Saturday, August 3, 2013

Nursing in the Wild

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - and The San DiegoBreastfeeding Center
Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!
This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.
For me, breastfeeding has never been weird.  When I was little and my mom was doing lactation consulting, we had a parade of very tired mamas and angry babies that came to our house for breastfeeding help.  I didn't have little brothers or sisters to see breastfeeding, but I saw plenty of it at our house nonetheless.  And I was walking through Walmart with my shirt hiked up, nursing the heck out of whatever poor baby doll I was dragging with me that day.

There are days when I really wish I still had the confidence that 4 year old me had as I was traipsing through the Pop-Tart aisle with a baby doll glued to my chest.  But now?  I think my old lady ways have turned me into a nursing coward.  My goal is to get more comfortable with nursing in public and to just quit worrying about it so darn much and do it!

Ever since I got pregnant, and especially since I started nursing, I've been on the lookout for other mamas nursing their babies in public.  I want to give high fives.  Or wait, maybe that's just creepy.  But I have yet to see one person to potentially high five.  I honestly could not tell you of one time that I've seen a mom nursing in public.  Not on all my trips to Target, not at the mall, not at the grocery store, not at any restaurant I've been to.  Where are they?  Are they in their cars? Are they in the bathroom?  Am I just the only person nursing?  

But what I've realized is that this lack of seeing other nursing moms makes me not want to nurse in public either.  So more times than I care to admit, I end up going to the car if I'm out in public.  Granted, it's been easier with a 4 month old who doesn't need to nurse basically every second he's awake.  But I wish I could be comfortable enough to just nurse wherever, without fooling with a cover, and not worry about what anybody thinks. I say I don't care what they think, but when it comes down to it, I still sometimes don't feel comfortable enough to nurse in public.  I think it's sort of a vicious cycle - nursing moms don't see anyone else nursing, so it adds to the feeling that what you're doing isn't normal.  

Some of my favorite outings have been the few times we've gotten together with girls from my childbirth classes, and most of us are still nursing.  It's so much easier to sit in a big group of other moms in the middle of Panera and nurse than it is to sit alone.  

I have to say, I feel like I deserve a gold star because I've now nursed outside of several restaurants on a bench or in a rocking chair when Ira has lost it.  I've also nursed in the ring sling in a few different stores (which is super convenient, might I add).  Last time I sat in the rocking chair in front of a seafood restaurant an older lady saw me and joked, "Is he having fish for dinner too?" It was so nice to know that someone else was comfortable enough with what I was doing to actually make eye contact and joke with me about it and comment on how blessed I am to have a sweet baby.  

I am just not going to sit in the hot, cramped car or in the bathroom.  I hope that I can be the person to make at least one mom feel more comfortable about nursing in front of other people.  Maybe we can start a chain reaction so that we ALL feel more at ease when we breastfeed in public.


World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today's participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 3 with all the carnival links.)

  • Breastfeeding and NIP: A Primer — Rachel Rainbolt of Sage Parenting, featured today at, uses her informative and candid voice to share with you everything you need to know to breastfeed successfully in public, from the practical how-to's to handling the social stigma.
  • Lactivist Ryan Gosling — Breastfeeding mamas, the time is long overdue for a Lactivist Ryan Gosling. Fortunately, Dionna of Code Name: Mama has created some for your viewing pleasure.
  • In Defense of Formula — Amy of Mom2Mom KMC, guest blogging for Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, asserts that formula is a medical tool rather than a food. She examines how this perspective supports breastfeeding as normal and eliminates the negative tensions between breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks — Throughout her breastfeeding journey (since March 2009), Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy has shared countless tips and tricks on the topic of breastfeeding.
  • Nursing in the Wild — Meredith at Thank You Ma'am posts about how seeing other moms nurse can make all of us more comfortable with nursing in public.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding — Sara Stepford of The Stepford Sisters confronts the social stigma vs. the reality of breastfeeding and opens up about the steps she takes to make herself and others more comfortable with the process.
  • Breastfeeding Alrik at two years old — This is where Lauren at Hobo Mama and her second-born are at in their nursing relationship, two years in.
  • Perfectly Normal — Stephanie from Urban Hippie writes about the way she and her family have done their part to try and normalize breastfeeding in a society that doesn't get to see breastfeeding as often as they should.
  • Diagnosis: Excess Lipase — Learn about excess lipase and how to test if your expressed milk has it. That Mama Gretchen shares her own experience.
  • Redefining Normal — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy reflects on how we can normalize breastfeeding in our society.
  • Nursing Openly and Honestly — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work feels that the most socially responsible thing she can do as a mother is to nurse and nurture her children openly, honestly, and with pride.
  • Wet-nursing, Cross-nursing and Milk-sharing: Outdated? — Jamie Grumet of I Am Not the Babysitter shares a response to the Wendy Williams quote about milk sharing being akin to slavery, by giving a brief history of the wet nurse.
  • Tackling Mastitis with an Older Nursling — Much of the advice available for supporting recovery from mastitis seems to be aimed at mamas with younger nurslings. Juliet of Twisting Vines, posting at Natural Parents Network shares tips for dealing with mastitis while breastfeeding a toddler.
  • Milk in the eye — Gena from Nutrition Basics discusses how breastmilk cured her 3 year old's case of pink eye.
  • Boobie Biter — Rachel Rainbolt at Sage Parenting offers guidance on how to survive and thrive a boobie biter with your breastfeeding relationship intact.
  • My take on breastfeeding advice — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy shares her insights on nursing for both new moms and new dads.
  • My Top Five Breastfeeding Tips for Delivery Day: Think "A-B-C-D-E"Mothernova shares how her continued success at breastfeeding with her second child rests on a foundation of five key things she did to prepare for baby's arrival, along with things she did when she and baby first met. Easily enough, these tips can be categorized as "A-B-C-D-E": Access to lactation consultant, Baby-friendly hospital, Communicate your plan to breastfeed exclusively, Demand, and Expect to room in.
  • Breastfeeding Buddies: Twin Brothers Nurse while Living in the NICU — Twintrospectives at How Do You Do It? shares her 5 tips for learning to breastfeed multiples while in the NICU.
  • Breastfeeding on a Dairy-Free Diet: Our Journey and Our Tips — Finding herself nursing a baby with food allergies, Jenny at Spinning Jenny embarked upon a dairy-free journey with her son for eight months. Here she relates her reasons for making the decision to give up dairy in her diet, why it was worth it, and tips for moms on the same path.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding in my Home — Shannah at The Touch of Life shares how she plans to help keep breastfeeding normal for her own children, even when her breastfeeding years are over.
  • A Year With My Nursling — The more you see and hear, the more normal it becomes, so That Mama Gretchen is sharing her heart on the last year of breastfeeding - the ups and downs, but mostly the joy of her priceless relationship with her son.
  • From Covered to Confident — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births shares her personal NIP evolution: she started by covering up from neck to ankle while nursing in public. Eight years later, she has gained confidence and the ability to nurse without stressing about flashing a little skin. She shares her views on normalizing breastfeeding - what influenced her and how she hopes to help others.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding for Older Kids — Sadia at How Do You Do It? hopes that openly discussing breastfeeding with her (now weaned) daughters will help her children feel comfortable with breastfeeding and their bodies in general as they grow.
  • Nursing in Public — Listen up, mammas. Those other people around . . . they don’t matter. It’s not about them. It’s about you and that beautiful baby. Nurse on, says The Swaddled Sprout!
  • How to Nurse a Teenager — Sarah at The Touch of Life declares: the purpose is to help normalize breastfeeding a toddler.

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