America Ferrera: People think breastfeeding moms shouldn’t be in public


America Ferrer appeared on Busy Tonight to promote both the final installment of How To Train Your Dragon, and her show Superstore that is finally airing a new episode this Thursday. I like Superstore, as I’ve mentioned. Most of this season has centered around the pregnancies of two of the main characters – America’s Amy and Lauren Ash’s Dina. America’s own pregnancy was the impetus for her character’s. America gave birth to her first child, Sebastian, last May. During her discussion, America talked about how unwelcoming the world is to new mothers:

I know you had your own struggles breast-feeding your son in public
I had no problem with it at all. He was like six or seven weeks when I’d been holed up in my apartment in New York. So we went to The Met… introduce him to Van Gogh or whatever. We get there and I’m like surely The Met will have a pumping room for mothers, it’s so civilized. There was nowhere, not even a bench for me to feed my six-week old baby. And so we went down to the cafeteria and I start feeding him and I got all these looks. And I just thought, oh, people think moms, new moms and breastfeeding moms and babies shouldn’t be in public. Like, we should lock ourselves away and ‘you don’t belong here.’ And I’m like, this is insane. So I just whipped it out wherever I wanted to. I didn’t struggle with it because I’ll do what I want where I want because I think our bodies are amazing and women are amazing. Never mind not being ashamed of what we are and what we are capable of, be let’s be celebrated and let’s start changing this b-lls—t culture, like our bodies can only be exposed when they’re being sexualized and enjoyed by men.

For the record, I agree with America. However, I was embarrassed feeding my baby in public, but seeing someone else feed a baby in public never made me uncomfortable. I’d do it when needed, but when I received disapproving looks, I felt I was in the wrong, not them. I wish I’d had America’s outlook. I’d always cover us in an elaborate system of blankets and towels. I once fed my baby daughter in downtown New Orleans in the middle of July and could’ve caused heat stroke from all the coverups, the poor thing was sweating. I wish I’d been more worried about her comfort than those around me. And hell-to-the-yes that we should start celebrating our bodies for what they are capable of and not just how they are enjoyed by men. Just think about how far we could propel the body positivity movement if we took over that conversation.

Also in the clip, America talked about her Superstore character returning to work 48 hours after giving birth because she wasn’t covered by the store’s health care. The episode is both really funny and heartbreaking. As America said, to most of us, the thought of going back to work 48 hours post-delivery is insane, but she was flooded with women reaching out to her who had done just that. Even though the show is a comedy, many storylines carry an undercurrent of unfortunate truth. Superstore just got picked up for season five on Monday, so good news for those of us who watch it.



Photo credit: WENN Photos, YouTube and Twitter

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40 Responses to “America Ferrera: People think breastfeeding moms shouldn’t be in public”

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  1. Shrute’s beet farm says:

    Outside approval is not needed. Do what is best for your baby’s comfort and well-being. People who disapprove or give nasty looks can kick rocks as far as I’m concerned.

    • MC2 says:

      Great comment & totally agree.
      BUT, Celebitches, what about changing your newborn baby’s diaper where people might see or know?!
      These two posts today are ironic & eyeopening.

      • Faye says:

        You must be really fun at parties

      • Shrute’s beet farm says:

        You seem to not understand the difference between breastmilk and human waste. One is nourishment and should be provided whenever and wherever the situation calls for it. The other spreads illness and puts the safety of others at risk. Stop trying to make them the same because they 👏🏻 are 👏🏻 not 👏🏻 the same 👏🏻.

  2. BaronSamedi says:

    This is insane. Here in Germany mother are not allowed to work 6 weeks before and 8 weeks past delivery. It’s the law and they get fully paid for that time.

    • Eliza says:

      I worked the day before delivery, and was back at 10 weeks; although I did watch my emails on my phone the whole 10 weeks so when I came back I didn’t have any catching up. And I may have signed on to do some reports 1-2x in that 10 weeks.

      America! We’re #1 … at women’s reproductive rights, and healthcare … oh wait. Last place IS #1 worst though

    • Snowflake says:

      Wow, that’s awesome. Here it’s unpaid.

    • Veronica S. says:

      Welcome to America, where half of our government thinks women shouldn’t have rights to abortion while also making the actual having of babies as murderously difficult and dangerous as possible!

  3. Roux says:

    My eldest on is almost 11 and I remember everyone having this discussion when I was breastfeeding him. The constant judgement and disapproval. I’m lucky in that I could ignore people and didn’t care but my friend who had a baby a few months later couldn’t bring herself to breastfeed in public and therefore gave up breastfeeding very quickly. I really thought that a decade on, things would have changed and this wouldn’t still be an issue. Nothing has changed.

