Celebrity Booby Trap: Bethenny & Rachael Ray Frown on Public Breastfeeding

Written by Bettina Forbes, CLC

Bethenny is a mixed bag when it comes to breastfeeding.   On the one hand, we love that she has been outspoken about how rewarding (though challenging) breastfeeding was for her, and were glad that she brought her star power to Ameda’s I Breastfeed Because . . . campaign for World Breastfeeding Week last year.    She also stood up for a lot of moms when she commented that Gisele Bundchen’s statement that “breastfeeding should be a law” was “absurd“; and we couldn’t agree more, since moms don’t need more pressure.   What should be illegal are the booby traps, like poor healthcare practices that keep moms from breastfeeding!

Yesterday, however, we saw the flip side of Bethenny during her appearance on the Rachael Ray Show, and it makes us think that Bethenny isn’t really an advocate for moms.   An audience member was invited to ask a question.  

 Shea:  “I’m expecting my second child and strongly thinking of breastfeeding.   What are your rules for public breastfeeding, like where is it appropriate?”

Bethenny:  “I think, unless you are Pamela Anderson, you shouldn’t be showing anyone your breasts besides your husband and your baby.”

Rachael Ray:  “Exactly.”

Bethenny:  “I really do. I think you should find a corner, or there is always a back room, I just think it makes other people uncomfortable.   When you are a mother you think everyone is ‘in on’ what you’re ‘in on’, [. . .] but they’re not.  Because I didn’t know anything about [breastfeeding] until I was pregnant and I was sensitive to the fact that it would have flipped me out.  So I think, just keep it private.  But definitely breastfeed and do things your own way,  but in that one way, I would keep it a little bit private. Whipping out your boob at the dinner table is a good diet tip for everyone else. 

On some level I understand where Bethenny is coming from.   I’ve shared openly that when I was pregnant, I was freaked out by breastfeeding, and probably at that point seeing someone breastfeed in public would have made me uncomfortable too.   (And I’m sure, living in New York City, I did see people breastfeeding, I just didn’t notice it.)

Bethenny shows more boobage in this magazine photo, viewed by millions, than any woman I've ever seen breastfeeding in public. And her skinniness makes me feel guilty! (LOL)

But what Bethenny doesn’t realize is that the reason breastfeeding makes people uncomfortable is because they don’t see it enough.    In coming around to the other side of this issue, as a woman who once thought breastfeeding was gross, I have come to realize that the best thing for the health of our children, ourselves and our society would be to see MORE breastfeeding.  Seeing breastfeeding in public normalizes it (see PhdinParenting’s 50 reasons for breastfeeding anytime, anywhere).   Not only that, but it is extremely instructive for women, because we all learn by watching; and if we want to change behavior, the most powerful thing we can do is NOT TELL other moms what to do, but to be role models for other moms.   It’s like learning to ride a bike:  if you’ve never seen someone do it, you can’t imagine doing it yourself.   But if you’ve watched your friends go whizzing by on their shiny two-wheelers, you’re going to be motivated to get through the fear and the occasional skinned knee, especially if you have someone who has already mastered bike-riding by your side, cheering you on and coaching you.   Breastfeeding is exactly the same.   If young women see other women nursing in public, going about their normal lives, enjoying dinner with friends AND enjoying their baby, they will be motivated to get through the learning curve and the first few challenging weeks to reap the rewards.  If they have role models cheering them on and coaching them, they will succeed faster and be able to achieve their personal breastfeeding goals.

I get that Bethenny is trying to be a breastfeeding moderate and avoid being branded as a breastfeeding extremist like Gisele.    Unfortunately, her advice to the pregnant woman on Rachael Ray goes to the other extreme; it undermines women because it perpetuates several awful stereotypes that are completely false:  that breastfeeding is disgusting (when actually it is amazing and beautiful);  that breasts should be private unless they are put on display like Pamela Anderson’s (sexual breasts are okay but functional breasts are not); that women “whip their boobs out” (when actually most of the time they show far less skin than Bethenny herself).    By nodding her head and chiming in “exactly”, Rachael Ray furthered the damage.   Both of these women are powerful and influential and should be using their voices for good:  to cheer moms on to achieve their personal breastfeeding goals, whether for 2 days, 2 years, or not at all, and to help break down the cultural barriers that keep breastfeeding from being embraced and celebrated, much like exercising, eating healthy, or any other positive lifestyle decision.    Imagine if I said, eat your salad, Bethenny, but do it in a corner?  
What’s especially sad is that the pregnant audience member who asked the question is African-American, and the African-American population is at greatest risk for not achieving their personal breastfeeding goals and for suffering from diabetes, obesity, heart disease or asthma.  These are diseases that breastfeeding is associated with protecting against, and one reason why resources such as Blacktating and the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association are so important.    Unfortunately, this woman looks up to Bethenny and it would have been great if Bethenny had applauded her and told her to breastfeed whereever and whenever she needed to and to be proud of it!  It would have been great if Bethenny had explained that it’s perfectly easy to “compartmentalize” the way we use breasts, the same way as we compartmentalize the way we use our hands, as Christie Haskell pointed out so brilliantly.   Instead, she hung her out to dry.
I hope Bethenny will read consider adhering to the Best for Babes Credo:   

ALL moms deserve to make a truly informed feeding decision and to be cheered on, coached and celebrated without pressure, judgment or guilt. ALL breastfeeding moms deserve to achieve their personal breastfeeding goals without being undermined.

