This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at NursingFreedom.org. All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP").
Nursing in public (NIP) has changed for me with each baby. My confidence has grown and I have mastered the use of a sling for discreet nursing. When I had Hannah nine years ago, I never noticed women nursing their babies in public. I didn’t even have sisters or friends at the time who had nursed their babies. I had not even thought about what I would do when the time came for me to nurse in public – just that I would feed her wherever & whenever!
I have one vivid memory of NIP. I was at a popular restaurant with Leonard, my sister, and her young son. Hannah was fussing and I knew she wanted to nurse. I kept trying to time it so that I could latch her on while our male server was away, but he wouldn’t stay away long enough. I gave in and latched her on while he took our order. I didn’t make eye contact with him or even look up until he left. I was covered with a baby blanket that Hannah continued to pull away. I looked up so see Leonard with a crazy expression all over his face. He was scoping the room like we were about to rob the place! I had thought about making the server uncomfortable, but had not even considered how Leonard felt. He said he was fine, but continued this behavior every time I nursed in public.
I am now strongly aware of how uncomfortable NIP makes him. So I use my cover or sling when we are out together. He still says that he isn’t uncomfortable – “My mom breastfed & I saw my aunts nurse my cousins.” Yet, just this past weekend he did the same thing while we were at the movies!
I feel bad – not really – that he is uncomfortable. I wish I understood why. But what’s important to me is that my girls realize that breastfeeding their baby isn’t something to be ashamed of. I pray that they learn from me, my great circle of nursing friends & their aunt the joy that breastfeeding brings to a mom and baby.
Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit NursingFreedom.org any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.
This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts - new articles will be posted on the following days:
July 5 - Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World
July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child
July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.
July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives
July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It