the reality of nursing in public…

Most stories about mothers nursing their children in public are negative. We hear the stories of discrimination and oppression. Those against breastfeeding will claim they saw a woman fling her breast out to breastfeed her child. Breastfeeding mothers tell of snide comments they heard, demands that they leave a public place or feed their child in a restroom. I’ve had my share of comments. They do exist, as much as some will have you believe otherwise. Occassionally a mother may have a positive comment or smile. Personally, I try to encourage other mothers I see nursing in public, even if it’s just with a cheesy smile. However, overall neither of these scenarios is the norm.  

I’ve never once seen a woman fling a breast, which frankly sounds quite painful. If you know where I can witness this, please let me know; I’ve never quite understood the logistics of it. The truth if the matter is, most people don’t notice a mother nursing her child. When a child shows signs of wanting to nurse, a mother matter of factly lifts or lowers her shirt enough to allow the child to latch on. They nurse and go on about their business. No fanfare precedes the event. There are no requests for cheers or hurrahs. The mother is merely attending to her child’s needs, just as she would hug the child or hand the child food.

While negative experiences sadly occur, in the thousands of times I’ve nursed in public, the number of negative comments are comparatively small. I’ve nursed in a laundromat full of college guys, out hiking, in stores while pushing a cart, while helping my older children with crafts at a children’s museum, next to a strange man on an airplane (who was kind enough to offer to pull my tray down for my water), at concerts, parks, libraries, and more. Most of the time, no one says a word.

So while we do need to normalize breastfeeding and nursing in public, new mothers shouldn’t feel frightened to do so. Chances are, no one will even notice. If they do, it’s very likely they won’t say a thing. And if they do, take confidence in the fact that you are doing the best for your child and stay firm in your rights.

This post was originally posted on Nursing Freedom.

under-sexed…

When the topic of nursing in public comes up, the topic of sex inevitably follows. Anti-breastfeeding individuals liken breastfeeding to sex and claim enough is enough. Breastfeeding advocates claim that our society is over-sexed; breasts are lauded for their sexuality, plastered on billboards, used to sell beer and cars rather than their true purpose – their functionality.

Yes, breasts are sexual. It is possible to be functional and sexual at the same time. In fact, a person’s entire body is sexual. If someone is under the impression that breastfeeding is sexual and therefore taboo in public, I don’t agree that they are over-sexed. In fact, I would argue that they are under-sexed, because they seem to be wholly unaware of all of the wonderful sexual aspects of various other body parts which they see everyday.

If the idea of possibly seeing a body part which has dual functions bothers you, then a larger call to arms is in order. Don’t just target the breastfeeding mothers; go after anyone who uses any body part that holds dual functionality: mouths, hands, fingers, noses, ears, necks, eyelashes, arms, legs, feet, bellies, backs….the list goes on.

If your imagination doesn’t go that far or you think that’s too much, you may be just a little under-sexed. Frankly, assuming that breasts are sexual while other body parts aren’t just isn’t very creative on your part. So, we’ll make a deal. You won’t spout your ignorance about the functionality of breasts and the sexuality of other body parts. In turn, I will only use my breasts in public for the purpose of breastfeeding, and I won’t tell you about all of the other body parts I use to get my husband all hot and steamy.

food and feces…

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.

***

A celebrity recently caused another uproar in the debate regarding public breastfeeding. While eating at a restaurant, she witnessed a mother breastfeed her baby at the table and change it’s diaper. People came out of the woodwork saying that mothers should go to the restroom for that.

By that, I hope they are referring to changing a diaper. I agree that tables are no place to change a diaper. I have no desire to eat on a table that just had a pooey diaper on it. The aroma of poo as a diaper is changed doesn’t add to my culinary experience. I take my babies to the bathroom to change their diapers when we eat out. Food and feces just don’t mix.

And for that same reason, suggesting that a mother breastfeed her child in a bathroom is ludicrous. If a person recognizes that changing a diaper at a public dinner table is unsanitary, how is it that that same person thinks it is perfectly acceptable to expect a child to eat in a public toilet?

Art by Erika Hastings at http://mudspice.wordpress.com/

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

feel free to be offended…

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.

***

There are those who are offended by the sight of a mother nursing her child in public. To them I say, “Feel free to be offended.” 

In a world as diverse as ours, something is bound to offend another person – sexuality, race, gender, religion, clothing, speech, habits, etc. We have the right to our individual beliefs and, as a part of that, a right to feel offense. Where our rights stop is where they interfere with another person’s rights.

Personally, I’m offended by smoking. I think it’s disgusting, and I really don’t want to be anywhere near it. However, I’m not going to ask someone to quit smoking. I will quietly go somewhere else so that my children and I don’t have to be around it. I am also disgusted by the site of people chewing food with their mouths open. Apparently the memo that watching partially masticated food is unappealing didn’t make it’s way through the entire human population (or my in-laws’ house). I reserve the right to look away in my offense.

What I don’t have is the right to dictate how people legally live their lives. I may be offended by some things, but frankly it’s none of my business. I don’t have the right to dictate what they can and cannot do based on my sensibilities.

So the next time I’m out in public and breastfeed my child, feel free to be offended. Feel free to look away, walk away, cover your head in shame, or however you choose to deal with your uncomfortable feelings. You have that right, just as I have the right to nurse whenever and wherever I have the right to be.

Art by Erika Hastings at http://mudspice.wordpress.com/

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

breastfeeding rap…

For those tired of having doctors give out poor breastfeeding information, this presentation from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine is refreshing:

It’s nice to see some health care professionals with correct information. Now if only health care professionals could have more education regarding breastfeeding than a few hours presented by formula companies…

public intimacy…

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.

***

Intimacy. 1. The state of being intimate. 2. Something of a personal or private nature. 3. Rituals of connection.

Breastfeeding is definitely an intimate experience. It allows mother and child to bond and promotes connection. And due to its intimate nature, many would claim that mothers should only nurse their children in private. Afterall, intimate acts should never occur in public…

…except that intimate acts constantly occur in public. People kiss. Hands are held. Hugs show affection and lift someone’s spirits. High fives convey excitement. Conversations occur. Hands are shook. Special looks are given. Personal jokes and stories are shared. Intimacy is all around us.

Those who claim someone should only breastfeed in private are merely intruding on an intimate act. Rather a social faux pas, isn’t it?

Art by Erika Hastings at http://mudspice.wordpress.com/

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

beginnings…

This piece is entitled beginnings. I painted it the weekend before our last child was born. I was feeling a bit stressed and frustrated and needed a break from exhausted, cranky little people. I headed out to the garage with roughly cut pieces of fabric. The paint is tempera paint, borrowed from my children’s art supplies. After the pieces had dried, I used my quilting ruler and rotary cutter to make them a uniform size before sewing the pieces together.

The piece is wrought with meaning on many levels and in many different areas. I would go through all of it, but I personally think that art should be interpreted individually. It doesn’t matter to someone else what the piece means to me; it matters what the piece means to that person.

I will say that painting the piece was surprisingly therapeutic. I have hopes to paint more in the future.