Question:

Hello,

I have been pondering something for a few days now about public breast feeding and modesty. There is a group of women I know who are "Pro public breast feeding" They are not Christians at all, but I still feel like I should say something even though I don't think it will do any good. In fact I think it will push them farther away from waiting to know God. They are continually bashing Christian's conservative beliefs and saying that we are part of the problem why they cannot feed their babies in public but this group of women claim they are tired of all the sexual immorality being okay in public (bikini wearing, women showing off their cleavage, women half naked on billboards) but they get kicked out of a restaurant, mall or grocery store if they breast feed uncovered. They want to be treated equally. which I could understand if I did not have, obey and believe God's word. For an example one of them wrote:

"When my son was just a few days old, I went to the grocery store, just him and me. As a newly postpartum mom, I should have been home resting and sending someone else to the store for me, but as a single parent with limited support, that was not an option. So I bundled him up in my Maya Ring Sling and proceeded to do my shopping. I had fed him before we left home, but in the middle of the store he started to cry. I didn’t yet know how to utilize the sling for breastfeeding, so I couldn’t walk and nurse at the same time while pushing my cart. I looked for a place to sit, but the only option was a bench right near the front door, where lots of people were milling around and I would be in full view, and I was too scared to deal with that at the time.

So, instead, I left my cart full of groceries and went and hid in the bathroom. There was nowhere to sit, so I went into a stall. The bathroom smelled awful and it was filthy. I tried to balance my floppy, fragile new baby while I struggled to get my shirt up and my nursing bra unhooked. I was terrified the entire time that I would drop him, or that he would pick up some nasty germs from being in the bathroom. It was a disgusting, humiliating experience. I swore I would never do that again."

I have no idea what to say to this. I feel bad for them but I know showing your breast in public is wrong. I know when my son was born he ate every hour and sometimes twice but I pumped milk and formula fed him so he was bottle fed but I know breast milk is the best. And I know you can use a blanket or "breast feeding cover" but some mothers say their babies freak out when they cover them up and pull the blanket or cover off. What did the Christian mother's do in the past when they breast fed? Is there anything recorded? Thanks so much for your time brother.


Answer:

There are no details recorded about breast feeding beyond mentioning that it was done and a few times when someone was weaned (Genesis 21:8; I Samuel 1:22-24; I Kings 11:20; Isaiah 28:9).

The need for modesty remains. Complaints that someone hadn't thought ahead or that they cannot train an infant so as to breast feed while remaining modest are just simply poor excuses. Sure, it is difficult at first to coordinate everything -- most things in life are that way. But it isn't that they are unable to nurse a child and remain modest at the same time.

That it would be nice for stores to have places where a mother can sit to nurse her child, I can agree but not all store owners think ahead. In the example given, the mother could have simply gone straight to the check out, paid for her items, and then go to her car to feed the child or go home and then feed him. No, it isn't pleasant doing these things with a screaming baby and a lot of new mothers are sleep deprived and don't think of all the options, but the fact is the child won't die if it must wait ten minutes before his next feeding.