Breast-feeding mores in St. Louis
March 21, 2007 10:11 AM   Subscribe

How do I politely breast-feed my baby while visiting in St. Louis, Missouri?

I'm going to St. Louis for a few days with my small baby and I'm wondering what basic courtesies are when I feed her. I'm used to the Pacific Northwest style of "feed her whenever, where ever, don't care unduly about visibility". I'm aware that may not go over so well, but I'm not sure if or what I need to change while we are visiting.

Should I hide her and breast with a blanket? Ask for a private space to feed her in? Something else I'm not thinking of? Or will my style be just fine? I'd really like to be gracious and remember we are guests, so please advise me.
posted by Margalo Epps to Society & Culture (14 answers total)
In my experience in StL, breast feeding whenever, wherever, was not an issue.

Where are going to be that you might think you'll have a problem?
posted by sulaine at 10:17 AM on March 21, 2007

Since there's no way to gauge in advance how comfortable you'll feel in a given situation once you get there, I'd suggest preparing in advance by packing clothing that's easy to move around without exposing yourself and a blanket you're comfortable using for added privacy. If you get there and feel comfortable feeding as you normally do, go ahead and do so. If not, you'll be prepared to be a bit more modest. And there's never anything wrong with asking for a private place to feed, if that's what you'd like to do. The most important thing is for you and your baby to be comfortable, so I'd say pack to be prepared, and then do what you feel once you get there.
posted by decathecting at 10:35 AM on March 21, 2007

Feed the baby wherever. St. louis is generally parochial in attitudes, but we're not a bunch of prudes. If someone says something, ask them to give you a fucking break.
posted by notsnot at 10:47 AM on March 21, 2007

I got a big pashmina style scarf which was both stylish and concealing at the same time.
posted by selfmedicating at 10:48 AM on March 21, 2007

Well, St. Louis is not like visiting Madagascar, so I'm not sure what the big deal is. Loose clothes that give privacy is definitely the way to go. And as a father of a baby that breastfed, what people on their high horse think is completely irrelevant; the baby -always- gets fed. The loose clothing trick is extremely subtle and effective, and is more than enough, IMHO.
posted by rolypolyman at 11:20 AM on March 21, 2007

Best answer: Speaking from someone from STL, breast feeding is not an issue here. I doubt anyone will care at all. You might get some kids curious about what you're doing though. It seems to be something that no one cares about but most people do at home.

Don't worry. No one harasses a mother feeding a hungry baby.
posted by mr_book at 11:27 AM on March 21, 2007

If you're staying with friends or family and are unsure about their response to breast-feeding, I'd just raise the issue in advance with a female member of the household, or just speak up when you arrive: "I'm breast-feeding, and I'm wondering if that's something you're comfortable with me doing with everyone around/in the living room/during lunch, etc." If it's not, well, I'd probably just slip away to the bedroom and be thankful for the quiet time anyway.

I don't live in MO, but I live in MA, which actually has no law protecting breastfeeding. I've traveled extensively with an infant, and I use the same response I'd use at home (basically, "He's eating. Leave us alone.") Missouri's laws, while a little subjective, affirm your right to nurse.
posted by cocoagirl at 11:31 AM on March 21, 2007

One issue I've noticed is coastal types thinking that the non-coastal areas of the US are like some kind of Christian Afganistan or something.

We are from Texas. My wife breastfed our daughter where and when she needed to - and ours was a hungry kid.

No big.
posted by space2k at 11:36 AM on March 21, 2007

Our St. Louis experience (we are frequent visitors with our two young kids as my family lives there) has been the same. No issue at all.
posted by AgentRocket at 11:45 AM on March 21, 2007

Best answer: I live in St. Louis and I never had any issues while I was breastfeeding my daughter. And I have an ample set of DDs. I don't think that any one will care.

In fact, some of the local shopping malls (the ones owned by Westfield) even have family lounges with breastfeeding booths.

The Magic House has a breastfeeding area, if I remember right. And if you go visit the Missouri Botanical Gardens (which you SHOULD) there are plenty of private little nooks with benches for breastfeeding.
posted by Ostara at 11:54 AM on March 21, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks! I'm glad to hear that it's similar to home. I'm a bit nervous about travelling with a baby for the first time, so it's nice to check into a few things in advance. (I know that different parts of the country use slightly different manners; I just want to be polite when I visit. That doesn't mean you're Afganistan. I"d ask the same if we were going to the East coast.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 12:19 PM on March 21, 2007

> Don't worry. No one harasses a mother feeding a hungry baby.

Someone's an optimist.

Oh, and don't let anyone take pictures.
posted by baylink at 3:19 PM on March 21, 2007

Best answer: I live in MO. Based on the past 25 months with our new little guy, things are just as you described in the PNW: "feed whenever, where ever, don't care unduly about visibility".
posted by Bradley at 3:36 PM on March 21, 2007

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