Mormon Breastfeeding Frenzy

Do Mormon girls, the future breast-feeders of tomorrow, want to see their Young Women leaders’ breasts?

Mormons are stereotyped as being baby-making-machines, so when our non-LDS friends started saying, “I thought y’all were all about kids, kids and some mo’ kids at your church, why are y’all trippin’ about women breastfeeding then?” Y’all know we had to find out what they were talking about. Last Saturday, Feminist Mormon Housewives posted a story about a woman they say was released from her calling as Young Women leader and is in jeopardy of losing her temple recommend for breastfeeding uncovered. 
Although the woman has asked to remain anonymous the story has garnered media attention and folks everywhere are weighing in on the breasts of the LDS. The FMH post doesn’t give us many specifics and since her identity is being kept private it is hard to find out all the facts. What we gather is that that a complaint was made due to her breastfeeding uncovered during Young Women class in front of LDS girls and other leaders.
Based on our church going experiences trippin’ over breastfeeding is not the norm in the LDS community. We’ve seen it go down on the regular both covered and uncovered. Now the debate over public breastfeeding, uncovered breastfeeding, how old is too old to breastfeed and if Americans are too uptight about breastfeeding…don’t even try to front like that is particular to Mormonism. Just last May, Time Magazine was asking women, “Are you Mom enough?” and yeah Mormons were discussing it, but so was everybody else.  
We think that sharing unique and even unpleasant Mormon experiences of our sisters in the Gospel is a good thing and necessary. Asking for support from people within your faith, that is great. Debating your breasts, somebody else’s breasts, ya mama’s breasts, well carry right on. The media acting like there is some church instituted anti-breastfeeding contingency running a muck in the LDS church, ain’t nobody got time for that!
We Sistas have heard plenty about what adult men and women have to say on the subject so we thought; let’s hear it for the girls in the LDS Young Women program. YW would be similar to girl’s youth group in other churches. It is made up of young ladies ages 12 to 17. Over the last few days we took the opportunity to speak to some Young Women and ask their thoughts on uncovered breastfeeding by a leader in front of them during their classes.
At first each of the girls said that they would not want their Young Women leaders to breastfeed uncovered in front of them. All of the girls said that they had seen a women breastfeeding before and the majority said that they planned on breastfeeding when they became mothers. The girls asked questions such as; Why not feed in the mother’s lounge? Why not feed covered? We discussed that some women prefer not to leave their meetings and that some mother’s say their babies’ dislike being covered while eating.
As we talked more some of the girls said that if the baby’s head was uncovered, but they couldn’t see any of the leader’s breast that they would be more comfortable with uncovered breastfeeding. For each of the girls that we spoke with there was no aversion to the act of breastfeeding, but they each did not want to see the naked breast of their leader. 
When asked how they felt about the rights of breastfeeding mothers, one girl responded, “I want mom’s to have rights, but don’t women’s rights go for young women too? It’s our class, I think we should get a say too.”
We agree, y’all do have a say! So we want to hear from other young women too, what are your thoughts girls? Do you feel differently than the girls we spoke with? Adults tell us what the young women you’ve been talking to are saying on the subject.
Be Blessed and Highly Favored,
Sista Beehive & Sista Laurel


  1. Hm, I hadn’t heard about this kerfuffle.  I asked my 12yo what she thought.  She said she’d be a little uncomfortable with it, but wouldn’t say anything (assuming that things are not covered–she’d be fine with a cover).  She knows babies need to eat, but she doesn’t particularly want to see her leaders’ breasts either–at 12 she is still very reticent about things like that and can’t imagine unbuttoning her own shirt in the middle of church!

  2. I understand the huge debate and as a Nursing mother, I choose to use the mothers lounge so not to distract anyone from the purpose of being at church- to learn the gospel and feel the spirit! Sure, I don’t want to leave class because I’d Ike to learn along with everyone else but the way I see it is my babies will only be babies for a short time, nursing won’t last forever so I’m okay with being discreet and respecting others learning environment for the short time this is.

  3. I am glad you guys asked the yw. I know as a yw I I would have been horrified to see my yw leaders breast! And as a nursing mother I am not afraid to nurse wherever, but I can still do it modestly without making my baby uncomfortable. I do think people need to stop freaking over breastfeeding, and that more exposure for the yw who will be mothers in just a short number of years might help them be more prepared to breastfeed their babies. But come on ladies! We were yw once too and we were taught for our entire lives that our bodies are temples and we should respect those teachings. Just because every other nursing mother out there feels comfy with baring everything doesn’t mean we need to be the same. Again, I am a nursing mother, and I am not opposed to nursing during relief society or whatever if I need to, but I can do it without flashing the other ladies, AND without covering my baby up. Maybe I have a gift… ^_^

