The 10 Weirdest Places I’ve Breastfed

My daughter was glued to my boob from day one. She nursed every hour for the first several weeks of her life, and every two hours for the first year. Though we tried to get her to drink my milk from a bottle so other people could feed her, she would scream like we were forcing slugs into her mouth, except worse, because I imagine babies might actually like slugs. So after awhile we gave up and I decided to EBF (exclusively breastfeed), meaning I found myself in some pretty awkward public situations when baby had to nurse.

For those of you who don’t EBF or don’t have kids, finding a place to nurse in public is kind of like hunting for a bathroom when you’re two steps away from pooping your pants: each passing second holds the potential for disaster. In no particular order, here are the 10 weirdest places I’ve breastfed my daughter.

1. At A Benefit Dinner

gala dinner

Even though this gala was to benefit the Doula Foundation of Mid-America, my daughter was only one of two babies present at the event. Everyone else at the masquerade-themed dinner was dressed in formal garb and getting schwastey on overpriced wine. I had a glass of wine myself, and maybe that’s what gave me the courage to open the milk factory in an event hall packed with a number of people that was surely breaking fire code laws.

(photo: CIO Event)

2. Poolside at Windermere

swimming pool cake

Baptists fear boobs almost as much as they fear God. That’s why I kind of felt like a rebel when I whipped out the teat poolside at the Baptist-affiliated camp where my family holds its annual family reunion. I did use a towel to shade baby’s eyes from the sun, but there was something so refreshing about having skin-to-skin contact with my little one out in the summer daylight.


3. At A Bar, In A Bathroom Stall

bathroom graffiti

Bathroom stalls are kind of a staple of public nursing, but what made this one different was the ambiance. We were hanging out at my husband’s restaurant, Old Chicago, late-ish with some friends. Old Chicago transforms from a family joint into a bar in the course of a few hours. We were there during that transition, so there was a pretty constant ebb and flow of clickety, stumbly heels in and out of the bathroom. There’s nothing weirder than nursing your sleepy baby in the crossfire of drunken lady talk. Except, maybe…

(photo: systemofadale)

4. In a Suitcase

baby doll in suitcase

Okay, I was actually leaning over a suitcase, I wasn’t actually inside it. But baby was. Lest you think I’m some sick bastard, no, I didn’t zip it up. I was using the suitcase as a makeshift bassinet while I was staying at my sister’s house. Because nursing was the only way to get my 6-month-old baby to sleep, well, I hovered over the thing for quite some time.

(photo: danorth1)

5. Wingapalooza


What’s weirder than a vegetarian mom attending Wingapalooza? A vegetarian mom breastfeeding her baby at a Wingapalooza! I took baby to this huge, chaotic event last year to hang out with my husband, who was running the booth for his restaurant. About an hour in, my daughter got that look in her eye. I rigged a sort of fortress behind a table of steaming wings, guarding my boobs from onlookers with the stroller and my husband’s sweatshirt draped over my shoulder. I think people were too busy wolfing down chickens to notice.

(photo:  SQKnSEA)

6. Bumblefuck, Illinois

middle of nowhere

I was riding up to Chicago with my sister and her boyfriend, and when baby woke up after a couple hours, they hospitably told me to go ahead and nurse her. Well, stupid carseat laws, they hadn’t realized we’d have to pull over to fill up the babytank. So we took an off-ramp that had maybe seen two other cars in the last decade, and baby nursed away while we sat with windows down. There were no noises. It was like outer space. Aside — when traveling with a nursing baby, add about seven hours to your ETA.

(photo: fluffypinkcloud)

7. Fairgrounds for a Springfield Garage Sale

garage sale warrior

I’m not sure what compelled me to strap my daughter into a carrier and brave a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd of angry bargain hunters, but I did. It took me a half hour to get admitted at the door and squeeze through the people to start perusing the booths, and once I was fully submerged my daughter decided this whole thing was kind of lame and she’d rather just have some boob. Horrified, and knowing it would take me an hour to find a bathroom, I retraced my steps back outside (sloooooowly, because people don’t care if your baby is crying in a crowd) and walked all the way back to my car, which was parked somewhere across the Atlantic ocean. When we started nursing in the backseat, I realized maybe I needed to get some air, too, so it actually worked out well.

