New Moms

Hooter Hiders: Good Idea or Step Backwards?

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

If you're a nursing mom, you might feel uncomfortable whipping out a boob in a coffee shop, on the bus, or in the airport. You may also not want to deal with the possibility that someone might be offended by your breastfeeding in public. The solution? The Hooter Hider, a fabric "tent" you can place around your neck to cover yourself while you're nursing.

Are modesty-preserving solutions like the Hooter Hider a step in the right direction, though? Or are they a concession that nursing moms shouldn't have to make? British site ZeldaLily asks this question in a recent article.

Public breastfeeding has been in the news lately, and in a very negative light: coffee-shop owners have asked moms to refrain from feeding their babies; photo labs have refused to develop pictures showing babies at the breast; and Wal-Mart entered the fray when a Wisconsin woman claimed she was kicked out of the store for breastfeeding her son.

Nursing covers shield breast and baby from public view - but are they the right way to deal with the "problem" of breastfeeding in public? Should a woman have to buy yet another baby-related accessory, one that can cost $40 or more, to take part in a completely natural activity? Why are breasts seen only as sexual objects - and therefore objects that should be seen only at certain times - when they have another function as food sources?

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ZeldaLily's piece makes a good point about new moms just beginning to get the hang of breastfeeding: nursing cover-ups might help these women get more comfortable with nursing in public at first. The operative words in this sentence, however, are "at first." Nursing is not something to be ashamed of, and accessories like the Hooter Hider seem to suggest this natural, healthy activity shoud be kept under wraps.