 What advice do you have for Bethenny on how to be a better role model and advocate for moms?

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198 Comments | Last revised on 02/10/2011

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198 Responses to Celebrity Booby Trap: Bethenny & Rachael Ray Frown on Public Breastfeeding

  1. Patricia Moore says:

    I saw this episode and was shocked and disappointed. I don’t understand why people assume that breastfeeding in public means whipping out your boob. I applaud those that are comfortable with that. Personally I breastfeed in public, but I just use a cover. I agree more women need to see other women breastfeeding in public and see how easy and wonderful it is.

  2. erickajen says:

    i saw that the other day! and i dont have that channel, nor do i watch that show, but i just happened to be somewhere that had it on, and i didnt even hear it (the sound was off) but they had CC on and i happened to look at the screen at the exact moment of that question, and i was ANGERED. HOW DARE THEY?!?!
    im supposed to HIDE?!?! are you freaking insane!?
    thankfully, im one of those people who dont care one bit about what other people think, i did and will breastfeed in public IN VIEW of other people, not because i want to show it off or something, but because i have better things to be thinking about (like feeding my child) than whether or not someone is watching. and then i made myself unapproachable about it by focusing in on my child, and not looking around the room for judgemental eyes.

  3. Pamela says:

    As if I needed more excuses to be annoyed by Rachael Ray.

  4. Katie says:

    It never bothered me when my cat would nurse her kittens in front of me or any guests I had in my house. It doesn’t bother me (or anyone I know) to see animals feeding their babies from their teets, so why is it so taboo in humans? I breastfed my son where ever we happened to be, but I also used a modesty cover because it cuts down not only on people staring, but also kept him from getting distracted and pulling my nipple in differet directions!
    Rachel Ray does not have children and does not understand how much better breastfeeding is for babies than bottle feeding.
    One of the problems with people today is that we take too much information from celebrities instead of EDUCATING OURSELVES. Rachel Ray should EDUCATE HERSELF too and stop propegating the attitude that babies shouldn’t eat in public.

  5. Gem says:

    “Unless you’re Pamela Anderson . . ” Oh, so porn is a-OK, but public breastfeeding is not? Whatever.

  6. Thank you for posting this. We learn nothing when we are raised in captivity and seeing breastfeeding is elemental to effecting cultural change. I live for the day when we can breastfeed our children without fear of public disdain, and only the fear that maybe we leaked a little breast milk on our shirt!

  7. Meg says:

    Boo Bethenny! Were 14 months strong and have never had to hide in a back room. Woot Woot.

  8. abby mcsherry says:

    Don’t know Bethany, she’s obviously not as big here across the Atlantic, but she is sure showing more in that photo than I ever did while breastfeeding.
    By the way the only place I have ever been asked to cover up when breastfeeding was in the maternity unit of the hospital the day after I gave birth!!!!

  9. While reading this article there were parts I agreed with Bethenny, Giselle and Rachael Ray. I am a huge advocate of breastfeeding babes and have been dedicated to doing do for my son for the past 3 months with a commitment to do at least one year. Like I said, I am all about the promotion and advocacy or breastfeeding; however I feel that some people take this too far. I know I should be comfortable with seeing other womens boobs but I have seen people breastfeed at the most inappropriate place and ways. For example, I saw a baby shower while I was eating Chinese food and this lady just whips out her boob and starts feeding her baby. In this case, not only is she taking away from her friends baby shower, she is also causing a scene where everyone inevitably is staring at her boob. Im not saying that she should go sit in a corner but that would have been a great time to use a hooter hider/bebe au alit cover. We all know whats going on under there but nobody needs to see the whole enchilada. I have also heard a lot of women say that if other people aren’t comfortable seeing breastfeeding/boobs all out in the open thats their fault. I believe the contrary, why not wear a cover and make everyone else around you more comfortable, thus perhaps encouraging others to try breastfeeding. In this country, its not like people walk around topless without other people gawking and feeling uncomfortable. In your home, car or personal space…by all means hang loose and whip it out as needed.

