Telling the good stories


It can be easy to get overwhelmed if you even just dip your toe into the breastfeeding debate. People can feel very strongly about anything related to breast-feeding and passionately express their opinions. Personally, I like passionate people, even people that passionately disagree with me. Living life with passion makes it exciting and hearing about others passionate opinions on any given subject gives me the opportunity to learn and grow. Even if it is to learn and grow more deeply in what I believe.


That said, the clamor of passionate voices can get to be a bit much for a new mom and her family. Even before baby comes everyone is an expert with the right way to care for the new little person. After the little one is taking up residence in the family’s home, all those experts, and then some, come out and start grading. It’s nerve wracking to say the least. When it comes to breast-feeding, it is down right intimidating and can be really scary.

Particularly when baby needs to eat and you’re out and about. Nursing in public, or NIP as it is often referred to, can spark a heated discussion just about anywhere. From the internet, where blogs, forums, facebook groups, and websites fan the flames of in-your-face debate, to mom groups, where not-so-subtle expressions burn branded looks of almost partisan level judgment from all sides. Not to mention everywhere in between: churches, restaurants, media, playgrounds, offices, and pretty much anywhere people talk. The issues? Not as cut and dry as they appear, actually. Is it about modesty? Covering up? Not covering up? Offending someone? What somebody may see? What somebody may not see? Efforts to normalize breastfeeding? A mother meeting her baby’s needs? Indecency? Who gets to define decency? Eating on the toilet? Being discreet? Being rude? And what is rude? Family friendly? And on and on and on. It is enough for a woman to never leave home if she chooses to breastfeed. Or at least, to never leave home without a bottle for the baby because should she need to feed that baby with her breast she could very well experience humiliation at the hands of everyone around her. And seriously, who needs that? Not a new mother, that’s for sure. Because the journey of motherhood doesn’t already redefine a woman to such an extent that her insecurities are sky high. Now let’s add this into the mix. Let’s tell her that breast is best, give her the support and education she needs to succeed at it and then scare the shit out of her so she never leaves the house and ends up depressed. If we know that breast really is best then our behavior towards a breast-feeding mother and her child should not shame or punish her.


If you listen to all the voices out there it would be easy to think that every time a woman puts her child to her breast in response to that child’s hunger TV cameras and nay-sayers immediately appear. Even those that greatly support public breastfeeding end up talking more about the negative experiences than the positive ones in an effort to help educate and defend the rights of moms and babies. Those experiences do need to be talked about, and loudly. We need to shine the light of investigation and outrage, holding companies and individuals accountable when a mother and her child are treated poorly for NIP. The only ones that should be shamed are those that attempt to imply that a NIP mother is some how doing something bad. Education is needed for breast-feeding including NIP. So I don’t want that to stop. But I do want something to start.

Let’s tell the positive stories too. The funny ones, the heart-warming, encouraging tales that let moms and families everywhere know that lifting your shirt to feed your baby shouldn’t be a nerve inducing experience. There are people that show support for breastfeeding women in public and do so in really wonderful and encouraging ways.


The Leak Boob wants to help tell these positive stories, to start a collection of the good times had NIP. Please share your positive NIP tales with us. We’d love to hear from anyone, moms, dads, family members, and the people supportive of breastfeeding. Share either in the comments below or e-mail us your story to post here. Let’s give moms some encouragement through personal experiences that no matter where they are, if they cover or not, there are people that won’t be freaked out by them doing the best for their baby. We got started here, thanks to our Facebook “leakies.”

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Comments

  1. A first time (young) Mum and very pro breastfeeding, I was just gagging for someone to challenge me for NIP. I was having lunch in a restaurant one day with my very Jewish in laws in a very Jewish area. Bub got hungry so I popped out the boob and feed him. Half way through, I looked up to see an elderly man looking at me and then turn to say something to his wife. He hopped up and headed over to our table, immediately my hackles were up, I was ready for a showdown.. He touched me lightly on the shoulder and with a big smile said "What, no casserole today? Good job darling." It was the best feeling ever. This beautiful, deeply religious man was condoning my "public indecency". That was almost 7 years ago and when I look back, I am amazed how, even before I became a mother I already felt there was a negative public opinion about breastfeeding. But 7 years and 3 children later, I realise that there is also a lot of positive surrounding it too.

