Is It Socially Acceptable to Breast-Feed in Public Yet?

by on May 12, 2016 · 1 comment

in Civil Rights, Culture, Health, Labor, Life Events, Ocean Beach, Women's Rights

breast feeding public militarywomen

Moms in the military nursed their babies at the Jefferson Memorial as part of the “Normalize Breastfeeding” photo project. Vanessa Simmons / Candid Perspective Photography

By South OB Girl

San Diego photographer Vanessa Simmons started Normalize Breastfeeding in 2014 – a project intended to bring awareness to breast-feeding through photography. This past weekend in Washington, D.C., she photographed a troop of active-duty military officers standing on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial, feeding their children in uniform.

This past weekend a group of some 100 young mothers also gathered in Hong Kong to breast-feed in public. And last month, eco-conscious fashion brand Reformation featured a nursing model.

Then there’s the “brelfie,” or breast-feeding selfie, on the rise in social media especially among celebrities.

Monica Kim reports in an article for Vogue, that according to France Begin, UNICEF’s senior advisor for infant nutrition, the conversation has shifted significantly over the past year, thanks in large part to public figures taking a stand on social media. But even though public breast-feeding is legal in almost all 50 states, it remains, for many, a taboo.

Being discussed these days are the choices about breast-feeding that women are making:

“A lot of mothers stop breast-feeding before they want to… Whether there’s no paid maternity leave, no policies in the workplace to support them to take nursing breaks, or no space to breast-feed—they don’t have a choice” (Monica Kim,

In China, initiatives have led to the rise of public breast-feeding spaces in malls and parks. Next week at Women Deliver, a global women’s rights conference to be held in Copenhagen, UNICEF will hold sessions to address the barriers faced by breast-feeding women, along with a roundtable including representatives from global governments, NGOs, and the private sector.

No doubt this a topic that generates many opinions.

Ocean Beach women have a long history being activists promoting the health benefits of breast-feeding. Many older women in the community whom you may know were likely promoting breast-feeding back in the 1970s before it was an acceptable practice to do even in private.

Breast-feeding has become encouraged by health care providers these days and is for the most part mainstream.

The topic under discussion now is breast-feeding in public. Some may be all for it. Some may not want to see it. And one thing is for sure — the women’s rights movement is still in motion and breast-feeding awareness is growing stronger.

Kim, Monica. “Is It Socially Acceptable to Breast-Feed in Public?

Bologna, Caroline. “7 Powerful Photos Of Military Moms Breastfeeding In Uniform.”

Normalize Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding in the News, Breastfeeding Photography, & Online Breastfeeding Support by Vanessa A. Simmons, Photographer

Author’s note:
This article is intended to report on current events. It is not a reflection of the author’s personal opinion about public breast-feeding. The author has no personal experience with breast-feeding.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

kh May 12, 2016 at 5:38 pm

Sure why not. But it is definitely not acceptable to use your military uniform to promote any sort of political or social agenda. I would expect they’d be reprimanded for this stunt.


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