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Breastfeeding Is Not Immodest

June 2, AD2017

A friend who works for a Catholic apostolate recently shared with me that she was discouraged from breastfeeding her 5-month-old daughter during training sessions. She isn’t the first Catholic woman who has shared this type of story with me, either. I’ve heard many anecdotes from mothers involved with Catholic ministry who were told they had to cover while nursing, or couldn’t nurse at all (i.e., the nursing baby wasn’t welcome to attend a specific function that his/her mother was required to attend).

When the issue was pressed, most of these mothers were told that these policies were due to concerns about modesty — they were worried that the sight of a breastfeeding mother would encourage impure thoughts in others; most notably, in young men. There are many, many problems with type of policy and the reasoning behind it; for the sake of brevity, I’ll point out four specific issues.

Restricting Breastfeeding Is Probably Illegal

Forty-nine states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. The one exception is Idaho. A Catholic church, ministry, apostolate, etc. that sets policies restricting breastfeeding mothers from feeding their babies, or requiring them to cover while doing so, may very well be running afoul of the law. (Worldwide, Australia, Canada, Germany, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom — among others — have laws protecting nursing mothers, too.)

It’s true that Catholic citizens “are obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order” (CCC 2256). However, “once a law has been passed by the civil government, it should be considered just unless the contrary is clear from the nature of the law or from the declaration of ecclesiastical authority” (CatholicCulture.org).

Laws that protect breastfeeding mothers from discrimination are inherently moral, as they serve to encourage mothers to feed their children in the manner in which God designed their bodies to do so. Therefore, Catholic organizations that assume this particular civil law is unjust despite clear evidence to the contrary is acting against Church teaching.

As for the declaration of ecclesiastical authority — as it so happens, the Church’s highest ecclesiastical authority on earth has encouraged mothers to breastfeed in public not once, not twice, but at least three times.

The Pope Encourages Breastfeeding in Public

In 2013, Pope Francis said in an interview with La Stampa,

At the Wednesday General Audience the other day there was a young mother behind one of the barriers with a baby that was just a few months old. The child was crying its eyes out as I came past. The mother was caressing it. I said to her: madam, I think the child’s hungry. “Yes, it’s probably time…” she replied. “Please give it something to eat!” I said. She was shy and didn’t want to breastfeed in public, while the Pope was passing.

He reiterated this support in 2015:

While baptizing 33 babies in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday (January 11), Pope Francis urged mothers to breast-feed their infants if they were hungry. “Mothers, give your children milk—even now,” Francis said. “If they cry because they are hungry, breastfeed them, don’t worry.”

And again in 2017:

As the sounds of crying grew louder, the Pope joked that the concert had begun. The babies are crying, he said, because they are in an unfamiliar place, or because they had to get up early, or sometimes simply because they hear another child crying. Jesus did just the same, Pope Francis said, adding that he liked to think of Our Lord’s first sermon as his crying in the stable. And if your children are crying because they are hungry, the Pope told the mothers present, then go ahead and feed them, just as Mary breastfed Jesus.

A law protecting the right of nursing mothers to breastfeed in public can hardly be considered in opposition to Catholic moral teaching if the Pope himself encourages nursing mothers to breastfeed in public. Nor can breastfeeding be considered unchaste or immodest behavior if the Holy Father encourages women do to so in his presence and/or in the context of Mass.

Breastfeeding Mothers Imitate Mary

A guide to modesty in Catholic circles is usually something along the lines of The Marylike Standards of Modesty in Dress. Michelle Arnold at Catholic Answers points to some issues with this document; however, it does get one thing right: women, especially those active in Catholic ministry, should strive to imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary. What better way than to nurse our babies as Mary nursed Jesus?

