Nursing in public seems to be all the rage lately. At least a few times a week I hear about a mother who was humiliated for breastfeeding her child in a public place, or even kicked out of public place for it. On the news, on breastfeeding websites, on forums, and in the newspaper.Those stories are awful and it should never happen to a mother who is simply feeding her hungry baby. But what about all of the positive experiences that can come from nursing in public? Surely not every woman who nurses in public has an awful time with it.
When I was pregnant, I swore up and down that I would never nurse in public. It seemed weird and much to difficult- surely popping a bottle in my baby's mouth would be easier and less stressful when I am out shopping or running around. My mind quickly changed when my baby girl was born and we were actually nursing. My bottles have never been used and I find myself nursing everywhere. In the car, in restaurants, in movie theaters, at church, and even walking around the store shopping.
Not once have I been given a dirty look, asked to leave, or received any kind of negativity from the people around me. The reactions seem to be the opposite, as I receive warm smiles from other mothers and older women, or no reactions at all. The best experience I've had so far was just a few days ago while walking through Old Navy and nursing. An older lady approached me asking if I was nursing my baby. I got nervous immediately, wondering if this was going to be one of those awful times when someone tries to humiliate me and how I was going to handle it. But when I told the lady yes, that I actually was walking around shopping and breastfeeding, her reaction was: "Good for you! I'm tired of hearing about all the mother's who are kicked out of places because of breastfeeding and people around them being disgusted. It's natural, everyone just needs to get over it!"
Not only did I leave the store with a smile, but she is absolutely right! Everyone does need to get over it, when a baby's gotta eat...a baby's gotta eat! I sadly have never seen another woman nursing in public before, but when I do I am definitely going to smile and encourage her. Help her to have a positive experience so that she will continue to nurse in public, and encourage others to do so as well . If we nursng mama's talk about our good experiences more instead of focusing so much on the horror stories, maybe we will begin to see more mom's nursing out and about!
- By Shay P.