Category Archives: Nursing in Public

Mother’s Rooms Around Utah

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about breastfeeding in public. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

There may be no breastfeeding topic more controversial than nursing in public. Just about every week there is another news report of a mother, and her baby, being harassed across the country. One of the worst parts of these incidences comes from comments made about nursing in public. The comments will range from support, to those that are intended to be helpful, but really are not, and those that are downright hurtful and harmful. I suggest listening to the positive comments. Ignore the comments comparing it to sex or to using a bathroom if on social media, if that happens in person I suggest trying to educate the person or avoiding them. For when you get the comments that are meant to be helpful “I support breastfeeding, but only if a child is covered,” or “Breastfeeding should be done in a private room, since it is a private act,” or those that suggest “Pump before you go somewhere,” here are some refutations on why those comments do not work for everyone.

nip comic coversWhen asked, “Why can’t you just use a cover?” My first reaction is “Why can’t you just cover your head while eating?” Which is typically met with blank gasping faces and a response of “well that is different…” I know women that the cover made it easier for them to nurse. My little one he would pull off any form of cover. He didn’t even like when I would wear two shirts and one was lifted up, thus covering was never an option for us. When you see a mother using a cover, and it is working for her give her a thumbs up, or say “good job.” When you encounter a mother fighting her cover, I have found an encouraging word sometimes gives her the courage to ditch the cover. I have gone as far as asking if my little one and I could join them. When they see another women breastfeeding comfortably uncovered their responses tends to be along the lines of “Wow I have never seen a mom do that before.”

A clean, welcoming, mother’s room can make getting a particularly tired, or upset, or distracted, child latched and contented. A messy, dirty, toddler diaper smelling room, or worse a bathroom, can feel worse than the rude comments made by the ignorant people. I have experienced many different mother’s rooms, and can share stories of peace and horror. When a mother and child are always forced to leave a room, can cause feelings of isolation, add to postpartum depression, and ultimately cause nursing relationships to end prematurely. I am always checking out mother’s rooms, and it has become a joke that I am “obsessed with them,” reaching the point my family points them out to me so I can document them.

Mothers room - benchMothers room - leather couchThis clean and modern mother’s room is found at The Living Planet Aquarium complete with a nice couch and long counter. Exclusively pumping moms will find many power outlets for their convenience. In addition to the official mother’s room, an official breastfeeding space has emerged. Near the shark and large sea creature tank, is a large darkened room with stair benches. A trip to the Aquarium is not complete without a quick milk break, typically joined with other moms taking advantage of this space.

curiosity-museumAt The Museum of Natural Curiosity, there is a clever Mother’s room with light curtain right in the thick of play. A thin curtain offers you a space with fewer distractions while still keeping an eye on your other children. I personally nursed my two year old on that comfortable yellow bench in front of the mother’s room, between him running off, playing, and coming back for a quick snack.

One of my favorite places to nurse at The Museum of Ancient Life is upstairs by the magnetic puzzle wall. I have given moms props for nursing there by the water/sand exhibit at that museum.

I have had several different positive lactation experiences while at the varied Larry H Miller businesses.

Mothers room - usuWelcome to the mother’s room at the USU Tooele Campus. I was impressed that they had a mother’s room in place that I would not expect to see many babies. I am sure it is used mostly to follow the Affordable Care Act’s Requirement of a non-bathroom, private area, for mothers to pump. If it looks like a closet, that is because it is one just off to the side of a bathroom. I have breastfed my toddler in the main hall of the campus while chatting with administration with no one batting an eye.

Mothers room - hoglo zooMothers room - hoglo zoo -3Mothers room - hoglo zoo -2The next set of pictures comes from the Hogle Zoo. These really get the booby prize for the most things wrong with a mother’s room. Having a bottle as the image for breastfeeding a baby sends the message that feeding from the breast is wrong. The room is inside a bathroom, of which both were covered in trash, toilet paper, and worse. The rocking chair was worn out and falling apart. I did count five outlets, which is nice for pumping moms. When I tweeted my concerns to the Zoo about cleanliness, it was addressed; however, they were not welcoming to suggestions to put on the sign other than a bottle. I was told, “it is better than the alternative.” To which I replied, “You mean the international breastfeeding symbol?” They never replied. It is sad that these are the messages they are sending to breasting moms, since where better to see mammals feeding their young than a Zoo? I do want to note that I have nursed in numerous locations throughout the Zoo and have never been harassed. One of the cutest little ones I saw getting her lunch was by the splash pad as her mom gave food to her siblings while they played

When done right it can be nice to leave the room. Sometimes leaving the room to nurse is a great excuse to get out of a conversation. Other times, being forced to leave the area is not a welcome idea- can you imagine how bored an older sibling would be in some of these rooms. There are times when it is wanted, a nice mother’s room can be a great experience, other times being welcomed to breastfeeding out in the world is better.

