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 NursingFreedom.org. 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!
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 NursingFreedom.org 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