Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The coolest bumper sticker I ever saw:

"Normalize Breastfeeding -
Nurse in Public!"

Several cars later, I saw another pro-breastfeeding bumper sticker, and then another. Hey, wait a second... The parking lot was full of 'em! Only after I got into the hotel lobby did I realize La Leche League was holding a convention - and Dr. Sears was the key-note speaker!

I should have figured. Boy how I wished I could have been a fly on the wall. What great insights I could have acquired! I still think about joining a local La Leche League, especially since Jacob is such a huge fan of breastfeeding (so contrary to my first experience with Lily), but in general, I get pretty turned off when I have to pay to be a part of something. I'm more than happy to pay for materials themselves. But when I have to pay dues...? Eh, I think I'll pass and just figure it out myself.

Jacob could just nurse and nurse and nurse all day. Anytime he needs to go to sleep and I need a sure-fire way to make it happen (whether for a nap or in the middle of the night), I just pop him on and out he goes. Anytime he's crabby or I'm on a business call and need to keep him quiet? "Ooh, yes, Mama. Gladly!" And if I'm exhausted and need a nap myself, I just cuddle him up next to me, start him off, and off to dreamland we both go. It's wonderful.

As my bumper sticker enthusiasm suggests, I'm a big fan of feeding Jacob whenever and wherever he gets hungry. As a rule, I have never and hope to never feed my babies in a public restroom (except when there's a separate couched area set up for us nursing mamas - we appreciate it!). I would not want to eat my lunch sitting on a toilet - why should he?

And while I'm a big fan of nursing in public, I am also a fan of being DISCREET.

For instance, I am feeding Jacob RIGHT NOW, but I'm being so discreet, you'd never even know it...except SHOOT, I just told you! D'oh.

I met my friend Angela on Freecycle when she was offering a faux Hooter Hider nursing cover (how fun is that name?). I had never heard of such a thing, but now, I could not live without my own homemade hooter hider for feeding my baby out in public. It straps around your neck so baby's flailing arms or squirmy body can not pull it off him/herself or expose you.

It's funny how usually only nursing mamas notice other nursing mamas. (Except for ones who throw discretion to the wind...they're pretty obvious.) Other people aren't as aware of it because it's not on their minds all the time and they aren't curious to see how it looks from someone else's point of view.

I'm trying to think of some of the places I've fed Jacob or Lily in public. Let's see...
  • Under a tree in Williamsburg (shady and private until a school bus full of little kids came running over!)
  • At a birthday party last weekend (hosted by a pro-breastfeeding mama from the '70s and '8os when breastfeeding was "out of style")
  • In the mall, the park, or restaurants

And my all-time favorite...
  • At the zoo with my three other nursing mama friends this summer:

Marisol and Lori both made their nursing covers, then provided me with my own, as well. I don't go anywhere with Jacob without one of these. (Too bad I didn't have one at the zoo!) Pam is wearing a super groovy nursing tank that unhooks at the top like a nursing bra. I love the idea that there's no chilly belly-baring, especially in the middle of a cold winter's night.

Hmm...maybe I could use one of those for Christmas, Ryan (hint, hint).

(Pam's mom - the hostess mentioned above - is so proud of this photo that she has it hanging up in her studio for all her clients to see!)

Not sure whether or not you have the guts to do it? Just remember that in most states, the law reinforces your right to nurse in public! You're completely within your rights to nurse wherever your baby is allowed to go, and no one can tell you otherwise. Lately, there have been lots of headlines about nursing moms getting harassed or kicked out of places when by law they should not have been. It's funny how Victoria's Secret was at the center of just such a controversy, when the mannequins in their windows leave much less to the imagination than most nursing moms! Gotta love the gusto of nursing moms uniting and hosting a "nurse-in" at Victoria's Secret!

Nursing covers and experience are two things that have really helped me feel less self-conscious about this issue. I would love to hear other people's thoughts - and I would love to hear about all the unexpected places other people have fed their babies!

(It's funny how I totally did intend to write a pro-nursing post when I started writing, but that's how it ended up! I guess it's been on my mind a lot more lately than I realized.)


Anonymous said...

Hayden is the same way... nurse all the time if he could! Recently he's started fondly sticking his hand in my shirt to pat my breasts! That's a bit too much, kid!

When I worked at the zoo as a summer camp teacher, I was teaching about how mammals produce milk for their babies. In a walk around the zoo later that day, one of the children pointed out a nursing mother and said, "Look! She's a mammal!" :)

Amanda said...

This was an awesome post. Reading stuff like this makes me so sad and left out and JEALOUS...I want to be part of your gang!!! It must be so amazing to be able to feed your own child...