  4. I went ahead and read the post at FMH (even though I generally dislike that blog) and felt like there weren’t enough details being provided. But what I disliked the most were the comments of several people indicating that breastfeeding should be done “modestly” and that women shouldn’t just “whip it out.” To me that is evidence of the thwarted image our culture has of a woman’s body. Women who are about to feed their child aren’t just “whipping out” their naked breasts and rubbing them in the public’s face. THEY ARE FEEDING A BABY. What is so immodest and offending about feeding a child the way God intended women to do?
    I am a little disappointed in the responses the YW gave you about “having rights too” and not wanting to see a woman’s naked breast while she breastfeeds. I think I would have had a similar response to theirs had it not been about about all the reading I’ve done about breastfeeding since my nephew was born. When I put myself in their place I feel like their responses evoke volumes about body image and not about sisterhood and a appreciation of the power of creation and the ability to nurture our babies. 
    I have always believed that covering up and the mother’s room were there for the mother’s comfort, not other people’s. I have yet to have children but I would rather stay in the meetings than leave when breastfeeding doesn’t exactly require me to leave. And I won’t cover up if it makes my child uncomfortable. 
    Long story short, GET OVER IT AMERICA. :)

  5. I agree, a Young Women’s perspective on this is vital.  I have my own opinion, but when you are doing something that makes minors uncomfortable, you need to stop.  Any young women leader of value would always put the feelings of her class first before her own opinions. (doctrine matters aside of course)

    I might be more comfortable wearing a speedo to the ward beach party, but it would not be appropriate considering my audience.

  6. Yes, but whats if, as a man, I were to do the same thing on a scout hike because I had to pee.  What is so immodest about emptying my bladder in front of the young men?  I shouldn’t have to turn away or go behind a tree.  It is a natural bodily function right?  God made my body this way so you should just except it.

    From a man’s point of view that is just crazy, and a good way to get registered on

  7. I don’t believe any young women’s leaders were peeing in front of their class…so I’m not sure what your point is.

  8. Why would it be okay to breastfeed and not pee?  They are both natural body functions that use parts of our body that we should treat modestly.

  9. The comparison is mute. There are several things that are natural that should be kept private, but I expected something a reply of this sort… 

    I honestly think that the issue with breastfeeding is a cultural perspective one, not a modesty one. Look at the picture posted at the very top of this blog. The woman is not covered up yet there is nothing vulgar or immodest about it. It is actually a very lovely image. If you, or any other male, is made uncomfortable by it then it’s time for you to try and change your perspective on the human breasts.

    Here’s an awesome video about it:

  10. As a mother who was once a young girl, I wish that I had been exposed to more strong, confident women who were not ashamed of feeding their babies.  The pressure not “expose” my breasts in social situations caused me to feel self conscious feeding my child in public, which led to feeding with a bottle instead of breast where it was inconvenient to find a private place to feed my child who would not feed covered.  My children suffered because this caused my supply to never build properly and led to early weaning.  Upon having my second child I was blessed with a mommy friend who was not ashamed to bare her breast to feed her child.  As long as a woman is as modest as possible, feeding your child uncovered should be something that everyone is exposed to, especially young women.  The pressure that I felt from witnesses moms hiding to feed their children caused me to feel pressure to conform to the “norm” instead of putting my child’s nutritional needs first.  I can understand not being comfortable feeding in the Sacrament meeting, but in a Young Women’s class it should be a celebrated experience for the girls.

  11. My take (as a pregnant 28 year old)? Like someone said, we are taught our entire lives that our bodies are temples and that we are to be modest with the parts that would be covered by a swimsuit because those parts are sacred and only to be seen by our spouses. NOWHERE does it then go ON to say, “Until you have a baby and you think it shouldn’t bother anyone else to see your naked breast. In that case, your breast is NO LONGER sacred and worthy of cover and everyone else needs to get over it. Once you’re no longer breastfeeding, go ahead and assume that your breasts have been REsanctified and you should cover them at all times again.” 

    Look, breastfeeding is beautiful. And wonderful. Breast is best. Etc. I 100% agree with all of that and plan to breastfeed. BUT. I also think that as a society we have a responsibility TO EACH OTHER to make sure that those around us are comfortable (after all, that is the POINT of manners and etiquette) and it seems extremely inappropriate to be baring your naked breasts in church. YES you’re feeding. I know. But you can do that discreetly (discretion being the better part of valor after all) and in a way that doesn’t make those around you uncomfortable. Wear a cover or use a blanket. Or if your baby doesn’t like that, then step out of the room temporarily and nurse, then come back in. I’m sure that someone would have been HAPPY to help that sister out so that she could nurse during her meetings. 

    It is the HEIGHT of rudeness and selfishness to say, “Well this is what I think, so to heck with you and what YOU think. YOU just need to get on board with what I’M doing.”

  12. Apparently when they took the woman’s name off the blog, they took down a lot of other info too. The leader was sitting at the back of the class – not in front. I think that makes a HUGE difference. I also personally think that if a woman can nurse without flashing everyone, it’s fine.

