Do you think it's appropriate for mothers to breastfeed in public?

I personally don't care because breastfeeding is natural. I just noticed some people act offended when they see this. The other night I saw this while riding Bart and a handful of the people around this mother/child were rolling their eyes to other. It wasn't like her boobs were all hanging out. Mother did a very good job of concealing herself while her child fed on her breast. What do you think?

I thought there was no EATING or DRINKING on the BART?

Very funny response! I can't imagine why anyone would even take an infant on the filthy germ laden trains in the first place. I think BART Police should arrest the mother for child endangerment. I have no problem with a mother nursing her children's nature's way. I nursed my babies in public places on ocassion, but I would never have nursed them in a place a dirty as a BART train. If that mother had any idea what goes on in those train cars, she'd probably never have taken the child on board.

As for the other passengers who were rolling their eyes, it's their own immaturity and embarrassment. They could just as easily have ignored the mother, but instead called attention to themselves by acting like five year olds.

Train Operator since 2003's picture

As a Train OP all I can say is I'd rather have a quiet happy baby on a breast anywhere than a hungry unhappy baby fussing. As far as the no eating/drinking rule, I don't recall ever seeing a discarded breast on the train after a nursing mother offboarded.

Even funnier. I love your sense of humor. You and Operator9 and I ought to get together for drinks. I'll be the designated driver.

Train Operator since 2003's picture

As I have said before, This job kills relationships. Op 9 and I work 40 miles away from each other on different shifts. We probably wave as we pass if we're lucky or working overtime.

Yeah, I know. I was kidding. I just want you two to know how much I enjoy reading what you write. There are so many negative comments on this site. When someone writes something humorous or positive it's refreshing.

Keep up your efforts to educate the whiners and complainers on this site. I realize it was started so people could vent their frustrations with BART, but some of these people are far more than frustrated. Some of them need Anger Management training.

Maybe she was nursing on BART because she didn't have any other option of transportation on that ocasion. How about that? Did it ever pass on your mind?

I think it is only appropriate if the mother is required to share.

I'm a nursing mother, and I ride BART occasionally (I don't drive).

I'm sure that the people around me would MUCH prefer that my baby isn't screaming his head off because he's hungry. Babies can get loud and shrill when they're upset. I do my best to keep everything covered while I'm nursing.

Granted, nursing on BART isn't much better than nursing in a restroom, for all that the cars are pretty filthy.

Hey, if your kid is hungry, you go right ahead and feed the little tyke. That goes for Bart, church, 5-star restaurants, whatever.

YUCK! I would rather not have to see that.

Fine, you can avert your eyes.

As I have said in another post on here:

I find it sad that anyone would be bothered by breastfeeding. No matter what you believe in (God, Science, Mother Nature or a mixture of those three) the fact remains the same that breasts are designed to feed a baby. Despite the fact that some individuals have chosen to make breasts sexual objects that does not change their original design or purpose. Lactation is for the sole purpose of nutrition. A baby needs to eat when they need to eat, without delay, without strict scheduling, and this need differs from baby to baby and even from day to day for the same baby. On a hot day a breastfed baby will require more feeds (longer and/or more frequently) to help quench thirst and avoid dehydration. If a baby is ill or experiencing normal "disturbances" such as growth spurts or teething they will need to feed for comfort and pain management. You cannot always schedule a baby's feeds around travel. Some breastfed babies feed every six hours and some every hour. It is unreasonable to expect a breastfed baby to stay at home so the mother can feed them without breastfeeding in public. A woman has to go out eventually.

From the World Health Organization website:

"Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. A recent review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.