In fact, one of Mary’s titles is Maria lactans (translated literally as Mary lactating). There are many beautiful portraits of Mary breastfeeding without a cover and with her breast and nipple fully exposed. See, for example, these 20 Images of Mother Mary Nursing at St. Peter’s List or these 31 Beautiful Paintings of Mary Nursing the Baby Jesus from ChurchPOP or the Nursing Madonna Wikipedia entry. There are even images of Mary shooting breastmilk into the mouth of St. Bernard of Clairvaux! Also, the La Leche League was founded by seven devout Catholic housewives who named their organization after a Florida shrine to Mary, Our Lady of La Leche (Our Lady of Milk).

Should Catholic organizations really institute policies that encourage women not to imitate the Blessed Mother?

Modesty is a Direction, Not a Line

Fr. Matthew Schneider wrote an excellent post for Catholic Stand about six months ago titled “Modesty is a Direction, Not a Line.” In it, he says,

Instead of being a line, modesty is a direction. It has to do with respecting your own body and respecting others both in mind and body. As such it is the part of the virtue of chastity regarding those things not directly related with the marital act. It is most often talked about regarding clothing but also refers to how we act or treat others, and our words. A young man who ogles a young woman dressed overly provocatively sins against modesty just like she does. Or a man who speaks in a way some might dismiss as “locker room talk” sins against modesty with his language.

The direction modesty points is the direction of greater respect for our body and mind and those of others, especially in the sexual arena. Instead of asking “Is this skirt to short?” we should ask “Does this skirt this short respect my dignity and the dignity of those who’ll see it?” Instead of asking “Does this joke pass some arbitrary line for crudeness?” we should ask if the joke shows respect for the human person and for human sexuality.

Using Fr. Matthew’s criteria, breastfeeding is entirely modest and appropriate. It glorifies God’s creation and the way He designed our bodies to function. The sole source of nourishment for an infant is usually his mother’s breasts, and if Catholics strive to ostracize or persecute a mother for feeding her baby in the way that God designed her to do, they are not respecting the dignity of mother and baby. Eating is not an act that is intended be private or hidden from the world; Jesus showed us at the Last Supper, among other accounts, that eating in company of others is normal and natural. So it is with feeding babies.

It is also not fair nor just to place the burden of protecting others from their own lustful impulses on the shoulders of breastfeeding mothers. If a man sees a woman nursing her baby, that is a good thing; it shows him that breasts are not mere sexual playthings, but have a good and useful purpose outside the context of sexual foreplay.

If a man becomes lustful or aroused by the sight of a breastfeeding mother engaging in a perfectly normal, natural, and appropriate act, it is his duty and responsibility to avert his eyes or otherwise remove himself from the situation, rather than shame a mother for the act of using the equipment God gave her to feed her child. In this instance, the sin against modesty belongs to the man, not to the woman, and no woman should be punished or shamed for it.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

JoAnna was baptized, raised, and married in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America but converted to Catholicism in May 2003, on G.K. Chesterton's birthday. She has six terrific kids here on earth, four saints in heaven praying for her, and a wonderful husband who supports her in all things. She enjoys defending the Catholic faith online (in between her duties as chief cook and bottle washer for La Casa Wahlund, and her role as Senior Editor of Catholic Stand). She blogs at www.catholicworkingmother.com and more sporadically at http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com.

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  • james steele

    By the way, Pope Francis also encouraged unrepentant adulterers and Lutherans to receive the Eucharist. Of course the pontiff who says “who am I to judge?” about the crime against nature, and who gave us Cardinal Cupich (thanks, btw), is going to be fine with public breastfeeding. Duh.

    For 2000 years, women have been told that it’s immodest to enter a church with their heads uncovered or their shoulders showing, but because they have a baby, they get to flaunt their bare breasts in mixed company? ROFL. This is nothing but the sheer torture of every logical principle that has ever existed.