    • Audrey says:

      Wearing a cover isn’t always helpful. Many babies don’t like to be covered (mine hated it) and it gets hot under those covers. And a new mom has a hard time manuevering the baby under a cover. I’m not sure what constitutes as “whipping it out” but I’d say if a baby is nursing then people can’t get too bent out of shape about a breast being exposed, especially when most people wouldn’t think a thing of a woman wearing a low cut shirt and showing amble cleavage. Anyway, other people’s comfort are not as important as the baby’s comfort, imo.

      • Crystal R says:

        This exactly. I have been nursing for almost 7 years and while I have tried to be modest I am a mother who has never and will never use a “hooter hider” (excuse me while I vomit over the name of that product). First of all, I should NOT have to hide for feeding my children. Breasts are for feeding our young first and sexuality second. Second, and most importantly to the issue here- nursing a baby is not always easy. In fact, sometimes it’s hard. And having a cover over the baby like I’m getting my hair cut would not help the process.

        Even if I had wanted to cover up my first baby was very sensitive about what was near her face. Covering up, or having my shirt near her face she would bite my nipple! So it came down to keeping my breasts healthy and intact or possibly offending someone who has no business staring at my breasts. It was a pretty obvious choice. If you “don’t want to see that” then avert your eyes, it’s rude to stare.

        • Jessica says:

          My son pulls it off several times to see what is going on around us. It is way worse for me to wear a cover, I just prefer to “whip it out.” If that’s what they want to call discretely breastfeeding in public. That picture shows way more skin than I ever do in public!

      • After reading all of the comments after my post…I realize a few things…the baby shower example happened WAY before I had my son. I am so sorry about insensitivity and offense I caused. This was not my intention. Yes, it was the entire full frontal. Maybe I was taken aback because I am not that comfortable with my own body. For me, I was uncomfortable nursing for the first few weeks. Some was just getting used to latching and such and the other was that I am an extremely modest person. Now that I am more than 3 months in, I am much more comfortable with my boobs and their job. Its pretty amazing that our bodies alone are able to feed these babes. I do have a nursing cover myself and my son is starting to hate it. He likes to grab on to it and negate the entire purpose of the cover. So our days with this are numbered. At the end of the day, I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. Cheers to all you breastfeeding mamas 🙂

    • Jade says:

      Seriously, you found it inappropriate that she breastfed her baby at an event that is celebrating a new baby?? I can’t think of anywhere *more* appropriate to breastfeed!
      I’m incredibly lucky to be raising my son in a country where breastfeeding is the norm, and breastfeeding in public is not only accepted, but welcomed. I can’t tell you the amount of smiles and nice comments I’ve recieved while feeding my son in public.

    • April says:

      Could you truly see the “whole enchilada”?

      I ask because, of all the women I’ve seen breastfeed without covers, I’ve never seen more than a flash of the side of the breast – certainly no more than could be seen in a swimsuit top.

      I suppose I agree if a woman truly is “whipping them out” then she needs to be more discreet. However, that’s *rarely* the case.

    • Kelli says:

      I think it IS the other person’s “fault” for being offended. Like the other replier said, sometimes a cover is not an option.

      I think it boils down to making breastfeeding in public into something normal. 100-some years ago it was offensive and scandalous for a woman to show her ankles in public. Eventually it became normalized and no one thinks anything of it now. Same goes with breastfeeding. Imagine if it were so normal that no one gave it a second thought!

      I’m part of a parenting group where it is completely normal to breastfeed openly. When we have playgroups or other events there are always several moms nursing openly, some more discreet than others. No one feels ashamed, no one stares, it doesn’t slow or detract from the conversation or event going on. It’s part of normal life. Even when husbands come to events. THAT’S what I’d like to see.

      • Ron_NYC says:

        Oh please. So if I whip my “johnson” out and begin to urinate on your living room floor can I say it’s your problem for being offended by it?

        Yea, it’s natural, but there are heaps of bodily functions I can go without seeing.

        Asking someone to cover up isn’t much, and you’d find people who are made uncomfortable by public breastfeeding would be a lot more accepting if you people weren’t so in-your-face about it. It’s not even the act that’s disgusting and/or annoying it’s the attitude these moms take about it.

        • Jessica says:

          Urinating on someone’s floor is not a fair comparison. The penis serves a completely different function. Mind you, we aren’t showing our vagina. Breasts serve a primary function, and that is to feed babies. Not to mention, you are usually not seeing the nipple or areola, because it is in the baby’s mouth. Most of us who nurse in public wear appropriate underclothing, so it really only looks like a mom holding her sleeping baby. In fact, I have had several people comment on “my sleeping baby” not realizing that he was nursing. Most moms that I encounter either nurse the way I do, or wear a cover. I don’t think that I have ever seen a mom with the “whole enchilada” hanging out. (Although, in other countries that is completely normal and accepted, and should be in the U.S.)

