Should I Hide Breastfeeding? :: Dr. Mom Answers

Dr. Mom AnswersJenna asked this question on A Mama Collective’s Facebook Page::

And here’s my response to the question, “Should I hide breastfeeding from my children?

Hide Breastfeeding

NO!  Definitely not.   Especially not if you want them to grow up to be pro-breastfeeding!   Breastfeeding is a totally normal, natural way of feeding out children and there is nothing shameful in it.  My youngest baby came when my oldest boys were 6 and 9.  I worried that maybe I should be a little more discrete in nursing them but practicality won over.  If baby popped off the breast to give her big brother a milky smile how could that possibly be a bad thing?  For a nursing mother, the breast is a functional body part, just like a foot or an ear.   And that is how our family naturally interprets it.  It is a wonderful way for our kids to see motherhood in such a pure form. We are created for it and our bodies are created to ensure this little baby’s survival.  It is beautiful!

As far as our little ladies are concerned – they should see what they have to potential to do with this magnificent body of theirs!  It gives honor and glory to God’s creation to show them how His miracle of life extends from the womb into everyday life in the most basic form of care – feeding.   He created us to DO this.  It still overwhelms me.  Their questions are also important – Does it hurt?  How does it work?  Where does all that milk come from?

My son, now 11, is continuing to learn about the female form.  It is awesome that from the time he was 3 he saw the female forms as functionally different from the male form – not sexually different but rather created for a different and beautiful purpose.   I am sure someday he will become mildly obsessed with boobs, but I am hopeful he will always retain that respect for what our bodies were designed to DO, and not just how they look.

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MaryRuth Hackett is a wife of 13+ year and a full-time mom to her 4 children. She has a PhD in Education reflecting her passion for Lifespan Human Development.In her academic life she researches, reads, & write about child development, parenting, identity development and program evaluation.She is a soccer mom who has recently discovered gardening and is an avid reader although her literature choices are lately limited to the likes of Margaret Wise Brown and Sandra Boynton.


  1. 100% yes!!!! This is exactly how it is in our house. It’s so natural for my kids to see my breastfeed the baby, they don’t even notice. I am trying to make it that natural in public, also, so not only will my children grow up knowing it is normal and natural, but they will be able to speak up positively to encourage others, be supportive, and when my girls are mothers, feel like they have nothing to hide.
    Gina recently posted…When Life Decides Your LentMy Profile

  2. Thanks Gina! God willing you will be right there beside them to encourage them in this most elemental form of mothering!
    DrMom recently posted…Q & A with Dr MomMy Profile

  3. Great post! As our family grows I hope to be comfortable with being this open with Breastfeeding. I’ve covered myself in public or around people I’m not that close to or comfortable with. Now Ted cannot nurse in public at all because he’s too curious
    Kellie recently posted…Currently {9}My Profile

    • Kellie I had periods too when I couldn’t really nurse in public easily. The last thing we need is for the baby to pop off and take a look around the coffee shop or wherever. Some babies are also really noisy so it can be hard in quiet places to nurse discretely. You bring up a good point also that guess I should have made also – there is no reason to be showing a bunch of skin when you nurse at home or in public. You get to practice it on average 6 times a day for many months, so breastfeeding discretely, although a challenge at first, is something that with effort you can master. Nursing in front of a mirror is a great way to start working on it – before the age when the baby gets curious!
      DrMom recently posted…Q & A with Dr MomMy Profile

  4. I have a 2 year old son and then 3 brothers (23, 15 & 10) so I’ve definitely had to overcome my anxiety over breastfeeding in front of them. Especially with my brothers I’ve been so relieved that it doesn’t make them uncomfortable…they know their adorable nephew just needs to be fed! Of course I always use a cover though. With my toddler, I often nurse without a cover and it hasn’t been a problem yet. He talks about how mommy makes “baby milk” if he sees me pumping (which he thinks is very cool compared to boring ol’ breastfeeding) and he will even cheer me on (“Yay Mommy! Baby milk! Yay!”). I have to constantly remind myself that exclusively breastfeeding my children is something to be very proud of…so it’s nice to see that through his eyes. :)
    Kelly Flynn recently posted…Life is GoodMy Profile

    • You bring up a great point about the extended family. We are blessed also with extended family in town. After our first was born, my hubby commented that his dad may (would) be uncomfortable with me nursing the baby – I responded that he could leave the room at any time. My MIL was not successful nursing her kids and so he had never witnessed it. I applaud my FIL for never seeming uncomfortable and for not making it an issue. He now has 7 grandkids with another on the way, so he would have missed a lot of family time if he had to leave the room every time a baby was hungry! I think it is easy to assume others will be uncomfortable when in reality we just need a little more confidence. Thank you so much for sharing Kelly!
      DrMom recently posted…5 Reasons Why I send My Kids to a Catholic SchoolMy Profile


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