Exploring Holistic Alternatives

Families practicing: Alternative & Natural Health; Attachment and Mindful Parent

When nursing my ds discretly in public, I often wonder if breastfeeding would be more appealing and practiced more readily if more women knew the ease and convenience of breastfeeding discretly in public. Now that my son is turning one, I am looking forward to EBF him in public just as before. How have other Moms handled breastfeeding in public? Do all of you try to be very discrete? Is nursing modestly something that's important to you in public?

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It has been many years since I weaned my youngest. She was nearly 5 at the time. When she was a toddler, I would nurse her discretely in public. Nursing modestly was very important to me. As she left her toddler years behind, we would only nurse in places where I felt sure we would not be harrassed - so, mostly at home, in remote places away from people, or at the homes of like minded people.
It appears from the stories that currently breastfeeding mothers tell me (I work as a lactation consultant in public health), that our community is still not generally open to women breastfeeding in public.
The NC Law on breastfeeding is included in the "indecent exposure" statute. It was enacted on April 10, 1998 (Gen.statute, sec 14-190.9, 1993).
It says that "notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breastfeed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding." ......
We have got a ways to go ! - to create a community where moms feel supported, and appreciated for the life-enhancing and loving gift they give through breastfeeding.
We just nursed. I don't know that discrete or public was a concern. We found some place comfortable and folks would see him cuddling with legs sticking out every which way. LOL But, I never used a blanket or any cover, other than loose shirts which I lifted from the bottom.

The sling was useful for nursing in public, when ds was quite small. I figure most folks didn't even know he was nursing. But, I just focused on us. Someone once said that when their child was melting down, she "pretended" (to herself) that she didn't have her glasses on, so, she "couldn't see" any strangers who may or may not be watching. She just focused on comforting and supporting her child. Her comfort increased, when she wasn't "seeing" anyone looking at her. And being centered and comfortable helps others to be comfortable too, in my experience.

But, we nursed everywhere. I'd just sit down and nurse, whenever he wanted/needed. LOL I'm sure I got some looks. But, what's a mama to do? You comfort your child the way they need. Simple as that.

There is a saying, 'Don't worry about what other people think of me and my business.' Now, I wouldn't probably nurse a four year old at a public dinner table during a sit down meal. But, I'd definitely nurse him in front of the Pope, the President, whoever.

We had only joyful experiences nursing, even as a toddler. Everywhere, airports, airplanes, restaurants, park, zoo, doctors offices, dentist office. Oh, except with my parents. I loved when ds at age 4 would ask to nurse when stressed during my mom's visit. At the dinner table no less.

It was important to me to be discreet and modest. At the same time, it was also important to me to go ahead and do it as well. My oldest nursed for a long time (it is was one detail that I am not allowed to divulge) and she was a child that grew tall and large at an early age so it was really obvious. I mostly did the loose shirt thing. So basically I did my best to not overtly offend others but neither did I let their negative opinions stop me. I did have to find privacy while tandem nursing if they both wanted to nurse at the same time. There was just no way to do that modestly.

Of course, society is rather two faced about the whole thing. I mean honestly, you can see nearly bare breasts at the beach but show a little skin nursing and people have a cow. hehehe pun intended. But I didn't see it doing any good to make people more uncomfortable than they already were.

One thing that I have found humorous is that I remember discussions at LLL meetings about choosing a word for it that is not immediately obvious. But it seems like any word for it just IS immediately obvious no matter what. My kids called it "stuffie." I think from me saying it was good stuff or something. But it was just as obvious exactly what they meant as ninny or num-num or any of the hundred other little names I have heard. Quite frankly, I think there has to be a little jealousy in there - the kids obviously think it is a really good thing!
I believe that we need to nurse in public so it can become acceptable. I remember when my son was less than a year and I was at the swimming pool. A mom asked me if I was nursing and she then wispered to me, "I am still nursing my daughter who is 2 " and what was implied was "shh, don't tell anyone".

I find it funny that age one is this magic number when you should wean- what happens so magically at age one that they no longer need breastmilk?
I nursed in public when they were toddlers. I never used a cover up, did nurse in the sling alot even when they were older. It is a challenge when they pop off in the middle of nursing leaving your breast exposed.

It is funny as I now have my third child- the other two are 11 years and 7 years and I find myself thinking more about nursing him when I am away from home. I think because when my other two were younger, i was only ever out in public around other nursing moms- well most of the time. Now I am around teenagers and lots of people and so I wonder more about it. I will still nurse him whenever he needs it- he is only 2 months now- and continue to do so. I too would only nurse them at age 3. 4- 5 and yes age 6 mostly at home- by that time, they did not nurse so frequently and surely by 4 could understand that we don't nurse everywhere.

Until more of us nurse in public- at any age- but especially toddlers, the attitudes won't change.

I have nursed in line to go up in the St. Louis Arch and I don't think anyone even knew that I did. My son was about 11 months and I had him in a sling.

My favorite thing to say is that the world health organizatio recommends nursing for at least 2 years.
We had our first child in Southern California. More breastfeeding friendly there, but sometimes not. I nursed her in public, did not cover her head, but sometimes people were a little shocked. She was very tall compared to me. We lived in a beach community where so many women were objectified and enhanced surgically. So it did surprise me that women could wear little bikinis on the beach, with not much converage, but then be uncomfortable with someone nursing. Another double standard her in the USA. We moved to NC when EH was 3; still nursed in public, but I never covered her head. I did not show my breasts to everyone, but I did not feel shame with feeding my toddler. I breastfed her until she was 4, ended because EH bit her tongue, forgot to nurse for a week and I was 2 months pregnant, so my milk flow stopped. We were both very sad when she tried and nothing happened. Now second baby AA is almost 2, I nurse on demand, do not cover -up.

There is such a low breastfeeding rate is the US and our children and adults have so many health related problems from not being breastfed. I do not want to hide something that is so natural. It seems shaming that we are encouraged to use covers and blankets. I want to see my child's face, which is so important for healthy attachment. Perhaps when I am comfortable with nursing my child other's may relax and get used to it. Maybe even young adult's or children can see other's breastfeeding and think, 'I can do that, when I have a baby.' But there have been times when I have been uncomfortable in a place, so I put a coat bewteen other people's line of sight and my little one's head. I can still see my little one, and she can see me, but gawkers cannot see everything.

It is about balance. Child centered at first then family centered. Mom also needs to feel comfortable. That is my
opinion. Nicole



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