        • Mary says:

          It is never okay to urinate on someone’s living room floor. What an asinine comparison. A better comparison would be, would it be okay to whip out a sandwich and chow down… and the answer would be yes. Definitely, if you are a baby, you should eat whenever and wherever you are hungry.

          • Adel says:

            Thank you. I can’t think of a better word than “asenine”. This is EXACTLY the problem: people view breastfeeding as obscene. How amazing that anyone would compare a normal and healthy practice of giving the BEST nourishment to a baby to something as inappropriate and crude as brandishing a penis and peeing on the floor.

        • Jennifer says:

          Women do not urinate in public either. The more accurate analogy to breastfeeding is….yeah, I know this is somehow not obvious to everyone….EATING! And yes I am certain you do eat in public. And you, being a clearly mature adult, even has the capacity to wait for your food should it be necessary to do so. Babies do not. No mother should have to ever give feeding a second thought. Wherever and whenever baby is hungry–feed the baby. Nor should she ever have to pump her milk, feed in a bathroom, closet or corner or hide under a stupid cover-up. Babies need to nurse…for years. Get over it.

        • Laurel_in_Maine says:

          Ron – you so totally UNBELIEVEABLE. If this is an example of your true opinion of women, I sure hope you never try to have a relationship with one. And do us all a favor, keep your pitiful penis in your pants and save us from increasing a population of inconsiderate, self-absorbed, intolerant males like yourself. Heaven forbid you might have a girl and have to deal with her maturing body and fragile developing self-esteem. It is very clear that you don’t have a clue about raising/feeding babies. Urinate on my rug and I’ll let you meet my 6’2″ partner…..ignoramous.

        • Jackie says:

          What a completely ignorant (and pedophile-like) thing to say. Under no circumstance it is appropriate to urinate in someone’s living room.

        • This is so beyond ridiculous. There is no comparison. I have no words.

        • Lera says:

          It isn’t appropriate to compare breastfeeding with anything involving specific male body parts. Men can’t grow, develop, and nourish babies with their bodies. Also, human milk is NOT considered a body fluid. According to OSHA’s & CDC’s definitions, breast milk is classified as “food” & does not require universal precautions for handling body fluids. The Federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) interpretation of regulation 29 CFR 1910.1030 states that breast milk is not an “occupational exposure”. Female mammals, including humans, have the amazing ability of nourishing their young with their milk. It is how babies are designed to eat and be comforted. Breasts are designed for feeding babies like lungs are designed for breathing air. Thanks for posting such a great article, Bettina.

    • Maya says:

      I have to say I never felt like the woman who nursed at my baby shower was taking away from me at all. And at a recent shower for my 2nd son, I nursed him right there. I think nursing covers are AWESOME! They should be used if that is what makes the nursing mother most comfortable. I used one all the time when nursing my 1st son. I was too shy to nurse in public.

      However, now that I’m nursing my 2nd I’ve realized two things. 1) Wearing a nursing cover brought way more attention to me breastfeeding than not wearing one. It would take me a minute to get one out of the bag, get it on, and get baby situated, all the while my son would be screaming. 2) Not all babies like to be covered. My 2nd son throws an epic tantrum if anything is covering any part of his face during nursing. I tossed a swaddling blanket over him last week b/c my friend’s husband was around and I knew it would make him uncomfortable not to, but my baby screamed so loudly that he wouldn’t nurse at all.

      I think in many instances it ends up being more discreet for me to wear a nursing tank and quickly and quietly latch my son on wherever we are, then pull my top shirt down over most of my breast. There’s only a brief flash of skin, less fuss, and he’s happily eating. If someone is offended by that, then for the most part I’m sorry, but I’m not going to change how I feed my son.

    • Really? Why should the mother cover? You’re the one that has the issue with it. It’s not the mother’s responsibility to make everyone around her comfortable. It’s her responsibility to do what’s best for her child. If her doing that makes you uncomfortable, I’m sorry, that’s your baggage, not the mother’s.

    • Adel says:

      In my experience, very few breastfeeding moms want people to see their full breast, or even part of it. Most of us would RATHER find a nice quiet corner to feed our babies, but that’s not always possible. My son would never have tolerated a cover, but I learned to nurse him very discretely without showing any skin. However, I have lived in countries where ALL women breastfeed, they breastfeed anywhere (yup, even the front row of church), and no one thought twice about seeing their entire breast exposed. Personally, I’m not comfortable showing my breast, but I do think that kind of societies is far more healthy than one in which breasts are so sexualized that people are more uncomfortable seeing them used for what they’re actually MADE for than seeing them pasted as sex objects on billboards, magazines, products….

      And seriously, at the baby shower, how many people were STARING at that woman’s boob??? Probably only the other baby’s in the room, thinking, “Man, that kids lucky!” LOL!

