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Do parents rooms make bf'ing in public less accepted?


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#1 Katie_bella

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:04 PM

I live in a country town (approx 10 000 people so not small but not exactly cosmopolitan!) I bf DD everywhere and anywhere, i don't believe it's something that should be hidden away and i that a child screaming in hunger is far more disturbing than a millisecond view of someone else's nipple.

Last week i was in Melbourne visiting family and we did a couple of trips to shopping centres. We visited the parents rooms, changing and feeding DD in lovely clean, brightly coloured rooms.

It was later that i realised that you never see women bf'ing their babies outside of these rooms. Maybe it's because the bf rate isn't very high in Australia especially in babies over 6 months. I'm hoping it's not because it's not acceptable to bf in public when there is a place women can go to feed their babies in private.  

So as the title says....Do you think that the availability of feeding/parent rooms make it less socially acceptable for women to bf their babies is areas other than these rooms?

#2 deejie

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:12 PM

QUOTE (Katie_bella @ 08/06/2012, 03:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It was later that i realised that you never see women bf'ing their babies outside of these rooms.


I breastfed DS1 & DS2 anywhere and everywhere in Melbourne. I sprayed some poor stranger on tram last week with breastmilk when DS2 popped off unexpectedly to look around (thankfully she was pretty good about it lol) biggrin.gif

I think there are women who are a bit embarassed about feeding in public. As the Mum of two very strong, distractable babies I can completely understand. I have lost count of the times I have flashed the general public while trying to get them to feed properly.

I don't think it makes feeding in public less accepted, but I do hope that it helps those women that do feel a bit self conscious continue to breastfeed knowing they have somewhere where they can be comfortable when out and about.

#3 Baggy

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:15 PM

I breastfed DD2 everywhere and anywhere until she was 12months.

When DD1 got tired of walking around - then I would make use of the parenting rooms. That way DD1 could sit down and relax for a bit. It also helps if I want to change her nappy etc too.



#4 bluedragon

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:15 PM

I have wondered this too OP. I was feeding DS in the food court of my local shopping centre one day and it was the most uncomfortable I've felt. I think it was all in my head and just because the parents room was at the end on the food court as well.

I'm all for feeding in public just to raise awareness but if I wasn't I would have moved to the parents room.

So on one hand I was thinking the room was hiding it away even more but then I think what if someone doesn't want to feed in public, would no parents room stop them going out or worse stop breastfeeding?

Interested to see what others think too.

ETA I'm in Melbourne too.

Edited by bluedragon, 08 June 2012 - 03:16 PM.


#5 Dirtsa

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:19 PM

No I don't think so. I see women bf'ing out and about quite a lot. I did myself. Rather than people using them becuase they don't feel it's acceptable to feed in public, I think that the reason so many people use parents rooms is they are so convenient. There are facilities to change a nappy before or after the feed, which is often required especially for the newer babues. I did prefer to do the nappy change in the parents room rather than out in public space or in an eating area. Before I had kids I never gave the concept of a parents room much thought. I do wonder if they are a more recent thing, or have they been around for decades?

#6 katniss

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:21 PM

I don't necessarily think so. Many people who don't agree with breastfeeding in public think mums can just feed in the toilets so for those people, not having parents rooms wouldn't make a difference to their opinion.

Regardless if they do make public breastfeeding less acceptable, we still need them as bluedragon said so mums who don't feel comfortable feeding in public have somewhere comfortable to go.

#7 KatakaGeoGirl

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:26 PM

Okay just from personal experience, it may be a city-country difference. I noticed living in more rural settings everyone is a bit more relaxed in dress sense and they way they do things. Melbourne I am noticing there are increasingly well-dressed and fashionable people. The same reason you wouldn't wear thongs to a major shopping centre for an outing (which is perfectly acceptable elsewhere) it is also a 'respect' thing to breastfeed in a changeroom/bf room. They are provided for that purpose. So in the 'culture' of what is Melbourne, it is more socially acceptable to breastfeed in a changeroom than in the middle of the shopping centre. That doesn't mean breastfeeding isn't more accepted by the public - but there are places to do things and in general mums are expected to breastfeed in the provided space.

That's my thoughts on the matter! That doesn't mean I didn't feed my screaming baby quite discreetly whilst in toys are us once, it was just quicker to do so (but completely covered up mind you) than to dash out to the changing room which wasn't very close at the time! I think that's the only time I did though!!

#8 ScarfaceClaw

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:27 PM

I'm in melbourne, and I often BF out and about. Ds is just turned 12 months, altho he is super small, so I imagine people aren't going to raise eyebrows at us for a while yet!
Apart from to change him I've actually never once used a parents room. I see nothing wrong with my child needing to eat, and as such I'll feed him where ever we are at the time.

