Friday, January 9, 2009

A post that's been brewing in my head for awhile.

As the time approaches for our new little one to come into the world something has been on my mind. No, it's not another moaning blog about single mommy-hood, or the woes of being a stay at home mom. I actually think that if I can get my act together this won't be so hard (although with Nathaniel's contrite attitude the last two days I could very well lose my mind).

The topic that has been on my mind has been breast feeding.

Now, I'm not one of those "granola" moms who lectures people on the benefits of breast feeding or who sits topless in the mall nursing my child while glaring at anyone who glances my way. I understand that some people aren't able to nurse their children, and some people simply don't have the patience. I am an advocate of breast feeding because I know it's good for my kid, it's a whole lot cheaper than formula (trust me on this, formula is almost 25 dollars a can, which lasts about a week), and because in the middle of the night it's easier to nurse than to fix and warm a bottle. Plus, it makes packing for an outing a whole lot easier.

I'm even the mom who will pump and freeze my milk so that I don't have to buy formula in case something happens or I want to leave the kid with a sitter.

However, I found that when I was nursing Nathaniel I heard so much, well, to be honest, crap, from people around me. The thing is, of course it wasn't from other moms, it was from single women, or married without children women. These women would talk in front of me about how "disgusting" nursing was and how women should not nurse in public. I was even told that I should sit in the bathroom and nurse.

I'm sorry, but it's hard enough for me to be a "single" mom (sure, I have a hubby, but he's been overseas now for the baby stages of both of our children) and miss out on adult conversation much of the time. How can someone expect me to go eat my dinner in a bathroom? How can someone expect me to nurse my child while sitting on a toilet? To me, that's what is disgusting!

What bothers me is that people are uncomfortable with someone discreetly nursing their child (even if you really look closely you can't see anything!) yet there are pictures of half naked women all over the place and no one bats an eye. I can't drive to work without passing a billboard of a woman with cleavage all over the place, but that's considered "natural" and "normal". Yet for me to do what is natural and normal, to feed and nurture my child is considered disgusting and inappropriate.

So, that's my rant. I think that this time around I will be less tolerant of those who are intolerant with my feeding my child.

What do you think? If you are a mom who breast feeds or who has breast fed your child in the past how have you dealt with those who have opposed you?

(For the record, I try not to nurse in public, but if I'm out I will find a corner and cover up completely, I really don't sit there with anything flopped out. Plus, I stopped nursing Nathaniel when he was 7 months old, not when he was three or anything like that.)


Heidi said...

ever heard of the 'hooter hider' nursing cover? It's SO awesome. A friend of mine sent me hers when she was done nursing and I'd be happy to pass it on to you when I'm done...though it will not be until around May.

David said...

I realize that you're soliciting the opinion of mothers for this post, but I can't help but contribute a few thoughts, perhaps from a distinctly male perspective.

It seems reasonable to me that a mother, at times, would need to use public places to breast feed her child. Those who want them to use the bathroom clearly have no clue.

But at some level, it does make me uncomfortable when I see a mother breast feeding, even when nothing is actually revealed. Why is that the case?

Mainly because I'm worried the mother will think I'm staring at her, when in reality I'm not, and mistake me for a pervert or something.

This concern becomes even more prominent when it's someone I'm meeting with, like the wife of a friend or something. It becomes almost impossible to carry on a conversation.

I'm a pretty normal guy, so I have to believe others feel the same way. Not sure if there's a way to make it less awkward; I doubt it.

At any rate, I don't think this discomfort really justifies expecting a mother to take her activities into private quarters. In the end, it's my issue, not hers.

McMommy said...

Go Carrie!!!!! I totally agree! I don't understand why people are so horrified by it. You can't even SEE anything! It's a baby getting his/her nourishment...why is that "creepy" to some people?

p.s. You had me laughing out loud with the "flopping it out" comment!! ha ha!!

Dan said...

I would agree with David's points, mainly because it's not all that common to see a mother nursing in public - even covered. I'm sure many women have been going to private places for this very reason. Yet I also agree that they shouldn't *have* to, either.

My suggestion for the rude, outspoken ones? Keep a little squirt gun in your pocket loaded with your 'home brew'. ;-)

Wacky Weavers said...

I like Dan's suggestion. I'll have to keep the squirt gun in mind if I ever decided to have another one. Having two of my own, I completely understand the need to nurse w/ others around... in the setting of conversation that is. With my second I realized that I needed an adult outlit and going to another room (and yes, I too have been asked to nurse while sitting on the toliet!) made me miss entire small group time (and I was w/ other women). Though I understood it, it still made me extremely frustrated. And almost like I was in the wrong. I used one of those cover ups and loved it. if there were other men in the room however, I did try to find another room that I could go sit in.

ABW said...

I just did it, whenever and wherever my babies were hungry. I didn't flash, but I didn't hide it. I've nursed with the baby propped across the handle of the cart in the commisary, in restaurants, at a school gala surrounded by people during an auction....the list is endless. People might have made comments, but I don't really care. I do what I need to do, and if they have a problem with it they can move on. I'm not out there flashing everything, or wearing breastfeeding shirts, just a "single" mom most of the time and boobs for me were easier than bottles!

I never used the covers as I thought that they drew more attention to the nursing mother than just lifting up my shirt. I pulled my shirt down to the baby's face, and it was all good.

I nursed all three kiddos. :)