Civil rights have made it a very liberal place for mothers and the public to be normal. In fact if a business or a public entity does protest, they are often the ones shamed into cowering back down ... by the media ... as showing breasts in motherhood isn't a "big deal".
I'm a little amazed your country ,... often seen as progressive and as a leader can't be a conduit for social acceptance.
I wish you and your participants of the website well in theying to change an out dated sociology structure that the USA appears to have become.
from David Newton
In NZ breastfeeding in public is acceptable, it is law that a woman may breastfeed in any place she is legally allowed to be. Breastfeeding from 3 months to 1 year is commonplace, with much smaller numbers still feeding after 1 year. Breastfeeding in public is common, but we are also lucky that many shopping centres provide "parents rooms" with baby facilities & comfy chairs for breast feeding, this is great for mothers who may feel uncomfortable nursing in public. A lot of people feel more uncomfortable bottlefeeding a young baby rather than breastfeeding, due to the negative publicity bottlefeeding receives.
It is unusual to breastfeeding women to have any negative reaction for nursing in public.
I am breastfeeding my nearly 12 month old daughter, and plan to until she decides to wean. I have not had a problem with nursing in public - I'm discreet about it, but if someone sees my breast, so what? When my baby is hungry, she eats.
I'm disappointed about breastfeeding rates here, most of the babies I see being nursed are young, and I think a lot of mothers wean their babies young. More could be achieved if breastfeeding - for at least the first year - was normalised in our society, and if New Zealand made law the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes.
I am american male, married to a Salvadorean woman.
While visiting last month, her 23 yr old sister was nursing her 1 1/2 yr old son.
One afternoon, we all went to the local shopping mall.
Many people were present throughout the mall, and her sister, without hesitation pulled out her breast and began feeding. Some of the teen boys gave long looks, but in general, no one ever said anything or acted like this was out of the ordinary.
On another occasion, while sitting at a table in a Pizza Hut, the baby began to cry, and his mother promptly pulled her breast out to begin feeding.
We were sitting right next to the entrance door. Many people...families consisting of locals and also family members from the U.S. were within 2 meters of our table. Some smiled and most watched.
I couldn't quite tell if they were smiling in admiration of the baby and mother bonding, or if they were smirking because of the exposed breast ...
But at no time did I feel it was out of context. My wife didn't bat an eye, and said it was perfectly normal, and no need to cover the breast or retreat to another room.
100% of the woman in the rural area of the country breastfeed without hesitation whereever they were.
Central America & Caribbean
Breastfeeding is common and accepted, especially from birth to 3 months when working
mothers go back to work from maternity leave. Breastfeeding further raises eyebrows,
especially if you are a career professional. I am and I've breastfed for almost 18
months but I haven't do so in public since my little one was around 6 months. Only
privately at home and mainly at nights. I don't discuss it and I'm not asked as it
is generally assumed that I've stopped breastfeeding. Your friends and family may
comment, but thankfully the general public does not like I've read it happens
overseas where mothers get thrown out of court for breastfeeding, etc. That doesn't
happen here. The old standard locally was to breastfeed until quite late e.g. 5
years old. It may still happen, but in certain communities.
OK WHERE I'M FROM [BARBADOS] WOMEN BREASTFEED IN BUS AND NO ONE REALLY LOOK AT THEM [UNLESS THEY HAPPEN TO BE PERVERT] WOMEN SHOULD NOT BE JEOPARDISE FOR BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC, IF THE CHILD IS HUNGRY THEN WHAT ELSE? IF PEOPLE HAVE PROBLEMS WITH IT WELL THEY SHOULD NOT LOOK!
We lived in Guatemala from 2002 to 2004 (I am originally from the U.S.) and I saw more breasts in those two years than at any other time in my life. Women would breastfeed anywhere and everywhere without covering up--in the queue at the bank, at the airport, in shopping malls and restaurants, in parks, on the sidewalk. It is viewed as completely natural and normal in Guatemala.
