Debate: BFing an older child in public?

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Debate: BFing an older child in public?
Fri, 03-18-2011 - 12:38pm

What do you think about mothers BFing an older child - 3-4 years or older - in public?

I found this blurb and the rsponses are as you would expect:

During the debate in the Senate Committee this week, Sen. Campfield proposed raising the age limit to age 3, (somewhat ironically) stating, “there are a lot of strange people in this world.”

Well, I guess I am one of those strange Tennesseans to whom Sen. Campfield was referring, because I did nurse my oldest daughter Jane in public at least a few times after she reached age 3. The last time I recall doing it, she was 3 or 4 years old, and she was fussing and whining and obviously bothering the other diners in the restaurant where we were eating dinner with friends. So I put her to my breast and she immediately settled down and fell asleep on my lap. I am 100% sure that this quiet act of mothering bothered no one, while her noisy whining had likely been bothering everyone. Yet, I’ve never heard of any state legislators seeking to set up rules and regulations around whiny little kids being out in public.

... why the heck would anyone care one iota whether I quietly nurse my 3 or 4 year old on my lap while I eat a meal out?

Read more:

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Fri, 03-18-2011 - 12:50pm

Some of the responses:

A 4 yr old being bf in public would make me uncomfortable.

I may be lambasted for my opinion, but I would prefer not to see you breastfeeding a four year old. There is no reason on earth that a child of that age needs a bottle or a breastfeeding...

Yeah… sorry, Katie. It would freak me out.

Sorry, this creeps me out. If they can unhook your bra, they are waaaay too old to be breastfeeding.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-29-2005
Fri, 03-18-2011 - 4:19pm
I continued to nurse DD1 in public until she was nearly 3. In her last couple months of BFing she had tapered down to at max 3 sessions, all at home, but before that she still expected to nurse when we first saw each other. My ILs had her during the day on Fridays, so not infrequently we would all meet at Red Robin for dinner to make the transfer. We would get settled in our booth and C would snuggle in for a quick nurse. Even at that age, we really weren't "in your face" about it. Considering how many people speak out about it in comments like these, and how often we NIPd, you would think I would have gotten some sort of response, or at least a dirty look... but nope, I tink we flew under the radar.

So why do people have to be so negative about something they pretty much don't even notice? It really confirms my theory that it isn't the *sight* of breastfeeding that bugs people, it's the *thought* of breastfeeding. The problem is in their heads. If thy would mind their wn business, we could all live happily ever after. :)


Powered by
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2010
Fri, 03-18-2011 - 5:25pm
Almost all of these comments are people that have issues with a 4 YO BFing *at all*, not just with them BFing in public. I wonder if they know that...
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Fri, 03-18-2011 - 6:58pm

Eventually Tennessee got a clue and repealed the age limit for children breastfeeding in public. But some of the comments were....weird.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2007
Sat, 03-19-2011 - 12:15am
I haven't nursed one quite that long to really have to personally worry about this kind of backlash. I think as long as it is done discreetly, as opposed to how it is portrayed in Grown Ups, then there is nothing wrong with it. But you put me in a situation like in that movie and I most definitely would be uncomfortable. LOL

Single Mom of 6 beautiful children and 3 angels........
CL to Single Moms, January 2010 Winter Wonders, and 2010 Playgroup Friends
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-30-2008
Sat, 03-19-2011 - 2:31pm
I see no reason for the law to have an age limit. However I think after a certain age there is no need for the child to brestfeed in public except for weird circumstances. My son is only a year but since around ten months he has rarely breastfed in public. He really only nurses in the morning, before naps, after I get home from work and before bed. Most of these things don't occur in public. There have been a few times when he's needed to take his nap whlie we were out and about that I've nursed him in public but otherwise we're normally at home. So by the time he is three or four if he's still nursing (which I don't think will be the case) I would think it would pretty much just be before bed or something.