I am writing a paper for one of my classes and of course the topic is breastfeeding. My thesis is geared around public nursing and people's reactions/prejudices against it. I am trying to show American's juvenile thinking about "boobs" is taking precedence over the health of our nations children. So I was hoping that those of you who do not mind being quoted in a research paper (I can do anonymous as well), would you share some stories of being reprimanded or spoken to in a negative light about being seen nursing in public? Please make sure to note who made the comments, male/female, young/old, etc. Also I would like to hear positive stories as well, to show that there is a resurgence of breastfeeding in our country and that there are people who support it even if they themselves do not nurse, such as men being positive or women from the formula-feeding age and so-on.
Thank you so much for your help. I have my own stories but it helps greatly to quote other people and not just yourself. lol.
Facebook have a group called "if breast feeding offends you put a blanket over your head" It has some great stories and pictures, maybe you could get some good things from that.
Funnily enough Facebook actually deleted some of the photo's of breast feeding mothers from the fan page yet still has adverts with barely dressed women popping up and offering "dates" or to "chat" in the advertising margins..go figure.
Personally I only ever had one "disapproving stare" from an elderly couple whilst nursing in public. It is fairly accepted as the norm here.
Good luck with your paper.
I am 25 mother of a 10month old - i have exclusively breastfed her until 6months we introduced solids. We are still BF until 1yr if not longer. Where I come from (small town) people STARE at you. I think it's rude but i do'nt care it's my daughters health and it's the best thing i can do for her. MANY people are under-educated about bf . My Grandmother, who is in her late 60's, can not believe that i bf and STILL am bf. this is what she said "give that girl food, why aren't you feeding her food? ALL of my children I bought one case of formula, when that was gone they got cereal." LOL for real she can not understand why i bf my daughter. My aunt (in her early 30's, mother of 2) breast fed for a short period of time. She lives in the Cities and she said at the Mall of America you see women everywhere BFing. I was nervous about who i fed around for so long and would go find a private place to feed, and she'd tell me "don't worry what other think, it's so normal in the cities to see mothers bf their babies." As time went on and I grew more confident it didn't matter where we were If my daughter was or IS hungry she eats!!!! If you think about "natural" ways..... women were given boobs to feed their children just like some animals that's LIFE. Just following the cycle ;) Some babies, however, just can not breastfeed/wont/or circumstances that it isn't possible. For everyone who has the chance ........... even if for one week i'd say go for it..... try it. I was always one who said NO WAY THATS WEIRD! and here i am almost a year later and i am so glad i stuck it out.... even on the hardest days it has always been such a gift for us both..... and even when i returned to work i worried i wouldn't be able to continue bfing but I pumped to make sure i didn't lose my supply it just means alot to my daughter and myself to have that time together.
Obama just signed into law that it employers have to provide a space for mothers to pump...
There was a local story here in Minnesota about a breastfeeding mother who was asked to leave a reastarant- Old Country Buffet in Maplewood.
Personally I was never reprimanded - I would always use a cover and tried to keep it private. For us nursing in public was never an issue. I did learn that my mother said she wished I would stop that it would make things easier?! What could be easier than a ready to eat meal on the go?! :-)
I BF DD for 13 months and never had any comments. Although I can tell you that the booths at a restaurant often don't have enough room. I have heard of stores that actually have designated rooms for BFing. i work in healthcare and am amazed at the number of new mothers who don't breastfeed, it's like they wouldn't even dream of it. Even my co workers who have been educated on the benefits for baby and mom don't even attempt it.
I was always discreet about nursing in public- I'd go to an empty room, to the car or to a changing room. This was mostly because it took a lot of waving my breast around to get my daughter latched properly. There was one time I was at a snotty, expensive restaurant (no high chairs = we don't want your kids here) with my father in law, and dd got hungry. We were blocks from the car so I just hauled out the blanket and nursed there. I probably got some looks but didn't notice. I was mostly embarrassed to nurse in front of my f-i-l, but he acted cool about it. There are also some "funny" photos of me nursing on Christmas morning with the whole extended in-law family around me- I had the blanket all the way over MY head because, like I said, we had some latching issues at the time.