I had opportunity to live in honduras for several months when I was 16. I must say it was quite a culture shock when the young woman sharing a bus seat with me casually unbuttoned her top and pulled a breast out to feed her 2 year old. I had lived in the USA and had never seen anyone feed a child before without blankets and towels and hiding in the corner. After the initial shock of seeing a breast I began to notice that she wasnt at all worried about what I or any one else could or couldnt see. I learned as I spent time in the country that this was happening all over, at bus stops, restaraunts, the town square, even a mother nursing on the back of a moped. It was easy to become comfortable with it since the women were at ease with it. when I got back to the states it was once again uncomfortable to be around a nursing mother, with their tents of blankets and nervous glances around to see who is "looking at them". I wish american women loosen up about the body phobias.
I was born and raised in Trinidad and I'm now living in the US. Breastfeeding is very accepted in Trinidad. I have seen people breastfeeding in taxis, buses, parks etc. Most women cover up, some don't when breastfeeding in public. At home they just let it all hang out. Some moms breastfeed past one year but most try to do it for at least six months.
To be honest, when you have a baby in your arms, when you are perceived as a new mom in Argentina, RESPECT for your feelings, for your body, for your baby's wellbeing, for his/her hunger, or his/her need of comfort is AUTOMATIC, it must be so difficult to have to choose between what you know is best for your child (and for your own health), and public scorn.
I'm from Argentina, and breastfeeding is so usual and common, that no one pays attention.
I'm living in Spain now and we have a very hard fight against society to bf our babies in public.
EN MI PAIS DAR DE EL PECHO A NUESTROS HIJOS ES UN ACTO DE AMOR. YO SOY MADRE DE 5 CHICOS Y PARA MI ES UNA BENDICION PODER DARLES EL PECHO. ACTUALMENTE MIENTRAS ESCRIBO ESTOY AMAMANTANDO A MI BEBA DE CASI 3 MESES. A MIS HIJOS LES DI DE TOMAR HASTA LOS 3 AÑOS, LA MAS GRANDE TIENE 14 AÑOS AHORA Y JAMAS HAN TENIDO MAS QUE UN RESFRIO. JAMAS ME ARREPENTIRIA POR HABERLOS ALIMENTADO DE ESA FORMA,
[In my country, breastfeeding our children is an act of love. I'm a mother of 5 children and for me, it is a blessing to be able to breastfeed. Right now while I'm writing, I'm nursing my almost 3-month old baby girl. I breastfed my kids until 3 years of age, the oldest is now 14 years old, and they've never had more than colds. I would never regret having fed them this way.
State: RIO DE JANEIRO
Meu nome é Fernanda, tenho 2 filhos, Bernardo, hoje com 6 anos mamou exclusivamente no peito até 6 meses e depois continuamos junto com alimentos que foram introduzidos pelo pediatra. Mamou até 1 ano e 3 meses. Não mamou até os 2 anos porque ele não quis mais. Minha Filha Nina hoje com 4 anos mamou da mesma forma, exclusivamente leite materno até 6 meses e depois continuou mamando até 1 ano e 7 meses. Parou de mamar poruqe tive que viajar e depois de 1 semana fora, quando voltei ela não quis mais! AMO AMAMENTAR, REALMENTE É UM GESTO DE AMOR E É INEXPLICAVEL O VINCULO QUE SE FORMA. Só quem amanetou sabe do que estou falando. Aqui não temos problemas em amentar em publico. Quase todas mulheres que fazem isso são muito discretas e você não consegue ver o peito de fora!!!! Espero que os outro Países como a França por exemplo mude o pensamento secular de que amamentar é "feio"
[My name is Fernanda, I have 2 sons, Bernardo, now 6 years, exclusively breastfed until 6 months and then continued along with foods that were introduced by the pediatrician. Mamou up to 1 year and 3 months. He didn't breastfeed till 2 years because he didn't want more. My Daughter Nina, today 4 years, in the same way was exclusively breastfed until 6 months and continued breastfeeding till 1 year and 7 months. He stopped to nurse because I had to travel and after 1 week off, when I returned, she didn't want more! BREASTFEEDING LOVE REALLY IS A GESTURE OF LOVE AND the bond that is formed IS inexplicable. Only those who breastfeed know what I mean. Here we don't have problems with breastfeeding in public. Almost all women who do this are very discreet and you can not see the breast!! I hope that other countries like France for example to change the secular thought that breastfeeding is "ugly"
I am an American woman married to a Brazilian man. We have a little boy who is now 2. He is still nursing and shows no signs of stopping. lol He LOVES to nurse. I nurse him discreetly in public all over the place in Kansas. I have never had anyone say anything to me. Sometimes people will look at me,.. look at what I am doing... and I can see them suddenly realize and look away. OR,.. I will just smile and they smile back. No big deal.
