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My friend over at Noble Savage posted this fabulous public service announcement on breastfeeding in public. Watch it! Share it! Convince your local public health agency to put one like it on the air!

Updated to say check out this great Australian one too (thanks to Rob A for point it out in the comments):

And another update with this great video by babyREADY:

« When a mother breastfeeds she is protecting her child from herself | Main | Inspiring Change »

Reader Comments (57)

Thank you for this post! In almost 2 and a half years of nursing my son I have fed him once in a bathroom when he was tiny and my ILs were uncomfortable. We both cried and it never happened again.

January 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

I have never nursed my child in a bathroom and never will. I did use my Medela hand pump in a bathroom once during an interview. I was too scared to ask for a private place to pump.

January 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElita

This is so great! I feel, as a nursing mother of my second child, that it is my responsibility to help breastfeeding first-timers. So when I'm out, in a mall especially, I nurse right there in the food court and make it known that I only use the change-room to change diapers. As soon as the bum is clean, we're out of there!
The more people see breastfeeding as, you know, your child eating, the more it will become normalized. My hope is that a very short time from now it won't create even a passing glance. Do people gawk as you down your french fries? They shouldn't be shocked to see your baby eating his lunch.

January 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterbabyREADY

i think the more women feed in public, the more often it will seem to the general public as a completely normal and natural thing. and not something to roll your eyes at - which was a look i received yesterday when nursing my son.
thanks for posting this!

January 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersarah

I've seen this idea used by the Australian BF Association.
See it here, http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=VnReJeQrK0k
or search YouTube for 'Australian Breastfeeding Association advert'

January 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRob A

I just came across your site today, and love it! And thanks for the post on this awesome video, hope you don't mind if I post if to my blog as well.

I once breastfed my son in the bathroom of a restaurant, it was a single person bathroom, but it was an experience I don't want to repeat nonetheless. This video really drives the point home that this is about food, not about modesty.


January 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPsychomama

@Psychomama - please go ahead and post on your blog. I'd love a link back here when you do! :)

January 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Thanks @Rob A - I added it to the post too.

January 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Love it! I'll definitely shar it!

January 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterchristy

The Australian one is fantastic too, thanks for sharing that, Rob.

January 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNoble Savage

I agree that it is important to normalize breastfeeding in public, but there will always be moms that are still not comfortable doing this or, in my case, have a son who would be too distracted by everything to be able to breastfeed in a public place. I was at the mall the other day, and was pleased to see that they had created a lactation room when they remodeled the food court last year. I went in to check it out, and while it wasn't perfect (the chair they had in there wouldn't be great for me to nurse, since it had arms), it was a good alternative for moms like me who can't nurse well in public. Even if my son could nurse with lots of noise and activity, I still don't think I would feel comfortable doing it. You could argue this is because of the way society treats breasts and the fact that I know people will possibly react to it, but you have to account for various opinions. I admire women who nurse openly - it's just not something I think I can do (at least with my first - who know what I'll think with the second or third.....). I think if more public places would create a lactating room, this would be a good thing as well. That's not to say that you should force women to use it.

Of course not all places can create a separate lactation room, but for new construction of office buildings and other locales, I think it would be a valuable thing for lactation groups to push for.

What is your position on lactation rooms? Do you think it will make it even harder for women who want to nurse openly to be accepted? Or is it a good compromise?

January 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJane

Wow those are great! I wish would air around michigan so people would know that it's not a good thing to feed your baby in the bathroom.

January 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatey

Those are both great videos - thank you for posting them!

I agree with Jane in regards to the fact that some just aren't comfortable nursing in public, but it would still be wonderful if every nursing mom to feel like she's able to and will not be judged.

(and Jane, for what it's worth, I rarely nursed in public with my first, but it's a whole other ball game with the second, LOL, I'll whip the girls out just about anywhere if necessary!)

January 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCorinne


I think women should be free to nurse where ever and however they feel comfortable doing it. I do think that if it becomes more common and more accepted for women to nurse in public, then perhaps more women will feel comfortable doing so. I don't have a problem with lactation rooms as long as women are not told that they must use them and as long as enough women keep nursing in public to help normalize it and help combat the images of sexual breasts with images of nourishing breasts.

