The Big Cover-Up On Breastfeeding

   By drodriguez  Jun 25, 2010

Even if you haven’t been "keeping up with the Kardashians" you probably know the infamy of the Kardashian name.  The celebutante Kardashian sisters who starred in a reality show about their family have a knack for keeping themselves in the limelight.  But most recently, Kim Kardashian has gotten her name in the headlines for something no one expected, modesty.

A recent report from CBS News talks about some recent Tweets Kim Kardashian posted to her Twitter account that has gotten her into a heap of trouble with breastfeeding activists.  Apparently, Kim Kardashian was dining at a restaurant and found it offensive when a woman sitting near her breastfed her baby without covering up. 

She posted this to her Twitter, "Eww, I’m at lunch, the woman at the table next 2 me is breastfeeding her baby with no cover-up then puts baby on the table and changes her diaper."  Many find it hard to believe that a woman who posed nude for Playboy in 2007 would take offense to someone breastfeeding in public.  Kardashian began to receive flack from "lactivists" and later defended herself by saying there is nothing wrong with breastfeeding if you cover up while doing so. 

The debate on whether women should have to cover up while breastfeeding in public is longstanding.  Activists who feel women should not have to cover up have been taking part in demonstrations for many years.  Barbara Walters mentioning on air a few years ago that she doesn’t like to see women breastfeeding on airplanes sparked a controversy that led to 200 women in the act of breastfeeding waiting for Walters outside the ABC broadcasting studios.

Whether you agree that women should have the right to breastfeed without covering themselves or not, it seems the law usually takes the side of the breastfeeding mom.  There are now explicit laws in 44 states that say women can breastfeed in any public space.

What do you think of the latest controversy Kim Kardashian sparked when she Tweeted about breastfeeding in public?

Do you think women should have to cover up while breastfeeding in public?

Make a Comment

polishchicagoqueen by polishchicagoqueen | DYER, IN
Jun 28, 2010

In Europe, this is no big deal to nurse in public. I cannot believe people get offended by this! Its a personal choice, and it is completely legal to nurse in public! I agree, why is this such an issue? I see so many women dressed up in next to nothing in the hot summer months, with their boobs and butts hanging out. MOST women do use a cover like Hooter Hiders in public. I personally felt more comfortable with a cover, every time. Most places have areas where women can nurse in a somewhat private area. Going into a dirty public restroom is completely disgusting, and I would rather see a woman on a bench without a cover, than in a dirty bathroom to please someone who might get disgusted! Changing a child on a restaurant table though, is completely DISGUSTING and trashy. I know how dirty the tables are, and people are lucky if it gets wiped down with a wet washrag! Change the kid in the car!

jrosales721 by jrosales721 | FAIRFAX, VA
Jun 28, 2010

I breastfeed my daughter, who is now going on 5 yrs old, for the first 6 months. I did have to breastfeed in public but always covered up. I mean hey I do not want everyone seeing my boob out in public. Now some friends of mine are breastfeeding their newly born children and I purchased a very cute cover up for each of them to use while they are out and about and need to breastfeed. I am sorry but women need to cover up when they breast feed and USE the rest room to change your child not a table.

mardel by mardel | SCHAUMBURG, IL
Jun 28, 2010

I agree with kjvonkamp this topic is old and let's move on! Breastfeeding a baby is such a special gift that not everyone women has or will ever have the pleasure of experiencing! Women should be able to breast feed their baby anywhere and any time just please be courteous and cover up, mommy's! Not everybody is comfortable seeing a baby being breast feed and for us with little children it would be hard to explain what is happening! Thanks

jvonkamp by jvonkamp | Houston, TX
Jun 27, 2010

I would have thought that this controversy about breastfeeding would have been settled by now! This has been done since the beginning. I breastfed in the 1960's and early 70's.My daughters breastfed my five beautiful grandchildren in the 90's. Women have breast and milk to feed their children! Ignore ignorance but be considerate and cover with a blanket or such.

NCarolinaMom by NCarolinaMom | Charlotte, NC
Jun 26, 2010

I nursed both of my children, and since I am by nature a pretty modest person, I always covered up in public. I personally am not offended by women who choose to nurse without concealing their breasts, but I have to question why nobody is allowed to have a negative opinion about it. Different people are made uncomfortable by different things. There's a difference between attacking someone and admitting that you're uncomfortable with a situation. Dealing with what makes you uncomfortable in a way that avoids trampling on other people's rights is an important -- and difficult-- skill to learn. It's why we use the word "tolerance" instead of "gung-ho agreement". You may think that Kim Kardashian is silly and hypocritical, but that doesn't automatically invalidate her opinion. She has every right to hold an unpopular point of view. I disagree with her myself, but I'm certainly not offended by her reaction.

