Healthy Kids

Carnival of Nursing In Public Post: The First Time I Nursed in Public

 

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at NursingFreedom.org. All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public (“NIP”). See the bottom of this post for more information.

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My nursing in public experience is a bit different than most breastfeeding moms I’m sure. My daughter was born with some physical problems that made nursing impossible for us. She had severe tongue tie and TMJ. On top of all that, she had a weak sucking reflex and I have flat nipples. It was like a perfect storm. I refused to give her formula. So I pumped. And pumped. And pumped. She is almost 8 months old now.

Even though I was pumping and giving her bottles, I did not give up on the possibility that she could at least comfort nurse, if not fully nurse one day. We did EVERYTHING! And finally at 5 months, she latched on and nursed to sleep. And we haven’t looked back. She still prefers a bottle for a full feeding. But from me she gets snacks and comfort and I get to nurse her to sleep. I can not even describe in words how thankful I am to have those nursing moments with her.

The first time I nursed in public. I almost cried I was so happy. I have always wanted to be a mother and to nurse my baby, so to finally be able to nurse my baby like a normal mother was overwhelming. We were at a park with two of my friends and their babies. It had been a couple of weeks since Penelope started comfort nursing. She was fussy and tired, so I offered my breast. To my surprise she latched on and stayed latched on for several minutes. I had to stop talking and rock her a bit to keep her calm and focused, but still it was impressive, because normally if she is not nursing to sleep, she gets too distracted and frustrated that the milk is not flowing fast enough to stay latched on. It was a beautiful spring day, the weather was perfect. There were other moms with older kids running around near by. I am not sure if anyone looked at us, because I was entrained on Penelope. I was worried that she would pop off and expose my nipple to everyone, but I didn’t really care. I was so happy to nurse in public, like a normal breastfeeding mother.

About a month after that experience, I nursed in a restaurant and again, I was nervous of the distractions and her popping on and off. I would never not nurse my baby in public because of my nervousness, and if anyone ever said anything to me, I have the type of personality, that I would give them a piece of mind and some. But because I know how people view breastfeeding in public, I do not whip out my boob as readily. I try to calm her another way first and only try to nurse as a last resort. If she was a better nurser, then maybe this wouldn’t be my tactic, but because getting her to latch and stay latched is still a production, I prefer not to have to do it public.

Recently, I also nursed her at the beach. And even there, I felt self conscious and felt everyone eyes on me as they were staring at us. You would think that at the beach people are half naked, so who would care if you saw a bit more cleavage?

I so wish more people breastfed in general and that they nursed in public, uncovered, more often. To send the message to everyone, but especially young girls, that nursing is the way you are supposed to feed babies.

 

Art by Erika Hastings at http://mudspice.wordpress.com/

Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public

Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit NursingFreedom.org any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.

Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.

This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts – new articles will be posted on the following days:

July 5 – Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World

July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child

July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.

July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives

July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It

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  • Tanashia
    July 7, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    Beautiful! I am so happy that you were able to finally experience nursing your baby.

  • Dionna @ Code Name: Mama
    July 7, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    I am so glad that you two are able to enjoy a breastfeeding relationship – what a wonderful story of perseverance!!

  • navelgazingbajan
    July 7, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    What a wonderful story!

  • Tina
    July 7, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    Beautiful story!! I agree…more women need to NIP and show the next generation what to do. If all they see are bottles, how could they possibly know to do something different?

    • Erin
      February 5, 2012 at 2:03 AM

      Wow, I never thought about it that way, you make a great point!

  • Audra
    July 9, 2010 at 10:31 PM

    Wow! You are such a dedicated mama!

  • VeganCowGirl
    August 3, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    You are an amazing mama and a wonderful woman! Your story is brilliant and your daughter has such a beautiful role model for her mama! May your journey continue with such success – great blog!

  • Stephanie
    August 3, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    @VeganCowGirl…Thank you so much for your kind words!

  • Berta
    August 4, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    Thanks for sharing your story! My son couldn't latch on for the first 3 weeks of his life and I, too, was so excited when he finally latched on – it was the most amazing feeling!

  • Stephanie
    August 5, 2010 at 3:23 AM

    @Berta…Thanks for saying thanks! 🙂
    So glad you had success after three weeks. I bet it was such a relief. My next baby better be a super-duper nursing champion, I don't know if I can do this again!

  • Peggy
    August 29, 2011 at 1:54 AM

    I have just found your blog and want to say I so admire your dedication. I also wanted to mention I really feel for you in that breastfeeding in public is not readily accepted. I live in New Zealand and it is so common here that to hear people talk about breastfeeding in public as a negative is so strange.

  • Stephanie
    August 29, 2011 at 2:54 AM

    @Peggy, thanks so much! I totally know what you mean, all my husband's family is in Argentina and there its the same thing. Women whip out their boobs to feed 2 year old's at the dinner table and no one bats an eye. Here you get weird stares even if you are covered up but they can tell your nursing!

  • Erin
    February 5, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    Your blog inspired me to quit being so uptight and caring about what everybody else thinks…I nursed my 4 month old in public for the first (and the second) time this weekend, it felt so liberating!!! Thank you!