Some of my friends have asked me "When are you gonna stop doing that?!" and when they give me a hard time I counsel them on their sexual neruosis and advise them to remember that it is simply a cultural difference and nothing more.
In BRAZIL- I LOVE LOVE LOVE BRAZIL's attitude towards nursing. When we visit Brazil, not only is it no big deal, but several times I have had women come up to me while he is nursing and pet his head or even kiss his cheek! His cheek- right there next to my breast. That made me laugh and didn't bother me at all. ( I sorta kinda knew the woman,.. sorta) And once while on a plane in Brazil, as I was breast feeding,.. the man sitting next to me was holding and massaging my little boys foot- which I thought was very sweet.
I love BRAZIL and I think that although the US needs to lighten up,.. if you as the mother have a positive attitude of confidence about public nursing then you can avoid negative responses. I am always ready in my head to say to an American, "The World Health Organization says that breast feeding till they are 2 years old is optimal," and then smiling very big.
In Brazil breastfeeding is highly recommended by doctors and campaigns on TV. Some mothers still use formula because they don't have the support from their families. The state of Cear, where I live, is the state in the country with the highest rate of babies exclusively breastfed until their 4th month. I have an 8 year old girl and an 8 months boy, both of them I breastfed until their where 6 months old. I have breastfed them in restaurants, malls, airports, airplanes, birthday parties, actually anywhere I ever wanted. I have never been asked to leave or use the bathroom, or cover the baby. Usually people find it beautiful. It is very common to see women breastfeeding in public, and the way they feel depends more on personal opinions than on laws and rules. I have friends that cover their babies and breast when breastfeeding because they dont feel comfortable, but not because what most of the people think. In many situations, when breastfeeding my babies, I have been offered help, or a more comfortable chair, by employees in stores and restaurants.
I was born in Brazil, married an american man and now we live in the US. And it has been shocking for me to see how breastfeeding in America is such a taboo!
In Brazil almost all women breastfeed their babies. It's cultural. They do it mostly anywhere, and people see it naturally. Should a woman decide from the beginning NOT to breastfeed, she's likely to see plenty of puzzled faces asking her "But... why would you do that?"
Also, there are campaigns in hospitals, magazines and billboards that show a picture of a breastfeeding baby, with the message "Breastfeeding is an act of LOVE", giving incentive for women to try harder in case they find any difficulties.
I am back to living in the USA, but I lived in Brazil [Sao Paulo] for 4 years, (1996 - 2000) and saw many openly breastfeeding mothers. No one seemed bothered, it just seemed natural. Mothers were never asked to leave. People are very comfortable with their bodies, and with breasts and breastfeeding.
In Brazil, you may have a problem with this issue in so-called upscalle places: more exclusive malls, expensive restaurantes. Otherwise, is pretty common to see it in parks, common restaurants, bus, trains,... nothing to worry about
MI hijo tiene 15 meses de edad y nunca he dudado en alimentarlo cuando el lo quiere,
lo he hecho en plazas, cafeterias, reuniones sociales, y muchos lugares mas. Jamas
he tenido una mala experiencia al hacerlo, la verdad es que no me importa mucho lo
que lleguen a pensar las demas personas, que de hecho se espantan cuando les comento
que a los 15 meses aun amamanto, mas bien las reacciones adversas vienen por ese
lado, me dien: "como puedes amamantar a un ni?o tan grande" o "tu leche ya no le
sirve" cuando en realidad a mi no me interesa por nada darle de esas leches en
polvo. Me alegra que en el mundo entero las madres estemos abogando por la lactancia
libre, que no sea un tab?, al contario es vida, es lo escencial, es lo mas humanas
que podemos ser!!!
