Women who breastfeed in public deserve the same respect as women who don’t, and they should be able to comfortably breastfeed in public.

APSU’s Student Government Association President Zac Gillman announced some plans for SGA’s spring semester. Included in this announcement was SGA will be sponsoring a breastfeeding center in the Felix G. Woodward Library. This will give breastfeeding mothers an opportunity to have somewhere to breastfeed without being interrupted by onlookers.

Women are often asked to leave public places because they are breastfeeding. However, according to The National Conference of State Legislators, in 46 states breastfeeding is legal in any public or private place where a woman is legally allowed to be. Even though women have the legal right to breastfeed, the social shame that occurs because of people calling it disgusting and acting as though it must be done far away from society can make young mothers feel isolated.

When discussing breastfeeding in public, it is important to remember that the mothers are not trying to make you uncomfortable, they are just trying to feed their baby.

According to Kids Health, a newborn baby will need to be fed approximately eight to 12 times a day. If a woman wants to go out with her baby, there is a high chance that the baby will have to be fed while they are not at home and it can be difficult to find a comfortable place in order to breastfeed.

Women are often told to breastfeed in the restroom, as an alternative to in public. Now take a moment and picture the last public restroom you were in, seating is pretty limited to the floor or a toilet and even the “clean” ones are pretty disgusting. Then imagine being told that you had to eat your lunch in the restroom every day, with people coming in and out constantly. That is what it is like for a mother to breastfeed her baby in a restroom.

Feeding a baby is necessary for its life and whatever method the family chooses to use should be respected and not shamed. For various reasons, some women choose to breastfeed their baby and some women choose to use formula. There is nothing wrong with either method and what method is used is based on the needs of the family. Respect the women’s choice and be considerate.

Why is breastfeeding in public such a controversial subject in American society?

There are plenty of advertisements with women wearing revealing clothing and beaches where women can acceptably wear a bikini and no one will think twice about it.

So why is breastfeeding different?

Breastfeeding humanizes women and ruins the sexual fantasy created around them. Breastfeeding is used to care for a baby and not as a sexual act. So as women’s bodies are increasingly sexualized in society, breastfeeding will have a stigma for using a woman’s body without being sexualized. Breastfeeding in public will be acceptable when people realize a woman’s body is her own and breastfeeding is her decision.