MyEmptyCanvas by MyEmptyCanvas | KOSCIUSKO, MS
Jun 26, 2010

As a woman myself, if push came to shove and my baby (which I don't have any kids yet) was hungry and wanted to nurse, I, as its supplier of food would do so whether it be in public or not, but I will add to that, that I would also cover up and that is NOT because of others and their views on breastfeeding in public... I just feel like it's about the baby and their need for nourishment - NOT for every Tom, Dick, & Harry's entertainment.

Shonjo by Shonjo | FORT MILL, SC
Jun 25, 2010

I agree with you, jeannec1. I would probably be more offended by the woman changing the baby on the table. While she can get away with nursing the baby, since technically, they're both eating, there's no way anyone would choose to use the bathroom at a restaurant table, so why would you change your baby there? We also shouldn't make the assumption that everyone is going to be comfortable with someone breastfeeding without a cover-up, as unfortunate as that is. I by no means have any suggestions on how to make people more comfortable, but in our highly sexualized society, people think of boobs as a sexual body part, not baby food. Any suggestions on how we can begin to make society see this differently?

jeannec1 by jeannec1 | WATKINSVILLE, GA
Jun 25, 2010

I have no problem with a woman breastfeeding in public as long as a cover up is used. A simple blanket is all that is needed or even one of those little slings that give the mom and baby privacy while still allowing them to enjoy the experience. I just don't think women should be baring themselves in public regardless of the reason. I think in public, common courtesy to others should be the name of the game. Now at home, do what you want. Cover up or don't. It is your right to do what you want in your own home. I have several friends who are currently breastfeeding. All of them do it in public but they all use a sling so that no one around them is uncomfortable. When I am at their houses or they are at mine, they are free to completely strip down if they feel the need but as I said that is in a private situation. Changing the diaper at the table is totally disgusting AND unsanitary. That should definitely be done in the restroom.

SavdByGrace by SavdByGrace | SUMMIT, IL
Jun 25, 2010

Chontae_marie, breastfeeding CAN be a very intimate moment between mother and child but it's also just something that needs to get done and not always when it's most convenient. I disagree that breastfeeding takes more time and effort than a "quick bottle". Huh? Breastfeeding requires no preparation such as making formula and sterilizing bottles (or even buying them for that matter) and one still has two hands free for the most part. :) I never felt I sacrificed to nurse my children. And last but not least, anyone who manufactured a breastfeeding cover-up called a Hooter Hider, should be boycotted by any self-respecting nursing mother! :( It is unbelievable that this has been a struggle since the 50's when LaLeche League had its start and educated women began to see the pluses of breastfeeding, for mom and for child. Bottom line, we've got a long way to go toward breastfeeding being accepted as the norm.

SavdByGrace by SavdByGrace | SUMMIT, IL
Jun 25, 2010

It saddens me that gondecktalley felt she had to "slink" off to breastfeed, even at her own mother's home. Was this something she felt was shameful? Sad. I did agree with her that feeding a baby (however) was more acceptable than cleaning bodily waste off the baby on the restaurant table. That was disgusting.

SavdByGrace by SavdByGrace | SUMMIT, IL
Jun 25, 2010

I'm 59 years old and breastfed all three of my children, my daughter, the last, past her third birthday. She is now in training to be a lactation consultant so we are definitely a pro-breastfeeding family. I would breastfeed standing on a corner waiting for a taxi, sitting in an office at a meeting helping a Cuban refugee (I was translating), etc. I used ponchos and except for an occasional slurping sound (LOL) I doubt anyone even knew what I was doing. When I was home with family I would breastfeed with little concern for cover, at the dinner table, while watching tv, etc. It's natural and using a part of the body that happens to have developed a sexual connotation for what it was originally meant to be used for shouldn't be something to hide. Discretion, of course, is called for.

chontae_marie by chontae_marie | Mckinney, TX
Jun 25, 2010

This is a very intimate moment between mother and child. I have nursed in public, but use a cover. Having nursed 2 babies, I even get a rubberneck when I see a child nursing and not covered. Seeing a breast in public is a shocking thing, even if a baby is latched. I could see how people would be offended, especially when trying to eat. Common courtesy should be to cover. I feel there are some women out there that just want to make a statement and want someone to make a comment. Nursing mothers do need support. It takes more time and effort to nurse a child. There are no quick bottles. The mother sacrifices a lot and then to have to worry about what people will say or do because she's is simply feeding her baby. Being able to see you baby latch and nurse ensures no pain to the mother. I've tried a blanket, and did not care for it. I would rather go bare then use a blanket. The Hooter Hider is wonderful! It covers you, but the mother is still able to see the baby.

gondecktalley by gondecktalley | NORMAN, OK
Jun 25, 2010

Wow, hot topic that is sure to spark some rage. I personally never felt comfortable breastfeeding in public or even in front of my own mother! If I was at her's or a friend's house, I would slink off to a bedroom. I don't mind seeing other's breastfeed, but think there should be some modesty involved. Yes, it's our right and, some believe duty/obligation, to breastfeed our children, but let's be considerate to other's that may not feel exactly the same way we do...go figure! I, personally, felt like it was more offensive that the mother changed the baby's diaper right there on the table!