All of the malls where I live have lactation rooms, most of them multiple lactation rooms. They do get used, but I also see women nursing all over the mall and we have legislation and policies that protect a woman's right to nurse anytime, anywhere without covering up.

January 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

@Jane @Corinne

I agree on whipping them out anywhere with the second. Going to a nursing room with just a baby is fine. Trying to entertain a toddler in a nursing room is another story altogether. I often sought out a place for my son to play so that I could sit and nurse my daughter and yes, those were always public places.

January 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Where is the Facebook link icon?:)

January 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

@Kelly - all fixed now! Thanks for pointing it out.

January 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Thanks so much!

January 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

[...] I’m perplexed and saddened when I hear about people that think breastfeeding in public is gross. They will all have different definitions of what is okay and what is not okay. Some say it is okay to breastfeed in public as long as you use a cover. Some say it is okay as long as you are “discreet” (by whose definition though…). Some say you should never breastfeed in front of other people no matter what. Women should hide in the bedroom to feed their children. They should not go out unless they are sure they can fit in that quick errand between feedings or unless they pump and take a bottle with them. If they do get stuck somewhere and it becomes necessary to breastfeed, they should use the bathroom. [...]

[...] No need to hide: Great public service announcements about breastfeeding on a toilet (or rather why you shouldn’t…). [...]

Allie, how long are you going to nurse your son? Till he'll get a phd? If you choose breastfeeding, which is not always a good choice, but some folks here around are obsessed in promoting it and hiding its negative aspects, you should know it's for babies, not for kids. Otherwise, there're going to be such huge problems within the kid's growing up process.

September 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCinnamon

@Cinnamon: When is breastfeeding not a good choice? What are the negative aspects?

September 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

There're cases when when the baby needs to be provided with growth hormones (which the milk doesn't contain) or to be specially provided with certain vitamins and so on. Also, I know that a lot of mums are doing it, but, usually, when you are under medication (especially certain kinds of) you shouldn't breastfed. Also, a lot of mums go like: let's eat what helps us having more milk - well, it's not only about having milk but also about having a milk with certain qualities, vitamins etc that may easily lack. Feeding with formula is fine, as you always can be sure that every bottle has the same amount of elements that the baby needs; breastfeeding, the quality of the milk varies.
Also, it may vary, as you are working, having a stressful time and so on.
For mums collecting milk at work - I don't support that as, running tests, you can see how, some of the nutrients may diminish in time.
In my opinion, the best would be, if you are a strong breastfeeding advocate, to combine breastfeeding with formulas, and later with various foods. Ideally, it would be run some tests, check your milk, check your calcium and vitamins level and so on, but this became a financial issue at some point. However, there're mums with calcium issues breastfeeding and this is something I strongly disagree - it's not only that the milk won't have a good quality (depends on how your body works - it can put "your best" in the milk or not) but also it's going to affect you (increases osteoporosis risks and so) and it's not important to have a healthy baby but your baby to have a healthy mum.

October 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCinnamon

You have GOT to be fucking kidding me. You are sorely misinformed. Maybe since I ONLY breastfed my son for NINETEEN MONTHS, you'll take me as MORE SANE than Allie, who breastfed AN ENTIRE YEAR LONGER.


Breast milk is always self-correcting to give the baby exactly what it needs.

When my son was in the NICU for FOUR WEEKS, they tried to add formula to my breast milk, to, as you said, fortify it.

He ended up vomiting for two days and had blood in his stool for over seven days BECAUSE OF THE FORMULA.

I don't care if you formula feed -- it is absolutely the best and only choice for some women and babies -- but don't spread misinformation. Seriously.

October 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVDog

@Cinnamon, you are incorrect in assuming that the quality of milk changes with diet. Just as the structure of our cells doesn't change with our diet, the milk our bodies produce doesn't change depending on our nutrition. Of course, a mother with a poor diet may be depriving herself of nutrients or may hinder her milk supply by not eating well, but the milk itself is fine. In addition, there are many medications that are perfectly safe to take while breastfeeding, and there is ample research supporting that fact. It seems you are using personal feelings to inflict a point on us instead of using evidence and facts. I can't tell if there is a language barrier problem, but your arguments make little sense. I'm sorry that you have such animosity towards people who are strongly pro-breastfeeding, but you don't have to look far to see that study after study indicates mother's milk is the best food for baby, and that there are many benefits to extended breastfeeding (e.g. continued immune boosts from the mother's antibodies, lowered risk of breast cancer for the mom).

