Should Breastfeeding be Public or Private

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All over the world familes are welcoming new babies into their homes and mothers are beginning to make some very important decisions on their lives, specifically breastfeeding or using formula. Many mothers do not have the ability to breastfeed, whether that be because of work, lack of milk production, along with various other reasons. However, many mothers do choose to breastfeed their children. Choosing to breastfeed is such a advantageous experience for both the mother and the child, but sadly women do face the undeniable examination of others when they choose to breastfeed their children in public.

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What could be possibly wrong about a Mother breastfeeding her child? Absolutely nothing! Many people view a women’s breast as sexual items. The main purpose of breast is to breastfed a child after birth. Breastfeeding had been around since before the 15th century. Breastfeeding offers a number of benefits for the mother and child, in addition, to strengthening the bond between the two. Babies who breastfeed have a lower risk of meningitis, various cancers, bacterial and viral infections and so much more. Breastfeeding is one of the most nutritious options for a baby. This could be a variance decision for some. Such variance can be seen between Amy Bentley in the article “Breastfeeding in the Public should be Welcomed and Supported” and Hanna Rosin response “The Case Against Breastfeeding”.

Amy Bentley is a professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Supplies at New York University. She is a historian with interests in the social, historical and cultural context of food. She is the author of several book and the winner of the ASFS Best Book Award. Amy believes that breastfeeding is the most natural way for women to feed their babies and provides many benefits to both mother and child. Hanna Rosin is a mother of three and is an American author and writer. She also is the co host of NPR podcast Invisibilia and co-founder of Double X. Hanna says that although it’s healthy food for a baby, many people still regard breast milk as a bodily fluid, and it can contain disease antigens that other people should not be exposed to against their will.

Two different primary points stand out in Bentley’s and Rosin’s writings. Both agree that breastfeeding is a natural way for women to feed their babies However. Bentley and Rosin disagree on the fact that women should breastfeed in private.

When examining the first point of disagreement, both women address the question of if breastfeeding should be done in public or private. “Breastfeeding can be time-consuming and inconvenient, which sometimes necessitates mothers to nurse their children in public places”, stated Bentley. Though breastfeeding is the body’s way of feeding a baby, nursing a baby can be trying and inconvenient. Smaller babies can experience difficulty latching, which makes feeding physically difficult. This is compounded when a mother is told to place a cover over herself and the child, as she cannot help the child as easily and many children will struggle against them (Bentley). Furthermore, requiring women to leave all public areas is a significant burden: it can become more complicated to work or handle time-consuming errands outside the home if she must disappear on a moments’ notice when her child becomes hungry. Rosin, like most people says that “breastfeeding typically took place inside the home or in another private area, away from the public.” Regardless of the reason, seeing a woman breastfeed in public makes many people uncomfortable (particularly when the children being fed are no longer infants) and opponents of public breastfeeding agree that this discomfort should be respected.

The second point of view between Bentley and Rosin centers on business owners and making every customer feel comfortable. Public breastfeeding has formed serious legal implications for business owners and employees, who need to balance customer complaints with public breastfeeding law compliance, stated Rosin in her article. Asking a woman to cover up or relocate in attempt to address these issues can result in legal action or campaigns of threats led by breastfeeding advocates who feel they are being shamed for nursing in public (Rosin). Opponents note that this leaves many business owners defenseless to appease all of their customers. On the other hand, Bentley feels as businesses must be educated on how to comply with laws permitting public breastfeeding. Any public establishments and places of employment are not equipped with comfortable, or even sanitary, facilities for breastfeeding. The law considers bathrooms to be unsanitary places for handling food, which makes them similarly unsuitable for feeding infant or pumping milk.

Should breastfeeding be public or private as Rosins suggested or in public as Bentley believe is right? If people were more accepting of the perfectly normal act that is breastfeeding; it would become so normal that it would no longer be seen as a problem or be made a big deal of and women wouldn’t be so afraid to breastfeed their children.

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Should Breastfeeding be Public or Private. (2021, Mar 16). Retrieved February 8, 2023 , from

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