  2. September Love says:

    I also had a great NIP experience involving the comment of an older man. A friend of mine, my mom and I were sitting on a bench in the middle of the local mall, and my friend was nursing her newborn under a cover and I was nursing my almost 1 year old, without covering at all. I also, like Bree, have been just waiting for somebody to say something negative to me about nursing my daughter like I do, so when the man came over, I braced for impact. But instead of judging or telling me to cover up, he asked my mom, "Do these young ladies belong to you?" And my mom replied that yes, I was her daughter. . . he smiled and said "I just wanted to say what a great job these young ladies are doing by nursing those babies. No one does that anymore, and it's so important! Keep it up!"

    I wanted to jump up and hug him so bad 🙂

  3. Jessica says:

    These stories totally make me tear up! I love hearing stories supporting breastfeeding mothers, we don't hear them often enough. Thank you for sharing, would you ladies mind if I re-posted them the next time we run a positive NIP stories post?

  4. Please do Jessica.. There really are some lovely people out there!

  5. We had went out to eat with family to this really cozy pizzeria. By cozy I mean small. There was absolutely no room to sit him in my lap to nurse him, so I stepped outside. I started nursing him when this elderly couple pulled up. When the lady got out and walked towards us she asked me "How old is he?" I thought to myself "Ugh this is just what I need…" "Almost two" I replied. Then she went on to say "I think you're doing a wonderful job. Not too many mothers now-a-days breastfeed. Definitely not this long." Then she sat next to me and told me some funny nursing stories she had with her babies. It was great. I returned to eat my pizza really happy. Especially after I had a bad day with comments from some family about NIP…

  6. I've had many positive NIP experiences in Canada's far North (the Northwest Territories, up near Alaska.)

    I had two close friends when I had my first child, one with six children and one with 11, who had NIP all over the place, including our Catholic parish, and they really encouraged me.

    One day, when A. was about 2 months old, he was fussing in church and I (as always) latched him right there in the pew, with no cover but with my shirt pulled down over most of the "unused" part of the breat, as I always do.

    There was a woman behind me, an Aboriginal elder, and she watched all this with great interest (everyone else was standing and singing a hymn.)

    As she sat down, she patted my back and said, "That's the right thing to do! Good for you! That's the traditional way to feed a baby." (Tradition is enormously important in the North.)

    She then added: "That's how Our Mother Mary fed the Lord Jesus — until he was four! Don't ever forget it."

    I never did forget that — and when negatively approached a few months later by someone else at church, I just smiled and said, "If breastfeeding was good enough for Our Lord, it's good enough for my son."

    We eventually put up a picture of the icon of Our Lady of Plentiful Milk and Good Delivery in the church lobby, with the priest's full support. The icon shows Mary nursing Jesus with her entire breast exposed.

    • YES! I have this icon from my mother in law! My priest says nursing in church is beautiful! Huzzah!

  7. Chelsea says:

    Last weekend we went to Idaho Falls for Mother's Day (nothing to do in my town…everything closes on Sundays) my 4 week old was being fussy so I nursed her while walking around the various stores.

    I had gone to the bathroom and was looking around Home Depot for my husband when a young man in his late teens/early twenties walked up to me and said "That's awesome!" and high-fived me.

    He'll make someone a good husband and be a great dad!

  8. Jessica says:

    Cin, your story gave me goose-bumps. I got misty-eyed reading it, thank you so much for sharing!

    Chelsea, what an awesome story! High-five NIP!

  9. Just yesterday I was in the public library waiting for a meeting to start downstairs. OK, it was a La Leche League meeting but I was up in the main library. Baby Ben needed a snack so I found a quiet corner of the rather large library. There was a student in that area working and I didn't think she would mind so I casually nursed Ben without a cover and without a blanket over his head. A gentleman came back to that area to look at the newspapers. He glanced at us smiled and continued on his way. Ben is a very loud nurser so I can't hide what he is doing when he feeds. I finished up and joined my meeting. After the meeting as I was waiting on Dad to come pick Ben up I sat on a park bench right by the main door and nursed Ben again. I got a glance or two but they all seemed encouraging. It was a good day!