  10. Sarah scott says:

    i agree completely, my mother taught me long ago, ” If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” So, maybe Rachael Ray, you are just trying to be nice but it looks really bad for you to agree to that close minded type of comment. And as for Bethanny, I’ve seen more of her breast in magazines than anyone has ever seen of mine while breast feeding!!! You opinions are certainly valid if that is how you feel but to go on TV and say these things is just beating other breast feeding women down.

  11. Lauren says:

    Very well put, but I would add that perhaps we are giving celebrities like Bethenny and Gisele too much credit, and not giving non-celebrity moms enough. I think most women are capable and intelligent enough to exercise a degree of discretion in how and from whom they obtain information and opinions regarding how to feed their babies. I do think it’s important to put posts like yours out there to counteract the message these women are sending, perhaps without even realizing it – that breasfeeding is somehow abnormal or undesirable, while the sexualization of breasts is quotidian and acceptable. However, expecting someone like Bethenny to understand – let alone explain on a show like Rachel Ray – how the use of breasts can be compartmentalized in our society, or to acknowledge the many pitfalls and pressures mothers today are exposed to is maybe not realistic.

  12. Beverly says:

    You can’t compare the statement that Gisele Bundchen made about breastfeeding should be a law to the comments made by Bethanny. I took Gisele’s comment as a passion of what she was doing…like someone that loves pizza saying it should be a law that everyone should eat pizza….
    People should realize you don’t mess with breastfeeding moms…

  13. Becky says:

    Who is Bethenny? And, why does anyone care what she thinks? I’m sorry, I don’t watch Rachael Ray because 1) I have better things to do, and 2) she’s shamelessly political, and I don’t wish to support her causes with my viewership. You’d think these so-called “stars” would have learned something from all the celeb scandals. Stick to… whatever it is that you do, and leave the breastfeeding questions to REAL breastfeeding mothers, who are ultimately the experts and who don’t make their hungry babies wait for comfort and nourishment because someone might be offended.

  14. Breastfeeding Mom says:

    Shame on you Bethenny and Rachel! I breastfed wherever my kids where hungry; including walking through the Smithsonion, restaurants, church and the ski lodge. I honestly don’t think anyone even noticed. I did toss a blanket over my shoulder, but even without it, people don’t see the womens’ breast while nursing,they see the baby’s head and mother’s arms cradling the baby. Actually, while walking through the Smithsonian, I had a woman approach me saying ‘oh, let me see the baby’ as she reached to pull the blanket (which was draped over my shoulder) back. I politely told her ‘I’m sorry, the baby’s nursing right now’. She was a bit surprised, maybe even shocked, but my point is, she didn’t even know! BTW, this was 20 years ago. This ‘baby’ is now a straight A student in college on a full academic scholarship. I joke that I take full credit for his genius because of my breastfeeding, but, really, I’m only partially joking.

  15. Anna says:

    I think everyone is being a prude!!! It was intended for all women to feed there babies this way, So why does it bother people.So you are saying Its not ok for a women to Breast feed her child in public But they show Vagisil cream & Kotex, and lets not forget the arousel creams all over TV for children to see. I just dont get it. I think Bethenny needs to fix her lop sided boobs in her pic. & Rachael needs to learn to cook something that does stick to her Behind!!! Get a grip people…

    • Adel says:

      LOL! Seriously, am I the only mom offended by the “no strings attached” ads on pandora? Natalie Portman popping up between my nice Christian music and squealing, “Why can’t we just have sex?!” And yet someone thinks it’s inappropriate to breastfeed a baby in public. Good grief!

  16. Hillary says:

    Saw the clip from Twitter yesterday and was disappointed with how much authority she spoke form–like it was the definitive answer. And the Pamela Anderson comment? What?! Why would I want to see her boobs and not a mom sweetly feeding her baby?

  17. Jeanne says:

    This is exactly why, if I were to have the opportunity to nurse another child, I would do so in public, any time my baby wanted to nurse.

    The reason people feel the way Bethany and Rachel do, is because the media sells boobs as a sexual commodity, 24/7. Breasts, in the function they were intended to perform, gets less airtime, and comes around about as often, as a solar eclipse.

    Until we see breast feeding in the media, as often as we see non nurturing, gratuitous cleavage, mothers will need to get some real life lessons, from the few mothers who are brave enough to swim against tide of oppression.

  18. Jaime says:

    Ugh–I really don’t like when people say nursing in public with a modesty cover is ok, but nursing without is not. A hooter hider is a burka, people, when it’s mandatory. How ridiculous. Wrote a blog on this last spring…


  19. Emily says:

    here’s the thing. I wish celebrities did not opine on this. There is so much pressure on moms. Breastfeed, but be sure not to offend anyone, but be a role model for other moms who are interested in breastfeeding, etc.