  • james steele

    I’m so sick of this intellectually bankrupt, bush league attempt to reconcile soft feminism with hard Catholicism. Try reading a book before bloviating on the national stage, because you’re totally outgunned by orthodox public intellectuals. This putrid female-body-worship cloaked in sentimentalism must be eradicated from the ranks of the faithful. The author says “it’s natural” to whip out private organs in public to breastfeed. You know what else is natural? Defecating. But that doesn’t make it appropriate or “modest” to take a dump in public (even if I cover my lap with a thin blanket) [!]. The author says that it shows that breasts are more than just sexual play things. Neat. Total non-sequitur. So I can urinate in public because my crotch serves an important function aside from its role in human sexuality? The author says that men have a duty to avert their gaze to avoid lustful thoughts. Has she ever thought that perhaps there might be simultaneous “reciprocal” duties. Yes, men have a duty to avert their eyes to avoid seeing arousing images. Conversely, women have a duty to not give public scandal by flaunting a body part with an inherent, erotic secondary function (humans are the only primates with permanently protruding breasts, which scientists believe is an evolutionary tool to increase arousal for men in coitus).

    What’s underlying this pathetic attempt to normalize engaging in private behavior publicly? Feminism. Women who have babies ought to be at home, not prancing around in public. But that’s anathema to soft Catholic feminists, who want to cloak themselves in the mantle of the Faith, but don’t have the willpower to live its teachings on sex-linked duties, i.e., that mothers must learn to “love the home” (Catechism of Trent) and not seek vainglory in hollow, unnecessary careers, trying to supplant their husbands and purloin the duties of the man. Since biology is an unkind mistress and mandates that babies need to eat and mothers need to avoid engorged breasts (and since biology cannot be altered), feminists are trying to alter societal rules and fundamental moral principles, instead of just conforming their behaviors to reality–that mothers ought to be spending the lion’s share of their time in the comfort and safety of their homes. Now, since feminists cannot respond to these points, because I am right, they’ll just call me names or delete this comment. They’ve got nothin’. Hey author, your will eats your intellect alive. Readers, can’t we all just rise up against this lauded perversity?

    Things that are natural and wholesome that still aren’t appropriate for public:

    Married sexuality,
    peeing,
    pooping,
    showering,
    picking one’s nose.

  • Cal-gal

    Most of the time, the issue is not so much about the practice of breastfeeding but the mother feeling she has the right to expose her breast because it’s “natural”. This is the philosophy in the secular probreastfeeding movement that has successfully had the laws established. “Feed-Ins” have occurred in my small Liberal town and breast exposure was common as their “right”. Well, I can tell you, exposure has it’s consequences and their thinking comes from Liberal Marxism…aka if we change the way we act, we will change society. Good luck with that. I breast fed all my children for a total of 14 years and never felt the need to expose myself in public as a right. But I did seek a quiet, private place if possible, in order to meet the needs of my child to experience a pleasant bonding experience of receiving nourishment from his mother. I have fed them in all kinds of scenarios, during flights, at baseball games, even on the Great Wall, but never made our experience, a side show for others. That right to make it a side show for others is a real issue with the probreastfeeding movement and one that I, nor the Catholic Church would agree with.

    • Pete

      I’m so sick of this intellectually bankrupt, bush league attempt to
      reconcile soft feminism with hard Catholicism. Try reading a book
      before bloviating on the national stage, because you’re totally
      outgunned by orthodox public intellectuals. This putrid
      female-body-worship cloaked in sentimentalism must be eradicated from
      the ranks of the faithful. The author says “it’s natural” to whip out
      private organs in public to breastfeed. You know what else is natural?
      Defecating. But that doesn’t make it appropriate or “modest” to take a
      dump in public (even if I cover my lap with a thin blanket) [!]. The
      author says that it shows that breasts are more than just sexual play
      things. Neat. Total non-sequitur. So I can urinate in public because
      my crotch serves an important function aside from its role in human
      sexuality? The author says that men have a duty to avert their gaze to
      avoid lustful thoughts. Has she ever thought that perhaps there might
      be simultaneous “reciprocal” duties. Yes, men have a duty to avert
      their eyes to avoid seeing arousing images. Conversely, women have a
      duty to not give public scandal by flaunting a body part with an
      inherent, erotic secondary function (humans are the only primates with
      permanently protruding breasts, which scientists believe is an
      evolutionary tool to increase arousal for men in coitus).

