Over at HMS

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discussions on public breastfeeding and the theology of underwear
I am not even going to get involved - I guess it is a good thing they don't have comments.


I get frustrated by the public bfing discussions because there is this one-size-fits-all prescription for what mothers and babies should be able to do, sometimes from people with absolutely no personal experience (not just mothers, I consider, e.g., fathers of breastfed babies to have "experience" if they supported their wives at all.) How long it should take them to learn to nurse, at what age they can or can't be kept under a blanket, how much flesh needs to be exposed...

And I must be missing something, because it always seems to be about the actual nursing and not the latch-on. There's not much I can do about latching on. I don't know how I will ever latch a baby on under a blanket. I am very clumsy and had to almost always use the left side out in public or semi-public for any hope of quick discreet latch-on and keeping baby comfortable on my lap. Not sure if my motor skills mean I should just give up and use bottles or hang out in public restrooms all the time (more than I do when pregnant...) because someone who doesn't take the cue not to be looking (I try hard to tailor my position and timing to the situation, and if it is unfavorable enough, I will wait or remove myself and baby to nurse elsewhere) might see a functional part of my anatomy for three seconds.

I'm tired and grumpy, so just take this unedited opinion for what little it's worth. Stopped nursing about 4 months ago, and had been much more sparing with nursing my toddler outside the home as he had less true need for it at any given time, and am not really looking forward to public nursing take two. We did use bottles early on in public because I'd already gotten into pumping due to supply issues and it was easier than being all nervous about it, but I was happy to learn to latch on well enough to drop the bottles altogether.

Oh, and I hate getting something in the mail from Midwifery Today (ordered a back issue once) or the like with an entire breast and an unlatched baby staring at it. I wouldn't disagree with public breastfeeding skeptics if virtually any mothers did that in public, but the most "in your face" ones I have known are just sort of sloppy about it, not taking every opportunity to flash everyone they can.

I get annoyed with this too -- the idea that the only alternatives are blanket tent or total frontal exposure.

Pardon my irritability, but perhaps the reason that certain commenters get all worked up about the actual feeding and not about the latch-on is that they don't have much experience being around actual nursing couplets? I wonder how many times these hot-under-the-collar commenters have walked past "sleeping" babies in the mall, never suspecting that that "sleeping" baby was actually having a nice nurse?

and one more peeve, if I may. As long as people are overusing the word in the discussion, let's spell it properly: DISCREET. Not "discrete", that's something different.

I think I'm about filled up on this topic, but I love it when Peony goes grammarian.

Warning: personal pet peeve topic.

I just love that the blogger over at HMS is a man. So he's never had to latch a 12-day-old baby to the breast in public or semi-public, such as I did today. It's not easy to do modestly when the baby still has no control over his head or neck muscles! :-)

I think the whole modesty thing is, quite frankly, a foil. I think people are still getting used to breastfeeding, and the whole idea makes many good, caring people just plain uncomfortable. I've met lots of people who are theoretically positive about breastfeeding, who are unnerved by a real baby on a real breast, even if completely covered up by a blanket. shrug. I try not to let it get to me.

The thing I find really difficult are the comments if baby is older than six months. I was so sick of the weaning questions that I stopped nursing my toddler in public about a year before he weaned. (He was two when weaned.)

Most businesses in my hometown go out of their way to be breastfeeding friendly, however. And I'm very grateful.

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on August 10, 2004 9:07 AM.

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