[My son is 15 months and I have never hesitated to feed him when he wants.
I have done it in public squares, cafeterias, social gatherings, and many more places.
I have never had a bad experience in doing so. The truth is that I do not care much about what
other people end up thinking, who actually are shocked when I tell them that I still breastfeed a child at 15 months; rather, adverse reactions come from that side, people saying to me: "How can you breastfeed a child that is so big?" or "Your milk isn't good anymore," when in fact I am not at all interested to feed him these milk powders. I'm glad that in the world we mothers are advocating the ability to breastfeed freely, so that it wouldn't be a taboo, contrarywise it is life, it is essential, it is most human we can be!
In Chile women breastfeed their babies everywhere. It's not considered a choice, formula is considered a supplement for when breastmilk is not available or enough (not very common or sometimes misdiagnosed supply issues)
State: Cali Valle
In my country it is normal to breastefed in rural areas and nobody cares, instead we consider it a natural procedure for mom and baby, but in the big cities some women use a cover. I can say it is just the normal way for mom and baby. I'm living in USA now, and have a 2-month baby who my husband considers is already old to stop breastfeeding even at home. I just don't have relatives here to support me, so I'm looking for an article to show him how important it is to breastefed, at least at home.
I lived in Peru for almost 2 years 95-96 and viewed literally hundreds of breastfeeding women in public. It is so commonplace most people don't even notice. When the sight of a woman's breast is commonplace from the time you are a small child, the taboo and awe of the breast is lost. Breast are considered not at all sexual in Latin America unlike they are in the US. I find it almost humerous at the prudness of our Society over something as beautiful as a womans breast.
Women breastfeed their babies everywhere (parks, buses, waiting rooms) and is not a big deal and men never see it as something sexual. Mothers point to their children when a woman is breastfeeding her baby in an approving way.
At beaches, women can go topless and nobody makes an issue about it. Breasts, in that context, are not viewed as something sexual or shameful.
I've breastfed both of my children here in Uruguay - the oldest for more than 2 years.. and not once did i have any issues.. I fed wherever I was... whenever he was hungry... people don't care and actually encourage breastfeeding.. it is VERY common to see public breastfeeding.. and in restaurants waiters offer water to mothers who are Bfing.. etc..
Breastfeeding here is completely normal and accepted, it's very rare for mothers to give formula to their new born babies and it's not encouraged, most people consider BF as a healthier and more natural option. They will most likely use formula with older children but they will get breastfed for around a year or so. You can see woman breastfeeding in public quite often and nobody would care, and women also encourage their daughters to do so... though you don't see many woman breastfeeding downtown in big cities, but this is mostly because the people there are mainly business men and woman and not mothers with young children
Some women would collect their natural milk in a bottle and give it to their kids if they don't like breasfeeding in public, but formula is indeed rare for children under 6 months.
You see breastfeeding moms everywhere: in buses, parks, on streets, in public offices, malls, etc. It is much more common to see breastfeeding than bottle feeding in public. No strange looks or anything - it is a normal part of life. Family relations are stronger than in United States, and the tradition to breastfeed is handed from mother to daughter. Breastfeeding is seen as something beautiful that is pointed out to other children, too, when they see a nursing woman.
Nursing in public in European countries
Nursing in public in North America - women's stories
Breastfeeding in public in USA - law, being discrete, visitor comments
What about your country or a country you have visited?
You can use the following questions or just tell freely about nursing in public in the country in question.
- are women in general breastfeeding a lot or using formula
- is it common to see women breastfeed in public places
- how do women feel towards breastfeeding in public
- how do other people feel about women who breastfeed in public
- what are attitudes towards bare breasts in other situations like topless beaches etc.