Almost everything surrounding Beyonce and Jay-Z’s union has been overblown, so when the pop star was spotted breastfeeding her 7-week-old daughter, Blue Ivy, while dining at NYC’s Sant Ambroeus restaurant Saturday, it seemed like the Houston-native was the first woman ever to lactate in the public realm.

Breastfeeding advocates are rejoicing and praising Beyonce after her decision, claiming that her courageous move helped take the stigma off nursing in public.

According to Dr. Ruth Lawrence, a professor of pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, Beyonce should be a role model for prospective and new mothers, [R]ole models are needed to help young women see the value and the beauty of breastfeeding,” she told CBS News.

“Beyonce appears as a beautiful, loving new mother,” said Lawrence. “She has dressed to carry and feed her baby when needed. She makes a model image.”

Beyonce’s public breastfeeding comes on the heels of a grassroots-organized “nurse-in” at Facebook offices around the world. The social network had flagged or disabled the accounts of some moms who had uploaded breastfeeding pictures, which sparked the February nurse-in where mothers went to Facebook offices around the world to protest.

“I think Beyonce has a huge impact on being able to re-normalize breastfeeding and give women confidence to do the same,” said Emma Kwasnica, a childbirth and breastfeeding educator who helped spearhead the Facebook nurse-in. “Images of pop stars and celebrities giving their babies nourishment will never harm our cause.”

Meanwhile, Beyonce breastfeeding in public holds special significance for black breastfeeding advocates who maintain that black female bodies carry unfair negative connotations, which advocates say might explain why the mainstream media, by in large, doesn’t ask black celebrity mothers how they intimately care and feed their children.

“So many young black women look up to Beyonce and emulate her and want to be her that this will for sure promote breastfeeding in the black community,” asserts Elita Kalma, a certified lactation consultant and librarian who promotes breastfeeding among black women at her blog Blacktating.

While breastfeeding is natural, the act has been marginalized and stigmatized in American culture, said Dr. Alison Stuebe, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at University of North Carolina Health Care.

“[And] at the expense of the health and well-being of mothers and babies,” said Stuebe. “By bringing breastfeeding into the mainstream, Beyonce can help break down barriers so that mothers and babies can breastfeed in peace.”

Stuebe said the stigma likely goes back to America’s Puritan roots, along with marketing ploys created to sexualize women’s breasts as toys for men rather than a way to feed their children. She noted that, in 2006, a breastfeeding mother was kicked out of a Victoria’s Secret store because the staff found the act indecent, “in the middle of a commercial display with larger-than-life miracle bra models.”

“I am sure there was much more mammary tissue visible at the other tables in the restaurant [where Beyonce was], as women tend to display plenty of cleavage in public these days,” said Lawrence. “Breastfeeding is not pornography as little or no breast is visible when a woman breastfeeds in public.”

How do feel about breastfeeding in public? Is it mild pornography or a natural and healthy way to nourish an infant?

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49 Comments

  1. I’m not even sure how you can begin to compare breastfeeding to porn.

    Breastfeeding is natural and nurturing for the baby. If it’s being done discretely (i.e. with a cover) as in the pictures above I don’t see the problem. Even if it’s not so discrete, pornography is salacious, degrading and overtly sexual. Breastfeeding is a mother nurturing her own child, not sure how there is any type of correlation between the two…

  2. Breastfeeding IN PUBLIC is akin to PORN. Breastfeeding is like the piece alludes to: An intimate practice between the mother and child, not between the public also. It’s uncomfortable for women to nurse in public primarily because it draws attention to the exposed breast. I don’t understand why feminist want this practice normalized in public, in my opinion it’s disgraceful. If it was a practice for the public, please someone let me know why, after a number of years, it completely unacceptable? People will be outraged if Beyonce is still breastfeeding her daughter at 2 or 3 years old. Something that intimate should be used with more discretion and respect for people who don’t may be offended.

