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Breastfeeding in a restaurant?

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We just came back from dinner, very nice place, upscale yet casual atmosphere, out on the patio. Sitting next to us was a 6 top, 3 older people, 1 young couple, one child, one infant. The mother was breastfeeding for most of the meal, no coverup, no discreteness, just pulled down her strapless dress and latched the baby on. While I didn't find it "offensive", I wondered why there was no concern for anyone else around her, mostly couples or foursomes out on a saturday night "date night", spending a lot of money on a nice meal. It just seemed to me that it would have been very easy for her to drape a little blanket over her shoulder. I'm not looking to discuss whether children/babies belong in restaurants, just wondering what others think about this....it just seemed a little out of place to me...

  1. Such a complicated question. On the one hand, I would defend to the death this woman's right to breastfeed at a restaurant table. On the other hand, I would be grossed out if she took off her shoes. And if she can expose her breast to feed her kid, can I expose mine just 'cause I feel like it? But ultimately, I think, it comes down to this: you don't like it, don't look.

    1. I'll agree with h that, don't like it, don't look is probably the best policy. Personally, I would rather that she was a bit more discrete, but that's me.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Nocturnalbill

        I would rather she not do it at all. To quote a conversation from a Doonesbury strip when when a mother is breastfeeding her baby for the first time: "Mother: It feels perfectly natural, in fact I have this urge to do it in public. Father: "A common urge but you have to fight it."

        I asked a recently breastfeeding friend of mine: She says it's really not appropriate, that there is this in-your-face style some breastfeeding mothers have. "Leave and do it in private. I mean, my GOD."

        1. re: jmckee

          i'm curious if you feel your breastfeeding friend somehow has more right or knowledge in this matter than others... just curious as to why it was mentioned

      2. I'm a little surprised that no one at her table, especially the older folks, didn't suggest a little modesty. On the other hand, she may be afraid of making the baby claustrophbic, so I guess as long as some drunk didn't try to make it a buffet, no problem. Or a waiter could have offered a dinner napkin as a drape...

        1. Highly inappropriate at best.

          1. This is not my personal view, but the argument for not covering up more is: "I am not ashamed "

            2 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Because there isn't anything shameful about a quarter (at best) of an exposed breast.

              ETA: I'd rather the baby be fed on time than have it scream b/c of hunger, ruining my dining experience a helluvalot more.

              1. re: linguafood

                ^THIS. Not to mention, many, many babies will not eat with something over their head, making them hot and sweaty and making it difficult to breathe. Unless you BF your baby that way every time at home, trying to do so when out once and awhile DOES NOT WORK. They refuse to eat, flail, scream, etc. Imagine trying to thread a needle while your hands are under a blanket. I mean, you need to see what you're doing, and the baby needs to breathe. It's just a little skin, and I guarantee you at ANY restaurant there are women showing a lot more skin than this one, and not for reasons of feeding their child. If you don't like it, don't look.