A mother feeds her baby at a park. Learn what to say when someone tries to shame you for breastfeeding in public.

Women’s bodies are amazing! The ability to breast feed our children is just one of the awesome abilities that makes us unique. When we are out and about with our babies we should have no hesitation about feeding our children covered or uncovered. Unfortunately, even in today’s modern society, many people still hold negative views and try to shame women for breastfeeding in public. To empower you in these situations, I’m going to share some options of what to say when someone tries to shame you for breast feeding in public.

What Breast Feeding Shaming Looks Like

As a mom of five breast fed babies, I’m no stranger to breastfeeding shamer’s. Breastfeeding shaming can manifest in various forms, from subtle comments to overt acts of disapproval. Here are some examples of how breastfeeding shaming can appear:

Disapproving Stares and Glances

Some individuals may openly stare or give disapproving looks when you breast feed in public. These non-verbal expressions can make you feel uncomfortable and judged.

Negative Comments

Breastfeeding shamer’s may make rude remarks about your choice to breastfeed in public. For instance, they might say, “Can’t you do that somewhere else?” or “Cover up, please.”

Inappropriate Jokes

Some people may attempt to shame breastfeeding mothers through humor, making jokes or sarcastic comments about their actions. These comments can be hurtful and undermine a mother’s confidence.

Unsolicited Advice

Breastfeeding shammer’s might offer unsolicited advice on how you should breastfeed or where you should do it. They may say something like, “You should use a bottle in public instead” or “Go to a private room.”

Social Media Criticism

In today’s digital age, there is a lot of shaming on social media platforms. Negative comments, online debates, or even derogatory memes can be posted to criticize public breastfeeding.

Complaints to Authorities

In extreme cases, individuals who disapprove of public breastfeeding might escalate the situation by complaining to authorities, such as store managers, restaurant staff, or security personnel, in an attempt to have the mother removed from the premises.

Accusations of Exhibitionism

Breastfeeding shammers may accuse mothers of seeking attention or engaging in exhibitionism when breastfeeding in public, assuming malicious intent where there is none.

A man and a woman argue.

The hater’s are going to hate, don’t let it discourage you

It’s important to remember that these forms of breastfeeding shaming are unjustified and should not keep you from breastfeeding your babies in public spaces. Breastfeeding is a natural and essential part of motherhood, and you have the right to nourish your baby wherever you feel comfortable and safe.

Advocating For You And Your Baby

Advocating for yourself and your baby when it comes to breastfeeding in public is not just important, it’s a crucial step in normalizing breastfeeding. Here’s why it matters:

Your Child’s Well-Being Comes First

Advocating for your baby’s needs is essential. Babies need to be fed when they’re hungry, and breastfeeding is one way to provide them with the nourishment they require. Prioritizing your baby’s well-being means ensuring they have access to their primary source of nutrition regardless of your location.

Legal Rights

Many areas have laws in place to protect a mother’s right to breastfeed in public. By advocating for yourself and your baby, you ensure that these legal rights are respected. Understanding and asserting these rights can help you breastfeed confidently without fear of discrimination or harassment.

Educating Others

Advocacy can be a powerful tool for education. When you stand up for your right to breastfeed in public, you not only assert your own needs but also educate those around you. Many people may not be aware of the laws or the importance of supporting breastfeeding mothers. Your advocacy can help spread awareness and change attitudes!

Normalizing Breastfeeding

One of the most significant impacts of advocating for public breastfeeding is normalizing it. When more women breastfeed openly, it sends a powerful message that breastfeeding is a normal and acceptable part of motherhood. This normalization benefits future generations of mothers and babies, reducing the stigma and challenges associated with breastfeeding.

Community Support

When you advocate for breastfeeding in public, you often find support from like-minded individuals and organizations. This sense of community can provide encouragement, resources, and a network of people who share your goals of normalizing breastfeeding.

A man and woman argue.

Barriers To Breast Feeding In Public

Unfortunately, there are several barriers and challenges that breastfeeding mothers often face when nursing in public spaces. These barriers can discourage or hinder mothers from breastfeeding openly and comfortably. Here are some things you might run into:

Lack of Acceptance and Stigma:

One of the most significant barriers to breastfeeding in public is the lack of acceptance and the stigma surrounding it. Negative attitudes and misconceptions about public breastfeeding can make mothers feel judged, uncomfortable, or ashamed.