    • @Jordan: You’re ignorant sir or ma’am…you have to be a man to leave such an inflammatory remark, but looking at Congress lately, you can be a woman. But I guess that’s what the title of this article wanted to do, find a fool who hates women having control over their bodies. Grow up

    • JessicaMercedes

      @Jordan: Although breastfeeding your child can help with the mother-daughter bonding experience, it isn’t really meant to be an intimate practice. People who choose to breast feed their children usually do it because of the health benefits for their child. Our bodies are designed to provide the best nutrition for our young. There are so many benefits to breastfeeding, that the FDA requires prepared formulas to print on their label that formula can’t even COMPARE to breast milk. When its time for a mother to feed her child (which can be every 2-4 hours), she has to feed them, where ever they are. A mother cannot wait to find herself in an “intimate” environment.
      However, I do agree with you that you should try to be discreet. There are nursing bras, shirts, baby slings, and blankets that make it almost impossible to tell that a mother is breastfeeding and also keeps the baby comfortable.

    • @Jordan:

      so… your child is supposed to starve while you’re in public because people a. can’t mind their damn business or b. are too close-minded to realize that breast feeding is a simple act of FEEDING a child?! gimme a damn break, this is the 21st century. you see more breast on network television than you do while a woman is breast feeding.

    • @Jordan: It’s not porn under any circumstance. Porn is generally a violent non-imaginative assault/borderline rape fantasy against another human being. A infant trying to eat would not fall under such a categorization.

  3. JessicaMercedes

    I know some people who just whip out their breasts and literally have them hanging for the world to see while they prepare for their baby to latch on. I breast fed my first child for almost a full year in public and no body ever knew. They would think she was just cuddling with me. People would even come up to me and try to touch her, only to be surprised to find out that she was nursing. There is a way to do it while maintaining decency.

  4. Women need to take back our bodies, we are so used to performing under the male gaze that we can’t separate our breasts from being sexual. THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE FOR. There’s nothing shameful or disgusting about a nursing mother.

    • I wish I could take your comment and put it on a billboard for all to see. I cannot for the life of me figure out why breastfeeding is so demonized by others, beside it makes men (an those females who identify closely with men) feel uncomfortable. A woman’s body is not only made for the sexual pleasure of a man and breast are not just for “his” enjoyment. There is nothing more natural then a mother nursing her child. I remember a few months back when some famous athlete posted a comment on twitter how disgusted he was that he saw a woman’s breast as she was breastfeeding her child. Ugh, he was an ass and tried to make it seem like she was walking around shirtless for no reason. However, when a man walks around without a shirt for no reason as at it doesn’t cause a peep out of anyone. But let a woman need to breastfeed and there’s an uproar. Some people need to grow up and get over themselves

  5. While I was unable to breastfeed either of our children, I am a strong advocate for it. For all of time it was the ONLY way to go. Now its wrong to do? And to liken it to porn is just crazy. Not saying to just whip it out for all the world to see. It is intimate and a very personal bonding experience. It’s Breastfeeding for the Soul! lol.

  6. WomenAgainstLewdBehavior

    I’m sorry but this a primitive ritual and should be seen as a violation of babies’ civil rights. It’s borne out of incestuous relationship between mothers and children, leading to moral decay. Women enjoy an erotic experience that imposes oral gratification on innocent infants after birth. Their reprehensible behavior teaches children illicit sex, subsequently manifesting addiction to promiscuity.

    • @WomenAgainstLewdBehavior: I would love to think that you are playing Devil’s Advocate by saying that breastfeeding is born of “an incestuous relationship” between mother and child. However we are in America and unfortunately that means that there are ignorant psychotic and obviously sick people out there like you. So that being said, breastfeeding is natural and beautiful. It was the only way for babies to be fed for millennia. I breastfeed my son and have no sexual feelings towards him nor do I derive sexual feelings from it. You must have been raised or indoctrinated by uber-conservative people that are afraid of nature, of human bodies, of the way that God has made us. I feel sad for you. I pray that God will help your mind for your sake and the sake of those around you, because you REALLY need it.

    • @WomenAgainstLewdBehavior: I have never had a better time to say this quote: GIRL BYE!!!!!!!!!