To enable mothers to establish and sustain exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, WHO and UNICEF recommend:

* Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life
* Exclusive breastfeeding – that is the infant only receives breastmilk without any additional food or drink, not even water
* Breastfeeding on demand – that is as often as the child wants, day and night
* No use of bottles, teats or pacifiers"

There are many medical benefits to breastfeeding (I've pasted an informational list below) and it is all natural. To those who say it is "disgusting" I have to ask what exactly do you find disgusting? The breast? Why? You have severe sexual issues if you are incapable of viewing a breast in a non-sexual way and should probably seek counseling for that. For those who want to impose conditions like the suggestion that a mother should only breastfeed in public if she covers up, I have to ask "Do you cover your head with a blanket when you eat?" Why should a baby have to? It is extrememly uncomfortable to use a nursing cover in the summer months when both mother and baby can overheat from adding extra layers. Breastfeeding is an important bonding tool between mother and baby and continued eye contact is essential (this is difficult with most types of nursing covers). If breastfeeding bothers you that much feel free to put a blanket over your own head, or just move to another seat, or simply look away. And for those people who are misinformed or uninformed about breastfeeding, here are many of the multiple benefits (and NO, there is no reccommended cut-off age despite what some people think...)

Health Benefits for Baby

Breast milk is more easily digested than ANY formula, resulting in less colic, gas, and spitting up

Breastfeeding reduces or even eliminates food allergies & eczema. Babies who are breastfed for less than six months have seven times the incidence of allergies as those who are breastfed longer than six months.

Breastfeeding is associated with a much lower incidence of wheezing, prolonged colds, diarrhea, and vomiting (Merrett, T.G., "Infant Feeding & Allergy: 12 Month Prospective Study of 500 Babies Born into Allergic Families". American Allergies, 1988.)

Eczema is less common and milder in babies who are breastfed. In one study, (Chandra R.K., "Influence of Maternal Diet During Lactation and the Use of Formula Feed and Development of Atopic Eczema in the High Risk Infants". Br Med J. 1989) it was found that of infants fed soy based formulas, 63% developed eczema. In those fed cows milk based formulas 70% developed eczema."

Formula fed children have a drastic increase in childhood cancers. "The risk of artificially fed children was 1-8 times that of long-term breastfed children, and the risk for short term feeders was 1-9 times that of long term breast feeders." Davis, M.K. Infant Feeding and Childhood Cancer. "Lancet 1988

Breastfed babies get protection from bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, diabetes and asthma.

Formula fed babies suffer higher instances of cardiopulmonary disturbances. (Particularly preterm infants)

Breastfed babies have fewer diaper rashes .

Breastfed babies have 5-10 times fewer stomach infections than formula fed babies

Babies who are breastfed are 10 times less likely to be admitted to the hospital during the first year.

Breast milk contains endorphins, chemicals that suppress pain.

Breast milk contains at least 100 (some sources say up to 400) ingredients not found in formula including at least 4 unique proteins. There are unique and powerful immune building properties in breast milk, and it can enhance brain development

There is growing evidence that breastfeeding can raise your child's I.Q. and there are numerous studies pointing to higher developmental test scores in breastfed children.

Breast fed babies have up to 50% fewer ear infections than bottle fed babies

A recent study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development indicated that breastfeeding was protective against SIDS. (Hoffman, H.J., "Risk Factors for SIDS: Results of the SIDS Cooperative Epidemiologic Study". Ann NY ACAD Sci, 1988.)

Another source states that "Breastfed babies are one-third less likely to die of SIDS."

Breastfeeding enhances the baby's development of oral muscles and facial bones.

Benefits for Mothers

Breastfeeding mothers have lower rates of certain cancers (breast, ovarian, uterine, and endometrial) as well as a reduced risk of osteoporosis. Also, "Women who were breastfed as infants, even if only for a short time, showed an approximate 25% lower risk of developing premenopausal or postmenopausal breast cancer, compared to women who were bottle-fed as an infant." (Freudenheim, J. "Exposure to breast milk in infancy and the risk of breast cancer." Epidemiology 1994 5:324-331)

Breastfeeding "confirms a woman's power to control her own body, and challenges the male-dominated medical model and business interests that promote bottle feeding." from Breastfeeding-A Feminist Issue by Penny Van Esterik

Breastfeeding encourages uterine contractions after childbirth, returning the uterus to it's pre-pregnancy size much faster. It has been shown that the uteruses of formula feeding mothers sometimes never return to the pre-pregnancy state.