  13. I have been a breastfeeding counselor for over 22 years. The reason the young women feel uncomfortable in front of breastfeeding is because breastfeeding is not the norm. A man told me last Sunday that covering up breastfeeding and hiding because it makes men or anyone- including young women- uncomfortable, is bowing to political correctness. It is a truth that women need to feed their babies, women are apart of society. Most states have laws that entitle a woman to breastfeed anyway they want where ever they want. We should not allow people’s uncomfortable dictate what we do when it is RIGHT. It is wrong to be uncomfortable with breastfeeding- it shows our focus on breasts for sex and sex objects. We need to educate our yw to understand this and appreciate the beauty and power of breastfeeding.

  14. sorry but the peeing analogy is idiotic…it is not an equal comparison at the least because you do not nurture another person when you pee. you are not providing subsistence, and your penis was not designed to do so. your argument is ignorant and with it  i hope you represent a small percentage of men.

  15. Being married to a South American we obviously had many Latino friends and family. I was first among them to have a baby. I was comfortable sitting among others while I breastfed but I was always covered. Many of my Latino friends thought this was odd because it was more common in their culture for a woman to breastfeed uncovered. However, one by one as they had babies, most of them (both the moms and the dads) decided they liked the idea and also covered themselves when they fed their babies even though I was usually the only American around.

  16. In response to the many comments about the sacredness of the human body, here’s an excellent quote from “A Parent’s Guide” (
    “The scriptures often refer respectfully but plainly to the body and its parts. There is no embarrassment and often there is sacred symbolism. It is the world that makes the divinely created body an object of carnal lust. For example, it makes the female breasts primarily into sexual enticements, while the truth is that they were intended to nourish and comfort children. It promotes male sexual aggression in contrast to Christ’s example of tenderness, long-suffering, kindness, and steadfastness in the home.

    Shame about the human body, its parts and purposes, is justified only when a person uses it for carnal purposes. Teach your children that they will find joy in their bodies when they use them virtuously after the manner taught by Christ.”
    The way I understand it, there is nothing immodest about breastfeeding. If a mother, however, prefers to cover up then she is in her absolute right to do so.

  17. Breast milk is not human waste. It is a life saving, life sustaining substance. Pee on the other hand, well, you get the picture.

  18. xenawarriorscientist

    Do they cover all the time, or only when you’re around? They might have gotten the impression that you were uncomfortable with nursing… somehow.

  19. xenawarriorscientist

    Babies nurse 45 minutes out of every hour for a lot of their first six weeks; it gradually goes down after that. I want to make sure that somebody has warned you of this, being that you are pregnant and it seems nobody has told you yet.

    A lot of babies don’t do well with a cover over their head. They won’t eat. They just cry. If the people around you insist that you go into hiding to nurse, you won’t participate in anything. You can’t go on errands. You won’t go to any classes at church for more than about 10 minutes. You won’t spend any time with friends. If you follow the ground rules you just described, you will never leave the house. I’ve seen multiple women quit. breastfeeding. because of exactly this issue. If you live in a society that’s boob-phobic, then breastfeeding = exile. It’s not cool to tell women to have babies and then throw them in the closet when they do.I absolutely agree that as a society we owe it to each other to make each other comfortable; and that it is “the HEIGHT of rudeness and selfishness to say ‘Well this is what I think and you’re wrong” etc. That’s exactly the kind of my-way-or-the-highway thinking that got this woman’s church leaders in this hot spot in the first place. 

  20. xenawarriorscientist

    Uhh… don’t men and boys pee in front of each other in men’s bathrooms ALL THE TIME?

  21. I hope you don’t get the wrong idea.  I am a strong supporter of breastfeeding. My wife breastfed all 3 of our babies exclusively.  She also had them all naturally thanks to the Bradley Method.  She even invited the Young Women she taught to come to our last birthing. Most accepted, but by the time they got there the baby was already born.  So they each got to some in one by one and hold the baby and talk to her about her experience.

    The video made a lot of great points about many varying topics.  The formula industry is a problem.  We always take the free bags and toss the formula.  I do think it is hypocritical to say the use of breasts in advertising and entertainment is fine, but not in breast feeding.  I am appalled at what gets on TV now a days.   

    Breast feeding is a beautiful thing, but in certain social settings I think it is appropriate to use a cover and be discrete.  Most of American society feels that that breasts are “private parts” (couldn’t think of a better word).  Some cultures don’t feel that way, and women are topless all the time like it’s no big thing.  
    And even though someone might disagree with your opinion we should be respectful to how our actions affect others. 

  22. 2 thoughts from a mom who has breast fed for over 6 years: 1st, just because something is beautiful and natural and wonderful doesn’t mean it should necessarily not be private. Sometimes, the most beautiful things are private. :) 2nd, there may be 2 sides to this story. It may have been time for her to be released, or maybe there is another reason for her to lose her recommend, but since the Bishop won’t break confidence, all anybody hears is the woman’s view. Just some possibilities to consider when debating this.

