My DS is 3.5 years old now and still nurses when going to sleep, waking up, and any time he is super crabby. We haven't nursed in public in quite some time now, but we have a plane trip coming up. He has always been hard to get to sleep, and has never been one to sleep in cars or anywhere outside of the house. He is really extreme in that way -- has been known to cry for an entire 2 hour car trip (with stops to nurse, of course), and once slept only 3 hr (in 3 different spurts) on a 24 hr international trip. I've always nursed him on planes, and we've flown a lot and never had any problems. For my own comfort, and to avoid any confrontations, I try to make sure you can't tell he's nursing (except that the hold is a bit of a give away when the kiddo is getting this big!). But I guess I'm just more nervous now because he's getting so much older than your average nursling in the US. I know he's going to want to nurse. We're leaving early in the morning, and the entire trip will take about 12 hours. And there is really no other way to get him to fall asleep. I would be fine with him not sleeping or nursing, but I'm afraid he won't be ... I envision him screaming out "Nummies! Nummies! I want nummies!", kicking and thrashing about...
I guess I'm wondering if I should just nurse him as usual, and try to plan as best I can my response to any possible confrontation, or try to talk to DS in advance about not nursing on the plane...
If someone did say something, I would try to go with a casual, validating version of I could care less what you think, like, "It must be hard for you to see something you're not used to." And return my attention to my son.
In any case, nearly all of even the most squimish flyers would rather have your breastfeeding to disapprove of than your screaming pre-schooler disrupting their peace and quiet.
"That's the way it is, if that's the way it seems to you."
"Cosi e se vi pare."
Definitely nurse him as usual. i have nursed and continue to nurse my 3 year old in public anytime, anywhere, including planes and have never had an issue. This isn't an issue except to anyone who would try to tell you that it isn't OK when it is.