    • @JessicaMercedes: @WomenAgainstLewdBehavior: I’m sure that was joke. I mean, only an ignorant so-and-so would make that comment #nursebeyoncenurse

      • JessicaMercedes

        @Melissa: Not sure why I was tagged in this reply. Hoping it was a typo. I am absolutely FOR breastfeeding, in public, or otherwise. Infact, as I stated above I did it for nearly a year.

    • @WomenAgainstLewdBehavior: C’mon chile you cannot be serious. LOL. I don’t even understand what you’re saying so I’m going to take it as disrespect. Don’t bring your self hate so strongly on such a light weight topic.

    • @WomenAgainstLewdBehavior: you are mentally retarded..? by your completely hateful and ignorant comment it really appears that you are…but the spelling and punctuation is too good. just another person i’m ashamed to share the planet with i guess..

    • Desiree Spady

      @WomenAgainstLewdBehavior: omg…your comment was hilarious..STUPID…but hilarious. Im not sure if you are a mother or have EVER heard of a new mother have milk secreted from her BREAST..lol..but yeah that’s what happens It’s our bodies NATURAL way of feeding our children, as we didnt have the steroid induced formulated milk ages ago. You would probably be the same person saying woman were murderous creatures for NOT breastfeeding ages ago, you be be on the opposite side of COMMON SENSE. that’s all

    • @WomenAgainstLewdBehavior: You cannot be serious? Do you think women should be jailed for feeding their child in public? Your comment is Lewd

    • @WomenAgainstLewdBehavior: This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, obviously you have never breastfed a child. There is nothing erotic or enjoyable about it. You start with a month of unbearable pain, and once you finally get the hang of it, they get teeth and start to bite. You spend countless hours not doing what you would like to do because you are the sole provider of nutrition for your child. Breastfeeding your child is a sacrifice, but one in which the benefits so outweigh the negatives that it’s not worth any other option. Keep in mind that you would not be alive today if your ancestors did not breastfeed their children at some point.

    • JessicaMercedes

      @WomenAgainstLewdBehavior: Its scary to think that I live iin a world with people who think like you.

  7. i really don’t understand why this is even an issue…

  8. @WomenAgainstLewdBehavior: I would love to think that you are playing Devil’s Advocate by saying that breastfeeding is born of “an incestuous relationship” between mother and child. However we are in America and unfortunately that means that there are ignorant psychotic and obviously sick people out there like you. So that being said, breastfeeding is natural and beautiful. It was the only way for babies to be fed for millennia. I breastfeed my son and have no sexual feelings towards him nor do I derive sexual feelings from it. You must have been raised or indoctrinated by uber-conservative people that are afraid of nature, of human bodies, of the way that God has made us. I feel sad for you. I pray that God will help your mind for your sake and the sake of those around you, because you REALLY need it.

  9. What’s the big deal?!? Breastfeeding is nothing like porn! If you are getting turned on by seeing a woman nurse her child, maybe you are the one with a problem. I nursed my daughter and trust me, nothing sexy about it! If she’s out and about and the baby gets hungry, she should stop and nurse. Unless you have had a newborn you don’t really how often they need to eat. I don’t think anybody needs to flaunt that they are nursing..just do it and get on with your business. I definitely didn’t appreciate when my family would try to shoo me out when I was nursing my baby; nobody should have to feel bad for doing what comes naturally. People just need to be more educated.

  10. They are offended by this and not the David Beckham poster in h&m’s display window and on billboards or the Victoria Secret model’s in thongs on display basically all over, smh WHATEVER

  11. Breast feeding is so good for the baby. There is no doubt that as a mother, you have a responsibility to your child to give them the best nutrition possible, if you can. I think it’s great that B is drawing attention to breast feeding in general. In fact, it doesn’t bother me if women choose to do it in public, as long as they have their breast covered. Where it becomes an issue for me and for a lot of people, is when it isn’t covered up. There is etiquette that should be shown in public. Regardless of how many sit-ins or how many times feminists get all fired up about their right to take out their boob and feed their child, they are not going to change the fact that people find breasts attractive and sexual. Even though after having a baby, your breasts become more utilitarian, doesn’t change the fact that they are still exposed breasts …. At a restaurant …. While people are eating. It isn’t a big deal to cover up, and you don’t have an entire restaurant staring at your chest. I wouldn’t normally be ok with showing that much skin in public, so why would that change just because I have a baby?