  23. What is a scout stepped on a Sting Ray?

  24. As a young woman I saw my mother attempt nursing – my brother & sister are 10 & 12 years younger than me.  I also witness other women at church nursing – not in sacrament or in my YW meetings, but in the mother’s room.   A few of them I babysat for and witness their nursing their children at home.
    No one ever whipped it out and put it on display.
    As a mother and as one having served in YW on the ward & stake level – I had my last baby while serving in the stake – I felt it was important for me to be an example of motherhood for the YW.  I didn’t whip it out but they knew I was nursing and still able to fulfill my callings.
    When my youngest was born she had 3 siblings that were teenagers – 16, 15, 13 – two of them boys.  They learned that breastfeeding is a good & natural thing.  Today my two sons have encouraged their wives to breastfeed.
    One of my daughters is married – she breastfeeds her children.
    And the ones that haven’t married yet – watch their sister & sisters-in-law breastfeed.
    No one whips it out and puts it on public display.
    Our youth need to learn that if a mother chooses to breastfeed her child – it is okay and not dirty.
    One last thing – I have a few nephews that were teens while my children were younger.  They witnessed me nursing  for many years and sometime they would complain to their mom about their discomfort.  But she herself – although she nursed – was uncomfortable when others nursed in front of her.  Her boys mirrored her reactions.  Today – they all strongly encourage & support their wives to breastfeed.  I like to believe I had some positive influence on their attitudes.

  25. Here’s a fantastic link to LDS artwork (including temple artwork) that displays women breastfeeding.

  26.  I think you meant moot, not mute. and no it is not moot, it is right on point.

  27. Breastfeeding in public and private is protected by the law in almost every state. Unless they are in one of the states that are not protected, the Bishop is way off base and needs to get his facts straight, or there was a misunderstanding. Sometimes you can’t go hide in a room somewhere to breastfeed because you have other children you have to attend to. If you have a calling and breastfeed, you may not be able to go off into a room somewhere. I’ve been in wards that release you from your calling, if you want, before you have a baby so you can focus on your baby, etc. I had not heard about this scenario before this post. But I’ve breastfed my 3 children. 2 would not let me put a cover over them. Even though I’m “well endowed”, I’ve been able to be mostly discreet in public with all three. I don’t see what’s the big deal. I would have felt weird if my young woman leader breastfed in front of me, but I would have never told her to stop or reported her because I new it wasn’t inappropriate (I saw other women breastfeed back then).

  28. This blog post explains this issue so well.  I hope you will take a look at it.

  29. I loved what the young women had to say about it. They are the ones with the level heads in this debate. 
    Anything that detracts or calls attention from the: meeting, class, sacrament, etc.. is not a good idea. This sister was calling attention to herself and that was not what was important. 
    I happen to know where this woman lives and what ward it is in, and someone that serves with her. She is not trying to help the youth learn the gospel, she is trying to take the focus off what is important.
    I hope the focus is returned to teaching the gospel and helping to build young testimonies. 

  30. The twelve year olds we talked all felt the same was as your kiddo. You try telling the that one day it will probably be them and they look at you with wide eyes…lol.

  31. Nursing definitely is a big wonderful deal so we too can get the passion that often comes with discussing the topic. There is this misconception in society that breastfeeding mothers find pleasure in being indiscreet and wave their breast around for all to see. In reality covered or uncovered most mothers like you said are all about discreetness.

  32. Absolutely as women we learn to be more comfortable with our bodies than we were when we were girls and hopefully all learn that there is nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to breastfeeding. The reaction of the girls we talked to isn’t so uncommon and while with maturity and exposure their views may change we too think it’s a good idea to involve them in the convo and let them know their voices are heard and their thoughts are considered.

  33. There’s nothing wrong about breastfeeding in a public place as long as you have a cover. Can you take watching your little one starving just because you are ashamed of nursing in public?

  34. No, they had made comments that they genuinely liked the idea.  They had just never seen it done and hadn’t thought about it before. You’ll have to trust me on the fact that we had many cultural differences and were always comfortable discussing them but they wouldn’t have done it just to make me comfortable.

  35. Many girls at that age aren’t comfortable with their own bodies yet let alone another woman’s. It’s important for young women to understand what breastfeeding is and we are proud that none of the young women we spoke to considered breastfeeding covered or uncovered as “immodest” or as something “sexual.” Girls being exposed to healthy examples of breastfeeding mothers is important and so is being involved in the conversation and feeling like women are willing to consider your voice as well.

  36. Yes, the YW perspective is very important. Not only do we want them to be women who grow up to value themselves and their bodies and not be ashamed of breastfeeding, but we want them to be ok with voicing concerns and opinions as well.

  37. The majority of the girls we spoke to had been exposed to breast feeding  before and you’re right it is important for them to see women who are unashamed of breastfeeding so that those young women who plan to one day do so can have healthy experiences with their babies. The girls we chatted were all fine with seeing the breastfeeding for them it was seeing a leader’s naked breast they felt uncomfortable with.

  38. Drama!  You can’t get your temple recommend taken away for breastfeeding. I would like to know the real story.  I’m sure there’s been lots of versions to get us all in an uproar.  There’s got to be more to the story.

  39. I would love to interview pioneer teens…THAT would be an interesting perspective :) What about teens of other cultures like the South American experience that was shared several posts up.

