Sunday, January 1, 2012

Breastfeeding in Public

There has been lots of talk about breastfeeding in public after a woman in Target was harrassed by an employee because she was breastfeeding her baby in the store.

A nurse-in was organized for breastfeeding mother's to protest the incident.  You can read about it here on CNN.

The protesters did accomplish one thing for sure.  They got a lot of people talking about breastfeeding in public.  I've seen quite a few articles for and against it and the comments are quite strong on both sides of the fence.

I breastfed both of my children for 15-17 months each.  I never thought that I would be a breastfeeding advocate, or that I would even be able to breastfeed my children.  I didn't really know many breastfeeders at all.  I have many memories of bottle feeding siblings and baby dolls, but not breastfeeding.  I'm so thankful that I was able to breastfeed successfully because I know so many that weren't.

My husband is not a big fan of public breastfeeding even after 2 babies and 2+ years of me breastfeeding them.  It drives me crazy!  Honestly, I think he just likes to debate, so he'll pick certain topics to debate with me.  I think he would make a great lawyer.

I'm a very modest person and wasn't sure if I ever would breastfeed in public especially knowing my husband's view.  I was so worried of someone getting upset or staring.  There's also the chance a student my catch me. Yikes.  I didn't breastfeed in public often, but there were times that I did.  I'm so glad that I was left alone to do what I needed to do for my baby and wasn't harrassed.  By that point, with a screaming hungry baby in hand, my husband just wanted the baby(ies) happy and didn't really care if I had to nurse in public.  I used a nursing cover when I could, but my son absolutely hates anything on his head.  As soon as he was able he would pull on it anyway.

I'll never forget when I took my daughter with me to our school's Christmas party that was at a coworkers house.  She was not quite 3 months old.  Everyone was in the living room area and there was an open, empty room right (or living room extension) next too it.  I decided to go in there to nurse my daughter since it was away from everyone yet I could still see and hear what was going on.  A friend/coworker came in and started talking to me.  She thought Sissy was asleep.  I didn't have a nursing cover on, but I had everything covered the best that I could.  She even got really close to look at her face and asked if she was sleeping.  I said, "no she's eating/nursing."  It was so funny because she backed up and said she had no idea.  SO...breastfeeding can be done discreetly without covering the baby under a nursing cover.

With this whole debate I feel like if a company doesn't want women to breastfeed anywhere they want in their place of busines, then they need to provide a nice clean room (NOT a bathroom) that has a comfy chair with armrest for nursing moms (ie BabiesRus).  Oh how I would have loved to have a place to breastfeed in public places.  It is not comfortable to try to nurse a baby while sitting on a bench or anywhere that doesn't have arm support.  At least it wasn't for me.  Although, I know a woman that can breastfeed her child while shopping (as in while walking, pushing a buggy, and tending to 6 other children) and no one knows. 

I don't get as fired up about the whole topic as some Mom's, but the "breastfeed in the bathroom" comment is one that does hit a nerve.  I'm not going to go sit on a toilet in a dirty stall and feed my baby.  It's just not going to happen.  I don't even like using public bathrooms at all let alone to feed my baby.  My husband does agrees with me on this one.

 I wish that everyone saw breastfeed the same as feeding a baby a bottle.  Pumping and feeding a baby a bottle while out isn't the right solution either. Mother's that have had to pump for work or have had supply issues know this doesn't work for everyone.  I hated to pump and had issues getting enough for my kids while I was at work.  I definitely wouldn't use up my pumped supply to feed my baby when I have "fresh milk" ready to go.
I just don't think some people will understand unless they have a baby and they are the one breastfeeding. 

I say if you don't want to see it, then don't look.  I'm subjected to many things that I think are obscene every day...especially if I shop at Walmart. ;)  If I don't want to see it, I don't look.  Even then I just don't see how somone could see breastfeeding as obscene.
When I see a breastfeeding Mom in public, I'm not offended.  I do look away to give her privacy that she deserves (no one likes to be stared at), but I secretly applaud her for sacrificing for her time/body to her baby and giving her baby the best nutrients that she can possibly can.

Oh and for the record,  I don't think Target the corporation should be looked poorly on because some employees don't know their stance especially this time of year.  They are probably seasonal employees anway.  I bet they will be getting a training video or sessions for their employees after all this publicity.  I still love Target. :)

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