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Beyonce Makes Headlines for Breastfeeding Her Daughter in Public

Beyonce Makes Headlines for Breastfeeding Her Daughter in Public

Public breastfeeding remains a contentious topic — even when Beyonce does it. The iconic singer was spotted in a New York City restaurant last week, breastfeeding her 7-week-old daughter, Blue Ivy, while eating lunch with her husband Jay-Z. The incident immediately made headlines. After all, mothers are increasingly resistant to pressure from store owners, employees, or even passersby, who want them to contain their breastfeeding to private spaces like dressing rooms or bathroom stalls. This is despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women exclusively nurse their babies for six months.

As health blogger Bonnie Rochman points out, “Assuming that these women have to leave the house during that period of time, it’s inevitable that they’ll have to contend with how to feed a hungry baby outside the privacy of their home.”

By nonchalantly nursing her baby over lunch, Beyonce is undoubtedly helping to bring breastfeeding into the mainstream. Her obvious support for breastfeeding could also encourage more black women to nurse; the numbers show that only just over half (54%) of black mothers say they breastfeed their infants, compared to nearly three-quarters (74%) of white mothers.

Women are routinely humiliated for breastfeeding in public. Last December, a nursing mother was harassed by Target employees for breastfeeding in the store. A few weeks later, the woman, Michelle Hickman, helped organize a “nurse-in” at more than 100 Target stores across the country. Meanwhile, pro-nursing activists (or “lactivists”) are engaged in a dispute with Facebook over whether photos of breastfeeding should be permitted on the social media website.

According to Emma Kwasnica, a childbirth and breastfeeding educator who helped spearhead the Facebook nurse-in, “I think Beyonce has a huge impact on being able to re-normalize breastfeeding and give women confidence to do the same. Images of pop stars and celebrities giving their babies nourishment will never harm our cause.”

If Beyonce can help reduce the stigma around breastfeeding, good for her. It’s also heartening to see a pop culture icon embracing her right to nurse publicly. After all, if it’s acceptable to wear this on an album cover, why should public breastfeeding be considered unacceptable?

Related Stories:

CDC Says Hospitals Need to Do More to Help Moms Breastfeed

Facebook Sends Mixed Messages to Breastfeeding Moms

Target Employees Harass and Humiliate Breastfeeding Mom

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216 comments

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6:28PM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

I breastfed my son whenever, wherever for 14 months during 1978-79. I was always conscientious about being polite about it and covering up as much as possible and I never once had a derogatory comment made to me. I had girlfriends who didn't even bother to make any effort to cover up, which I personally thought was rude, but that may just have been the manner in which I was brought up. I never said anything to them about it as I didn't think it was any of my business. My how the times have changed. I guess us old "hippies" had a much easier time of it than the mothers of today, thank goodness, as I'm well known for having quite the ability to put someone in their place in a heartbeat if they cross my personal space..

9:58PM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

noted

8:08PM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

Good on ya Beyonce....Back in the 80's we all used to breastfeed in public without the major uproar you have now...

11:59AM PDT on Aug 4, 2012

Been there, done that, in the 80's! I can't hardly believe it's still any kind of issue any more. I never once contemplated feeding my infants in a filthy toilet stall. They always ate at the table. Breast fed is best fed. Breasts Rule!!!

8:59AM PDT on May 31, 2012

Americans need to grow a pair and get over it..

8:05AM PDT on May 15, 2012

If someone doesn't like to watch someone breast feed, then look the other way!! Duh...how hard was that?

12:05AM PDT on May 12, 2012

Ha. Did she REALLY expect it not to make headlines? Pathetic. Her own fault. She knows the media follows her and if she wanted privacy she should have took her feeding ELSEWHERE!

9:54AM PDT on May 1, 2012

Kudos for Beyonce!

7:12AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

The problem isn't breastfeeding in public....the problem is the ignorant, nosy, perverted observers of breastfeeding in public...here's a note to observers...stop looking, and stop perverting it.

On a different note....kudos to Beyonce for not giving into ignorance, and doing the best thing for her child...

BREAST FED IS BEST FED

2:59PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

Way to go! Viva la mujer!

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