  40. This boils down to context. If she was in the relief society room, different story. But she wasn’t, she was in a room full of minor children acting in the capacity of a leader. Different standards apply. The church has to be extra careful when minors are concerned. 

    Also, this goes beyond religion. If this woman taught junior high and pulled her breast out to feed in her classroom, she would be fired. A similar case happened last year with a college professor, and she was fired.

    When the bishop pulled her in, her response should have been, “I’m sorry. I didn’t see it as a problem since we’re all girls but if it made the young women uncomfortable, I apologize.”

  41. That was my thought.  I didn’t see too much wrong with her original  actions.  It looks like she was in the back of the room, and it wasn’t while she was teaching the lesson or anything.  

    I would guess that the YM saw it though and felt uncomfortable and told their leaders who told the Bishop.  Bishop talked to her about it and she started waiving the flag that most on here are waiving that it is her right and that the YM should just accept her breasts being exposed in class.  

    After refusing the listen to the Bishop she had to be released.  And then she started brooding and talking and sowing seeds of apostasy, which is where the temple recommend removal came into play.   That is my guess.  I would love to hear the real story though.

  42. “Well this is what I think, so to heck with you and what YOU think. YOU just need to get on board with what I’M doing.”
    Amen! Yes, how do we teach YW to be unique individuals with differing opinions if we as grown women can’t even get right yet.

  43. Hopefully more of the facts will come out because we are sure that we Sistas don’t know all there is to the story. Going to the back of the class does make a big difference. 

  44. This may very well be why some YW feel uncomfortable breastfeeding. In the case of the girls we spoke with they did see breastfeeding as something normal and nonsexual. As they explained it they just did not want to be exposed to the naked breasts of a YW leader.

  45. Cultural difference do play a BIG role in the way women may feel about covering or not covering during breastfeeding.

  46. It is true we don’t know all the details of this sister being released.

  47. Thanks for the informative links.

  48. Absolutely most nursing mothers are not trying to “whip” it out. They are just interested in nourishing their babies.

  49. This goes to one of the points we would like the media to understand. This sisters experience is more likely a ward circumstance than a entire LDS church happening.

  50. Thank you for posting for me. This is a subject I feel very passionate about. :)

  51. None of the YW we spoke with were uncomfortable with seeing a leader breastfeed, only with seeing their leaders naked breast. And some said that even though seeing the leaders naked breast would make them very uncomfortable they would not do not voice it. This did spark some discussion because we want ALL YW to feel like they can voice their opinion whether or not it may be a popular one.

  52. Thanks for the link to the post, it does need to be noted more often that breastfeeding mothers whether covered or uncovered are typically for discreetness.

  53. Yes, the YW should definitely get a voice in this conversation. We as women need to be better examples to them of being able to verbalize our differences and be respectful to each other as sistas in the Gospel.

  54. None of YW had an issue with public nursing and fo’sho none of them wanted to see babies starve. We just had an open discussion with them regarding how they felt about seeing a  leaders naked breast due to breastfeeding.

  55. There are probably much more details that we have not been given and we would say this experience is not what most breastfeeding mothers experience in LDS churches.

  56.  Thank you for sharing. :)

  57. As you point out, maybe the leaders in this particular ward were extra sensitive because they were dealing with minors.

  58. I applaud your efforts to talk about this with some actual YW, so that we can hear their points of view.  I think their feelings are their feelings and they should be honored and acknowledged (though I don’t necessarily think their desires that the leader cover up should be honored).   I have no doubt that they were uncomfortable, but that is more a function of where they are in their own development and a measure of where they are in their own level of comfort with their bodies.

    Breastfeeding was incredibly difficult for me, for a whole host of reasons (with my 3rd, it wasn’t just 45 minutes total, as mentioned below–it was 45 minutes EACH SIDE, 1 1/2 hours total–with about a 15 minute break before needing to start again–shear misery).  As a result, I’m extremely sensitive to the shame that is associated with breastfeeding–in other words, I hated feeling that, because I had to supplement, that I was an inadequate mother (this is a huge shame trigger for many moms, given the push towards breastfeeding).  Consequently, I’m also extremely passionate about any mother feeling like the way she’s choosing to breastfeed (covered or not, in the mother’s lounge or not) is incorrect.  She is feeding her child, in the way that she feels best, and should not be subject to judgement about how she is doing it.

    So what to do?  Several here have suggested having an open discussion with the Young Women, in an attempt to normalize the situation.  Maybe some discussion about not looking (just because the woman is breastfeeding, doesn’t mean you have to look). I also wonder, as others have expressed, about the way we go about teaching modesty.  Though my experience is by no means universal, I never felt like I had learned from church or home that the very nature of my body, for all its sexuality, regular functions and oddities, was beautiful.  Which, frankly, is unfortunate because now as an adult I recognize the absolute marvel that our bodies are for us.  With the incessant noise of covering up to hide from sexuality, this may be a great way to talk with our young women about the beautiful nature of our bodies, clothed in a way that honors them, not because we are ashamed of them.  And for that, I think the example of a woman discreetly breastfeeding (covered or not) is a great way to show the YW how to honor their bodies for the gift of life that they can bring to children.

