Outrage as Mom 'Shamed' by Partner for Breastfeeding Their Baby in Public

A man who "shamed" his partner for breastfeeding their baby in public is being dragged online, with people calling his behavior ridiculous.

The woman told her story on Mumsnet, asking whether she had been unreasonable to feed their 4-month-old son in a pub garden.

The post, entitled "Breastfeeding shamed by my DP [dear partner]," has amassed nearly 300 replies since it was posted on Tuesday.

Lack of support is the main reason women stop breastfeeding, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Most mothers want to breastfeed but stop early due to a lack of ongoing support," the CDC said. It added that only 1 in 4 infants is exclusively breastfed "as recommended" by the time they're 6 months old.

File photo of woman breastfeeding.
File photo of woman breastfeeding. A 2021 survey found 69 percent agreed that "women should have the right to breastfeed in public spaces." tatyana_tomsickova/Getty Images

There are a range of benefits associated with breastfeeding, according to the health agency. For infants, these include reduced risks of obesity, asthma, Type 1 diabetes, ear infections, diarrhea/vomiting and sudden infant death syndrome.

For mothers, it can help reduce Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and ovarian and breast cancer.

The CDC also pointed to data from SummerStyles, a national survey that has been monitoring attitudes to breastfeeding since 1999.

In 2021, 69.02 percent of the 4,063 people surveyed agreed with the statement: "I believe women should have the right to breastfeed in public spaces." That figure was up slightly from the previous survey in 2018, when 68.02 percent agreed.

In the Mumsnet post, the woman explained that she and her partner were "in a pub garden having lunch and while waiting for our food I started to feed baby.

"My partner said 'cover him up' and I asked why (as I never do, don't use a weird shawl thing but I wear baggy tops and just lift them up).

"His reasoning was we were in a 'restaurant' and there were other people. I ignored him and carried on feeding the way I do (pointing out he's a baby not a 10 year old child so it shouldn't be weird for people!)"

She added that she didn't have her breasts "out on display while doing it," saying: "Personally I think covering my baby draws more attention to what I was doing."

The mom asked Mumsnet readers whether her stance was unreasonable, because "you shouldn't breastfeed in public places without using a breastfeeding cover," or whether they felt that "it's perfectly natural, your DP can go do one and you shouldn't feel ashamed about it."

Most commenters sided with the mom, as Woodhill wrote: "He's being ridiculous."

FlorettaB said: "You're obviously not being unreasonable. However you feel comfortable feeding, do that."

Twoandcooplease posted: "I'm so sorry he did that to you. You are not unreasonable. Keep feeding your baby as normal and enjoy your holiday."

FrancescaContini wrote: "Your husband is an arse. Feed your lovely baby whenever you need to, wherever you need to."

Sartre posted: "Of course [you are not being unreasonable]. Nobody is forced to sit staring at you breastfeeding and if they did, they'd be absolute weirdos. Most people will be too involved in their own lives to even notice you."

Some agreed with the man, however. Scarletisjustred said: "Personally I don't want to see it. Sure it's natural but so are lots of other things I don't particularly want to see. I realise this is an unpopular view."

Londonscalling22 added: "I don't think he was that unreasonable. I would expect someone breastfeeding to cover up as much as possible somewhere like a restaurant."

In follow-up comments, the mom shared more details about her clothing and surroundings, saying: "The way I hold him my tummy and boob is covered by him and the one not being fed on is covered by my clothes still.

"We were in beer garden on high tables with lower benches so most of me was hidden by table anyway.

"The other people there was a group of 4, 3 women one man, and only 2 of them were facing my way and were probably obscured from a good look by the other 2 of their party and my DP."

In her final post, she concluded: "Hopefully my partner will just get used to it....he will have to, or just not come out with us haha."