Monday, September 24, 2012

Is Breastfeeding In Public Okay?

Read this article: Katie Couric Breastfeeding Poll

My baby has the right to eat anywhere in my state, yet I hear of similar stories in my area all the time! 

What can you do to help breastfeeding? 

1. Be open about your breastfeeding. 
         Don't feel that you have to hide your breastfeeding or dance around the issue using euphemisms for breastfeeding. The best thing you can do is show how normal it truly is and be proud. I don't mean that you should talk about it at all times with the implication you are the best mother in the world (which of course you are ;D).  I simply mean that if you have a funny nursing story, share it. If you are struggling with nursing issues, talk about it. If you feel good for sticking with breastfeeding, you have my permission to say so! Also, if you milk share, talk about it.
2. While you don't have to go and do a coverless, nurse-in, if your baby is hungry in a place where it is legal for you to nurse - please do so!
         Don't try to appease your hungry baby with a binky or rock them until you can get to a public restroom!  Just go ahead and feed them :) covered or uncovered you are helping make the best thing you can give your baby easier for women to come! 
3. Join a breastfeeding support group, and stay in one after you are past the difficult issues in the beginning. 
          Women who are new to breastfeeding may feel alone and secluded and want to give up at first.  When they have no role models in their lives that are still breastfeeding a baby after 6 months or even a year, they may feel abnormal and uncomfortable. Many women only have mothers or mother-in-laws who formula fed.  Be their friends and their support. Be a wealth of information to them or just an ear when they struggle.
          When I began nursing my baby and was so uncomfortable, a woman in my local breastfeeding support group made me feel so at ease as she shared her own experience nursing her first child to a little over the age of two years of age.  She also had a six month old child she was nursing at that point, and he was so healthy! I knew I had found a great resource :D 
          Now that I am past the troubleshooting period in my nursing relationship, I find my breastfeeding group a place to kick back feel normal and share some laughs! I thoroughly enjoy having stayed in it long after most women. 
4. If you've got extra please donate or get in a milk sharing relationship. 
          Sadly, breastfeeding cannot work for every woman. If you have a surplus of milk, please make an effort to make a milk sharing relationship or donate to a local milk bank.  The necessary tests to be sure you are safe to share are often done while you are pregnant or can be done at your doctors office, so the information you need about the safety of your sharing can be right at the tips of your fingers already! 
          Before I had a child this idea baffled me! I reacted, "SHARING MILK?! DISGUSTING - WHAT THE HECK!?" Now I see how silly that was, as I have read all the information about the superiority of breast milk. Prior to formula, milk sharing or cross nursing was the only way to survive and was completely normal. 
          I am now in a milk sharing arrangement myself.  I had a terrible start to breastfeeding with my baby not even latching until month two! I persevered and now my milk is overabundant and is given to another baby who was a failure to thrive on formula! You cannot know how rewarding this experience is until you make a relationship with a family who needs this liquid gold, and you hand them the best thing for their child at no cost and see their child flourish in addition to your own. Your self-worth will go through the roof - it did for me! 

          Please don't imagine I am some bold saint for breastfeeding! I am very shy and modest.  I am very afraid of breastfeeding in public.  The few times I have had to do it I was beet red, sweating with nervousness, and had a cover, but I did it for my baby.  I got disapproving looks, and I got approving smiles. I gain confidence from other women's stories and especially am comforted by spotting another nursing mother out in public! Keep in mind your openness could be the very thing that allows another baby to be breastfed for a longer period of time giving them a lifetime of health! Let's try these methods as mothers on a mission and change that 57% in the article to 0%!!!

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