    I have happily nursed my baby for 2 plus years at this point. When did this get to be about something other than feeding our babies in the way we each feel most comfortable? Sometimes (especially in that distractible phase) I just wanted to go to a quiet place to nurse. Other times I proudly nursed in public. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, just what is best for each mother-baby pair at that particular time.

  20. Jessica C says:

    If people don’t want to watch someone breastfeeding in public there are a million other places to look. Advert your eyes and let a mother feed her hungry child. How stupid. This shouldn’t even be an issue. It’s not like women breastfeeding are flashing their boobs like it’s freaking mardi-gras… Most breastfeeding mamas do it discreetly with a blanket or under their shirt.

    Why are people so lame?!

  21. Wendy says:

    @Veena Why would a breastfeeding mother be “taking away from” a baby shower? Were you taking away from it by eating Chinese food? I just really don’t understand that. If anyone feels like their baby shower is ruined by someone else nursing there, maybe they should rethink having a baby around at all. Saying that you support something is wonderful, but if you then put conditions on that support, it kind of negates it.

    And in response to the idea that everyone should just put on a cover, there are many, many babies out there who will not tolerate having their head covered up while nursing. It simply makes nursing impossible and frustrating and I would never ask another mother to jeopardize her baby’s feeding just so I didn’t have to see a fraction of her boob. Everyone has seen a boob. They’re not a big deal.

    • Wendy you are right. I realized after reading my comment and others comments that the example I wrote about was WAY before I had my son and did not understand the ways of babies. Now that I have had my son and am a few months in I am much more comfortable with my boobs and their job 🙂 I go to several new breastfeeding mamas groups every week and am very comfortable seeing others nurse in public. I am still using a nursing cover and my son is starting to hate it. So my days with that are numbered. I am hoping to become more comfortable with my and my body so that I too may feel mow comfortable nursing in public. So sorry to offend anyone with my post. All you mamas do an amazing job:)

  22. Mother of four BF children says:

    Boo hiss hiss shame on you both to think something so natural should be in a corner or backroom. These types of suggestions just perpetuate the childlike thinking that breasts are meant to be gawked at rather than a beautiful part of a mother that provides the perfect and BEST form of food unlike anything else on Earth. Educate yourself and be reminded that in most states public breadtfeeding is LEGAL!

  23. Elizabeth says:

    My son is 9months old and we have been breastfeeding since he was born. I was so concerned that about getting it perfect that my son only lost 4% of his weight after birth when normally a baby loses 10% or more. My family and friends have commented that unless I actually told them I was about to breastfeed my son they would never have noticed. I do not use a cover on my son and why should I. He deserves to see the world and enjoy his food just like everyone else. If you have a problem with a women breastfeeding that is your problem, not ours, and why don’t you put the blanket over your head.

  24. I’ve loved reading all the comments shared here! I was “one of those” who thought public breastfeeding was weird and had even kidded with my hubby before we had kids that once the child could lift the shirt in order to nurse that it was time to stop nursing. I figured there was something about becoming a mother that had changed my views, maybe I’ve been lucky enough to have great resources to learn from, or maybe the fact that I wasn’t afraid to change my own views on things helped me become the breastfeeding advocate I am today. My daughter is 5, my first son will be 4 next month and next week my baby turns 2. The baby is the only one still nursing, I’ve tandemed and not stopped breastfeeding since 9/29/05…. I feel like a lot of great information that encourages breastfeeding has become more mainstream and available to new mothers everywhere in the 5 years that I’ve been a mom. If I were pregnant with my first or about to attempt breastfeeding for the first time with the next baby these comments made by the model guest may have made an impact on me. When we’re seeking info or even when we’re not, we don’t even realize how we can be affected by others viewpoints and comments, especially those who are more timid, shy about their bodies, or don’t have great support at home for nursing. Perhaps it is more than just Oprah that we need to campaign for breastfeeding awareness. Getting this topic on mainstream tv where about to be first time moms who are not yet too busy to catch up on day time tv get information is a good step… too bad this instance was not in FULL support of breastfeeding.

  25. steph says:

    @beverly “people should realize not to mess with breastfeeding mom” you sound like a complete fool….people who breast feed are no better and neither are their children so grow up…..Feeding your baby is certainly important but everyone doesnt think you should be whipping it out in public….what makes you think your opinioni the only one that matters. you all sound insane

    • Amanda says:

      What an informed opinion you have made. “you all sound insane”. That’s all you have to say on the subject? Notice everyone else was encouraging and polite in their responses? Even those who disagreed with most of the comments. Next time stick with the “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

      • steph says:

        no clown thats not all i have to say but i certainly have other things to do, ad this is honestly the first time ive ever posted on a site like this or anything…i just cant imagine how freakin ridiculous people sound…everyone has an opinion clearly and what you’re saying and every other person who has a problem with the comment is saying their opinion is more important and thats bull, no everyone else is not being supportive not really sure what page youre reading…..no, you shouldnt hide like youre doing something bad or negative cause you are not by breast feeding…but maybe everyone doesnt want to see it. everyone is atracking her and its just her opinion, just like you have yours….theres no wrong or right….so really its not say something nice or dont say anything at all….i didnt say anything “mean” im saying why should others opinions matter more….breast feeding is wonderful and natural, but moms who dont arent any less than moms that do and either are their children…and saying someone should cover a bit is not “not being nice” its how someone feels on the subject.