  59. Ok, I have to make a comment even though I am not a young woman; but actually a very old one. When I was newly married my husband and I attended a Sunday School class and during this class one very endowed woman whipped out her breast and fed her baby uncovered. Mind you this was a mixed class of adult men and women. I was so shocked. Now this is about 45 years ago. I only witnessed this once; but at the time felt it was totally not acceptable. I have nursed my children. Most of the time I chose to go into the mother’s lounge in the church building. This room is provided for mothes to nurse their babies privately. There were a few times that I nursed my babies with a blanket covering the baby and myself in Relief Society. I think all of that is acceptable. Having been a young woman leader many times; I don’t think it is appropriate for a mother to nurse her baby uncovered. I do think it would make young woman of those ages uncomfortable.
     I will check this out with some young woman that I know and see what they think.
    Wow, haven’t these woman got something else to do besides bring up issues like this.
     Blessings to you two for tackling this one.

  60. I hate the mother’s lounge..rarely have I ever been in one that doesn’t stink. In Africa women nurse uncovered in church all the time. My  husband and brother both served in SA and saw women nursing their children during Sacrament meeting uncovered without issue..this is an American thing not a church thing. 

  61. We focused on teens that would be similar to those in this particular sisters ward, so American YW. We’d likely get a variety of responses if it were worldwide as would the breastfeeding sister probably have too.

  62. Responses to uncovered breastfeeding definitely are impacted by culture and nation.

  63. You’re not the first women who’s commented that they dislike the mother’s lounge because of the smell. Some other’s said it was cramped and dark. Maybe wards need to take a look at changes to the mother’s lounge in addition to other things discussed?

  64. Thanks for sharing your experiences, we’d love to hear what other young women have to say!

  65. We too think that open discussion with the young women is an excellent idea! We don’t know if the sister who was released was given this opportunity or if it was suggested, but even though she’s released it’s still not to late.

  66. If the mothers lounge stinks, TAKE CARE OF IT.  I’m so sick of the excuses, and people who are so quick to offend.

  67. Of course I take out the trash if I have to go in there, but if a bin
    has been full for a few hours (or has had a few stinky diapers sitting
    in it for awhile) the smell doesn’t just leave. Yes, I find it gross and annoying, because it is. We have lived in a few
    different wards in various areas of the country and it seems to be the
    same everywhere we go. Some areas have been a bit better than others,
    but not much. I guess I don’t see how you see it as an excuse? An excuse for what exactly?

  68. I think it’s a wise thing to add to the discussion. While I do think this is a great discussion and our culture overall seems to be shifting towards a more accepting view of breastfeeding, there is still the prevailing view that breastfeeding should be done discreetly and privately. If the mother’s lounge is going to continue to be considered the proper place to go then it should truly accommodate the needs of the women using it. In general, I do not see how there can be objections by any member of a congregation if there is not an adequate place provided for a mother to nurse her child.

  69. Breasts have become WAAAAAYY over sexualized.  Open breastfeeding used to be depicted in a mural in the Alberta temple until fairly recently, specifically until breasts were getting so much public/ media attention in a sexual manner.

  70. I know all of what you’re saying since this isn’t my first baby. I know that some babies dislike nursing while covered and that nursing CAN be a lengthy and arduous task.

    From what I understand, though, no one told this woman that she couldn’t nurse uncovered at all- JUST NOT WHERE SHE WANTED TO, which is what got everyone’s knickers in a twist. If she wasn’t doing it while she was teaching well, then, she was in a position to be able to excuse herself. We don’t always get to do whatever we want to do wherever we want to do it simply because we WANT to. And that’s what this boils down to- she wants to do what she wants to do regardless of the feelings and wishes of other people and thinks that everyone else needs to just get over it. That’s not really how society, the Church, the Gospel, or ANYTHING ELSE IN LIFE works.

  71. AMEN. Context, context, context.

  72. Here’s the thing- NO ONE told this woman that she couldn’t nurse uncovered at church, just that she couldn’t do it WHERE SHE WANTED TO, which is what led to everyone having a melt down over this. If she was sitting in the back of the room during the lesson, then she wasn’t teaching and was in a position to excuse herself. So her baby doesn’t want to nurse covered? Fine. Then go somewhere discreet where you won’t be a distraction, where you won’t be around minors who are unrelated to you, and where you won’t be making people uncomfortable. 

    Yes, breasts in Western, Asian, and Middle Eastern societies have been sexualized. That’s the world we live in. Some places are nudist colonies, but just because you fall in love with the way that they live their lives you can’t just decide that no one should be bothered by you’re foregoing clothing. Was this woman an endowed member of the church? I don’t remember a part of the temple ceremony telling women that they should cover their breasts with the sacred garment unless they need to breastfeed and decide that they want to do so in mixed company and in public, in which case it’s fine for anyone present to see as much of their breast as possible. 

    It’s about context. It’s about modesty. It’s about DISCRETION, which we as a society seem to have decided is no longer important. 

