Tuesday, June 30, 2009

public breastfeeding

I love breastfeeding. I feel very grateful that I am able to breastfeed, and really, owe my success to my mom, who held my pump when I was in the hospital 10 days after Charlotte was born with complications with my gall bladder surgery. She got up in the night to pump my milk, when I was too drugged up to do it myself. She dumped it, of course, but that kept my milk going. I am so grateful for this, and she understood my deep desire to breastfeed my baby.

I find breastfeeding totally natural, and not something to be hidden away. It is a struggle at times to know if and when to cover up. When Charlotte was really little, I had to figure out how to nurse her using a blanket as a cover up because we had family at our house a lot. It was really hard to get her to latch under a blanket. I also did not feel as though I should hide in my bedroom, away from the adult conversation and company. Now, I feel as though I can nurse her fairly discreetly and do so wherever I happen to be at the time. Last week included sitting on the floor in Value Village by the changing rooms, in her wrap sling walking through Superstore and in church. I still find it most difficult however, around family or male friends that seem uncomfortable with it.

What do you do in these situations? I came across this blog post which was an interesting read. I also found this article on the mothering.com website. I struggle with the issue and wonder if it is my responsibility to try and cover up this beautiful and wonderful thing. Yes, there are sexually promiscuous images all around us, but does that excuse me from trying to cover myself up when feeding my baby? Should I try my hardest to be modest when feeding and make sure Charlotte (and my boob) stays covered? This is practically impossible and would require secluding myself as she has become quite adapt at yanking the blanket off. What do YOU do?

A tricky issue, but one I feel confronted with all the time. Especially as a mom who feeds on demand, and not according to a schedule. She might want to eat in the middle of a extended family dinner, and I feel that it is her right to do so. Tell me what you think!!


  1. Hey daughter!
    I believe it was sheer determination (and maybe some stubborn Nickerson genes) that enabled you to be a success at breastfeeding. It is very rewarding to be able to breastfeed and I am very thankful that I was able to succeed in that with my daughters. As far as privacy goes, I think there has been much more awareness made in the last 20 years of the benefits of breastfeeding for both baby and mom. I think there has to be a balance between what you feel comfortable with and what others around you feel comfortable with. There are so many different circumstances to consider and being able to determine how others may react to breastfeeding is key. Just one instance would be if another female was present and unable to conceive - would that be upsetting to her to see the strong bond between mother and child? There are probably many different scenarios and I guess it would just take discernment on your part.
    Can't wait to see that precious little girl!!
    Love you,

  2. I was pretty comfortable breastfeeding in public. If we were with people I knew would be uncomfortable, I'd sit in a chair off to the side. That way, I could still be part of the conversation. If I wasn't sure what their take on it was, I'd just ask if they minded that I feed the baby. Most of the time, they said it was fine. Breastfeeding should be natural and comfortable for everyone - baby, mommy and spectator :). On the one hand, if we keep hiding, it reinforces the idea that breastfeeding is socially unacceptable...which it isn't! On the other hand, if we are too forceful (my brother had a classmate noisily pump in the middle of class, all the while exclaiming it was her right) that can backfire, too. Respect is key. Happy Breastfeeding! Emilie