Don’t Be a Boob – Breastfeeding Etiquette For Guys

While only about 40% of mothers breastfeed, it can be hard to know what to do when you’re a guy in the vicinity. Whether you have your own kids at home or are just a single guy, there are a few things to know about that mother in the corner. Remember she’s only trying to feed her baby.

1. Give her some space.
Every woman has a different comfort level for breastfeeding in public. Some have drapes made of fabric or use blankets to cover themselves. Others have special clothing for easy access to nurse. A few even whip it out as needed, regardless of who might be around or watching. Either way, there is no need to stare.

2. Be honest with her and yourself.
She’s focused on the child, not you. If she’s a friend, talk to her at a time when she’s not so busy. If you are not comfortable being around her during this time, turn your back and ignore her. You can continue the conversation without invading her privacy. She’ll appreciate you sharing your feelings as long as it isn’t in the middle of her time with her child. You might not be comfortable with her breastfeeding near you, but a little flexibility by both parties will make everyone happier.

3. Do not ask her to leave.
Even if she’s militant about flashing the milk-makers, you don’t have to react like a cave man who’s never seen them before or is afraid of a little skin showing. It’s even worse to ask her to go to the bathroom for that. You have a choice of where to eat, but do you choose to eat in the bathroom? And realize if you said yes, you’re lying.

4. Breasts were created to breastfeed.
You might have other ideas about them, but at this point biology takes precedence. Breastfeeding isn’t sexual to the mother. In the beginning, it’s very painful. Depending on when the baby gets teeth, blood might even be drawn at different times. Choosing to breastfeed is not an easy task. It takes a lot of practice to get good at it.

5. Do not distract the baby.
Yes, mothers love it when people talk to their kids, play with them, or generally take an interest in them. But babies can get distracted at different stages, and it is frustrating when the kid won’t latch on to eat because someone is making funny noises. Sometimes the baby tries to take the nipple with him when he turns his head, another painful reality of breastfeeding.

6. Watch what you do say.
It’s not okay to make comments like “If you don’t eat that, I will,” or anything else in that vein. You might get away with it if you’re the father of the baby and your wife is in a good mood, but it’s best not to push it.

7. Do not make comments about the choice of breastfeeding over bottle feeding.
It is a personal choice for the mother and baby about the best method of feeding. Opinions run high and arguments are easy to start but not easy to win. She’s already made her choice and doing the best she can with it – you will not change her mind.

It isn’t hard to treat a breastfeeding woman with good manners. Just because you may not see it every day doesn’t mean you need to worry about what you do when faced with a breastfeeding mother and her hungry baby. Be respectful of her and her choices as you would any other person you meet.