      What’s
      underlying this pathetic attempt to normalize engaging in private
      behavior publicly? Feminism. Women who have babies ought to be at
      home, not prancing around in public. But that’s anathema to soft
      Catholic feminists, who want to cloak themselves in the mantle of the
      Faith, but don’t have the willpower to live its teachings on sex-linked
      duties, i.e., that mothers must learn to “love the home” (Catechism of
      Trent) and not seek vainglory in hollow, unnecessary careers, trying to
      supplant their husbands and purloin the duties of the man. Since
      biology is an unkind mistress and mandates that babies need to eat and
      mothers need to avoid engorged breasts (and since biology cannot be
      altered), feminists are trying to alter societal rules and fundamental
      moral principles, instead of just conforming their behaviors to
      reality–that mothers ought to be spending the lion’s share of their
      time in the comfort and safety of their homes. Now, since feminists
      cannot respond to these points, because I am right, they’ll just call me
      names or delete this comment. They’ve got nothin’.

      Things that are natural and wholesome that still aren’t appropriate for public:

      Married sexuality,
      peeing,
      pooping,
      showering,
      picking one’s nose.

  • janelle

    One mother in our parish was Eucharist minister one Saturday evening. She sat in the front row. She breastfed her baby just before going up to serve communion. The baby was satisfied and she put him back in his baby seat. She was covered but I know some mothers say their baby refuses to be covered. I would personally leave it up to the mother as to what to do. I think most know the correct way to go about it.

  • lroy77

    This is stupid. When babies are baptized by the pope…even HE says that it is acceptable even in THAT sacred space. Nothing said about diapers being changed.

    I, of course, was never breastfed.

  • Joy

    Shannon Marie Federoff thank you for your very sensible post. You of all people have the right to speak because with 11 children you have breast fed you know that it can and should be done modestly. Yes this pull down the shirt from the top mess is ridiculous. I’m sure I’ve sat by breast feeding mothers who have done it so discreetly that I didn’t even realize they were breast feeding. Breastfeed by all means but breastfeed MODESTLY!

  • Las Vegas Viewer

    Women having been breast feeding since the world began. There is no reason why the woman has to feed the baby without covering their child and baby with a towel or blanket. Come on.

  • Joy

    I have NO issue whatsoever with breastfeeding. I breastfed both of my sons. It is using our bodies for what they were meant for by God—-natural, healthy, perfect. What I DO have an issue with is that you even see the breast of a woman in public when she is breastfeeding her child. There is NO reason for the breast to be seen while breastfeeding. You can be modest and you can cover up or breast feed in a way where none of the breast is seen. I’m sure Our Blessed Mother was as modest as possible when she was breast feeding Jesus as an infant. Women should model her when they breast feed their child. Yes breast feed if you can but BE MODEST while doing so.

  • JS

    and then there are the majority of women who choose to breastfeed in private, not in public because we are more comfortable in private surroundings. We arrange our lives to accommodate this choice, and are perfectly happy to do so.

  • Cynthia Millen

    Breastfeeding is a perfectly natural and modest act that can and should be done anywhere when it is done quietly and in a way which focuses on the comfort and calmness of the baby and does not seek to draw attention to the mother. It should not, however, be used primarily as a political statement or a form of virtue-signaling by the mother.

  • Shannon Marie Federoff

    I have nurse for roughly 145 months in my lifetime (thats 11 children if you are trying to figure out the math) and I have nursed discreetly, pulling UP my shirt from the hem and arranging it around the baby’s face to cover my areola. Sometimes I have bought or sewn tops designed specifically FOR nursing, with appropriate openings. I’ve nursed all over America and on a 2 week European trip…. on trains, in museums, at mass (including the great cathedrals of Europe). I don’t recall anyone ever making a negative comment. If anything, most times people didn’t even realize I was nursing.