Breastfeeding also: Boosts prolactin (a hormone that enhances feelings of nurturing and contentment) levels, speeds up post-partum weight loss and helps child spacing.

Current research confirms that as long as a woman is fully or nearly fully breastfeeding, and has not resumed menstruation, she has a less than 2% risk of becoming pregnant. Family planners know this method as Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM). In areas of world where artificial contraception is unaffordable, unavailable or unacceptable, breastfeeding provides a woman with an effective means of family planning. Source: WABA World Breastfeeding Week Action folder 1995 "Breastfeeding: Empowering Women"

Breastfeeding boosts women's self-reliance and self esteem: by meeting the needs of their infants, they increase their confidence in their ability parent and nurture.

Breastfeeding reduces women's dependence on medical professionals and validates the tried and trusted knowledge that mothers and midwives have about infant care and feeding.Source: WABA World Breastfeeding Week Action folder 1995 "Breastfeeding: Empowering Women"

Breastfeeding is easier and less time consuming. There is no preparation involved, and you don't have to prepare, warm, or transport bottles.

Emotional Benefits

Breastfeeding stimulates a mothers body to produce prolactin and oxytocin, the "mothering hormones" (Prolactin helps you feel relaxed, loving, and calm. Prolactin levels can increase 10-20 fold within 30 minutes of beginning a nursing session)

Breastfeeding provides extra closeness that helps your baby bond and develop trust.

The skin-to-skin contact offered by breastfeeding reduces the stress babies experience when they enter the world from the warmth and safety of the womb.

Breastfeeding provides comfort during illness or pain.

Even the Environmental Benefits

Breastmilk is actually the most ecological food available to humans.

There is less consumption of natural resources and landfill space. The production and packaging of formula uses paper, glass, plastic, and metals, all of which need to be produced and disposed of.

"If every child in America were bottle-fed, almost 86,000 tons of tin would be needed to produce 550 million cans for one year's worth of formula. If every mother in the Great Britain breastfed, 3000 tons of paper (used for formula labels) would be saved in a year. But the formula is not the only problem. Bottles and nipples require plastic, glass, rubber, and silicon; production of these materials can be resource-intensive and often leads to end-products that are not-recyclable. All these products use natural resources, cause pollution in their manufacture and distribution, and create trash in their packaging, promotion, and disposal. "
-From Mother Nature Loves Breastmilk", by Dia Michels

These materials are rarely recycled and the two most common disposal methods, landfill and incineration, both contribute greatly to pollution. Plastic feeding bottles and nipples will take 200 to 450 years to break down and it is impossible to determine the amount of time it takes for glass feeding bottles to break down. Landfill sites are hard to come by in many countries and they can pollute groundwater. Incineration releases pollutants into the air. The fumes from burned plastic can contain dioxin and other toxic substances.

If all U.S. babies were artificially fed, the 550 million formula cans sold each year, stacked end to end would circle the earth one and a half times. In 1987, 4.5 million feeding bottles were sold in Pakistan alone. These feeding bottles stacked end to end would reach the top of Mount Everest. Source: WABA Breastfeeding...WBW 1997- Nature's Way

The industrial processes used to create artificial feeding products for babies use vast quantities of energy and natural resources (fuels) and create air pollution (acid rain and greenhouse gases)

If you consider the global or even national scope, even the water and energy used in homes to prepare formula and the bottles and nipples themselves (washing, boiling, etc) have a tremendous impact.

Most artificial baby milks are made with cows milk, the production of which wastes land and resources and contributes to the pollution of the environment in numerous ways:

* Cows excretion and flatulance produce 100 million tons of methane every year, which equals 20% of the earths total emissions. (Methane is the second most problematic gaseous contribution to the greenhouse effect and global warming.)
* The fertilizers used to grow feed for dairy cows pollute rivers and groundwater.
* The ammonia from cow pastures and slurry tanks cause acid rain.
* The clearing of land for pasture means deforestation, an increase in greenhouse gases, the destruction of animal and plant species and erosion of the soil. For example, each kilogram of baby milk produced in Mexico "costs" 12.5 square meters of rainforest.