October 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

It sounds like you might do well to spend some time researching breastmilk and breastfeeding. The concerns you're expressing are not uncommonly held beliefs - but these are inaccurate based on a misunderstanding of infant's nutritional needs and an overestimation of the safety of infant formula.

http://kellymom.com/ is an excellent site to consult - the information is very accessible, but very well referenced. llli.org is another good site for accurate, well researched information. Of course, national pediatric associations (such as the CPS in Canada) and international health organizations (such as the WHO) will also have information that debunks the myths behind the concerns you've suggested.

I hope you find those sites helpful.

October 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle @ doudoubebe.com

Cinammon. Can you cite some sources for your claims that breastmilk does not always provide a baby what they may need? It seems like research shows the opposite but I would be interested in seeing if there is some new research that shows otherwise.


October 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlma

I loved using the nursing rooms in Rideau Centre, but once w man was in there with his wife, just standing there, and I waited till he left to nurse, because I was uncomfortable.

October 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLoukia

Cinnamon: You're wrong, and I don't mean that harshly, just that your facts are WAY off. Your breastmilk is of outstanding -- nay, BEST -- quality for your baby no matter what the mother's diet, except in extreme, would-never-ever-ever-happen-to-most-people circumstances. And most commonly used medications -- with the exception of, again, EXTREME circumstances -- are breastfeeding-compatible.

I have to ask: are you serious? Or just trying to stir the pot and get a reaction? If it's the latter, I'd suggest you engage elsewhere. If the former, I'd strongly, and I say this as kindly and yet, as forcefully as I can, suggest you do some serious research before bringing this up again. Anywhere. The information you're spreading is actually dangerous, not just incorrect.

October 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjonniker

Cinnamon, the quality of breast milk is uniformly high, even in women who are malnourished. Here is a quote from this article (http://www.popline.org/docs/0420/000206.html):

"Studies on composition of milk of undernourished mothers show that the poor dietary intake and nutritional status of mothers were not reflected in the concentration of nutrients and other constituents in milk samples except with respect to vitamins."

It sounds like you're uncomfortable with long-term breastfeeding. Nobody is saying that you have to do it, or even that you have to breastfeed exclusively or at all. That is your choice. However, I would suggest that you do further research before sharing your opinions as if they were facts.

October 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

Also, you make the gross assumption that those who choose extended breastfeeding (past the age of 1) don't feed their children other foods. Which may be true in less developed countries, but is not true, I'm guessing, in the areas where you and I live. And formula, PS, is almost NEVER -- no really, NEVER -- recommended past age 1. Whereas breastfeeding is recommended as long as both mother and child desire to keep going. And that recommendation comes from, you know, DOCTORS AND STUFF.

October 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjonniker

Women should be free to nurse in public. Whether they do or don't feel comfortable doing it is a personal choice. In the beginning when I was learning to breastfeed, I prefered the privacy as I had some trouble getting my son to latch properly. As I became comfortable, I would nurse pretty much anywhere.

October 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteramotherworld

Before the "invention" of powdered formula in the 1860s, almost all babies were breastfed, if not by their biological mothers, then by wet nurses. For that reason, I have to believe that milk made by a woman who's adequately well fed will be a complete food for her child.

You mention that the quality of the milk can vary (and be tested for nutrients, etc)--do have links to any particular studies?

As for the quality of formula being consistent over time, if this were true, then there'd never be recalls of different lots of formula by various makers because unhealthy additives were found.

Extremes ought not define the majority of women who produce perfectly fine breastmilk, nor should it define the quality of formula on the market, most of which is trustworthy.

I nursed my son til the age of 30 months. He's almost 6 now and he still has wonderful warm, happy memories of that time--as do I. I'm so glad we did child-led weaning. That was the right choice for us and a beautiful, special time.

October 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCynematic

I nurse brazenly in public, but I do nurse snapdragon, nearly daily, in the peace of my bathroom. He *loves* nursing in the shower. Its one of his favorites. ;-)
And cinnamon up there is deranged.

