TODAY

TODAY   |  September 26, 2013

Jenna Wolfe tries breast-feeding her baby in public

To see what the reaction would be, Weekend TODAY’s Jenna Wolfe decided to try breast-feeding her 1-month old girl, Harper, in public. She also talked to some mothers who are unable to breast-feed feed their babies due to allergies.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> this morning on born today, we are talking about breast -feeding. we asked "today" correspondent and new mom jenna wolf to tackle the issues. good morning, nice to see you.

>> noise to see you, yes, we asked our viewers on today.com how they feel about breast -feeding in public. nearly 10,000 responded, 38 said they felt it was a non-issue. 9% said they felt empowered. the same percentage felt embr rased as well. i didded to see where i fall into that percentage and check it out myself.

>> it's a relatively modern dilemma in the course of motherly events the breast vs. bottle debates. when my daughter harper was born, i chose to breast -feed. as many can attest, the decision comes with both rewards and challenges.

>> i say breast -feeding, first word that pops into your head?

>> connection.

>> connection.

>> the closeness.

>> difficult.

>> nurtureing.

>> i say nurtureing, too.

>> and breast -feeding, but what i discovered was that it wasn't failure for me. i knew that i wasn't good at getting him to latch on and it was just, it was stressful.

>> reporter: stressful and at times awkward when a baby's tummy clock doesn't match up with mommy's busy day. breast -feeding in public has long been a matter of debate. to test the climate in 2013 , i set out with a hidden camera and one hungry baby. first stop the plaza hotel . next stop famous toy haven fao schwartz .

>> within i first started and took it out, i felt like i was doing something wrong, you feel ashamed and embarrassed. but the more you do it, the more comfortable you feel.

>> i even went to a fancy department store .

>> can you balance the screaming and the fussiness with how comfortable you feel breast -feeding in public and one always wins out. i want to bring my whole mommy and me class here.

>> for some moms, the challenges can take their tolls. according to cdc, 77% of women in the united states begin breast -feeding their babies, but by three months, this number drops to 38% and at six months, only 16% of bebs are consumeing breast milk alone.

>> breast -feeding was the most natural and healthiest thing i can do for the my kids.

>> campaigns like this one launched by the department of health and human services are aimed at getting more women to stick with it. but what about women who simply can't breast feerksd like suzanne barsten, whose baby was allergic to breast milk .

>> i have every breast -feeding problem under the sun.

>> she says she felt alienated after she started bottle feeding her kid's formula.

>> it made me feel like i had failed. in my one job as a mom i had failed.

>> realizing moms like her kneeled support, suzanne created a campaign for all women, no matter how they choose to feed their kids. still, there are those moments that can make natural feel unnatural. while harper was quietly having lunch at the apple store in midtown manhattan , i was approached by a store employee.

>> do you want to go somewhere in private?

>> i'm okay. is it okay i'm here?

>> we use this for our customers.

>> i agreed to move, while i never encountered problems in public, sometimes other moms do.

>> i was asked to stop in a bank for someone to come over and asked to say, can you not do that here? it felt, i felt uncomfortable.

>> before i had a child, i had no idea that breast -feeding could be such an emotional topic. if i learned anything so far, it's that while it's not always easy, most of us moms are just doing our best.

>> the best thing can you do for your baby and your most important job as a mom or a parent is feed them with love and don't let the noise from society get in the way of your relationship with your child.

>> incredibly well said. harper and i made it five weeks so far. this is a very important topic to me. i want to come back and touk about it.

>> it's important to a lot of people.

>> it's important to you, obviously.

>> savannah, we missed you.

>> these beautiful moments. that's our jenna .

>> that's why i'm still on maternity leave.

>> take another fews. nice to see you, jenna .

>>> coming up, would you make 300 sandwiches for your boyfriend just to get a ring?

>> we will meet a woman that is doing just that.