Experiences Nursing in Public – July 17

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Blog Carnival for 2012. For more information on the Breastfeeding Cafe, check out this site. If you would like to participate in this year’s carnival, just post on your personal blog and put a link in the comment section below.  To receive email updates for next year, contact Timbra landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about experiences nursing in public. Please read the other posts in today’s carnival listed in the comments section of this post. The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!


What was your first nursing in public experience? How did this shape your view of breastfeeding and your breastfeeding relationship with your child? Did your mother or grandmother have the same types of experiences?

Today’s guest blogger is Jeana Jones.  Jeana is the mother of two, a 3-year-old daughter and a 4-month old son.  She volunteers as a La Leche League Leader with La Leche League of Salt Lake City and is the Library Liaison for this year’s Breastfeeding Cafe.

I actually don’t remember my first experience nursing in public.  After all, I was probably only a few days old.  I do remember my mom nursing my younger sisters, though.  She nursed everywhere!  My mom taught me that babies don’t know how to be selfish and manipulative.  “A baby’s wants are a baby’s needs,” she often said.  I grew up knowing that babies need to eat and/or be comforted at the breast quite often and sometimes unexpectedly.  Thankfully, nursing is quite easily portable and quickly available, and with a little practice, it can be done while attending religious services, at parties, walking through the grocery store, and sitting on the beach.

Actually, nobody told me it took practice, or if they did, I didn’t hear.  “Breastfeeding is easy.”  “Breastfeeding is convenient.”  “Babies need to nurse all the time, but you can do it anywhere.”  “A baby is quiet and happy while nursing in any situation.”  These were the messages I grew up hearing, and they really helped shape my views on breastfeeding in public long before I ever became a mother.  I never thought of it as strange or something that might offend some people or something that a mother would be uncomfortable doing.  It was just how to meet a baby’s needs where and when they needed to be met.

When I first became a mother myself, I wanted a relationship with my child where I could make myself available to her whenever she needed me.  For a long time, for me, that meant being close all the time so that I could quickly meet her needs.  Our first time nursing in public came when she was two days old, the first day I left the house since she was born.  Yes, absolutely, I was crazy for leaving the house so soon after giving birth, but my milk had come in, and I was soaking through nursing pads and shirts right and left, and I went to a maternity store to stock up on some more cloth nursing pads.  (And did I mention that I was crazy and could hardly walk and shouldn’t have been up and about, and I was crazy?!?)

I got my daughter latched while we were at our car, and then I carried her in my arms as I walked with both of us covered with a blanket just as I had seen my mother do so many times growing up.  On such a cool evening, my daughter nestled in and went to sleep.  This went well as we walked from where we parked into the maternity store, but then my daughter let go of her latch.  How was I supposed to hold this baby and keep that blanket from getting knocked out of position while putting my shirt back together?  Honestly, I don’t even remember how we managed.

I have been through many phases of figuring out how to nurse in public quickly, conveniently, and comfortably.  I eventually ditched the blanket and nursed without a cover for the first time at the Breastfeeding Cafe, when my daughter was four months old.  Making it work, one way or another, was very important to me so that I could meet my daughter’s needs, and later my son’s needs too, where and when they were needed.  I could sing at church while wearing my daughter, and she stayed happy and quiet, latched on almost the whole time.  I could keep her warm when we were outside in the cold by nursing her.  She could face new situations first at my breast, and then she was less fearful and more willing to face them independently.  I didn’t have to worry about her going hungry when we were stuck on an airplane that was delayed, and when she fell down and got hurt, nobody had to listen to her scream for long since she was so quickly comforted by nursing.

As my daughter gets older, the times that we nurse in public have decreased significantly.  She is more interested in things outside of me, has learned other ways of coping with little bumps and bruises, and has figured out other ways to seek reassurance from me while handling most new situations.  Still, she does better making it through a church service if she can nurse for just a bit in the middle, and there are some situations where she really wants reassurance from me by nursing, regardless of where we are.  Nursing my daughter, and now my son as well, regardless of where we are, has been such an important part of of my mothering style.  I really don’t know what I would do without it!


Filed under Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival, Community, The Normal Course of Breastfeeding

7 responses to “Experiences Nursing in Public – July 17

  1. Such a beautiful post. Thanks Jeana!

  2. Great post! I like how it started out from your perspective as a baby :).
    I also posted about this topic today here: http://monkeybunnsmama.blogspot.com/2012/07/breastfeeding-carnival-day-2-first.html

  3. timbra

    love this post Jeana!

  4. Linda Jo Devlaeminck

    As the mom who gave you your first breastfeeding experience in public, I am brought to tears to see how you are passing it on. Yeah, Jeana!

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