Expressing Milk Publicly

Updated: Sep 3

Breastfeeding in public.
Breastfeeding in public.

Have you ever breastfed (covered, not covered, direct, SNS, pumping, etc) in public? Were you shamed or shunned in any way? Did you know that there are state laws that protect you and your breastfeeding baby? I personally have breastfed my son publicly for 2 ½ (ongoing but weaning) and have never had anyone come up to me. To be honest, I only covered up one time at a restaurant and from that point, I told my husband that I am not doing that anymore. I wore clothing that made it easily accessible sometimes just pulled my shirt up and fed that way.


Honestly, deep down, I wanted someone to say something so I could stand my ground. I had things practiced that I thought I would say, snarky comebacks, funny remarks, educational things, you name it, I thought it. Of course, though, if it actually happened, I might have broken down and cried, I might have just frozen, I might have even fumbled my words, sometimes you never know how you will react until you are in a certain situation.


We came across a few good scenarios, let's discuss them here!


Kallie DeMeyer, “This didn’t happen to me personally but I have one from when I was at work and a coworker complained to me about it. “Omg that’s so disgusting, why is she doing that” he then tried to argue with me about it and why she should cover the baby up to eat. Like one know your audience and two you couldn’t even see anything there was no issue. So many employees got upset with him for the way he reacted (a lot of them were men too and I was so proud of them for defending the nursing mom!!!)” This is what we need! We need this positivity!


Shannon Zeller commented that “I have had someone come up to me and tell me to never let anyone harass me or pressure me to stop because it is only natural and exactly what my baby needs. We need more people like this to encourage nursing!” And I could not agree more!


Alyssa Cerrillo mentioned “I went to lunch with my mom and sister and of course, he wanted to nurse. We were in a booth so I just started to nurse him and my mom asked if I had a blanket to cover up but nothing was showing and I was facing in toward our booth. My sister got an attitude and said I was just feeding him and it’s normal! She said if anyone had a problem they shouldn’t have looked 😂 Everyone was eating in the restaurant including him so what was the problem?! She’s been one of my biggest supporters ❤️.


Others have had experiences that have not been as fortunate. Corie Elizabeth commented that “I was nursing in a corner facing a wall in a flea market and a lady tapped me on the shoulder and told me to go feed my baby in the bathroom…I replied you’re an a double ss and I’m sure you’re used to eating in stalls but my baby is not and she will be having lunch right here.” The fact that someone would come up to you while you are facing a different direction is appalling!


Katharine Pearl had a social media experience when she posted informative information online about Breastfeeding Week, she said that “It wasn't for Breastfeeding in public, but it was for sharing pictures of my daughter breastfeeding alongside very informative posts for World Breastfeeding Week. My sister-in-law accused me of "flashing [my] boobs to the entire world".


Britney Fryar had an experience as well, she comments. “This one is more of extended breastfeeding. I would always get the comments and still do as I breastfed my 18 month old too, but I get a lot of "she is still on the boob?" "Think it's time to cut her off?" "How will she ever learn to self sooth if you’re always shoving a boob in her mouth" those always made me so mad. I am my babies safe space and I have fed all my babies till they were 2.”


Amberly Maria Sedillo has had a ton of experience with this but she mentions this “I don’t let it stop or bother me 🥰 we don’t go hide in a room or cover up to eat so why on earth would my precious newborn baby have to?” And I could not agree more!!


A lot of times we think our significant other would be supportive as well but that, unfortunately, doesn’t always happen. Billie Jean Mora had an experience, “My ex-husband used to publicly shame me and yell at me in front of people for even suggesting I should try feeding him in a public setting when my firstborn was a newborn screaming of hunger…”


Kristina Little heard an awful comment that I know would have completely broken me "you're disgusting how could you do that with a kid sitting right next to you!" Why doesn’t the world understand that we are doing great things, why do some people think like this and make comments as such?


Katelyn Mroz had an experience in a large corporate facility, “One time I was at Walmart and I desperately needed to feed, I asked for a chair from the back to sit on in the bathroom and they said no.” Sometimes babies will feed for a few minutes and sometimes it's longer. It’s not comfortable to feed standing up for long periods of time. A simple chair would have been incredibly helpful.


In the workplace, Courtney May Toopes-Filippin was “bullied into stopping pumping by my boss and her husband.” This is where I would like to bring in some info on state breastfeeding laws. Let's review it below.


State Breastfeeding Laws

  • All fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location.

  • Thirty-one states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.)

  • Thirty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace. (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.)

  • Twenty-two states and Puerto Rico exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty or allow jury service to be postponed. (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia.)


This information was obtained directly from The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).


More valuable information can be found here: https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx


Also, breastfeeding moms should get themselves a beautiful piece of breastmilk jewelry! Check out these gorgeous breast milk rings made by Tree of Life Breastmilk Jewelry! If you are not a ring person, you can opt for a stunning necklace or even some earrings. Whichever piece you choose for yourself, just know that it was made with love!


Holly Lara



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