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Should women have to cover up when they breastfeed in public?

August 4, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
Should women be required to cover up with a blanket or a shawl when they breastfeed their babies in public?

Andrea Scannell, a Logan, Utah woman, is apparently kicking up a fuss because the principal of her son's school sent out a letter asking breastfeeding mothers to be more discreet. The woman attends a public lunch program run over the summer at her son's middle school and breastfeeds her daughter in the lunchroom.

The principal wrote that his office had received complaints from multiple people about women breastfeeding during the lunch program and suggested that Scannell and other breastfeeding mothers either cover up with a small blanket or ask the lunchroom staff for assistance in finding a private area in the school where they can breastfeed. He said parents have different views of public breastfeeding and he would personally not want his own child exposed to it without having a chance to discuss it with him first.

Scannell is outraged by the letter and says she is being bullied and that it is completely legal to breastfeed in all 50 states. She also has told media that she is always covered when she breastfeeds, though she doesn't say with what. Some of her supporters even organized a protest last month where they all came to the school and breastfed their babies during the lunch program.

I don't have strong personal feelings one way or another about this issue, though I think it would be in better taste for breastfeeding women to be both modest and discreet if they are breastfeeding in public. It shouldn't be too hard to use a light blanket or a shawl when they are breastfeeding, especially in an area with a lot of other people. I didn't think the letter the principal wrote was at all rude or bullying. He was asking Scannell and other breastfeeding mothers to be more considerate and she responded by being even more inconsiderate.

What do you think women should do if they are breastfeeding in a public space?


Article Comments



Aug-14-14 8:59 AM

loco....don't you want this 'War On Women' stopped here in America? Wouldn't women here be more at peas?


Aug-13-14 8:40 PM

Guys will be guys, Jack & Free.


Aug-13-14 4:26 PM

You too, Free? My, oh my, if we justa could get our American women to be as liberated as those Europeans at the Riv....

Stop This War On Women.....


Aug-13-14 2:55 PM

I think JackAaah would be amused to see the 'Women of Wal*Mart that frequently is posted on cyberspace. Good for a laugh at times but it goes beyond No shirts, No shoes...No service.

I still have a stiff neck from the time I was on a beach in the Riviera.


Aug-13-14 12:39 PM

Chalk it up to cultural expectations. I don't think Americans are ready for topless women to go about freely in public.


Aug-12-14 12:22 PM

I justa don't know why it should stop at men can be topless in public....Andrea, why should women not be able to also.

We scream all these 'rights'....justa exactly is wrong with bare-chested women? With all the other rights women are demanding and are getting, why is there a war on women to keep them covered?


Aug-09-14 3:11 PM

"This issue wouldn't even have come up had some of the women breastfeeding would have had consideration for other people's varied feelings on the subject (my opinion)."

This didn't sound right...trying again:

This issue wouldn't even have come up had some of the women breastfeeding had consideration for other people's varied feelings on the subject (my opinion).


Aug-09-14 3:09 PM

I did cover up when I nursed my babies. It was more "modest" and "discreet."

As some people are uncomfortable with a woman exposing her breasts, even to use them as God intended, I covered to make sure they didn't have a reason to be uncomfortable. I used a larger receiving blanket when the babies were smaller. As they grew, I used a smaller quilt until they were weaned.

To me, this is a matter of being polite. I have friends that would not always cover, and they would get "looks." Sorry, but in our country, it's just the way it is.

This issue wouldn't even have come up had some of the women breastfeeding would have had consideration for other people's varied feelings on the subject (my opinion).


Aug-08-14 4:17 PM

I don't have kids, which may be why I don't understand why it has become a "thing." Years ago I did interview some women who were very into the whole natural childbirth, anti-circumcision, homebirth, anti-vaccination, attachment parenting movement. Not that there's anything wrong with some of that, but I get the impression that this is the sort of woman who is apt to be outspoken on the topic. This Andrea Scannell's website would tend to bear that out.


Aug-06-14 1:51 PM

For some reason, this breastfeeding thing has become a thing. And I don't understand why.


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