I don't know if it does or it doesn't make it less accepted, but I do know some babies are easily distracted, and some people are self conscious, and as such it's great they have somewhere to go. For me, its more important to feed him and get on with whatever it is we are doing, so I feed him when he's hungry.

ETA...I'm not that fashionable either.... so maybe thats it....

Edited by junebuggy11, 08 June 2012 - 03:29 PM.


#9 Riotproof

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:30 PM

I think convenience is it.. I used them at the beginning, unless I was eating at the same time. But I didn't like the private nursing stations, I would just use the comfy seats in the main section.

#10 MintyBiscuit

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:31 PM

For me, having parents rooms actually got me feeding in public quicker. For most of the first 5 months DS fed every two hours, so knowing there were parents rooms meant I was confident to go out and breastfeed if need be. After the first couple of times I generally found it easier to just find a comfy chair and BF wherever, but if there hadn't been the option of a parents room I doubt I would have been out as much so not BFing in public as much IYKWIM?

I do wonder if they have a general impact of hiding it away. I've never had any comments or issues when I'm out feeding, but have been around EB long enough to know that it is common for women to have comments made. I wonder what it was like when our mothers were feeding us? My mum only breastfed for a short time so I can't ask her, but I do wonder if having specific rooms makes the general population think it should be done in there, and therefore doing it elsewhere is wrong

#11 Lightning_bug

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:32 PM

I think it's more about letting a woman relax and not be 'watched'.  Not all watching is critical, I can't help myself when I see a BF woman.  I think it looks great.  But I'm also aware by looking they could be uncomfortable and feel exposed.

It's all well and good to say people should look and it should be the normal.  But sometimes even seeing normal things is something you want to look at.  Beautiful hair.  Beautiful clothes.  Beautiful BF.

So I don't think they stop it from being normal.  I think they afford a mother a chance to feed her child in peace without an audience.

#12 Bigfatbum

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:33 PM

I walk around b'feeding. I always have. Have never really had anything g said or odd looksnim in my 7 th year feeding so not in my experience


#13 Let-it-go

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:35 PM

No, i dont think they make it less acceptable at all.  I just bfed an hour ago in a mall on a couch outside David Jones and there was another woman as well.

No big deal.

Parents rooms are great for a rest.  Everyone can wee, nappy changed, hands washed, DD can play with toys, i can bfeed until Full rather than a quick top up.  I only care about comfy seats!

#14 Katie_bella

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:39 PM

QUOTE (Katakacpk @ 08/06/2012, 03:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Okay just from personal experience, it may be a city-country difference. I noticed living in more rural settings everyone is a bit more relaxed in dress sense and they way they do things. Melbourne I am noticing there are increasingly well-dressed and fashionable people. The same reason you wouldn't wear thongs to a major shopping centre for an outing (which is perfectly acceptable elsewhere) it is also a 'respect' thing to breastfeed in a changeroom/bf room. They are provided for that purpose. So in the 'culture' of what is Melbourne, it is more socially acceptable to breastfeed in a changeroom than in the middle of the shopping centre. That doesn't mean breastfeeding isn't more accepted by the public - but there are places to do things and in general mums are expected to breastfeed in the provided space.


Thanks for your opinion!

FWIW I added the fact I lived in the country to point out that we don't have a shopping centre, let alone one with a feeding room. Which probably has had an impact on why i feel comfortable feeding DD in public.

Although I don't agree with you about fashion being a city thing....I am a little puzzled why this has anything to do with feeding your baby huh.gif

I'm interested to know why you think it is more respectful to bfeed in private and whether that respect is for your baby or yourself or the other people around you at the time?

#15 FeralAlpacaWarrior

Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:05 PM

I had to BF DD anywhere and everywhere. She went from happy to screamer within 5 seconds if she didn't get her milk. The local baristas became very used to me feeding DD while having a coffee. Our shopping centre has 2 parents rooms but both are small, pokey and a bit smelly.

I think having feeding rooms available can make it easy to get out and about, but can also cause problems if people get the idea that mothers MUST feed in these rooms. I live just outside a smallish city/largish town with a large elderly population. I never got anything other than smiles and coos at DD and I. I'm sooooo looking forward to feeding another bub original.gif

Edited by lovealpacas, 08 June 2012 - 04:06 PM.


#16 hiccamups

Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:12 PM

No way.  I think it's more the changing of a dirty nappy is less accepted.

I think public rooms make it easier for women who would otherwise pack a bottle and express, or formula feed while out.  I think they're a fabulous invention.

