Tag Archives: Breastfeeding in Public

Journey of One Father – July 24

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 the journey of one father as he came to accept and appreciate the benefits of breastfeeding. 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!

 

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Jared Lewandowski is the father of five children. He has been married to his beautiful wife for over 12 years and has had the wonderful opportunity to watch each one grow up with the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding.

 

For me as a father, breastfeeding has not always been easy. I struggled with many aspects of it and it wasn’t until I began learning about what breastfeeding was that it became easier to not only understand, but also truly appreciate. In this post, I will touch on the most difficult issue for me, nursing in public. Once I understood how powerful the connection between mother and baby was when built upon that special bond that can only be made through the intimacy of breastfeeding, it became my responsibility as a father to ensure its place in our daily family life.

 

My wife always knew she would breastfeed her children. It was never officially discussed as husband and wife, but I could tell in her eyes that she was serious about this decision and I was not going to be one to argue a point otherwise. After our first child was born, I immediately noticed that she would always be holding him. He would never be more than a few feet from her at all times. She would hold him, nurse him, he would go play for a few minutes, then come back and nurse again. I watched in amazement at first, for it was truly a sight to behold. I could see that this baby knew who his mother was.

 

Over the next fifteen months, this baby grew… and grow he did! As he got bigger, nursing became more of a challenge for us. We would go out to social get-togethers and he would want to nurse – without a blanket. My wife would do her best to keep him concealed with one, but he would do his best to make sure he could see those around him and try his best to move it out of the way. This was extremely difficult for me. The thought of another person catching a glance at my wife’s breast was not something I was comfortable with… at all. I brought my concerns up to her immediately and we discussed my concerns at length. After some time, I realized that my wife and I felt the same way about this issue, and she has and always would do her best to nurse appropriately in any circumstance or situation. We both agreed it was better for the baby to not feel ashamed, than it was for me to be overprotective or jealous. And after twelve years of nursing, I can honestly say that not once did I feel she was waving a big sign around saying, “Look at me!” while she was nursing. It was always intimate and beautiful, and I felt deeply proud to be her husband and the father of each child.

 

In 2002, my wife became a certified breastfeeding peer counselor for WIC. From there, she taught me so much about the benefits of breastfeeding. But even more than that, I have watched my kids go from baby to toddler to teenager, and it has been such a wonderful thing to watch the amazing influence breastfeeding has had on them. They are healthy, happy (most of the time), and smart. But most of all, they have known from the day they were born that they are loved.  They have been hardwired with security and stability that cannot be matched. Confidence has become instinct in all that they do. And with that in mind, it is my hope that every father out there will support his wife in her decision to breastfeed.

 

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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!

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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!

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First Experience 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 your first experience 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!
 


 
I’m not sure I can recall my very first time nursing in public. I remember that I took it pretty gradually. My baby was born in late October, and with the winter weather, many days we stayed home all day, so I didn’t have to worry about nursing in public. I am grateful for my childbirth educator, though, who reiterated in our class that nursing in public was normal, acceptable, and legally protected. She helped my husband and me to have a great attitude about nursing in public, so I knew at some point I would do that.

If you can even call it nursing in public, I started by breastfeeding while at my parents’ or in-laws’ houses. I wouldn’t leave the room to nurse, but I would attempt to be discreet, by using a nursing cover or blanket. I soon discovered that the nursing cover was more for the comfort of my brothers-in-law than for me (at a certain point, when my baby was hungry, I cared a lot more about getting her fed than I did about covering my exposed skin). Still, it was a step.

The first, and most frequent place, I nursed outside of homes has to be the mothers room at church. Pretty much each Sunday, I find myself in this tiny little lounge, really a corner, of the women’s restroom with two rocking recliners and a little curtain (we’re Mormons, so we spend 3+ hours at church each week, so I usually nurse at least once while there). I enjoy when another mom is in the lounge as well, and often we end up talking about our babies. Especially in the beginning, as I was learning to nurse, I was so curious about other babies nursing. Without staring, I would sometimes try to take secretive glances at the other mom, to see how her baby was positioned and I would listen carefully to see if her baby sounded like mine while eating. Now I realize that every baby is different, and there is no one exact “right” way to nurse, but I recognize how hungry I was for validation that what I was doing was correct. The mothers’ lounge was still not exactly totally “public,” but it was another step.

