Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Nursing in public

1 February, 2005

Question:

I am breastfeeding my first child, he doesn't want to take my milk from a bottle at all which makes me wonder what can I do if I need to breastfeed in public, i.e. a restaurant, metro car or bus.
Because of this I haven't left the house with him yet besides the doctor's office. what are the laws due to modesty?
I have also heard I should cover the mezuzot when breastfeeding, is that true?


Answer:

As long as your breast is not exposed, there is no prohibition against nursing in public unless local feeling is clearly against it.  The ability to nurse in public gives the mother much more freedom to pursue her normal life style and thus should be encouraged.

Modesty is maintained by covering yourself with a blanket, your shirt, or a sweater that drapes over your shoulder while breastfeeding. You can even purchase a "nursing apron" designed for this purpose; you may also be able to find clothing with an arrangement of slits and flaps to facilitate modest nursing. In a restuarant, you can often sit with your back to the other patrons. With practice, breastfeeding in public can be done discreetly so that only other knowledgeable nursing mothers will know what you are doing.

There is no need to cover the mezuzot. 


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