Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Mid-Year Resolution

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.


Thanks to the magic of Facebook, and all the groups I've become a "fan" of, I've recently read several articles relating to breastfeeding. Of these, there was one in particular (on Best for Babes) that talked about "booby traps" (pun intended, for sure!). Booby traps are different things, be it cultural or what-have-you, that hinder the breastfeeding relationship between mom and baby.

One thing that they pointed out was the fact that oftentimes breastfeeding moms feel "ashamed" of feeding their babies, and go and "hide" in another room away from friends, family or the general public. (This would be a cultural "booby trap") I have absolutely been guilty of this in the name of being "discreet"- just my own personal awkwardness with potentially exposing myself. The thing that I never realized though, is the impact that something like that would have on other women. I consider myself to be a "lactivist" (ha ha), and one of my goals is to promote breastfeeding, but how can I effectively do that when nobody ever sees me feeding my baby in the most natural and beneficial way? There's a generation of women who have not yet had babies, and those that are planning on having more, that just flat out don't have the support and encouragement they need to venture out into this relatively "unknown" territory (at least in our modern formula feeding culture). I used to be one of them! (This is especially true in the state I live in, where 85% of moms are breastfeeding when they leave the hospital, and by six months, that rate has dropped to 14%!)

I've gone to extreme measures (just out of my own insecurity) to avoid feeding in front of other people. Some of those "extreme measures" include feeding in the family bathroom at Wal-Mart (yuck!) where every time I had to adjust the baby, or scratch my head or something the sensor on the toilet would activate and the toilet would flush (Lol!). I've also ducked away to the ladies room at church conferences (where there's usually a sitting area) and I would inadvertently miss out on something important. I've hidden myself away at family and friends' houses (you know who you are) and missed out on spending time with those I hold near and dear. With that example, though, (and the implication that it's something that takes you completely away from social situations for "one year or as long as mutually desired") who would want to breastfeed?

All that being said, my (almost) mid-year resolution is this: (Now that I'm on my second nursling) to breastfeed my baby comfortably and confidently wherever I may be that any bottle-feeding mom would feel comfortable and confident feeding her baby. In a restaurant, with friends, at family gatherings...wherever. Whenever. I resolve to not rush home with a screaming infant just to avoid my own perception that someone else may be uncomfortable with what I'm doing. If I don't get invited to your house anymore, I know why (just kidding!). My goal in doing this is not to make anyone squeamish or uneasy (and I hope it doesn't), but to bring breastfeeding to the mainstream of our culture. It's normal. It's healthy. It will impact generations of people and turn around our deplorable state of "nutrition" in this country. I may never know who I will influence with my actions, but I would rather influence the future of our society in a positive way by not making breastfeeding seem like some kind of social torture.

***Note: this was actually written a couple of months ago, and so far, so good!

Art by Erika Hastings at

Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public

Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.

Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.

This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts - new articles will be posted on the following days:

July 5 - Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World

July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child

July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.

July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives

July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It


  1. Good for you!! Not only are you normalizing it for friends and family, but you will be providing the best possible example for your own child.

  2. I agree. And...I attend a church that has a separate room for nursing moms. Yet breastfeeding is BY FAR the norm for all the ladies at church - in fact, older moms who are having second babies years after their first are nursing for the first time. When I was nursing (due to a slew of problems too long to get into here - I now pump exclusively) I nursed in the nursing moms room. It is a VERY pro-bf place, and that is conveyed through lifestyle and attitude, not by an insistence on being able to nurse whenever and however. The attitude of the ladies there is not that they go there to nurse because they aren't welcome in the main room, but rather out of love and concern for men and out of modesty. Like it or not, men get turned on by breasts. Whether or not they should is not in question here. The ladies I know are more than willing to nurse in a different room to do all they can to keep their brothers in Christ from potentially stumbling. I have no problem (let me emphasize, NO problem) with NIP. But as a Christian woman and mother, I do have a problem with this rights-based insistence on being able to do it wherever, uncovered, just because I can. (And for the record, I don't think you are saying that at all. I'm talking about some of the emphasis I've seen on many other sites.) Should a mother be able to nurse her child anywhere? Absolutely! Should modesty and trying to prevent temptation from those around her be a factor in *HOW* she does that? Again, as a Christian wife and mother, I must say yes, it should.

    I hope this makes some sense. I agree with you that bf must be lived out in order to be a help to future mothers. In a way, I guess my comment doesn't have much to do with your post - I'm just curious as to your opinion.

  3. @ Teresa: Hmmmm....yes. I see your point, and I agree with you. For me, however, a lot of the women I am attempting to reach are those that attend my church! I didn't mention this, but I do use a cover, because, well...a breast is still a breast. I don't want anyone to SEE mine. (Except my baby!) And I for one have never wanted to cause a brother to stumble. Several members of the "lactivist" community (I love them dearly!) seem to be of the mindset that a man needs to "just get over it" (easier for us women to say!). As Christians, I don't think we need to always be on the lookout for those we might offend. That's no way to live because honestly just about anything you do can or will offend somebody. Jesus didn't live that way though he always walked in love. Based on the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13, walking in love in this context would not be an "in-your-face-whether-you-like-it-or-not" kind of attitude. That being said, some churches don't have a "quiet room" or other area that's set up specifically for nursing mothers. In that case, I don't see anything wrong with nursing out in the open (with a cover- as most churches are made up of people of all different backgrounds- some that would struggle with possibly seeing an exposed breast, some not). In my personal case, out of respect, I talked to my pastors...they are open to women breastfeeding during the service, but I personally haven't done it, just because my little one can cause quite the ruckus while getting situated. I don't want to be a distraction. For me, it took a major leap to breastfeed in front of any other person (besides family), and I don't do it out of a desire to exercise my rights, but a desire to help future babies and families reach their full potential. That's all...I was absolutely rambling, so I hope you don't mind, but I appreciate the question!

  4. Thank you for the post! I, too, have been NIP more comfortably this second time around. I still prefer the nursing moms room since it has rockers and better a/c - however, I will nurse at church functions if needed. I agree that it isn't about rights and doing it because I can (I cover a little - a blanket corner over baby's face rather than under a big tent) but because baby needs to eat and NIP needs to be normalized.