Are there rules to breastfeeding on a plane?

New mums are encouraged to breastfeed their baby for the first few months of life. The practicalities of exclusive breastfeeding are not always so simple.

At some time or another you will have to leave the comfort and privacy of your home and nurse in public. When you are discreet about it, others will hardly notice, and those who do are generally indifferent. But what about breastfeeding on a plane when other passengers are close by?

The debate on appropriate breastfeeding behavior flared up again recently after a American mummy took offense to a flight attendant telling her to cover up. The flight attendant returned with a blanket and asked the woman to be more discreet for the sake of the other passengers. The mummy then wrote a letter of complaint to the airline, voicing her displeasure, and the airline responded that a certain amount of discretion on modesty is required as a common courtesy. This incident sparked furious debates on both sides.

Watch these breastfeeding mums stage a ‘nurse-in’ in protest!


RELATED: What you should know when deciding whether to breastfeed 

On one side, “lactivists” feel that modesty belonged to a previous century, and that breastfeeding on a plane, openly, should be allowed. Those opposed hit back. They say that an argument like that will unravel the basis of social behavior. They believe that it is discrimination; lactating mothers are allowed to expose their breast wherever they want, but the rest of general public are not allowed the same freedom.

The general public opinion agrees that breastfeeding is completely natural and normal, as long as the mother covers up out of respect for those around her.

 Read our tips for breastfeeding on a plane on the next page…