  12. I think that Jordan and Lewd Woman should call Rush- they could start a little discussion group.

  13. The only, only reason breasts are seen as sexual is because people make them that way. Once upon a time, women’s ankles were seen as sexual, but now, how many people get all hot and bothered (or even offended) by the sight of an ankle? Breasts are solely meant for feeding a baby, and men (and some women) just happen to be attracted to them…not the other way around–like they are sexual organs and babies just happen to suck on them–that is not the case. Women shouldn’t have to feed their babies in bathroom stalls, or practically smother their babies under a hot blanket in the summer just to feed them (and the blanket does not work after most babies are old enough to grab it).

  14. @WomenAgainstLewdBehavior: Ok here’s my two cents. GET OVER YOURSELF YOU SELF RIGHTEOUS, COMMON SENSE LACKING, IGNORANT WASTE OF PERFECTLY GOOD AIR!!! There is nothing sexual about breast-feeding at all. This is coming from a guy that has a healthy sexual appetite. I however do not have a sexual desire for my wife in that way, nor do any other self respecting sane me. Your ignorance to the facts is painfully obvious to the rest of the readers here. That said, here’s the facts so you can be educated properly. 1. Breast-feeding is NOT pleasurable for the mother. the infant usually bites down on the nipple pretty hard. (ITS HURT THE MOTHER FOR THOSE THAT ARE IGNORANT LIKE YOU) 2. Breast-feeding interferes with a woman’s schedule, therefore the mother has to feed her starving baby when they get hungry. (THE BABY WILL BE MALNOURISHED IF IT IS NOT FED, MAYBE EVEN DIE) 3. Due to the time consuming and painful nature of breast-feeding mothers tend to look at it as a sacrifice worth making for their child to be fed and healthy. (IT’S A GOOD THING AND YOU SHOULD GROW UP AND GET OVER IT!!!!!)

    Ok my ranting is over. WOMEN BE PROUD TO BREASTFEED YOUR CHILDREN. MY WIFE DID FOR A TIME, AND ITS A BEAUTIFUL NATURAL THING.

  15. I guess she is still trying to convince the public that she actually gave birth. I guess she’s taken that lactation pill; our maybe she has her baby sucking on a prosthetic strap on boob bottle. if I’m wrong may God forgive me, if I’m right…

  16. @WomenAgainstLewdBehavior: You sound like a perp. Have you sexually molested your child? Or, are you a victim of child molestation? Yes, I am reading between your lines and paying attention to what you did not say – clearly.

    I’m curious- How do you feel about female animals nursing their young? Do you think the pups have sexual thoughts towards their mother or vice versa?

  17. I live in a part of the country that is very tolerant about breastfeeding — actually, you’re more likely to get called out for NOT breastfeeding your child around here. I’ve seen plenty of women breastfeed in public, I’ve done it myself (despite thinking that I never could – you can do almost anything when your newborn won’t stop crying), and honestly, I’ve never seen anyone immodestly whip their breast out in public, and it’s never, ever looked like porn. It’s one of the most natural processes in the world, and the people who have a problem with it have issues, not the people breastfeeding.

  18. I’m trying to figure out why this is even news….headlines: BEYONCE BREASTFEEDS HER BABY…so what! women do that everyday…didnt know breastfeeding needed to be glorified.

  19. Breastfeeding and pornography are so far apart in what they actually are its not even worth discussing! Lets hope that Beyonce actually manages to encourage a lot more mothers,especially younger women to do what nature intended and that is BREASTFEED . Maybe those folk who stated the ridiculous ideas come from artifical formula companies?

  20. I have no idea what Beyonce was really doing in public, faking as usual I guess but I doubt it was breastfeeding. She is truly a bizarre attention-hound and I wish girls would find someone else to emulate.