    My last child was weaned 3 years ago, so I may be behind on the times, but I notice the mothers now pull strappy tops DOWN from the shoulder to nurse, exposing themselves far more than I am comfortable with. You can nurse without baring your entire breast (and be discreet) just as well as you can nurse without a big shawl over you (which also screams “I’M NURSING!”). I mean, if you WANT to use the huge shawl, thats fine. Its still modest. But I don’t find letting it all hang out and using the excuse that you are nursing to be convincing.

    Having 25% of the female torso exposed just isn’t modest. And it isn’t necessary to nurse.

    • Maria A.

      Well said ; there is something dignified about a mother who nurses the baby in the above discreet manner , having something as simple as a baby blanket , to be draped around discreetly .
      As to the images of Bl.Mother seen as breast feeding , well…unsure as to the historical truth of same and would resort of the writings of Bl.Emmerich who mentions this very point , that as much of the childhood scenes that she was shown , there was none with this scene and in fact how Baby Jesus was shown as being given some balsam like food from plants !

      The book ‘ Refugee from Heaven ‘ , from a Mormon convert author who had also had similar visions on the life of our Lord has a rather similar take on how our Lord was always clothed with a veil of light , that no one has seen His nakedness ;
      that would also be in line with the First Parents who too are also said to have been clothed in veil of light before The Fall .
      The mention on how St.Joseph ‘did not know ‘ Mary , till She brought forth the Son also would make more sense in this light ; as the father figure , it would have been St.Joseph who would have presided over the naming ceremony and the circumcision .
      Seeing our Lord clothed with the veil of light , along with the visit of the angels and other holy authorities form the temple – St.Joseph would have known beyond doubt that The Lord is The Covenant , did not possibly need ritual circumcision , that Mary is
      The Mother of The Lord !

      May we too be blessed to deal with dignity all areas of our lives .

    • Why should your comfort level dictate how mothers feed their babies? Perhaps, for some women, that is the best way they can get a good latch.

      It doesn’t matter how much skin a woman a showing when she feeds her baby. It isn’t a modesty issue. If breasts are being used to feed a child, it’s not wrong to have them exposed. That’s what their purpose is in that context.

    • Shannon Marie Federoff

      If there is a way to nurse and NOT be an exhibitionist, that should be the preferred way. There are clothes (or the lack thereof) that cover the body insufficiently and therefore are not morally or socially acceptable. Modesty calls upon people to behave well with others and conform to standards of decency and decorum found in the healthy customs of an ordered society.

      When you present yourself properly to others, you are modest. When you control yourself in your external actions and manners in society, you are modest. When you act erratically and speak in a manner that offends and disregards others, you are immodest. When you seek to draw attention to yourself, you are immodest.

      Saint Thomas Aquinas states that you are immodest when you are unduly negligent in your appearance and fail to present yourself according to your state in life. You are also immodest when you seek to attract attention to yourself by showing a lack of concern for presenting oneself well (Summa, II-II, q. 169, a. 1).

      Again, even WITHOUT a shawl or blanket, it is possible to cover your upper breast, chest, and areola. Just lift your shirt UP, not pull the fabric DOWN from the shoulder.

    • By definition, a woman who is nursing a child is not an exhibitionist. She is simply a woman feeding her child. It is not immodest to feed a child.
      Have you personally ever met a woman who nurses not because she wants to feed her child, but solely because she wants to show off her boobs to the public?
      Do you think that the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the featured photo, is being an exhibitionist?

  • Howard

    Just because something is natural and not sinful does not mean it is appropriate for public display, your denial notwithstanding.

    • Wow, Howard, tell me more about how you know so much about breastfeeding your children. 🙄 To demand that mothers isolate themselves during the first one or two years of their babies life is ridiculous. Babies have to eat all the dang time, and moms are doing nothing wrong by feeding them. If you are so weak that you cannot control your thoughts when a baby eats, perhaps you are the one who should isolate yourself.

    • Howard

      Babies also need to be changed all the danged time. I’ll try not to sit next to you, because apparently you’re the type who would clear off a spot on the table and change the kid in the middle of dinner just to “prove a point” to those who think that should be taken elsewhere.