The most grief I got about nursing was from my mother in law and my mother. My 60 year old m-i-l used formula with her kids and resented the fact that I kept taking dd away to nurse her. She implied on several occasions that I was trying to keep dd to myself and keep her dependent on me. My 80 year old mother talks a good talk about "earth mother-madonna-nursing is beautiful and natural" but then told me that it's good to nurse for three months, but after that it's "vulgar." DD just turned 2 1/2 and I'm still nursing her once a day, so I guess I'm vulgar, and a success in keeping her dependent on me. ;-)
I've only recently gotten some critical feedback from my FIL about breastfeeding--at least, I took it as critical.
I'm a full-time working mom, so while I'm at work, I pump twice a during my working hours. My 11 week old stays with my grandmother in law (my FIL's mother) while I'm at work, and she's located about five minutes away, so during my lunch hour, I drop by to bring a bag of milk and visit with and nurse my son. A few days a week, my FIL also drops by on his lunch hour.
My son had a rough week last week for some reason; he went on a bottle strike for a couple of days and only wanted to nurse. We got the issue resolved over that weekend, but my FIL was really upset about the ordeal because he thought the issue was too stressful for my GIL to handle (we've got my son on a waiting list to get into daycare so this won't be a family issue for much longer). He informed my husband to tell me that I should consider not breastfeeding our son anymore because it was causing too many problems that were stressfull for both his mom and our son, and we should also consider giving him cereal to keep him filled up longer if he wasn't going to eat at his mother's house--however, this "problem" only lasted two days (Thurs and Fri) and then it resolved itself. And fortunately, my husband backed me up.
Yesterday (Tues), I went by on my lunch hour and my FIL was there. My son was having a good day and I decided to bottle feed him while I was there due to pumping the hour before I came by. When my FIL saw me give my son the bottle, he said, "So he's taking the bottle again, huh? That's good. Now I won't have to call him T**ty Boy anymore."
Ugh...I didn't even bother to say anything. It would've been a waste of breath. :-P
This is an interesting topic as I think that it is not only a cultural taboo, but breastfeeding isn't exactly promoted by the medical community either. However, I don't think this is just a juvenile reaction to nursing either. In the 40's it was considered dirty to nurse you baby so every mother bottle fed. This is why my grandmother was really freaked out that I nursed.
When Mark was born the nurses put him in the nursery under a light because he was cold. While he was there they tested his blood sugar, which was low. When I was informed the nurse told me that I could not get my baby back until he had taken an ounce of milk. I insisted that he nurse from me as colustrum is high in calories and super good for the baby. Now, she did not say anything to my face, but I did hear her complaining to the other nurses outside my room. She loudly declared that I was only 22 and obviously didn't know what I was talking about. She expressed how frustrated she was that I would not allow them to feed Mark formula. In the end (after trying desperately hard to pump enough colustrum to give him) I caved because I just wanted my infant back.
Also I have always thought it was interesting how hospitals send you home with tons of formula for your babies. For a new mother it is rather tempting to rely on formula when breastfeeding is exactly working out for you.
I breastfed my oldest for 25 months. My second quit at 24 months, when my 3rd was born. The new milk, he said "tastes funny" and quit himself. And my 3rd, I am still breastfeeding, trying to slowly ween her, she's 27 months. For the most part, I nursed wherever I was when my baby was hungry. My oldest, I always covered with a blanket. And my other 2 I found it easier to wear a streachy shirt, and have them go under. Sometimes my youngest, gets mad If her legs arn't under my shirt too. Lol. For the most part, people are ok with it. They might do a double take because they don't know what I'm doing, and once they figure it out, they look away. When I was breastfeeding my oldest, my sister in law said I did it because I liked it, and smirked. But I was trying to be understanding, because I think it hurt her, she had about 8 miscarriages. And my one friend in her 30's who recently had a baby, used to say "gosh, you gonna have that baby hang off of your b**b until they go to school?" But I just ignore it. And once when I was breastfeeding my oldest under my coat at a bench at the state fair, my husband had to give "evil eyes" to 2 teenage boys, trying to catch a peep over my shoulder. Eew! That grossed me out. Sometimes I forget that breats are sexual sights, and see them as just baby bottles. Even though, I'm very concieling, and make sure there is no way anybody can see. And last year, during Christmas shopping, My baby was in the cart when I was pushing it, and she was pinching my nipples outside of my shirt crying "immy Immy" and a couple just giggled, I was so embarresed. But It was a long day, and she really had been patient, and didn't nurse all day.
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