    • Mandy says:

      I think that everyone needs to get their panties out of a wad and relax. Just take a step back and breathe. While I was not happy with Bethany and Rachel’s comments, it was their opinion.(not that I am supporting it!) It is sad that so many people listen to the “media’s” portrayal of breastfeeding and not their own instinct or another professionals help. Women have a right to breastfeed wherever they need to. It is their body. You can not control a baby’s appetite. You can not control what another person does. You can control how you react. You CAN however choose not to look and make a stink about it. There needs to be respect coming from both sides. 1)Those that need to respect the mother’s right to breastfeed in public. 2)The mother needs to respect the public and not just “whip it out”. There is a way to breastfeed discreetly. I have nursed 4 babies in public with and without a cover before. I have nursed in so many places and I definitely think that the bathroom is NOT the place to feed your baby. I do feel that it needs to be done more often, so people see that breastfeeding in public is not gross or immodest if done with respect. It would help too if all of these ridiculous shows and celebrities would realize their power and influence and use it for good. That is part of being a celebrity and a supposed “role model” for women. Step up women and stand for what you believe is right, just do it with the right attitude. It makes a difference.

  26. Megan says:

    In Switzerland, mothers breastfeed in public everywhere and I have yet to see a cover. It is just a non-issue. I don’t understand the problem, babies need to eat too.

  27. Mishra says:

    I’m a breastfeeding mamma and I’m not quite sure why people think that in order for you to breastfeed in public, you have to whip it out!?! I use a very stylist cover up that was made for breastfeeding in public. Most people don’t even realize I’m doing it. They just think that I’m trying to put the baby to sleep. Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and healthful things you can do as a mom. I think that we need to support women in breastfeeding instead of shaming them.

  28. Liz says:

    she is totally correct, I mean we should put other people’s needs over our own children’s basic physiological needs. let the baby starve.

    REALLY? I could give two hoots what anyone else thinks. If my baby is happy that is all I need. Besides, if it is so offensive, they are free to leave. OR not gawk.

  29. Loraine says:

    I agree 100%

  30. Melissa Cline says:

    It’s a warped culture we live in when sexy boobs are welcome in public but a baby eating from a boob is not. Why is being sexually attractive more legitimate than feeding a baby? Such a narrow view of women and breasts–shame on Bethenny and Rachel for giving that mom such terrible anti-woman, anti-baby advice.

  31. marja says:

    i say we dont nurse in public and see how these people react to a SCREAMING child!!!! hahaha

  32. Slee says:

    I am so glad I don’t even know who this Bethanny is. I hate it when people turn to celebraties for advice on anything other than how to find an agent.
    Perpetuating the myth that there is something inappropriate about the functional breast and giving one’s child evolutionarkily and biologically appropriate sustenance is clearly not educated about the health risks associated with alternate feeding methods, and the vital need to further normalize breastfeeding so that more children have the opportunity to benefit from the food intended for them by biology.

  33. WHAT? Breastfeeding at the table will put people off their food? Well, who knows who they have lunch with!

    Breastfeeding in public already has such a stigma which is sad – so any self conscious new mothers who have watched this show will be further discouraged!

    No one, ever, has looked when I breastfeed in public – why would you? Wow – we all have necks – look the other way!

  34. Sarah says:

    They are just breasts. What are people so afraid of. There is more overtly sexual nudity on prime time TV and on the magazine covers littering the check out aisle. If my son can read 10 tips for better sex while I pay for groceries, then you can see me nurse on a park bench. Why is this even an issue.

  35. Glenda says:

    I have nursed 4 babies and I’m still nursing #4. I breastfeed whenever & wherever I feel comfortable. If I ever nursed in the restroom, it was because I had to be there when the baby demanded food. I have NEVER “whipped out a boob” in public. Yes, my breasts are private; however, feeding my baby is a priority. I do it modestly, but I don’t concern myself with whether someone else is uncomfortable. What about those people who hock, blow, snort, etc. at the dinner table? That IS disgusting and nauseating, but we don’t have celebrities talking about IT on TV.

  36. Erinn says:

    I think it’s important to remember where these words are coming from: professionals in the entertainment industry who are influenced everyday to believe the myth about breasts as existing for pleasure only (usually men’s pleasure) and that breast feeding is disgusting. Media is a conduit for other industries which profit when women are ignorant about the true and complete nature of their breasts.