  10. My sister told me about a time when she, her (ex) boyfriend, and their male friends were sitting around talking. Somehow they began talking about breastfeeding (none of them have kids). Apparantly they were even researching all of the benefits of breast milk, and one of the young men said that was all he was going to eat from now on, that the stuff was awesome. A short time after that my sister and the boyfriend were at my house and as I was nursing my little girlie, he asked me "so, do you play the superman theme song while you are breastfeeding her?" I thought that was the neatest thing, a young man who has such a great respect for breastfeeding. (I wish he and my sister were still together, he would have been a great brother in law)

  11. I only once tried to feed my daughter with a cover…. It was a nightmare, so I haven’t used one sense. I was at a mummy made it market with some friends when my daughter and my friends daughter got peckish so we went and sat down and started feeding them. An older lady cameoverto our table and said she was so happy to see us feeding our babies, she turned to my pregnant friend and said I hope you’ll be breastfeeding as well and was very happy when she said she would be. I’ve encountered nothing but support when it comes to breastfeeding. My grandfather loves that I breastfeed, he says you can always tell the difference and he loves happy, giggly, chubby breastfeed babies best. My husbands nan has also been so supportive and tells me every time we visit that she’s happy I’m still feeding, and if I’m not there she tells my hubby how happy she is I’m still feeding. I’ve never experienced any negativity and I nip everywhere and have done for the past 8 months… Sadly breastfeeding rates in NW Tasmania are still horribly low.

  12. I have twins, but never got the hang of tandem feedings. I was in the mall with my mom for their Santa pictures and after some light shopping they were hungry. We sat down on a bench and I started feeding them one at a time (my mother’s reactions are a different story). Being Christmas season, the mall was packed. Lots of people passed us by, some looking and making eye contact, other looking away. I smiled at people as they passed by. When we finished up a woman who had been staring for awhile came up to me and I’m thinking she’s going to comment about NIP. She went on and on about how she’s a twin and I’m so lucky to have twins. No one cared about me nursing!! They just wanted to see two babies dressed like elves 🙂 It was very nice after the “discussion” I had with my mom.

  13. I’ll never forget it, but it was one of my very first outings with the little guy. My mom and I were having lunch and after I had to make a quick stop at the post office. It was walking distance, so I did that while she sat with him on a bench in the shopping center we were at. When I got back, it was clear before we did anything else he needed to be fed. While it was September, in our neck of the woods it was too hot to nurse in the car even with the windows down, so I found a bench kind of away from heavy foot traffic and in the shade. I sat down, got my cover out, and proceeded to nurse. Again…it was too hot and Buddy was not having anything to do with the cover. So off it went. Not too long after, a woman that worked in the shop near the bench where I was sitting popped her head out. I felt my throat lock up thinking, “oh no…she’s not liking that I’m nursing right outside her store.” Much to my delight, she said the exact opposite. “Hi dear. Would you like some water? I remember nursing my little guy, and you can never get enough water!” I was so elated! It was one of my first in public nursing experiences, and it could not have gone better. I gladly accepted the water and made a mental note of this nursing friendly store!

  14. Melanie C. says:

    About 3-4 weeks after having my son, I had to have a wound closed that would not heal. The doctor at the wound care had gotten to know me, my husband and my son by then pretty well and he knew I nursed. He said, I can give you something for the pain, but you won’t be able to nurse for a few hours afterward. Would you rather nurse while I’m stitching, as that should alleviate most of the pain and help you relax? I said, absolutely! So we did. It was the first time I’d nursed “in public”, and was very encouraging.

  15. Here’s one story that I had to share back in July! http://journeyaroundtheson.blogspot.com/2011/07/breastfeeding-joys.html

    take a look-see.
    best, Jules