Friday, August 16, 2013

On Why You Won't See Me Breastfeeding In Church


I know the title is a bit much for this blog, for me, but it had to be said.   While at my pediatrician the other day, we were discussing breastfeeding.  I will say that my children's doctors are basically great and have one of the only offices that have a specialty in breastfeeding on Long Island.  This has been a huge help, especially when I need quick and definitive answers.  They are up to speed on all the latest about breastfeeding.
And even though I have breastfed all of my kids, I need to add, that I very rarely call it "breastfeeding", but use the term, "nursing" instead.  Yes, I am that prudish, that I don't like the word, "breast".
So, it should come as no surprise that I am not a big advocate of nursing in public.
But, back to my pediatrician.  I was there for Charlotte's 3 month check-up and the doctor asked how nursing was going.   Good, I replied, but she doesn't like to take a bottle with pumped milk and I am constantly leaving Sunday school and church service to nurse. 

And then she said, "Why don't you breastfeed her in church?"

"SAY WHAT?"

Now what I felt like saying was, "Do you know me at all?"
But, what I replied was, "I don't even like to nurse at the beach, but we have to go to the beach, so I make do."
To which she said, "Don't you have to go to church?"
"Good point", I say.

Doctor=1, Me=0

I then go on to explain that no one nurses in church, except a lady I saw years ago in the back and we have a baby nursery to feed babies in.
She accepts this and we discuss other things.

But, I think about what she said for awhile.  I just could never nurse in church.  I think our churches are a little more conservative in New York than in say, California or even down south.  So, I am sure that plays a part as well.

When it comes down to it, I don't like nursing in public.  And I try not to.  I don't really have a problem with other people doing it.  Though, I think while out it is appropriate to use some kind of cover or blanket to not expose yourself.  I totally get that nursing is a natural thing.  Hey, Jesus was breastfed!  I am all for it and a big supporter of it.  However, we are now exposing a body part that we normally cover up.
There have been times where I have had to nurse in a restaurant simply because my baby had to eat and I can't possibly plan my whole day everyday around a little baby that is not on a schedule just yet.  However, when I do this, I use a nursing cover to cover me and the baby and try to be as discreet as possible.
If I were to nurse in church, don't you think that would be distracting to my pastor?  We have a couple moms with babies right now and if we were all just feeding them in the pews wouldn't that be strange?  It would be for me if I were the one looking out into the congregation.

What is the point?
I guess if there is a movement going on right now to be able to breastfeed wherever you are in the name of it being a "natural" thing, I disagree.
While I fully support breastfeeding and believe it is a wonderful, beautiful time between mom and baby, I also believe it is private and doesn't have to be out in the open.

And I really want to know, what do you think?
What is your opinion?

While thinking about this post, I accidentally came upon another recent blog post, you can read here.  I like what this blog author had to say.

Until, next time, nurse on!  (with a nursing cover of course!  ;) )
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5 comments:

  1. I think it's up to the momma and the enviroment around her. I won't nurse in a situation where I think anybody will be awkward/offended by it, not because I'm shy, but because my baby will still get fed and I'm obviously going to be courteous.

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  2. It's all about how comfortable you feel. I nursed in public all the time with my little one and felt OK but that was in LA where it was very laid back and welcomed ( in general). I respect a Mom's decision to nurse anywhere though but yeah churches are a little formal in some circumstances.

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  3. The key for me is "discreetly". I remember nursing my son while walking the mall but you couldn't tell. I had him in a sling and got him latched privately. I am uncomfortable with a woman exposing her breasts in front of my husband and son so would never want to make anyone else feel that way.

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  4. Well, I don't think you want to get me started on this! ;-) I think if you're comfortable covering up, then by all means cover up. I also think that if nursing was more accepted as "normal" than it wouldn't be strange to see someone nursing without a cover. It would be "2nd nature." But sometimes, there are babies who aren't covered up while nursing at home which makes it difficult to cover them up while out in public. As for nursing at church, my hubby always used to ask why we would go if I get stuck in the nursery because feeding time and service time coincided. It's just part of the deal!

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  5. I choose not to breastfeed during a church service because I was always afraid my baby would scream at the top of his lungs while changing sides. I ended up nursing my baby in the lobby usually tucked under a blanket.

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