  37. Stephanie says:

    I’m getting a button for my diaper bag that says it all “Does my breastfeeding bother you? Feel free to cover your head with a blanket!”

  38. Greta says:

    Doesn’t Rachel Ray eat on TV? GROSS!!! So she wants to be able to eat on television, but shove eating babies in dark corners? Sounds like an unhealthy relationship she has with food AND breasts.

  39. Carolina says:

    Is there a place to write to the show to complain and maybe mention to RR that there are laws that protect public breastfeeding in most states?

  40. Jessica says:

    I’d rather see boobs in public functioning as breasts should, making milk for babies than boobs in public simply for sexual attraction! “Pam Anderson boobs ok but milk boobs not” is EXACTLY WHAT’S WRONG WITH OUR CULTURE. Get a clue people.

  41. Alina says:

    How sad! I will admit that before I had my baby I did get uncomfortable but not so much that I would want that person to stop feeding their child. Keep in mind I wasn’t brought up seeing or hearing about breastfeeding. I was even more uncomfortable seeing people who wore skimpy clothes! Is there a law on shirts that show to much cleavage or thong bikini’s? When I first started breastfeeding my son I was ashamed and embarassed! I would try to cover up even though it meant my son would scream his head off because it took me so long to find a “CORNER” adjust my shirt “DISCREETLY” and cover up before finally trying to adjust my son to latch correctly and now blindly! One day I went to the park with a few Mommy friends who were more comfortable with breastfeeding in public and as some people might say “WHIP IT OUT” kind of people and when it came time to for the babies to eat I realized that my baby was the only one screaming his head off! Hmmmmm…….what was wrong with this picture? Definately not the mother’s providing the best nutrients for their babies in the fastest and most comfortable way! From that day on I vowed not to feed my baby when he was hungry whereever he was hungry! If others didn’t like it to bad!

  42. Beverly says:

    If moms breastfeeding should hide ….then so should bottle feeding moms…
    there are laws in every state on brestfeeding…they state that a mom has the right to brestfeed her baby anywhere in public or private that she needs to…

  43. Jessica says:

    Now I know why I have never watched this show, and never will! Way to go Rachael Ray!

  44. Hannah says:

    I had a neighbor long ago who would lift up her shirt while in line to check out her groceries and nurse her baby. She even went as far as asking the cashier to hold her check for her so she could sign. As a young mom that made me nervous. But she was definitely my heroine, after seeing that confidence, I never again questioned whether or not I should be embarrassed to nurse in public.

  45. This is so important: “the reason breastfeeding makes people uncomfortable is because they don’t see it enough”

    People don’t see nursing moms nearly enough. That’s one reason why I breastfeed my son for 3,5 years anywhere and anytime I wanted. I never covered him up but made sure to be discreet — I bet no one ever saw any skin.

    I wanted more women to see me and to feel more confident to do the same, and I wanted men to get over themselves and be okay with me nursing in public. I did it with the kind of attitude as if it was the most normal thing to do, which it is, and really never had anyone say something negative. I just smiled at people who shot me a look.

  46. Angie says:

    Ok, BfB, we need a t-shirt that says “Nobody puts baby in a corner!!!”
    Seriously- am I the only one who thought that?

  47. I just don’t get the disgust over breastfeeding. It’s what has allowed our species to survive. None of us would be here if it weren’t for our ancestors breastfeeding.

    When my daughter was a baby I was militant about breastfeeding in public. I made sure to do it at my stepson’s High School football games and track meets to girls would see it. I would make sure to look up at people’s faces and smile to show I wasn’t at all insecure about what I was doing. No one EVER saw more than in a swimsuit, but even if they had, who cares?

    I don’t think people realize the damage these comments make. I’ve only ever had anyone say anything to me about breastfeeding once in a coffee shop. Of course, she didn’t say anything to the woman across the room with a low cut shirt on. As militant as I am about breastfeeding in public, this I still think of this comment EVERY.TIME.I.NURSE.IN.PUBLIC…it still effects me…and this it’s been 4 years. Imagine if she’d said this to a mother who was struggling with this issue? Imagine how she would have undermined not only that mother’s confidence, but also her baby’s health.

  48. Thanks for the link to Christie Haskell’s article – very well written. And to you Bettina, as usual, as well…

  49. Monica says:

    Okay, I am a mother of three and I have to agree that breastfeeding should be private or discrete. I am also a in home therapist for children with autism and it is very uncomfortable to be in a family’s home and have the mother sitting there without a shirt on breastfeeding her almost three year old child…..

  50. scarlett says:

    The society that we live in today is what has done this to breastfeeding mothers,,,god intended breasts for feeding your young, not selling them,,,hooray for breastfeeding mamas!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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