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Nursing out of the house

January 7, 2011

There was a not so recent Giving Birth with Confidence blog carnival focusing on nursing rights with a great article about breastfeeding in the board room by Amy Romano. I myself have never had a problem nursing in public – well, never a problem with someone kicking me out of a restaurant, etc. Personal problems, yes. When I first ventured out of the house with baby at 2 and 3 weeks old I was extremely hesitant to nurse. Not exactly because I was shy, but more because she and I still did not have the hang of it. The problem was, we were out with my sister-in-law who, after five kids, was a pro at whipping out the boob anytime, anywhere and keeping herself well covered. For me and baby, there was a lot of maneuvering and boob repositioning, while trying to support her head and body in one hand and boob in the other – it takes major coordination!  It’s not as easy as some people make it look, especially when you and baby are just learning.

So when I got a lot of shit* from both her and my husband for not doing it in public, I worked very hard to become super comfortable with it. I started with the blanket over baby but I felt like I was suffocating her and making both of us just really hot and sweaty. Then I finally got myself a nursing cover and attempted to use that when in public. But it just became a hassle, she didn’t like it and I can’t say I blame her. As she got older and I didn’t have to support her head as much it became much easier. I shed the nursing cover (which my sister-in-law also scoffed at) and am now just as comfortable as that mother of five. Probably a bit too comfortable b/c I will now nurse whenever and wherever.

I try to be conscious of who I’m around (for example, I nursed in a different room when at a co-workers house, whose wife and neighbors I had just met for the first time) and don’t get too worked up if I do need to move into another room. Although many advocates would claim my actions were limiting my right to nurse in public, I don’t really mind personally. And often, around friends who don’t have children, I ask if they’re comfortable with it before I start. Which is funny, b/c out in public, at a restaurant for example, I have no problem nursing in front of total strangers. I guess I’m willing to be a little more discreet with people I have to see everyday. But they get used to – as my brothers and dad (oh man! my sister’s/daughter’s boobs?!) did after a while and soon its no big deal. And its nice to know that.

* giving me shit is probably a bit strong. they were just so used to the idea, that the fact that I hesitated even a little was a surprise to them. so maybe they “lovingly and strongly encouraged” is better?


my new favorite resource site: USBC has  a great page regarding workplace rights and laws

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