  73. I had a friend who served a mission on the Island of Africa, I am sure if he sent this to him he would laugh his head off.  He said women right in the middle of Sacrament would nurse their ‘babies’ until they were like four years old.  I think we are making it too much of an ‘issue’.

  74. The young women that I know would not want one their leaders to breastfeed uncovered during Young Woman’s. Besides the Bishop could drop in at any moment and that would not be appropriate at all! 

  75. I’m breastfeeding my 6th son and have become pretty “old school” when I nurse. Anyone can nurse discreetly if they know how. I think this story is interesting, but in no way do I believe that a woman would be released for nursing in front of other females. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I can understand asking a nursing mother to cover if she is in front of young men or men… but other females… What?? I also don’t believe for a second that this would cause a temple recommend to be taken.. so either this is Mormon gossip gone array or there are other reasons that are not being divulged. There is so much terror in the faces of brand new mothers trying to nurse so privately IN the mothers lounge.. YW need to know it’s not shameful, and we are all women! We all have the same things.

  76. Last Sunday in my LDS congregation, there were 3 women breastfeeding in sacrament, 2 women breastfeeding in the hallway, one breastfeeding in Sunday school, and one breastfeeding during a baptism. The YW I teach on the other side of the ocean didn’t even blink when I would breastfeed in the middle of my lesson. This issue is not a LDS issue. It’s an American issue.

  77. D. Michael Martindale

    Mormons, you are stupid, just stupid!

    I’m sorry to be so crass and rude about this, but get a freaking grip! This hysterical insanity over the human body has to end!

    It’s a breast! It was designed by God to nourish our babies, not to be an object of lust for men. When you give in to the pressure to keep those suckers hidden while you’re using them for the purpose God intended, you only perpetuate the notion that they are objects of lust for men.

    Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful, innocent things imaginable, but you turn it into a thing of shame that must be hidden. You claim the body is a temple and must be treated in a sacred manner, but your behavior screams, “The body is an obscene thing!”

    Well, you’re wrong. You are an obscene thing to turn such a beautiful, innocent act into an act of shame.

    Young Women think breastfeeding is great, but God forbid, don’t make us actually see the breast? If you don’t already have breasts, girls, you’re gonna before long. Do you think of your own breasts as disgusting as you do the breasts of mothers? This is a healthy attitude?

    Get a freaking, freaking grip!

    I know the rest of America needs to be chided like this too, because most of them have very nearly the same perverted attitude toward human bodies. But I single out the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Modest Dressers particularly, because this “modesty” thing is a psychotic obsession with you.

    “Whip it out”? Seriously? That’s the demeaning way you refer to the act of breastfeeding?

    Paul said he’s not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, but I sure feel ashamed of Christ’s disciples now and then–like now!

    Just get a freaking grip!

  78. Something is wrong somewhere outside of Denmark. Good is bad and bad is good. What a crock! (from a man’s point of view….make that an “old” man who has seen it all and knows it ain’t so bad…only the bad).

  79. I’m pretty sure the good ol USofA is one of few places this would happen. In South America, moms breastfeed during sacrament meeting uncovered and NO ONE bats an eye. Not even the little 12 year old boys. It’s because it’s so common. Breasts=milk. Here it’s a different story. It’s sad, and our breastfeeding rates suffer for it. I personally cover up. But I do breastfeed during Sacrament meeting because I don’t want to miss the passing of the sacrament. I also work in YW’s, and breastfeed there too (covered), because I want to be a part of it, and frankly I think it’s good for the girls to see breastfeeding role models. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the YW leaders is the one who turned her in. There was a beautiful picture of the new Pope kissing a newborn’s feet, and there was a mother sitting on the other side of the Pope opening breastfeeding…IN FRONT OF THE POPE! He is from Argentina, so I’m sure it did not even phase him! There are paintings during Joseph Smith’s time of women opening breastfeeding during his sermons. Hmmm, I think our culture has skewed “modesty”. Thanks for the post!

  80. Oh and in regards to pioneer teens, they saw it ALL THE TIME!

  81. Amen Gretchen, couldn’t have said it better.

  82. Agreed. Well said.

  83. I wouldn’t want to have my YW see my bare breasts in class. Totally inappropriate. There is a time and place, and just because one is lazy (for lack of a better word) and doesn’t want to be bothered to go elsewhere doesn’t mean it is necessary to flaunt the breasts if it makes others uncomfortable.

