Most readers OK with breast-feeding in public, poll finds
By Steve Stewart
Most Daily readers who answered an online poll approve of public breast-feeding.
“Should mothers breast-feed in public?” the poll asked. Of 222 respondents, 135 (60.8 percent) answered yes and 87 answered no.
The two-day poll at www.decaturdaily.com was unscientific. People could vote from anywhere.
An incident in Cullman prompted the poll. Employees of Johnny’s Barbecue asked Elizabeth McDowell of Cullman to cover herself while breast-feeding her baby. Customers were complaining, the owner said.
E-mailed comments on the poll came from mothers with breast-feeding experience.
“As a breast-feeding mother,” wrote Bethany Sledd of Decatur, “I never felt completely comfortable nursing my baby in public because of ignorant people like those that told the woman to cover up.
“Breast-feeding is natural, and the breast is not an obscene object to gawk at. Sticking a bottle full of artificial convenience food (aka formula) in a baby’s mouth is what the public should not have to see while dining.”
Ann Allen of Decatur said she sometimes nursed her babies in public.
“But I was sensitive to the importance of being discreet and modest. On most occasions, people around me were not aware of the fact I was nursing a baby.
“Mothers who think their right is to flaunt their freedom to nurse in public by exposure are causing a bad reputation for feeding a child God’s way.
“Of course, even inappropriate exposure in nursing is far less than that seen on many TV shows, movies, beaches, or even walking down the street.”
Jeanne Broome of Trinity said she breast-fed five children at home and in public.
“Simply putting a blanket over my shoulder covered any appearance of that fact. No one even knew except those I was with, who were never offended.
“It’s easy to cover yourself. You don’t have to be blatant. Adults understand a baby has to be fed, and this is the most natural, healthiest and the oldest method of feeding your baby.
“Anyone offended over a child being fed when and wherever necessary is childish and uninformed. To them I say grow up.”
But she advised nursing mothers to “please be respectful of others and drape a blanket or something over your shoulder to give privacy to the baby from those upset with your feeding your child. It won’t hurt the baby and will make all around you comfortable. Why make a mountain out of a molehill?”
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