pump2“Is it really that hard to pump before you go somewhere?” the simple answer is yes. Every bottle that is given the mother needs to make sure she is having milk extracted from her breast at the same time, or is at risk of reducing her supply. This is a huge booby trap. I pumped milk every day for the first year of my son’s life. I could not leave home without my pump. I can tell you from experience that lugging a pump everywhere you go can be tiring. Finding a place to pump can be extremely annoying. Pumps are complicated, and have a lot of parts- tubes, flanges, bottles, and membranes- not to mention you have to bring batteries or find an outlet. The first date my husband and I went on postpartum I pumped before I left, arranged at the place we were going to pump while there, and pumped on the car ride home. Remember how I said the Larry H Miller businesses have been really great about lactation? Well this was at their MegaPlex Theater in Sandy. I had messaged their Facebook page asking if they had a mother’s room that I could pump in before I was planning to see a midnight release of a movie, and their PR manager replied that they did not, and let me use her office. It gets to be very cumbersome to pump and can end up as another booby trap if it gets to be too hard for a mother to have the desire to continue their breastfeeding journey.

So yes a mother could use those “helpful suggestions,” and if that is what helps them have breastfeeding success please continue to cover, leave the room, or pump. But if you are like me and find your child hungry while out and about pull up a chair feed your baby. The benefits will outweigh the odd comments, cross-eye looks, and any internet troll you may come across.

Bundocks nursingcomiccon nursing 2013Elizabeth Gray is a Certified Lactation Consultant, and a birth doula. She runs Tooele Birth and Breastfeeding where she empowers moms to have breastfeeding success. A student at USU she is working for a degree in developmental psychology so that she can further help Mother’s, infants, and children. You can read more of her blog post at www.tooelebirthandbreastfeeding.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter @BethGrayCLC

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Normalizing Breastfeeding by Nursing in Public

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about nursing in public. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!
 


 

It was 5 days after my son was born and I was at Target looking for nursing bras; at the same time, near the dressing rooms- a nurse-in. It didn’t take long for me to know Nursing in Public would be an important part of my life.

Growing-up I would nurse my dolls. I heard stories how all I would take was the breast, more impressive since it was the early 1980’s. My mother was going to school to be a medical assistant, and even nursed me a few times in class. My father would say, and still does, “have boob will travel.” I was fortunate to have been brought up with nursing normalized.

By the time my son was a couple weeks old, I could get a latch by pulling up my shirt and slipping a nipple in his mouth. I was very proud of nursing everywhere, and then one time, at a local chain store, my son woke up hungry, and at 6 weeks old, likely felt the word was going to end if he did not get food immediately. Since it was difficult for a new mom to get an upset baby to latch, I walked to the benches near the dressing room. The looks I got, while walking over, could not have been dirtier. As I sat down an employee says to me “If you’re going to breastfeed you have to go in the dressing room.” Already distraught over the dirty looks, I said “I am just getting him started then I am going to continue shopping, I have a legal right to nurse here.” She then mumbled and said “Well I have no problem with it, but someone might complain.” “I told her I was about to complain about her.” At this point my son is gulping happily. I stood up and have never looked back on nursing in public.

I have nursed at every store, and restaurant, we go to. I have nursed at Church, uncovered, in the main meeting hall. I have had people come up to me and thank me for nursing. I have seen other women and thanked them. There was a time at IKEA that my husband saw a mom hiding in a corner trying to fight an uddercover, and told me to go help her. I bought a bottle of water and brought it over to her. Told her how I have nursed my son while shopping, and that she and baby didn’t need to hide unless they wanted to. I told her how awesome she is and thanked her for nursing her child. We talked for a minute and I continued on my way.

I feel that the more women nurse in public, the more likely it is that other women will see them and succeed on their own breastfeeding journey. The stigma and disgust that has surrounded breastfeeding in public has always seemed foreign to me. I have worked hard to educate others, by offering information about laws and regulations to attending and organizing nurse-ins. My town is lucky enough to have a breastfeeding club that nurses in the park once a month. Formula is a blessing for those that need it, though I feel for those moms who have to worry about packing along, making, and dealing with the cleanup while out and about. Me, I whip out a boob, carry my DS in my arms, carrier, or even sitting in the shopping cart as I lean over, and continue to feed my toddler.

niptip
Tips for nursing-in-public brought to you by Tooele Birth and Breastfeeding

1. Know your laws. If you ever get harassed the law protects you, your baby, and educates the person harassing you.

2. Practice getting a latch while looking in a mirror. You will feel more confident knowing exactly how little is seen and can figure out ways to make it easier for you.

3. Wear clothes that offer easy access. For me a low cut shirt is best. Others it’s wearing a shirt that can be pulled up. Buttons are great if you are trying to look nice, but can prove frusting when facing a super hungry baby.

4. Don’t hide. A mom cowering in a corner will be noticed faster than one going about business as usual. It’s human nature to question why someone is hiding, this leads to more misconceptions on the normalcy of breastfeeding.

5. Hold your baby as you usually would. 99% of people will not be able to tell that you are breastfeeding at all- it looks like a mom and baby cuddling.