  84. anonym, male, lds member

    i just had a thought crossing my mind. i think you are a little bit to
    selfish, to easy offendet, emacipation is good, i agree with that, but
    you dont have to overdo it.
    i believe there are certain places where
    it is totally ok and apropriate to breastfeed your baby. but as a male i
    feel the need and want to tell you that i dont think it is ok to do it
    in the presence of men (wich includes the sacrament meeting).
    on my
    mission it was always awkward to be in a members house and all the
    sudden the young mother breastfeeds her baby right in front of you. of
    course it was in their home and if she does it, theres nothing one could
    say there.
    but what do i mean?
    i emphazise that i said “in the presence of men”.
    cant even imagine how it is to see something like that, being a men.
    you only think of emazipation and getting what you think that you should
    get, thats selfish to me!
    i can only speak for myself, i may be even weird but i am sure i am certainly not alone with this.
    if i see a nice looking young mother breastfeeding her baby, what do you think does happen next?
    there thougts coming? imaginations? do i want to look? maybe a little
    bit more? stuff like this will come, and it will lead maybe to more.
    like i said, i dont think you can imagine how its like to be a man in a situation like this.
    maybe you want to think about this before you scream for stuff.
    btw, i dont agree with the temple recomment being taken or something, thats a “little” bit extreme.
    but theres not only your side.
    dont be selfish.
    i better stahp being selfrighteous now :P

  85. This is a fascinating topic! I look forward to reading the comments. As a former YW leader who breast-fed in front of my YW all the time and never thought twice about it, it’s interesting to see this brought up. I wonder if there might be a wide range of opinions depending on where one is in the church. There are so many cultures within our church. There is no doctrine that says that a woman shouldn’t feed her baby in front of anyone or even not show their breasts. I once breast fed in a pinch during a temple recommend interview. Not that I felt completely comfortable doing it, but my temple recommend was certainly NOT withheld because of it and I had no choice. I think that peoples responses to this will depend on the culture of where they are. The same could certainly go for being released from a calling, which is certainly NOT the same as having a recommend invalidated.

  86. If you think that genitalia and breasts are the same thing, my suggestion
    is correct your viewpoint. Food is not something to be consumed in a
    bathroom, or in private for that matter. The comparison is not moot because it brings up a very important issue that exists in your culture. One where women are objectified. That shouldn’d be the ideal of the church culture, though it obviously invades it on more than one level.

  87. This is such a good point! How can we help them to understand what a sacred thing breast feeding is ans what an amazing thing their bodies are capable of if WE act as though we are ashamed of OUR bodies?

  88. Oh How I Loved Your comments. Thank You for putting my thoughts out there so clearly! We respect our more Godlike Nature when we use the Tools he gave us. Are we evolutionists or do we believe that God created our bodies? Also, wonderful link to Temple and other images.

  89. Mother of two and YW leader. May I say something? Breastfeeding is cool, ok… we know that. But, it is sooo akward to be in a situation like that, let me explain.
    I know this lady, one day she takes her t-shirt up all the way from her waist to her breast, gives it to her baby and talks to you about her yellow curtains for 10 hurting-minutes. The baby has been sleeping for the last 25 minutes, and the breast is just jumping up and down. You spend the last half-hour looking directly at her eyes and the curtains, the floor, her hair… And you can’t say anything because she will get offended on the “natural/beautiful/marvelous act or nursering”.
    This is my question. How can I teach my young women about modesty, politeness and poise… If I am no longer breastfeeding and showing my breast without a shame? Critizicing them for not understanding the act of breastfeeding/bonding with your baby. That’s not integrity!!! Don’t get me wrong, I’m ok with breastfeeding… It’s the breast jumping up and down that (for me) is gross. Sorry. Just my point of view.

  90. My wife breastfed our seven children. In public, she always wore a simple poncho. I remember one restaurant in Idaho Falls as our first born nursed under cover, two older teenage boys and similarly aged girl sat at an adjoining table. Soon, the girl noticed the baby’s movements under the poncho and exclaimed “There’s a baby under there!”. The boys very casually said, “Yeah, so…..” That was 1977. The January 1915 cover of The Relief Society Magazine depicts public breastfeeding.:

  91. Nobody should have to cover up or leave to feed their babies. But, I do understand that young women might be averse to the activity if it’s not being carried out in a discreet, respectful way. I am a grown woman who has breastfed two kids and I still don’t want to see nobody’s lactatin’ teat. Or non-lactatin’ teat for that matter.

  92. I know this is old and I wasn’t going to comment, but I wanted to share a little bit of insight since I was in contact with this woman (we run in similar circles.

    She asked to be released. She did not want to make the young women uncomfortable. She also did not give permission to the FMH site to share the story. She did not want to cause trouble but in asking for support it got out.

    Unfortunately, the area authority seventy was involved and her temple recommend was threatened if she didn’t “support leaders” and cover up – at any point in church.

    Young women’s discomfort with “seeing something” might be as much because there is a cultural attitude that breasts are sexual and the unfortunate way we teach about modesty to young women in our church.

  93. I feel like I have to defend this woman. I do not know her well, but we run in similar circles.

    She asked to be released because she did not want to make the young women uncomfortable.

    She did not ask for this story to be released, but someone with an ax to grind did.

    Her temple recommend was threatened if she did not cover EVERY place in church which, besides being against the law (Utah allows women to breastfeed any place a woman can otherwise legally be, covered or uncovered), means she could not feed her baby at church and still attend her meetings. However, when she tried to explain this, she was accused of not sustaining Priesthood leaders, and reminded that is a requirement for a temple recommend. These details are not very public because she did not release the story.

    Please don’t jump to conclusions. She is a good woman in a bad situation who was treated unfairly.

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