    • Yes, because changing a poopy diaper and not allowing your newborn to starve are the same thing. The logic–it blinds me.

    • Howard

      “The logic–it blinds me.” Well, obviously.

    • Bless your heart.

    • Andre B

      Babies also need to be changed all the danged time.

      Though, blow-outs aside, generally not with the same urgency with which they require feeding.

    • Howard

      So breast-feeding in public is an option to consider, and letting the baby go hungry is an option to consider, but using a bottle to feed the baby is not to be considered, ever, no matter how hungry the little tyke is. Better to let the baby starve than to avoid the chance to make a point!

    • Andre B

      What a strange thing to take away from my comment, which was just an observation on how babies react to hunger vs. soiled diapers – though even here, I’m sure there’s quite the range of reactions between babies 🙂

      Obviously, bottle feeding is an option – though not without its own limitations. If you’re using breast milk, it must be properly stored. If you’re using formula, you either need the shelf-stable shooters or you have to pack multiple containers for the water + powder. In either case, you’re limited by the amount you pack and clean bottles you have.

    • Howard

      Fair enough. I’m afraid this issue is too often just about the desire to provoke a reaction, then act shocked and offended when the reaction comes.

    • Andre B

      I can’t speak to that, only to having just had our first child, and experiencing the challenges of trying to be out in public with said child.

    • Kelly Sangree

      Ah, a man has spoken, so Howard is appeased.

      We woman can (and do) say the same things as Andre B (thank you, BTW), but only when a man speaks does Howard listen and consider the wisdom of what is being said.

      It IS difficult to pump, store, and carry milk in a bottle. Not to mention that if I were anywhere near my children, they would flatly refuse the counterfeit bottle, since they knew the real source of food and comfort was available.

    • Howard

      That’s quite a conclusion to draw from only two responses: one a woman, who did NOT say the same thing Andre did. But hey, it has to be all about you doesn’t it Kelley? Let’s everybody give Kelley a big hand, because that’s the whole point of this anyway!

    • Howard–can you not? Really, just don’t. You do not have breasts. You have not spent hours in agony with cracked, bloody nipples, shaking at the thought of having to feed this tiny creature that depends on you for everything, all the while having to function on NO sleep. You struggle to make it out of the house with your baby and then–then!–you have to deal with the Howards of the world who are worries about their delicate wittle sensibilities being offended by a baby eating. Can you not?

    • Howard

      So which is it? Are you complaining that life is unfair? If so, I have bad news: life is unfair. It is often hard to do things the right way, and sometimes we have to do the best we can. That is different from saying that anything that is good to do is good to do in public. Not everything is supposed to be on display. The fact that you simply cannot agree to that principle perfectly expresses the whole problem.

      That said, there is no sense in keeping this thread alive.

    • No, Howard. What I’m saying is that your position that your sensibilities are more important than a baby’s need to eat is harmful. Do I really need to spell it out? You absolutely do not know the tremendous amount of pain and effort that it takes to establish the nursing relationship between mother and baby. And having a bunch of Howards out in the world discouraging women from feeding their babies is harmful to two very vulnerable populations–postpartum women and babies.

      There is *nothing* wrong with a mother feeding her child at the breast. If you are so ruled by your passions that you cannot control yourself if you see an inch of someone’s skin, keep a blanket on hand to cover your own face. Let the babies and mothers alone.

      That being said, I’m sure you’re not that much of a slave to temptation, and you can easily go about your day after happening upon a baby eating.

    • MaryB435

      I have been a maternity nurse, I have nursed my 4 children. I am a grandmother. This all takes quite a bit of effort, and is well worth it. (And yes, I tossed a blanket over my shoulder, but it is true that the babies often repeatedly pull it off. They’re BABIES–they don’t know!) ALL of us need to be more considerate of each other–especially young Moms with–literally–their hands full!
      I am just letting you know that your attitude is not at all helpful. When someone who obviously doesn’t have a clue what it takes to nurse a baby acts this way, it just causes more difficulty for mothers who are already trying very hard to do their best for their children.