I used to take my first shopping and take lovely breaks in the parenting rooms.  Less noise,  a drink of water, a freshen up.  I got to check if I was leaking, change a breast pad, change baby and do it without having to worry about hogging a bench from an old person for too long.

I am fine to feed anywhere but sometimes the rooms are more convenient.  I can rummage through my nappy bag, empty things out etc and take my time.

I think what you perhaps noticed was a difference in culture.  Definitely it's less acceptable to feed in public in some places, for sure.  But I actually believe the rooms provide a gap and allow more women to feel comfortable being in public and continuing to breastfeed.

#17 Datrys

Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:17 PM

QUOTE (bluedragon @ 08/06/2012, 03:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
but then I think what if someone doesn't want to feed in public, would no parents room stop them going out ....?


I avoid taking DD to places where I have no privacy to feed.  I am deeply uncomfortable feeding in public and only do when it's unavoidable.

I also deeply resent the tone some others take that the desire for modesty is somehow second-best or regrettable.

#18 mudskippa

Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:23 PM

I think if I were bf and I was at a shopping centre, I would feel less comfortable about bf if I knew that there was a room set aside for this, but I also think there should be a room set aside for this.

#19 Cranky Kitten

Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:23 PM

I've fed my babies in all sorts of weird places and would ordinarily not worry too much about finding a parents room. I only use them now for feeding because DS is so darn distractable and likes to look around and blow raspberries at people mid-feed. They are handy to change nappies in however.

Most of the time no one bats an eye, or if they do comment it's to say how lovely it is to see a baby being breast fed.

#20 Riotproof

Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:30 PM

QUOTE (Ange Vert @ 08/06/2012, 04:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I avoid taking DD to places where I have no privacy to feed.  I am deeply uncomfortable feeding in public and only do when it's unavoidable.

I also deeply resent the tone some others take that the desire for modesty is somehow second-best or regrettable.

There's nothing wrong with modesty, Ange Vert.

I found using a shawl more a hindrance than a help, so I stopped pretty quickly. The little feeding suites in my local shopping centre don't fit my pram, so I didn't bother. People have to work out what suits them, but there should be no reason why a mother feels she cannot feed at a cafe, in the food court, in the bus stop.. wherever.

#21 CallMeFeral

Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:41 PM

I'd like to think not. I'd like to think that the people using those rooms are the ones who are shy in public, who if they didn't have those rooms would instead have brought a bottle.
I hope I'm right!

#22 Bam1

Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:43 PM

In a certain way it puts into people's minds that BFing should be done out of sight, in a similar manner to breastfeeding shawls and I find them personally both unnecessary.

This is not to say I don't think others shouldn't use them. It is more important for rooms / shawls to be available to help other women continue to BF their children then any message I think they send out.

#23 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:51 PM

I've always seen these rooms as a parent choice, not to keep mums away from society, but for those that are not comfortable, or have distractible babies etc.  I hate that quite a few of them are little better than a toilet.  Most people won't eat in a toilet, but some expect us to feed babies in there?

I think it is a tough call.  I feel sad for mothers who are embarrassed or ashamed to BF in public, and am glad they have somewhere to go.  But I also feel annoyed that our society makes these mothers feel ashamed or embarrassed.

I suppose ultimately, I hate that we need them, but I'm glad they exist.  (How's that for fence-sitting? biggrin.gif )



#24 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:56 PM

QUOTE (Ange Vert @ 08/06/2012, 02:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I avoid taking DD to places where I have no privacy to feed.  I am deeply uncomfortable feeding in public and only do when it's unavoidable.

I also deeply resent the tone some others take that the desire for modesty is somehow second-best or regrettable.



But what it immodest about feeding your child?  If we viewed the breast as nothing more than a method of nutrition, no different to your hand putting food in a child's mouth or holding a bottle, what is there to be hidden?

I'm not saying that I think people should walk the streets with breasts on show whenever they feel the need.  I just don't think that it is immodest to feed a child without hiding away.  

I suppose I don't think that women breast-feeding are being immodest.  But I can understand that you do.



#25 Pooks Combusted

Posted 08 June 2012 - 05:21 PM

I think people probably are bfing but you don't notice as they can be so discreet or often in a cafe or something rather than out in the mall. Generally speaking parents rooms are way more comfy than a food court chair, ugh!

People have different cultural and personal reasons to feel different ways about their breasts than others. I feel a bit self conscious that my breasts aren't quite normal, and using the nipple shield in public... No, I just couldn't do it. I sat in my car or hid in the parents room stalls.

I don't think anyone should not breastfeed publicly, but I really dont understand the notion that you should.

Edited by pookems85, 08 June 2012 - 05:21 PM.





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