Even the production of soy based formulas are detrimental to the environment:

* Soy formulas require just as much natural resources and energy to produce and package.
* In Brazil, forests are cleared and burned to create soy plantations. The soya beans are then used to feed cattle and as the base for soy based formulas.
* The growing of soy beans requires a high input of fertilizers and irrigation.

Source: Breastmilk: A World Resource

Formula Just Doesn't Measure Up

Breast milk composition changes over time, as well as from feeding to feeding. From premature infants to young children, breast milk always has the right proportions of fat, carbohydrates, enzymes and protein as well as numerous other components.

Colostrum is the perfect first food for babies. It is produced during pregnancy and changes into mature milk a few days after baby's birth. Colostrum provides baby with an unequaled immunity against viruses and bacteria.

Breastmilk is a living substance. Each woman's milk is individually tailored for her own baby. What's more, her milk changes constantly - both during a feed and day by day - to meet her baby's evolving needs. When a mother is exposed to pathogens in the environment, she produces antibodies to combat them. The mother's antibodies are then passed on to her baby via her breastmilk. Source: WABA Breastfeeding...WBW 1997- Nature's Way

Breast milk is created by the human body to feed human babies. It is perfectly formulated for the nutritional needs of human babies.

Cow's milk is created by cows to feed calves. It is perfectly formulated for the nutritional needs of calves.

Formula is an industrially manufactured food. It contains chemicals, flavoring, vitamins, and proteins that attempt to replicate breast milk. The multiple processings, ingredients and alterations required to convert cows milk or soy beans to the finished product opens up numerous opportunities for contamination by harmful bacteria, chemicals, insects, and foreign bodies.

The following is a PARTIAL list of known contaminations of infant formulas:

* 1997 - UK : Milumil withdrawn from sale after being linked with salmonella infection.
* 1997 - USA: FDA recalled Nestle's Carnation follow-up formula because of adulteration and production under unsanitary conditions. Linked with mild gastrointestinal illness. 11,317 cases of 6 32 oz. cans to a case recalled.
* 1996 - USA: Carnation Alsoy Concentrate liquid in 32 oz. cans withdrawn because instructions on the top of the can state: Do not add water. Mislabeling could have led to infants consuming undiluted, concentrated formula. The side label indicated the addition of water.
* 1996 - USA: Heinz apple and prune juice for infants in 4 oz. bottles recalled because they contained quantities of lead in excess of 80 ppb.
* 1994 - Sri Lanka: Customs officers sent back a large consignment of Nestle's milk powder imported from Poland because it was contaminated with radioactive particles.
* 1993 - USA: Nutramigen formula recalled after it is found to contain broken glass.
* 1993 - USA: Soyalac formula withdrawn following discovery of salmonella contamination.
* 1992 - India: Live black insects and crawling worms found in a packet of Lactogen infant formula.

Source: WABA World Breastfeeding Week Action folder 1997 "Breastfeeding: Nature's Way"

In fact: There were twenty-two different recalls of infant formula in the United States because of health and safety problems between 1982 and 1994, . Seven of these recalls were classified as "Class I" (potentially life threatening) by the FDA. In random testing,a number of lab-tested infant formulas have been found to contain bacterial and elemental contaminants.

Breast milk is always safe, fresh, perfectly clean, just the right temperature, instantly available and it is the most nutritious feeding system for the lowest cost.

TreoBART's picture

Your wall of text fails to convince me that babies will die if they are fed formula instead of boob milk while in public.

"If breastfeeding bothers you that much feel free to put a blanket over your own head, or just move to another seat, or simply look away." I absolutely agree! Breastfeeding doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I would much rather see it over bottle feeding; it's a natural thing. Besides, there are more disturbing behaviors on BART to worry about than this.