Limited Knowledge and Education:

Some individuals may not be aware of the importance of breastfeeding or the rights of breastfeeding mothers. This lack of knowledge can lead to misunderstandings and criticism when mothers breastfeed in public.

Laws and Regulations:

Although many regions have laws protecting a woman’s right to breastfeed in public, not all areas have such legal protections. In places without clear laws, mothers may be hesitant to breastfeed openly due to fear of confrontation or discrimination.

Pressure to Cover Up:

Mothers often face pressure to cover up while breastfeeding in public, this pressure can come from family members, strangers, or societal expectations.

Lack of Breastfeeding-Friendly Spaces:

The availability of breastfeeding-friendly spaces can vary widely depending on the location. The absence of clean, comfortable, and private places to breastfeed can discourage mothers from nursing in public.

Fear of Harassment:

Some mothers fear harassment or confrontation from people who disapprove of public breastfeeding. This fear can lead them to choose not to breastfeed in public or to do so discreetly.

When you recognize these barriers, you’ll be ready to overcome them when they pop up!

A woman feeds her baby on a park bench.

What To Say When Someone Tries To Shame You For Breastfeeding in Public

Having a script in your mind of what say then someone tries to shame breast feeding is helpful. While it would be nice if never happened, when you know your rights and what to say, its easier to deal with. Pick a phrase that best fits your personality and the situation you find yourself in.

“I don’t like eating with my head covered, do you? I’m making sure my baby gets plenty of oxygen while they eat.”

“If you have a problem with how I’m feeding my baby, don’t look and move along.”

“Breast feeding is totally natural, what is your problem with it?”

“You seem to have an issue with breasts, you should talk to a professional about it.

“Do you think that women and babies should go no where for the whole first year of children’s lives?”

“Do you enjoy dining in the bathroom?”

“I’d be happy to tell you more about the law.”

“Go ahead and call the manager or security, I’d like to document the entire interaction.”

“If you think this is exhibitionist, then you are the one with a dirty mind.”

“Did you fail basic biology? This is literally what breasts are designed to do. Don’t sexualize my baby eating.”

“Don’t you have anything better to do than harass a nursing mother? Pick a better crusade.”

“Find something else to be a Karen about today.”

“How I feed my baby is none of your business.”

“Are you trying to go viral for your ignorance?”

“News stations love these type of stories, breast feeding shammer’s never come out looking good.”

“This is harassament and I don’t have to put up with it.”

A woman breast feeds her baby outside.

Staying Safe When Someone Tries To Harass You For Breastfeeding

All witty quips aside, the most important thing to keep in mind when someone harasses you for breast feeding is keeping you and your baby safe. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Stay Calm

  • Try to remain calm and composed. Remember that you have the legal right to breastfeed in public in many places.

Know the Law

  • Familiarize yourself with the breastfeeding laws in your country or state. You may even want to print them off and keep them in your diaper bag for reference. In many places, there are laws that protect your right to breastfeed in public spaces.

Create a Barrier

  • If the harassment continues, consider creating a physical barrier between you and the harasser.

Seek Help

  • If the harassment escalates or if you feel threatened in any way, don’t hesitate to seek help. Ask a friend or family member who is with you for assistance, or approach a security guard, store manager, or a nearby law enforcement officer if necessary.

Document the Incident

  • If you feel comfortable, take note of the harasser’s description and gather any available evidence, such as photos or videos, if it’s safe to do so. This documentation may be helpful if you decide to take legal action.

Report the Situation

  • Consider reporting the incident to the relevant authorities, such as the local police or a human rights organization, depending on the severity of the harassment.

Seek Support

  • Reach out to breastfeeding support groups or organizations for advice and emotional support. They can provide guidance and connect you with resources in your area.

Remember, never remain in a situation that you feel is unsafe! Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Final Thoughts

You have a right to feed your baby the way you choose to! Don’t let shamer’s keep you from taking care of your child. Know your right’s and have the courage to respond and questions when someone tries to shame you for breastfeeding in public!

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