    • Yvonne

      Howard, I just wanted you to know that as a woman I agree with you.
      There is nothing wrong with breastfeeding in public, but even as I woman I do a double-take when I see another woman not covering herself when doing so. It seems that to suggest a woman cover herself is somehow being anti-woman, which is pure silliness. One would think that those who have a problem with this suggestion are being reactionary in their response.

    • Kelly Sangree

      Thank you for making my point, and deliberately misspelling my name just to try to needle me.

    • Several problems with that, Howard.

      1. Formula is expensive. Breastmilk is not. If a woman is in a large Catholic family where money is already tight, it’s preposterous to expect her to spend 20 bucks on a can of formula (and that’s the cheap powdered stuff) just so she won’t offend delicate male sensibilities when out in public.

      2. Pumping breastmilk is annoying at best and painful at worst. It’s also cumbersome and time-consuming. I don’t pump breastmilk unless absolutely necessary. I especially don’t pump if I’m able to nurse, because of point number three.

      3. Establishing a good breast-feeding relationship, and establishing a good breastmilk supply, depends on the mother nursing her baby as often as possible. If she were to start giving bottles instead of putting baby to breast, that could cause her supply to plummet.

      4. if women do not nurse or pump at regular intervals when baby is young, they can become painfully engorged and even develop conditions such as mastitis, which are extremely painful.

      5. It’s a huge hassle to carry bottles of breastmilk or formula around. They have to be thrown out if they’re not used within a span of a few hours. Breast milk in the breast, however, does not spoil and is at always the perfect temperature.

      Do you need more reasons?

    • MaryB435

      You obviously don’t understand.

    • td10

      Howard- i have 11 children, all whom I have breastfed, and I can assure you that there is rarely an agenda being promoted by a nursing mother. My husband was military, which meant frequent plane trips, and the same people who were rolling their eyes at a screaming baby were the same ones appalled at a nursing mother– the obvious antidote to the baby’s distress. It really comes down to practicality. You can’t always hide yourself conveniently out of the way– which generally means sitting on a smelly public toilet for lack of another chair, a place I’m sure you’ve never eaten a meal. Babies tend to fight having a blanket wrapped around their head while eating, another feat you’ve probably never had to master, and to successfully breastfeed, a mother has to nurse on demand, which means all the time, especially during a growth spurt. Bottles interfere with milk production and are not always convenient. They also require inserting your breasts into an electric suction pump. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that one except to say, no fun. At all.
      I have always tried to be sensitive to the discomfort of anyone around me and have been as modest as possible but society has got to cut some slack to nursing mothers whose only goal is the well-being of their baby. If you don’t know how you should react to seeing a nursing mother, I’d recommend keeping a book handy so you can avert your eyes.

    • I’m not sure why you went through the trouble of typing all that out when Howard has already told us that he knows way more about nursing than us women who are currently lactating. 🙄

      (But for real–you make great points to add to what I believe is a very important discussion. Nursing mothers are not a near occasion of sin!)

  • Guy McClung

    LASouthpaw-All women ARE allowed to walk around naked in public. Anti-breastfeeding is not based on modesty, but on a modern MNM3 approach to the world, a let-us-celebrate-our-abortions approach, an anti-motherhood approach. Just like the feminists some years back tried to prevent Sacajewa from being depicted with her papoose on a US coin, these MNM3 pagans want nothing in the public domain that says being a mother is a good, awesome, fullofwonder role in life. Modesty? turn on any TV any channel, go to any movie and watch the previews, turn on any news station, read any magazine at the grocery checkout lane – there is no modesty anymore, none. Go to any beach and you can see all the bare breasts, frontal groin areas, and naked butts you wish – but God forbid that a selfless loving mother who chose not to abort her cellmass should be a mother, publicly. Guy McClung, Texas