(photo: Jamie Pflug)

8. Floor of a church bathroom

bathroom floor

My husband, daughter and I were attending a class on money management that took place at a huge church here in Springfield. Though baby slept through most of these classes (she’s clearly not a Dave Ramsey fan), there was one occasion when I had to whisk her off to nurse. The comfiest and cleanest place I have ever nursed in public was the bathroom floor of that church. They must shell out the big ones for some kind of five-star cleaning service. So THAT’S where the tithe money goes!

(photo: georgecreekconstruction)

9. Table at Panera during lunch rush

panera bread

This occasion holds a special place in my heart because it was the first time I nursed my daughter in public without some kind of blanket draped over me. My husband and I were both exhausted from new parenthood, and we were enjoying our little lunch break at Panera. Baby got fussy, I sighed and said we’d better go, but Shaun suggested just nursing her there. I fumbled around and put her on my boob, blushing to high heaven. I fixed my eyes on the cars outside the window instead of the people rushing around me. Because if I can’t see them, they can’t see me, right?

(photo: super-acid)

10. Parking Garage In Downtown Chicago

parking garage

During the aforementioned trip to see my sister (this trip was just a mess of breastfeeding craziness, apparently), I rode with her into downtown Chicago to see her office. She had to work that day, so the plan was for me to drive her car back out of the city and she’d take the train home. When we parted ways at her office and I made it back to the parking garage, my heart stopped. My sister had the keys. I called her, she said she could meet me back there in under a half hour, but my little nursling wouldn’t wait that long. So I stood against the wall of the parking garage, hoisted baby up like a guitar, and breastfed her like some kind of urban warrior.

(photo: Mike Seliske)

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  • noelle 02

    You just brought back so many memories! How about when in front of the congregation at church when the baby is being dedicated? Or at the beach half buried in sand? Or while walking through a corn maze? Or leaning over the carseat the entire trip from Charlotte to Atlanta because you really want to get home and the baby is cutting his first tooth? Or at the OB’s office when very pregnant with the next baby? I can laugh now that I’ve been done for a year. Last winter was so amazing, being outside and never having to lift my shirt and have cold air hit my skin!

    • Amanda Low

      Those are all wonderful!! Half buried in sand sounds so peaceful…

    • Amber Leigh

      I nursed my son in front of our church during his baptism, too!!! Talk about nursing IN PUBLIC! Can’t get more public than all eyes on you ON PURPOSE!!!

  • Emily

    Navy Marine Corps Stadium. Small crowd that day, though – only about 5,000.

    • Amanda Low

      Haha, nice!!

  • allisonjayne

    Aw. My girl is about to be fully weaned (she’s just over 2) and I’m so sad….this is bringing back lots of sweet memories.

  • PrairieCoast

    I’ve seen these kind of “weirdest places you’ve nursed” posts on a number of blogs and forums, and they bore me. I’m not sure why people feel they have to brag about nursing their babies or imply that it’s some kind of sordid act. I guess I could come up with a list like this myself, but I just nursed wherever I was whenever the baby was hungry. Not sure what is interesting about that.

    • noelle 02

      I loved these type posts when my firstborn was little and nursing him covered up under a blanket in a deserted section of the mall seemed intimidating. I’d think that if another mom survived nursing her kid at Navy Marine Corps Stadium, maybe I could lighten up and do it in the middle of the crowded food court.

    • PrairieCoast

      Makes sense. I can see how these stories would be encouraging for people who have trepidations about nursing in public.

    • Nicole Baldwin

      Except that nursing in a bathroom is prominent in the posts…

  • That_Darn_Kat

    With my daughter, I would always find the most obscure corner to nurse in. With my son, because he was my 2nd, and that boy practically lived on my boob, I got so very good at nursing him while doing everything. On many occasions, I would nurse him while grocery shopping. That’s a fun one, let me tell ya, lol.

    • Amanda Low

      I’ve seen people do this, and they are NINJAS!

    • Erienne Hanna

      i’ve nursed in the grocery store! super multi-tasking mama skills necessary :)

  • Wendy

    Holy crap! I have actually been to Windermere!