October 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterslee

My daughter is 17 months old and nurses only in the morning now- the rest of the day she eats solid foods and drinks cows milk from a sippy cup. I am in no rush to cut back any further, but I don't judge those who choose different paths for their children. I did try formula once when I was having pain nursing (when my daughter was very young) and she got so constipated from the formula she alternately passed gas and cried for SEVEN DAYS STRAIGHT. And she was straining- really straining- to get the gas out. She was absolutely miserable, and cried nonstop. It might be for some babies, but it's not for my baby. And as for when to stop nursing, well, that's between the mother and child, and maybe the pediatrician- not certain judgmental spices.

October 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterT

haha Both of my babies love to nurse in the shower. We just sit, warm water, nursing. So relaxing. I love it!

October 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauralee

I'm a future mum trying to decide if she should or shouldn't breastfeed and for how long. I want to take this decision with the best knowledge on breastfeeding possible.
I'm a person with calcium issues. I want my milk to be healthy but I want to stay healthy, too. Generally speaking, I trust formulas and I don't agree with people saying that formula are bad. My question is: if my body, even if I have a pretty good diet, can't provide my with all the calcium I'd need, how it's going to solve things when it's going to be me and the milk, and this after a 9 months pregnancy?
I have the feeling that, in the US, people are over appreciating breastfeeding and it's a national goal to have women breastfeeding, a reason for not to spread info on the negative aspects of breastfeeding. I've visited with my spouse Europe and I was surprised hearing French doctors explaining not only benefits but also non-benefits of breastfeeding, talking about various types of formulas and so on. My cousin, living there, was advised to stop breastfeeding as the baby didn't increase his weight and so on. I haven't heard here about such cases so far.
Every time I google breastfeeding or ask someone about it, I hear only good things. Somehow, I don't think it's fair and, comparing with Europe, I'm thinking it's correlated with the fact that, in Europe, health system is state-owned, non-profit, and really looks to give the citizens the best services or info possible. (Also, state is giving formulas for free to mums and will have all the interest to promote breastfeeding but it's not)
I'm sorry if you felt offended, but, no matter what topic, I always look for pros and cons, and I question and somehow I'm more suspicious about persons presenting only the pros or only the cons.

October 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCinnamon

I live in Australia, so I've got the advantage of state provided healthcare as well - formula marketing is illegal here though. Health providers supplying formula without medical reasons is illegal - my daughter had three comp feeds in hospital, two at birth to counteract low blood sugar and one while being treated for jaundice. I signed form after form to allow that because formula is not as good as breastmik. Simple as that. My hospital has a Lactation Consultant on staff, runs classes and free appointments to patients because the results for breastfed infants are far healthier. Even with the state not providing formula, some doctors do push it because THEY are provided with free trips, goodies and all sorts of incentives to push a certain brand of formula. They don't get any of that for promoting breastfeeding. Weight gain charts are often wrong - based on formula fed infants who put on weight in different ways. There are times breastfeeding doesn't work, that's true. Sometimes it is working though, and thanks to marketing and unethical business practices, that breastfeeding relationship is compromised.

I have issues with vitamin d and calcium too - so I was taking certain vitamins throughout the pregnancy and vitamin d as well. Pregnancy is far more likely to contribute to calcium loss than breastfeeding though. And diet/lifestyle doesn't always cut it with vitamins. I live in Australia, skin cancer capital and right below the hole in the ozone layer, yet I still couldn't get enough vitamin d. No matter what I did, it took pregnancy vitamins + maximum vitamin d to get me to acceptable levels. Even then it was lower than recommended for pregnancy. Your ob./midwife should be covering these issues with you.

Breastfeeding after pregnancy is better because your body adjust to what the baby needs and what you need. It protects against various sorts of cancers and gallbladder disease (which pregnancy predisposes you to). It's hard work but it is worth it.

October 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergeek anachronism

[...] Will I need to nurse in public? [...]

October 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOn breastfeeding « geek.