6. Find a friend who is comfortable Nursing-In-Public and go out a few times out together. You will quickly catch on to her comfort level and will feel better about Nursing-In-Public yourself.

7. Other people’s thoughts don’t hurt you. In the overly modest community I live in I often hear the argument that “my husband/son, will have bad thought.” First off give them more credit. Second if they are truly having bad thoughts, whatever they are thinking doesn’t come out and bite you, it stays safely tucked away in their mind.

8. The only person’s opinion who matters on when/where/how you feed your baby is- YOUR BABY.

9. When you see an uninformed security guard coming to talk to you, look them right in the eye. I have seen securtiy personal turn around and choose not to talk to me, simply by looking them in the eye.

10. If you are harassed and need support 888-nip-free is a great help. (Thank you Best for Babes Foundation)

411782_10150853490627242_1512747393_oElizabeth Gray, CLC, and doula, is an activist trying to improve the care for Mothers and Babies. She works for Empowering Fearless Birth as an Assistant Event Coordinator, and a volunteer for the Birth Activist Retreat. She has nursed several babies in addition to her own, and donated over 5000 ounces of human milk. She is working toward a degree in psychology so she can help mothers with emotional birth trauma. You can find her at www.tooelebirthandbreastfeeding.com and www.facebook.com/tooelebirthandbreastfeeding

Image taken while nursing at Osaka Sushi in Tooele, UT

 


 
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Breastfeeding Photos Slideshow

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is Wordless Wednesday: Breastfeeding Photos! Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!



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Tips for Nursing in Public

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about nursing in public. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


Nursing your child in public is a learned art. I admit that I didn’t nurse in public much with my first child because I was intimated by it. But now with child #3, it’s an everyday occurrence! I even nurse while playing the piano in front of an audience! Here are some tips that I’ve learned.

1. Clothing – You’ve got to wear clothing that you feel comfortable in.

Nursing shirts – You can buy nursing shirts or tanks if you can afford it. I longingly look at those nursing shirt catalogs but still have never purchased any.

Belly Bands – These are tubes of fabric around your middle. They work nicely so that you don’t feel vulnerable exposing your post-partum belly. I again didn’t buy any, but made some! Just get an old tight shirt (baby tee) and cut the top off!

Tank tops – I didn’t want to buy expensive nursing tanks so I found some regular adjustable strap tanks with a built in bra. The fabric is stretchy enough for me to pull down from the top to nurse.

Jackets – If the season permits, jackets, blazers & shrugs are a great way to nurse discreetly. It covers your lifted up shirt from behind and also keep you and the child warm.

Nursing pads – Invest in some good quality nursing pads, whether cloth or disposable. Then you won’t worry about leaking through your shirt.

2. Practice – Practice makes perfect.

Use mirrors and cameras — Practice in front of a mirror, or take pictures to see what you look like. Do you feel uncomfortable because certain areas of your skin are exposed? How can you help that? Is your child in a good position?

La Leche League — La Leche League meetings are a great place to learn how to nurse with others around you. You can get additional support and create your breastfeeding community.

Family and Friends — Casual meetings with family & friends are good places to practice. You can even let them know that you are trying to figure this out and they can help you too.

3. Cover? – Sometimes, all the time, or never. It’s up to you.

All the time – A trendy thing right now is to use a nursing cover. I think these are good for those who want them. I use a ring sling to help me nurse in public since I can be hands free. I nurse my child in the ring sling almost every day and I think most people don’t even know that I’m nursing. The trick to nursing in the sling is to loosely put the sling on, latch the child on, and then tighten the top rail of the sling, then the bottom rail of the sling. You still might need to hold their head a little depending on your size and the child’s size, but you’re essentially hands free.

Sometimes – You can cover up at the beginning while you’re getting the child latched on, then take off the covering to enjoy eye contact and breathability.

Never – The Utah state law allows women to breastfeed in public without needing to be covered.

Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-1229.5 A woman’s breast feeding, including breast feeding in any location where the woman otherwise may rightfully be, does not under any circumstance constitute a violation of this part, irrespective of whether or not the breast is covered during or incidental to feeding.

Don’t worry and be comfortable. Remember that the beauty of nursing is that you can “just nurse” anywhere without needing any other equipment.

4. Don’t wait until your child is too hungry or needy

Hungry – When you child is an exclusively breastfed infant, don’t wait until he/she is screaming to be fed. It’s much harder to get the baby latched on when they are screaming and it draws attention to you and the situation. It will just make you more frustrated and/or embarrassed.

Needy – Nursing is not just breastfeeding. Many children need to nurse for comfort. When your child is needy, stop whatever you’re doing and nurse. These precious moments will fade away all too quickly. Considering their expected life span, nursing is such a small percentage of their life yet worth so much more.

Today’s guest blogger is Heather Hendriksen. Heather currently serves as the Treasurer of the Utah Breastfeeding Coalition.  She is a stay-at-home mother of 3 boys. She was an active member of La Leche League for many years, and loves baby wearing.

 


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