    • Amanda Low

      Small world!! I have many memories there!

  • Wonders

    Wow. Watch out now. I wouldn’t want your life to become too exciting. You sound so smug. An “EBF” AND a vegetarian? Who saw THAT coming? On another note, nothing classes up an article like “glued to the boob” and “whipping out the teat.”

    • Justme

      You don’t have to agree…but you also don’t have to be rude.

  • Wonders

    And since I’m raining on the breastfeeding parade, I really wish all you “hard-core moms” would take a step back and realize what TRUE courage is and what many legitimate issues mothers around the country and world face. Breastfeeding in public does not a hero make. Nor is this a civil rights movement. Stop turning this into an issue, for the love of God.

    • JerzeyJen

      Wow, that was kinda mean. I must have missed the part where she claimed to be a hero and put others down because of their decision on what to eat or how to feed their children. She was just sharing some places where she found herself breastfeeding. If you take the stick out of your butt, you might find life more enjoyable. ;) Amanda you go on with your bad self, girlfriend. I would encourage you to get out of the bathroom and somewhere that smells a little better. See how many more place you can add to that list. It’s a good thing you got going there.

  • Erin

    Loved this. I have a 7-week old, and nursing in public made me nervous at first, too. Seems like as soon as you find a semi-private place, a crowd of people just shows up!

  • Cassy

    There are a lot of reasons I didn’t last breastfeeding, but this is one of them…kudos to you for having the guts to do this! One nursing sesh in a public bathroom when my baby was 3 months old was enough for me to vow to only take pumped milk when we were out…which, long story short, was the beginning of the end.

  • kitten

    what i dont get about this article is why you were ever in a bathroom…I have to say i pretty much just nursed my littlest where ever the heck I was, with a cover on. At my company picnic I went to the otehr end of the pavillion, put on a cover, and whipped it out. Someone comment on…wow, you had to go nurse her A LOT. to which i replied. Yup. I did.
    I can respect that you might feel comfortable doing it without a ‘spot’ to do it inthough.

    • kitten

      *might not feel comfortable

  • He

    Maybe it’s just me, but I never thought breastfeeding was that big of a deal. I nursed, with a cover, whenever it was time, wherever I was. So what?

  • Cris

    I’m sorry that bathroom stalls have become a nursing staple for you. Having to nurse in a place you yourself would never want to eat is exactly the reason there are laws in most states to protect a moyhr’s right to breastfeeding wherever she is. I hope you’ll consider abandoning the restroom as an option altogether and join the rest of us moms nursing out of the water closet ;)

  • Momma of 3

    My best tip to moms new to this is to find a dressing room – much cleaner than bathrooms and usually has a bench to sit on.

  • Tammie Norville

    I nursed 6 kids, and I did it wherever I was, whenever they were hungry, whether I was grocery shopping at Wal-Mart, or Christmas shopping at the mall. I nursed in restaraunts, fast food establishments and the library. I did it when places were dead and when they were busy. I never went into a dressing room or a bathroom, and I was always descrete. My atitude? If you don’t like it, don’t look. This was how I chose to feed mybabies, and no one had to approve, and they certainly didn’t have to watch. Would I do it again? YES!!!

  • Amber Leigh

    I am sad to see that bathrooms and parking lots are where you nursed. How sad for you and your sweet baby.

    My weirdest place that I nursed was in the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. while I was lobbying for enforcement for breastfeeding protection laws. I hid ONCE when my son was a newborn and it sucked that I had to be a social pariah because my son was hungry. Never again did I hide, nor do I cover. I nurse all the time and no one knows or cares 99% of the time. The 1% who do care are people I don’t need in my life anyways!

  • Shelley

    Yeah…I have never–not once–nursed in a bathroom. I refuse. It’s mine and my baby’s right to eat wherever we are. I’ve nursed while walking the dog (in an Ergo carrier), at religious services, in more restaurants than I can count, and even at my husband’s office. I often try to be discreet, since I want to gradually help strangers become more comfortable with breastfeeding, but it’s been so hot lately that I’ve pretty much done away with the nursing cover, even in very public places.

  • Happy sham

    I nursed in the confessional during Mass once. The priest wasn’t there but I still felt odd!

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