Friday, November 19, 2010

NIP and my own personal thoughts on the subject

Someone I know Someone I like very much who I follow on Twitter posted some thoughts she had on her blog because she was wondering how to react when someone starts nursing in public. Feel free to go visit her and see the post for yourself. I admire her very much for being willing to admit that she didn't know what to do and for asking the "How am I supposed to react?" question.

I'll wait while you go read it.

All done? Ok.

This the comment I left for her. (Not sure why, but I weirdly I did it in the 'present tense' when I actually stopped nursing Jamie months ago...I must've been thinking ahead to my daughter's impending arrival! Hehee.)

I'm one of those 'whip it out and get the job done' mamas. While I don't intend to expose myself to anyone, if I inadvertently do so while in the is what it is.

It took me years to get here and I still have days that I cringe and feel uncomfortable. I know that sometimes people don't approve. I've gotten the comments. I've gotten the looks. But you know what? I have to feed my baby and our great state of Minnesota completely supports my right to do so. My 'if you don't like it then don't look' attitude is very hard won.

Now that I've explained my thoughts on my own NIP, I will say this about how to react to me if you see me doing it:

1) Ignore it if you want. Won't hurt my feelings any. I prefer that over the 'I can't believe she's doing that in PUBLIC' looks, comments or attitude any day of the week.

2) Ask questions if you want. Again, I'd rather just be right up front with what I'm doing and why. I'm happy to discuss. Seriously.

3) Give me a thumbs up. That has happened to me before and you know what? MADE MY DAY.

Went to a mom's group awhile back. A mama quietly went to the corner and started nursing her child. We were in a situation where 'mingling' was going on. Everyone ignored her. Not me though. I just kept thinking to myself, "FOR PETE'S SAKE, IT'S A MOM'S GROUP AND SHE'S FEELING LIKE SHE NEEDS TO BE HIDING AWAY???"

After a few minutes of seeing her alone with her baby, I made a BEELINE right for her. I gave her an inquisitive sort of 'Is it ok if I'm bugging you' sort of look. She absolutely BEAMED at me and we chatted for a good fifteen minutes while she nursed her baby. As soon as she saw I was not uncomfortable (as was evidenced by a comment/hint that I made about how my son would never tolerate a blanket on his head while nursing) she whipped off the blanket she'd been using to cover up and kept on chatting away. I'm so glad I did what I did...and I think she was too. It is so important to support fellow nursing mamas, you know?

I wish it was considered 'normal' to breastfeed our babies where ever and whenever we need to so that we didn't have to ask these questions, but I'm glad you did so that I can say what I think about it! :)

Ah, but then me being...well, ME had some more thoughts to add because I'm just that way.

P.S. I completely support any mama feeding her baby any way that works for them. Am I pro-breastfeeding? You betcha. Do I judge? Not if I can help it and I certainly do my best not to.

Last I checked, no one made a rule that breastfeeding has to be defined by whether your child and your breast are actually being connected in the process. *wink*

To wrap it up, I really can only say what I feel and what I'd do. I'm a relatively sensitive person. If I see that you are obviously uncomfortable then I try to use discretion. Not because I have to...just because that is the kind of person I am. If I visit your house, I'll probably ask for a quiet place to nurse - hoping you will make a comment that says I'm welcome to do what is comfortable to me. 

I used to 'hide away' when I nursed Jamie at my in-law's house, until the day that my FIL made a comment about it. Can't remember the exact words but it was something along the lines of 'nothing I haven't seen before' accompanied with an eye roll. That? Was awesome and I don't think I hid away after that unless the other grand kids were howling like banshees and I needed it to be quieter.  

Bottom line: I think that the more we mamas nurse in public settings, the more people will get used to it and the less of a big deal it will be. (Yes, I know. I am the eternal optimist.)  Once that happens, if it ever does? AWESOMENESS WILL ENSUE.


Jen - LifeWithLevi said...

Yay! Thank you for the comments on my post, and thanks for sharing about your experiences.

I completely agree that if more women nursed in public, it would become the norm, not the exception.

MissCharlie said...

Working boobs are not sex boobs. Horray for NIP, or any place the baby needs to eat.