Bad advice: Parents Magazine on nursing in public

21 April 2009 at 9:38 pm 3 comments

Somewhere along the way, when I was pregnant, I ordered something from a website that came with a free subscription to Parents magazine. My May 2009 issue arrived a couple weeks ago, but I just got around to opening it tonight–and now only because my baby discovered it and started shredding pages, so I figured I might as well flip through it.

Apparently, I should have let the baby shred it: there on page 106, in their “Q&A” column, is the typical out-dated advice on nursing in public. A reader writes in to ask “[i]s it okay to nurse my baby in a restaurant,” and instead of giving an unqualified yes in answer, Parents actually advises the reader to be “discreet” and to use “scarves” and “shawls” and to nurse in “dark booths, or quiet corner tables” only.

It’s intensely aggravating to me that such “advice” is given in the mainstream media. Of course some women may prefer to nurse under a shawl or nursing cover, and some babies may be so distractible that nursing at one of those “quiet corner tables” is really the only practical option for them, but for a parenting magazine to give an answer so unsupportive of a woman’s right to nurse in public is really shocking. also commented this week on the magazine’s negative view of nursing in public, offering a “Shame on Parents Magazine” post that provides an email address and sample letter of complaint so you can write to the magazine and register your disapproval–follow the link and make your voice heard.

Another “Q&A” column, on page 34 in the same issue of Parents, is also less than perfectly supportive of breastfeeding: in response to a reader who asks if “it[‘s] safe to borrow pumped breastmilk from my sister,” the magazine states flatly “that the risks of sharing human breast milk outweigh the possible benefits for healthy babies.” The response dismisses milk banks out of hand as “used mostly for preemies,” not mentioning their prohibitive cost; condemns Salma Hayek for her now-famous cross-nursing; and omits all mention of the success stories of less-formal milk sharing, from online forums to informational sites like MilkShare. Parents here very briefly mentions seeing a lactation consultant, but the column then quickly concludes with the sage advice to “try supplementing your milk with infant formula.”

And now, I think it’s time for my baby to shred a few more choice pages of this magazine. . . 



Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: .

Book Review/Commentary: Laboring On (Rothman, Simonds, and Norman, 2007) Quick link: AP story about reporter and Hypnobirthing

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. momzelle  |  22 April 2009 at 8:39 am

    Great post, thank you. I had never heard of Milkshare but I will make sure to share the info on my blog ( And I will be sure to sign a letter for Parents too !

  • 2. mfom  |  22 April 2009 at 8:23 pm

    oh parenting magazine, how i love to hate you. my parents bought us a subscription because my mom’s school was having a magazine drive. and i read it, because i love reading trashy magazines. but OMG that magazine offends me something serious EVERY. SINGLE. ISSUE. particularly in regards to breastfeeding — they constantly are putting little tidbits in that make it SOUND like the support breastfeeding, but then they immediately undermine breastfeeding a few pages later. it’s so disappointing and frustrating. thanks for the link for where to send them a letter!

  • […] I could make this a monthly feature. To be fair, this is Parenting: Early Years magazine, not last month’s Parents (but really, I find the two relatively […]


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