As for the advice given by french Dr's in france. I live in France and work with mums trying to correct misinformation given by some very baddly informed Dr's here . The reality is that this is a formular feeding culture and the Dr's do not have the correct information to help mothers continue as recommended by the WHO to breastfeed your baby up to 2 years and beyond . As you start to meet with Dr's who educate themselves as to how to help these Mothers and babies less babies are fed formula. These tend to be in areas where there is a high breastfeeding rate. Its is interesting to note that Norway has a breastfeeding rate of 95% . It is very much a breatfeeding culture . YOu will never see a mother breastfeeding in the bathroom . They feed their babies where ever one else eats .

October 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDescartes78

Ooh woops for got to add it is well know about the amount of money given to the maternity Hospitals here is France ......well nothing is free when given by a formula company and their gain is the DR's recommending their formula .

October 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDescartes78

@Descartes78: Thank you for your comments. That is interesting and unfortunate. I have spent a lot of time in France and didn't see any moms breastfeeding in public while I was there. I wrote about it in http://www.phdinparenting.com/2008/05/29/attachment-parenting-has-not-caught-on-in-france/" rel="nofollow">Attachment Parenting has not caught on in France. It has also been proven, unfortunately, that hte doctors who know the least about breastfeeding are also the least likely to be willing to take training to increase their understanding.

October 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Thank you so much!
There're are some great and useful information!
Short questions for "geek anachronism": have you run tests just before getting pregnant, too? how often do you run tests? your doc recommend you a certain diet, too?
In deed, during pregnancy is more likely to have vitamins issues. I'm talking against breastfeeding because, you know, it's like: I wanna have kids, I can't avoid pregnancy, but I could avoid breastfeeding?
Thank you!

October 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCinnamon

I agree! I live in Michigan and have only seen nursing in public twice. Once years ago as I was walking into a zoo and the second time was a lady with a bunch of coverings in a bathroom!

October 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

I had tests about six months before I got pregnant, again when I got pregnant, again after three months and then at 6 months and then I got into hypertension categories and was getting weekly blood tests. Once my six month tests came back okay we were less worried but I still was taking vitamin D and eating as much calcium as I could stick into my diet.

Breastfeeding protects women as well, and helps with a lot of the things that pregnancy does to you. And it truly is the most effective and normal thing to do. Christ knows it was so much harder for my partner when I was in hospital because every night feed necessitated heating the bottle and sitting up and feeding her and burping her and then in the morning washing the bottles, putting them in the steriliser. It's even worse with formula because technically we can get away with only regular washing up for the bottles and pump rather than having to sterilise (breastmilk has antibodies that formula lacks).

I'll share this with you though - I had two abdominal surgeries when my daughter was 3 months old. One was planned and the other emergency after complications. Breastfeeding helped me recover. The hormones from breastfeeding helped me deal with the pain (I had painkillers the day of the surgery and the morning after and when the complications hit) (friends who have had the same surgery were stuck with painkillers for a week or more). It helped me emotionally recover from ending up in the ER and having to have surgery. It helped me physically relax and not do anything. It helped me so much and I don't think I'd be nearly as recovered now (two weeks after) if I weren't breastfeeding. It did mean things were different - intake rules were relaxed because I did need to eat more and I was given more saline via my drip than otherwise. It also meant nurses visited me heaps while my daughter was visiting! It's hard work but not only does it benefit me, it gives my daughter the best start I can provide.

October 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergeek anachronism

Thank you geek anachronism.
You explained and presented some aspects that I've never had a clue before. I have no idea that breastfeeding is actually helping the mother with various health issues!
Be well and feel just great!
Thank you so much!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCinnamon

[...] People suggesting that breastfeeding in public is disgusting or that women should breastfeed on the toilet. [...]

[...] No need to hide [...]

[...] Because breastfeeding should be seen as normal, and not something that needs to be hidden in the washroom or under a [...]

Breastfeeding is ALWAYS the better choice, except in RARE occasions (when the mother is on powerful medications). If you are worried about calcium than you should be breastfeeding- women who don't breastfeed are at an increased risk of osteoporosis (as well as breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer). Human milk is made for human babies. Cow's milk is made for cows. Let's use some common sense here, shall we? ;)

Also every study every conducted on extended breastfeeding (past a year) shows that the children involved are healthier and smarter (by about six iq points!). So please, before you judge it, do some research. And for the love of God, stop reading so much into formula ads.

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristina Cook

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