    So she decided to breastfeed one month after her child was born? How did she miraculously do that? Because her milk would have long since dried up. Since the time BIC was born Beyonce wasted no time going to basketball games and clubs while “breastfeeding” but didn’t bother to take a breastpump with her to these places. Let me tell you, as a mother who breastfed six kids, if you miss even one feeding from your babies schedule you will truly regret it. Your breasts will be engorged with milk and leaking. Miss two feedings and you will beg anyone to let them wet-nurse their baby just to get the milk out.

    Feedings range from baby to baby but generally they are every two to three hours. Beyonce was out for hours on end on her outings and never appeared engorged, needed to pump milk, none of that. Does she complain about sore nipples or how to breastfeed with implants(which she has)? No, she has someone conveniently “leak” that she was caught breastfeeding so people will get off her case about being a pitiful mother that hightails it out to the club the minute she gets the chance.

    I truly wish people ESPECIALLY African-Americans would stop parading this charlatan around as the spokeswoman and hope for Black women and girls. Maybe it will get a few more hits in the search engine if Frugivore puts Beyonce’s name in their posts but if you want to establish yourself as a credible source for vegetarian and vegan living then stop writing about shady people.

    As for breastfeeding in public, I’ve done it but out of respect for other people I always wear a cover. While nudity may be natural we don’t live in a society that is accepting of that all the time and I don’t think a mother should feel she has the right to force other people to look at her boobs just because she feels it’s right. I knew a woman that whipped her breasts out when she wanted to feed the baby and didn’t cover. I was offended because frankly I didn’t want to see all that. We were in a room full of women and they were uncomfortable as well. There were small children around who weren’t accustomed to that yet this woman took it upon herself to force us to accept her viewpoint on breastfeeding. There is such a thing as respect for other people. And until nudity returns to its place in society as being natural and not meant to invoke sexual and lewd connotations, breastfeeding women have a responsibility to respect other people’s wishes within reason. And as long as religion is an unfortunate yet dominate force in people’s lives, I don’t see nudity being viewed as something natural for a very long time.

  21. I TOTALLY agree with your comments except about Beyonce – isnt it possible she pumped enough milk before she left…basketball games and nights out are a couple of hours at most…

    But on the breast feeding thing, sorry everyone doesn’t want to see your tittay….we don’t live in a country where its necessary to do it openly. I HATE the zealot moms who think everyone should go along with things just because it involves a child. I’m fine with you breastfeeding but c’mon can’t you be discreet with it? You’re a Bible thumper all day, you’re upset when your daughter wears tight jeans but if you pull out your boob in the middle of restaurant that’s cool? Stop it. You can feed your baby without turning it into a spectacle.

  22. For the sake of argument, let’s say Beyonce breastfeeds BIC. Even if she pumped beforehand it still wouldn’t affect her nursing schedule. Which means Beyonce would still get a ‘let-down’* based on how often she nursed BIC. If she nursed every 2-3 hours then her body will build an automatic schedule so that she can have enough milk ready for every feeding. If she pumped milk it doesn’t negate the schedule, milk will still be ready in enough time for the next feeding.

    For example, the baby nurses at 2p, 5p, 8p and so on daily. On Monday, mom pumps her milk from the 2pm feeding and leaves it for a nanny to feed to the baby at 5pm because she will be out of the house. That doesn’t mean the milk for the 5pm feeding won’t be in her breasts. At 5pm she will have full breasts and no baby to feed. A ‘let-down’ will occur. Unless she took a breast pump with her to catch the milk, her nipples will leak as the milk comes out because her body is on the baby’s feeding schedule. Woe to her if she also misses the 8pm feeding because by that time her breasts will be engorged and probably painful. It is not recommended to let the breasts fill up with milk because 1. it makes it hard for the baby to latch on and 2. mom risks getting an infection called mastitis. I know about both first hand and it is not fun.

    Mom will also have to wear nipple pads and a nursing bra while she’s out. Even though the baby isn’t with her, she will need the nursing bra for easy access to pump milk.

