Thursday, July 21, 2011

Breastfeeding Carnival Day 5: Nursing in Public (NIP)

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about nursing in public. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

Friday, July 22—Nursing in Public: What are your views on breastfeeding in public? How do you feel a mother breastfeeding in public influences others in public? Do you feel breastfeeding in public helps to normalize breastfeeding?

Nursing in public is something that disgusts many people for some reason.  I have had a lot of negative comments and dirty looks from nursing in public.  I also get dirty looks if my baby is crying or upset no matter where it is.  One thing you learn quickly with your first kid is that it doesn't matter what you do-you'll offend someone!

I have always nursed my babies wherever and whenever they've been hungry.  I am a very modest person and am also LDS so I like to keep myself covered up but not necessarily with a nursing cover which many people find offensive.  Back in the time of my ancestors coming to Utah they also didn't care where they nursed their babies.  This blog shares some amazing paintings of women breastfeeding during sacrament meeting.  The following pictures came from this link.

For those of you unfamiliar with the LDS church's meetings the main meeting each Sunday is sacrament meeting where everyone in each family sits together in pews to take the sacrament and listen to uplifting gospel talks given by volunteer clergy members and volunteer members of the church.  If you attend a meeting, at least in Utah, it is considered weird to breastfeed in the pews and your are supposed to (social rules NOT real rules) get up and leave to sit in a mother's room which normally has comfy chairs, a changing table, and a sink.  Some mother's rooms are part of a bathroom (like mine) and others are a separate room.  In that mother's room it is typical to find women covering baby with blankets AND using a nursing cover.  I, however, am not like that.  I do wear a nursing shirt (think Motherhood Maternity), nursing dress (link is to one I LOVE), or a nursing undershirt tank top-available in white and black (this links to my Amazon affiliate account-any money received from purchasing through my link goes straight to buying homeschooling books for my children-thanks!) and am able to nurse without exposing anything but I still get dirty looks.  I refuse to feed my baby in a bathroom.  If I'm in sacrament meeting in a different building then I will usually feed my baby in a mother's room simply because it's more comfortable and he doesn't get distracted looking for who is speaking.  In other meetings though I generally nurse him right there.

I have had dirty looks and negative comments other places I've nursed: malls, restaurants, fast food restaurants, and so on.  I usually ignore them or occasionally I will say something like "Breast is best." or "I'm exposing a lot less than most of the other women around here."  I will admit I have had ONE super positive experience though (FINALLY!).  When we were visiting Corvallis, Oregon to find somewhere to live (moving next month) a lady actually came up to me and said "Thank you for breastfeeding your baby!"  I was in total shock!  I had no idea what to say.  I finally replied with "Thank you!  I've never had anyone say something so nice to me."  Her response was, "We mamas have to support each other."  I couldn't stop smiling for hours.  It made me feel so great that we are moving somewhere that's super supportive of breastfeeding.

I believe it's important for women to nurse in public because the more the public at large is exposed to breastfeeding, the more it will be seen as normal and natural.

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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