    • Wow says:

      After my twins were born we were at a restaurant with my mother in law and I was tandem feeding my twins who were probably 3 months at the time. A man sitting near us said “thats disgusting, keep that between you and god.” I pulled one off and held him up while he screeched and asked if that was better. He turned around so I put the baby back and we went on. He proceeded to mutter “filthy N- words” and it is to this day the only time that word has been said to my face with malice.

      My mother in law was far more affected because she didn’t breastfeed, 30-40 years ago doctors would insist black women use formula only for some weird you’re tainted reason. This stigma is all incredibly sad. I was relived to stop breastfeeding mostly because of the logistical problems.

      • Babadook says:

        @wow That is disgusting and infuriating. I’m sorry that happened to you. What a vile man.

      • styla says:


        I’d have thrown a chair at him for you had I been there.

      • Mel M says:

        OMG! Not surprising in this country but seriously. Mind you own damn business, you control where your eyes go. You know that guy is a MAGA, anti choice, women belong in the kitchen, a hole too.

  4. Jess says:

    I loved nursing my kids and did it in public all the time. No blankets or covers but I had those glamourmom tops so they were pretty discreet. I was just waiting for anyone to say or do anything but I was in Austin so never even got a disapproving look.

  5. Eliza says:

    I’m trying to wean my 14 month. I don’t nurse in public because she doesn’t need it often anymore, but I still get looks when I say I’m nursing, I can’t imagine the looks if they actually saw it. People need to mind their business; it’s food.

    • Anitas says:

      My son is 18 months old and I still breastfeed him. He also has a dairy allergy and we’re seeing a dietitian. Every time we see her she questions me extensively and somewhat incredulously if I’m sure I’m still comfortable breastfeeding. I’ve been getting “you’ve done enough you can stop now” unsolicited advice from healthcare professionals from when he was around 4 months old.

      • goofpuff says:

        You keep on going for as long as you want @Anitas and @Eliza. I breastfed my youngest until he was 2 1/2 because he was so comforted by it. He is my last baby and we both wanted to enjoy the bittersweet time together. I got alot of flack, but I just told them to buzz off. My baby, my body, our choice.

      • Jordana says:

        I breastfed all 3 of my kids, til they self weaned, at 17 months, 20 months and 23 months. I also got the incredulous looks and the “you’re STILL doing that?!?!?!” questions. Other peoples input is just plain weird…dietitians should also know better, its between you and the baby.

  6. Becks1 says:

    I don’t know if I got any disapproving looks when I nursed; I never looked to see what people thought. I nursed with a cover a lot with my first, with my second I would drape a blanket or just nurse. Sometimes if I was at someone’s house I would go to a different room just for the quiet and change of pace, but not because I was uncomfortable. Once the baby is latched, you don’t really see anything anyway. And with nursing tops and bras nowadays, it can be really easy to NIP “if” you have a baby that latches easily.

    • claire says:

      Once the baby is latched, you don’t really see anything anyway.
      Exactly! And I found using blankets, covers, etc. made me feel even more conspicuous. Not to mention the fact that the baby often pulled at them, knocking them off.

  7. OriginalLala says:

    I can’t believe some women have to go back to work 48 hours after birth – that is insane and it should be banned in the labour code

    • Anitas says:

      It’s completely inhumane for both mothers and babies, and my heart breaks for families who have no choice but to do this.

  8. Lawcatb says:

    I was very self conscious feeding my daughter early on. With the second kid I was done with that. I’m discreet, but when he’s hungry the boob comes out, especially when I was nursing exclusively. I’ll be damned if I’ll go hide in a bathroom or shroud us in blankets/cover ups just to placate other people and their weird hang-ups.

  9. mycomment says:

    well of course not… boobies and butts are only for public display when you’re a young, bouncy girl swinging around a pole.
    this country is so screwed up.

    • Nato84 says:

      Seriously this!!! If this society wasn’t so overly sexual, this would not be such a big deal. Breast feeding is a normal and necessary function of life. There is zero sexual connection between the infant and the mother so why does it affect other people to see a baby sucking on it’s mother’s breast?

      But it perfectly ok to show the right amount of clevage or butt to hit the sexy factor… give me a break.

  10. Lizzie says:

    i occasionally breastfed in public but i would exhaust my resources for privacy before i whipped it out. my child wouldn’t eat while covered so it was impossible to have any type of cover. my reasons for being so prude about it is that i’m a straight up lunatic so i really didn’t want to ruin my child’s meal or my own day over having to angrily confront someone who was judging me or god forbid make an actual comment to me. i do just want to say i’ll die loyal to nordstrom b/c they’ve had nursing areas for decades and they are always welcoming, clean and comfortable.