    MNM3 = me me me now now now more more more

    • td10

      Amen

  • LASouthpaw

    A 500 batting average in baseball would be outstanding (and record-breaking). But when it comes to spirituality, I think you should aim higher. You are half right. I believe you are correct in asserting that there is absolutely nothing wrong with breast-feeding in public. But the idea of not needing to cover up is completely wrong.
    Using your argument, all women should be allowed to walk around naked in public because that’s what Eve did and the way God intended us. It is only because Original Sin that we need to wear clothes, apart from cold weather. Neither men nor women should ever, if possible, be the source of temptation for anyone else and expecting men to control their thoughts in spite of your temptation is patently unfair. Cover-ups are very comfortable and easy to use.. My daughter breast-fed eight children in public and never complained once about using a cover-up.
    And your other arguments are just as faulty. To my knowledge, Pope Francis has never said that it was preferable to display your breasts in public while breast-feeding rather than use a cover up and the fact that artists have fantasized about the Blessed Mother’s breasts does not make them right to do so. As you have so correctly stated, she was the model of modesty.

    • adam aquinas

      Absolutely solopsistic bloviating comment …. does the Bible say we need clothing when breastfeeding because of original sin. If you or anyone is sexually stimulated by a woman breastfeeding, you need some intense psychotherapy.

    • Edwin Woodruff Tait

      You know, it’s possible to refute this nonsense without resorting to the vicious “if you say/think X you should get therapy” trope, which I wish people would just stop using.

      Many men are sexually aroused by breasts. Men learn to need to control themselves. But telling them that there is something fundamentally wrong with them because they need to control themselves in the first place is just counterproductive.

    • Cal-gal

      Well, Adam…as a man, I don’t think you have place in this discussion…particularly as you would be considered an observing bystander. For the record, as one who actually did nurse several children, for several years (read my comment). I totally agree with LASouthpaw.

    • James Steele

      I have never been murdered, aborted, euthanized, committed suicide, used drugs, or run a red light. Does that mean I cannot be part of the public discourse about these issues??? Since when do you have to be among the protected classes of a law to have input on said law? In fact, if you cracked a history book, you’d know that the founding fathers all feared that protected classes would gain more political power than those whose rights they were abrogating.

    • Nicole Perez

      “…expecting men to control their thoughts in spite of your temptation is patently unfair.”

      No, it’s actually expected. As adults, we’re responsible for controlling our actions and thoughts. If a man experiences a near occasion of sin from seeing a woman feed her child, it’s on him to turn away or leave the room.

    • Cal-gal

      You are operating on the assumption that all men in that situation, will be able to control themselves….Seriously? I would not presume that every and any man who saw my breast would be so evolved…Ewwwww.

    • Why is there always someone equating breastfeeding with walking around naked?

      And that’s fantastic that your daughter nursed 8 kids and ever complained about a cover up. I have nursed 4 kids and as soon as you put something over their heads they rip it off because it’s hot and stuffy under there. So does my anecdotal story trump yours?

      Maybe the issue is that we are not agreeing on what it means to “cover up.” If I’m wearing a tee shirt, I can pull up from the bottom. If I’m wearing a wrap dress, I pull aside the wrap and latch baby on. In the first case, my abdomen is exposed, the second case the area between my shoulder and top of the breast is exposed. Is either case less covered than the other? I’ve nursed babies on airplanes, at the park, at concerts, at school, and *gasp* at Mass… and no one has ever batted an eye.

      Lastly, yes, men are expected to control their thoughts just as women are expected to control their thoughts in view of a well muscled shirtless man at the beach. Oh, but it’s ok for a dude to walk around exposed, right?

    • Cal-gal

      Apparently you aren’t doing it correctly…I never had that problem, in all my 14 yrs of nursing..modesty in my mind, was just assumed. Oh, and please read my remark to Nicole Perez…it might do you some good, along with my primary comment above…Note Liberal Marxism comment.

  • adam aquinas

    You are, of course, perfectly right. Breastfeeding in ANY location is perfectly natural and perfectly appropriate. People who would object to this are afflicted with a scrupulosity borne of pathological prudery.