As the weeks went by, if we were out shopping and my baby was hungry, often I would sit in the car and nurse for few minutes in between stores. Another step…

However, one particularly blustery day, right before Thanksgiving, I was shopping at Target. Of course, I had to park far away from the store in this inclement weather. About halfway through my shopping trip, my baby was out of patience. She was hungry. I debated going out to the car to feed her—could I leave my half-full shopping cart somewhere, run back out into the freezing slushy weather and nurse her in the car? At that moment, that little voice (of my childbirth educator) popped into my head, “Why would you do that? You should be able to nurse your baby wherever you would like!” So I headed over to the food court area in the front of Target (which was pretty deserted), ordered a snack (so I had a “reason” to be sitting there), parked my cart and sat down to nurse my baby. It was slightly awkward (too many layers of clothing in the winter), but she latched on gratefully as soon as she was given the opportunity and immediately calmed down. The girl who was working at the counter brought my food over to me and even got the utensils and condiments I needed, since she could tell my hands were full. No one accosted me or even really seemed to notice. Victory! I felt so great that I was able to take care of my baby’s needs without having to abandon my errand. A first “real” stamp for my breastfeeding passport.

When my baby was about 10 weeks old, I flew to Denver for my training as a childbirth educator. The flight over was very easy, as I had two seats to myself and the lights were dim, so no one seemed to notice when I nursed the baby. At the training, everyone was extremely supportive, so I felt no need to try to “cover up” while nursing. It was liberating.

The return flight, though, was not as convenient. I was squished in a row with two young single guys (probably about my age). My baby was hungry, though, so I let her latch on and avoided eye contact with my seatmates. (I was prepared with a comeback if they protested, “Would you rather she screams the whole flight?”). No one said anything about it. A girl across the aisle struck up a conversation with me about babies, pregnancy, and birth and we had a great flight. Another success to add to my breastfeeding passport!

A few months later, I had lunch with some friends at a local restaurant. There, I nursed my baby in her sling while I ate my food and chatted with my friends. Finally- this was my ideal! Talk about multi-tasking! It was so nice to be able to take care of both of our needs. Stamp in the breastfeeding passport!

Since then, my passport has gotten many new stamps as I have nursed at the zoo, parks, stadiums, restaurants, an amusement park, etc. I’ve definitely gotten less awkward as I (and my baby) have gotten more experienced at nursing. I’m grateful for those who have been so kind (or pretended to be oblivious) as I’ve nursed. If people were uncomfortable, they’ve never confronted me about it.

I am very grateful for the breastfeeding relationship I have with my daughter. I love knowing that what I do for her is something she can’t get from any other source. Breastfeeding, while it can be frustrating at times, is an amazing gift.

In my area, I rarely (if ever) see mothers nursing in public. Maybe I’m just not that observant, or maybe people feel uncomfortable and choose to nurse in private more often. My hope, now as a childbirth educator myself, is that my classes will help other women feel empowered to nurse wherever is best for them and their baby. That’s what it comes down to—a mom meeting the needs of her innocent baby. Wherever, whenever, and however.

Is nursing in public inherently better than nursing in private? In some ways, no. For me, at least, it feels like more of a struggle to keep my baby focused (she’s at such a distractible age), my clothes covering some of my body, and my boob in her mouth while balancing on whatever ledge I found myself on while attempting to maintain a conversation- let’s just say I’m a slow learner and still need more practice. In private, I can usually keep her focused and I’m more comfortable. However, if she’s hungry and I’m out and about, I will absolutely feed her wherever and whenever she needs to eat.

On the other hand, there are some benefits to nursing in public. The obvious benefit is not having to interrupt your activities and not making your baby wait when she’s hungry. Beyond that, though, I feel like you do a service to other women and babies when you nurse in public. You are showing them that nursing is normal and definitely feasible. Your example might help another woman decide that she’ll breastfeed her next baby (or she won’t quit nursing so soon).

Let’s all be a bit more gracious with each other. Let’s remember that we’re all at different stages. Some are just learning of the benefits of breastfeeding, and have never really been exposed to women nursing before. They might not appreciate seeing us nurse in public, but they’ll remember that impression, and the more they see it, the more “normal” it will become. Others are just trying baby steps, and may choose to feed their baby a bottle when in public. Then there are the women who are earning their first stamps in their breastfeeding passports. And, of course, there are those veteran women who are able to nurse their babies while climbing mountains and solving the world’s problems all at once.

Where ever you fall on that spectrum, I hope we can recognize the women around us for trying their best with their situation. Judging others isn’t helpful to anyone.

Offering an encouraging word or smile to a mom will go a lot further to make a difference. Do your best to show what you’ve learned, and you never know who might follow in your footsteps. Our babies will thank all of us.

Today’s guest post is from Hailey Maloney. Hailey is a former an elementary school teacher and is now a childbirth educator and mother. Her website is http://www.birthutah.com. She loves spending time with her amazing husband and their hilarious, active, and chubby 9 month old baby girl.
 


 
Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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