I've been out of the breastfeeding business for five years now so I haven't read much about breastfeeding lately. I was really surprised when I read this article talking about problems that nursing mothers are having with breastfeeding in public. I find it so funny that people make a big deal out of mothers feeding their babies just because it involves boobs. As someone says in the article, people are so overly focused on breasts as sexual objects that they tend to forget their practical and very important use as a food supply unit.
I breastfed both girls - A Girl for well over a year and M Girl for a year - while working full time. I have such wonderful memories of that time with them - even though it was a hugely painful struggle at first and even though I had to lug a ridiculously large and heavy breast pump to and from work everyday. (Of course now they have these small yet powerful pumps that get stowed in a cute black backpack. They also have maternity clothes at The Gap when all I had was the mu mu crap from Motherhood Maternity that I could only find at sprawling suburbans malls. But that's a rant for another day.) I fed them in public many times without incident. Of course I didn't make a big deal out of what I was doing and I tried to be discreet.
One time I fed A Girl at the table while we had dinner with friends at a busy restaurant - and no one noticed. Our table was right next to the hostess table so there were people all around. A Girl was in her stroller, pulled up to the table. She got fussy so I picked her up and managed to get her latched on without lifting my shirt all while carrying on a conversation. When she was done, I put her back down and my husband (who is the most observant person I know) said "Don't you need to feed her?" Granted, it was fairly dark in the restaurant, which helped a lot. And to be fair - A Girl and I were a veteran nursing pair by then. I couldn't have done that within the first three or so months. The point of the story is that it's possible - in many situations - to be discreet about breastfeeding.
The article talks about a woman who was kicked off of a plane because she refused to cover up while she was breastfeeding. I always had a blanket or shirt or towel draped over my shoulder. It's not because I was ashamed of breastfeeding but because it's polite to at least try not to offend the people around you - even when you think they shouldn't be offended. You can't tell from the article but I wonder how exposed she was and why she didn't cover up when asked. Even if the flight attendant was being prudish and stupid, why make a big deal out of it? It's not like they were asking her to feed her baby in the plane's bathroom. Frankly, the stress on the mother (and the baby) of fighting about it was probably more of an issue than just putting a damn blanket over the offending boob and being done with it.