Breastfeeding has been in the news a lot lately. What’s making the news is not information about the health benefits or tips and tricks for new breastfeeding moms — the headlines are all about breastfeeding in public. It generally reads something like this: Mom breastfeeds in local store/restaurant/church. Mom told to cover up or leave. Several moms respond with nurse in. And then there are celebrity breastfeeding sightings that make headlines — just yesterday, it was reported that Beyonce was seen with her new baby girl, Blue Ivy, breastfeeding in public at a cafe in New York city.
So, why the excitement? Why has breastfeeding in public become such a hot button? Advocates assert that making a big deal out of breastfeeding in public helps to normalize a normal way of feeding babies — that it takes away the taboo. Yet others insist that calling excess attention to breastfeeding in public only heightens the controversy, turning something that is normal into a media spectacle.
Regardless of your views on breastfeeding in public, what it comes down to is basic human rights. Mothers have a right to feed their children; babies have a right to eat. And, women have a right to feed their babies — bottle or breast — where and when they need it.
Weigh in: What do you think about the media’s focus on breastfeeding in public — does it help or hurt the issue? Have you participated in a nurse in? Have you experienced discrimination for breastfeeding in public?