With a new baby, most people would probably expect me to be a bit more understanding and less uncomfortable about a topic such as breastfeeding on BART. I know that mothers are encouraged to breastfeed for as long as possible, whenever the baby needs it, and wherever the baby might need it at. There are plenty of accessories and trendy contraptions these days to cover the nursing mothers while in public.
So why do I still feel just a tad bit weird about seeing a woman breastfeed on BART? For one, I personally have chosen not to ever do that in a public setting. I went out of my way to schedule my son's feedings so I wouldn't ever need to do that. Also, no matter how encouraged and how natural it is to feed on-demand, the fact of the matter is, someone next to you is letting out something very private. There's just something uncomfortable about hearing the sounds and suckles of another infant, right next to you ON BART.
I asked for people's opinion on this before I decided to write about it. It's a sensitive topic for some. I can imagine La Leche League sending me emails already. The consensus seems to be, yes, most people get a little uncomfortable seeing (and hearing) a woman breastfeed in public. And on BART, it is even more uncomfortable because it is not as loud or crowded (well, depending when) as a restaurant, and you are facing each other or can easily make eye contact, unlike on an airplane where you're seated in rows and can hide near a window.
I'm not saying one shouldn't breastfeed in public...but on BART, it just feels a little too private.
I'd be more concerned with the comfort and sanitary aspects rather than anything else. Given the herky-jerky nature of BART, this seems like an accident waiting to happen. People can barely drink coffee without dropping anything or bumping stuff.
It doesn't bother me at all. It never even occured to me that the sound might bother someone. I thought most people focused on the sight. I do think the woman should make an effort to cover up as much as possible.
I'm a 48yo female who breastfed my daughter but never in public. Though at the time I didn't commute. But even so I don't think I would have ever done it publicly.
That is very true-- BART isn't exactly clean. Could be another reason why people shouldn't.
Anonymous #2- The sound factor was brought up by someone I know. I think it is definitely OK for someone to breastfeed in public but for different reasons, it does make people around them feel a tad bit uncomfortable, especially when they did it "open shirt" style and didn't use one of those cover-ups. Like you, I chose not to in public. I like that experience to be private.
schedule feedings??? last I knew hunger of infants was a bit more random. as to "in public", it is what you are equipped for. if the kid needs fed, feed. As for stares, etc. that katrma is not yours.
Some babies adhere better to 'schedules' than others. Often, no matter how well a mother may plan and schedule feedings while not in public, the baby may have other ideas. Breastfeeding a baby in public (which can be done discretely) is a better alternative than letting your baby cry because he/she is hungry.
I am a 60-year old woman and I cannot believe in 2009 young women, particularly young women, are tsking tsking about breast feeding in public. Seriously, I just don't get how this could make you uncomfortable. Why should breast feeding on BART be any less acceptable than anywhere else?
It has been determined that breast feeding is more healthy than formula. But you have people who would have mothers stick a bottle in their kids mouth to spare them them the embarrassment of seeing someone breast feed a baby.
Like I said, this is a touchy subject. But please also consider that not everyone feels comfortable or necessary to nurse on BART and not everyone feels comfortable sitting next to someone doing such. Also, every infant is different. Some nurses on-demand and others actually happily develop and follow a schedule. Don't judge. No one said that the alternative is to stick a bottle in the baby's mouth. There are other ways to keep a baby happy with breast milk. Every baby is different. Don't make assumptions so quickly. There are plenty of moms who think the way I do. We prefer the nursing experience to be somewhere more private and we would only do that if our babies have shown that they've developed some type of schedule. As for passengers, if they feel uncomfortable seeing such, they have every right to. They're not saying anything, nor are they stopping the mom from nursing. If they want to feel uncomfortable, that's fine.
Don't judge. Excellent advice.
Wow- I just read a bunch of your old postings, but I never realized that you were a woman. I don't know why, but I assumed you were a dude...
On the topic, there is a good clip from The Office about this! Will have to pull it up again.
while seeing/hearing a mother breastfeeding her child would make me feel uncomfortable, i would simply grin and bear it because i think it's a healthy practice. it's certainly less irritating than exhibitionist, clingy couples french-kissing, necking and caressing each other throughout the train ride.
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