  11. Tootsie McJingle says:

    I once breastfed my daughter on a crowded carriage in downtown Charleston. We were covered up but it still felt odd. I did what I had to do and I wish I had felt more comfortable. It didn’t help that my mom was giving me an odd look, although she didn’t say anything. I feel like if men breastfed, there would be no issue. Hell, they’d be championing each other and patting each other on the back.

    • Mel M says:

      Oh for sure they would.

      I only nursed my oldest daughter but I wasn’t comfortable doing it in front of people either. I wish I wouldn’t have cared now. I did like being able to excuse myself from family gatherings though and going into another room for a while. I remember my creepy FIL who says the most inappropriate crap including sexual stuff all the time saying I didn’t have to leave and I was like, um no peace weirdo.

  12. Veronica S. says:

    Can’t be showing those pregnancy boobs to the public, though. Women are only allowed to be naked if they can be sexual objects, you know.

    Think too hard on it, and you’ll realize that America is a well dressed hell hole for women, more so because we have the audacity to judge other country’s civil rights and treatment of women when ours is so awful.

  13. Lilla says:

    I have seen modesty covers for breastfeeding moms and think they are a good idea. I never wanted to bare my breast in public, and used various manners of coverage but rarely got caught needing to feed in public places.

    Why subject yourself to random people’s judgements if not necessary?

    • Veronica S. says:

      IMO, the problem is more the society that thinks judging is reasonable in the first place. It’s a breast and a nipple, not an erection. There’s nothing inappropriate about it unless we assume women’s bodies are inherently sexualized 24/7.

      • enike says:

        I dont want to see breasts and nipples in public…. I think it should be private
        But I understand that sometimes it has to be, the baby has to be fed

  14. Sparkly says:

    My kids all inherited my snotty sinuses and couldn’t breathe with blankets over their faces. I breastfed my eldest two all the time without much worry, but we moved states before I had the eldest, to a VERY rural place where apparently no one breastfeeds. I would get such evil looks that I began to hide when my baby needed to eat — and I was a birth doula and passionate lactivist who had successfully breastfed for years before. Imagine how much harder it for new moms! The culture/climate around it really makes a difference. I have only seen two other women breastfeeding in public since I moved here 9 years ago, but I have made sure to thank each for helping to normalize it in this area and offered water or a snack if they needed one.

  15. Redheadwriter says:

    My middle daughter was always very modest. She wouldn’t even wear a strapless dress to prom! Fast forward and now she’s a mother of her own and is breastfeeding. She doesn’t give two hoots about feeding her daughter when and where she needs to be feed. She is so open about it and I adore it! When I was breastfeeding, I usually tried to be discrete for others’ comfort. I wish I had been more like my daughter is!

  16. Ginnygingin says:

    I find the public sphere really hostile towards parents with babies or young children. I’ve always said that I’d probably feel a bit shy whipping out my breast in public, but kudos to those who don’t care. Everyone can make their own choices.

    Another thing that bugs me is how people look at traveling families especially on planes. Traveling is stressful enough as it is. It is so much worse when you have little children to take care of. Yes, it can be annoying to have a crying baby on board, but just plug in earplugs. There are more and more of those supposedly”cute” stories where parents prepare apology packets with sweets and earplugs for stranger on planes, but they’ve always bugged me. Bring your own damn earplugs if noise is such an issue. I know that is what I always do when traveling. Don’t put that additional stress onto already exhausted parents. As long as parents aren’t neglecting their children when they are crying or throwing tantrums, I really think the public needs to cut them some slack.

  17. Aretha says:

    Why should employers have to pay for a woman’s maternity leave? She chose to get pregnant and did it for herself, not the company.

  18. Ash says:

    Ahhh yes. Good thing no one cares what your preferences are. All I care about is my baby and it’s nutrition. Go glance towards the Victoria’s Secret banner at the mall kthanksbai.
    @lilla I’m glad feeding with s cover and being so modest was so easy for you. I personally think this attitude is heinous and unsupportive of breastfeeding women. You’re a “butter”. “I support breastfeeding, buuut….” Your desire for modesty or whatever it is is your own issue.

  19. Julia says:

    I’m still breastfeeding my 15-month-old, and while I’m totally okay feeding him wherever, I definitely want to give a shout-out to Nordstroms stores, which generally include a perfectly lovely “mothers’ room”, with comfy sofas and a full diaper changing area. It’s nice that they acknowledge that their stores are full of women, and sometimes women need a place to feed their children. I can’t believe more places–particularly women-oriented places–don’t offer something similar.