    I would think for Beyonce and Jay-Z to go to a game would take way longer than a couple of hours. Maybe us average folks can whip in and out lol but for her, between hair, makeup, security, travel, eating, and all that can stretch into several hours. The pictures of her taken going to the club show her in her usual attire of skin tight dress, going to a function that lasts for hours. Am I really to believe she tucked herself off in a corner somewhere and pulled her boob out of that dress to pump milk?

    It was recently reported that she and Jay-Z were out again at a concert of some sort. Apparently an expensive bottle of wine was sent to her table. So she’s also drinking while “breastfeeding” on top of being away from her baby for hours on end without a breastpump? Everything a mother consumes can crossover into breastmilk including alcohol but Beyonce sure doesn’t seem to give a flip. Didn’t her lactation specialist explain all of this her? Of course not, because you have to be lactating first.

    At the end of the day, people will believe what they want to believe. It’s a sore spot for me because millions of women have bore the brunt of pregnancy, child-birth, and breastfeeding with all the burdens yet none of the celebration that was poured on Beyonce. Only for her to flaunt her charade in all these other women’s faces and make it look like other women were a bunch of whiners and Beyonce has it all figured out. Beyonce didn’t earn her stripes like all mothers that suffer through 10 months of growing a life, the intense pain of childbirth, and weariness of breastfeeding. Like the marathon runner that cheats by taking a bus to the finish line, Beyonce forged her way into the motherhood club and for that, I don’t think she should be saluted.

    * let-down – is when breastmilk flows to a woman’s nipples.

    • @fruitygal:

      Oh shut up already! It’s very sad that you took the time to write all this. You don’t know Beyonce and her family personally so why do you care so much about her being a mother.

      • @Ms. J:

        You shut up. Too bad the only reply you could come up with to a well-written, thought-out, intelligent response is to say “shut up”. You obviously took the time to read it all yet you couldn’t come up with a rebuttle besides the tired response of “you don’t know Beyonce”. Neither do you. However, I don’t need to know Beyonce to know a fraud when I see one. So skulk your behind back to your Beyonce groupie corner where you came from.

        • @fruitygal:

          I never said I knew her, but I do respect her as an entertainer and role model. Sorry but I don’t care to waist my time quibbling about someone who doesn’t care how I feel or what I think (unlike you). So with that being said, I’m done. Have a great day :)

          • @Ms. J:

            Whatever. There are 40 plus comments on this thread prior to mine. You didn’t feel the need to attack those posters and tell them to “shut up”. You hate the fact that what I wrote made sense.

            You claim you don’t want to WASTE(not waist) your time quibbling then why did you bother to read the comments and post a nasty reply?

            If you want to respect her as a role model then that’s on you. But, hold onto your seat now, there are other people on this planet besides you. People who are free to form opinions and hold their viewpoint even though it may be contrary to yours.

            That being said, I don’t have a problem with Beyonce being a mother. I have a problem with the way she passed it off to the world. A president would never be allowed to get away with that crap, so why should an entertainer who is idolized by so many young girls be allowed to?

            As long as Beyonce wants to be in the very public eye then she shoulders some responsibility for message that she sends to the people who adore her. Bold-face lying shouldn’t be the message she spreads and then is celebrated by the media and her stans.

  23. Hats off to Beyonce. I hope that all of her fans will emulate her and breastfeed their babies. BTW: breastfeeding burns about 1500 calories a day; helps to burn that baby fat!

  24. Are we really having this conversation, breastfeeding in public healthy or porn!!! For years women have to hide such a natural thing. So when the baby is hungrey are we to have the baby starve until we get to a secret hiding place? I say not, feed your child where ever you are just keep it tasteful.

  25. Again, we’ve absorbed the most ridiculous, self-annihilating and racially hysterical points of view as the starting point for any conversation about any subject. And no one complains when whites tongue-kiss their dogs endlessly in commercials and in public. Uh, excuse me, it’s not bestiality, because dogs’ mouths are “cleaner” than humans. Unbelievable.

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