fenblogging

one interesting life and adventure with my hubby

Breastfeeding in Public

You may be sitting down in a restaurant, eating a nice meal, when you hear a baby start to fuss and cry. You may look over, and just happen to catch the mother raising the child to her chest to feed the crying baby. As soon as the baby starts nursing, they quiet, and the restaurant is quiet again once more. How would you react to this situation? Would you feel ashamed, or would you shoot the mother dirty looks? Have you ever gone so far as to say something to management, or even the mother?

There has been a lot of discussion for what is best for a baby, and breastfeeding is one of them. However, breastfeeding in public seems to have become a taboo as breasts have become more sexually pleasing than the mammary glands that make us mammals. For those interested in the topic of breastfeeding in public, as a supporter, nursing mother, person who does not know much about it, or those against it, please read on. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and opinions on this.

As many of you may know, I am currently breastfeeding my son, my little man. I have always done my best to provide for him, both in public and private settings. You can see the health benefits in how much he has grown, and how well he is developing from it. We have had several ups and downs in our journey, from the “nipple confusion” of trying to offer him a bottle when he was younger, to the teething and nipping phase we are in now. Thankfully, in the age of the internet and supporters of breastfeeding, I am able to overcome these obstacles, and continue to offer my son the best my body has to offer. That is, when he feels like nursing, and not playing or nipping. My husband, the proud supporter of my breastfeeding our child, helped me do some research initially, as to my legal rights to breastfeed in the states we frequent most, Florida and Georgia. The La Leache League has some helpful sites to help breastfeeders and supporters, from advice and support, to legal aspects. Through the La Leache League site, I was able to ascertain breastfeeding rights from a site called BreastfeedingLaw.com.

There has been a lot of research done, showing the benefits of breastfeeding a baby, although there are many people who believe that nursing mothers should not nurse in public, that feeding a young human with a breast is shameful, and the mother is trying to put on a show. This group could include anyone, from former breastfeeding mothers, to people who grew up on bottles of milk or formula, and think that is their right to tell others how they should and should not feed a child not their own. There have been several stories in the news over the past few years, of mothers being asked to leave various establishments because they were nursing a baby. Some mothers may even be assaulted, as the workers may place items over mother and child without even asking the mother first. How a baby is fed should not make a difference as long as the baby is fed, and we should be supportive no matter what.

What these people do not know, is that a mother has the right to feed her child anywhere she and her child are legally allowed to be, be it by bottle or breast. She is not obligated to leave where she may be at currently, or to cover herself. Some states specify that the mothers breastfeed discretely, but that still leaves plenty of wiggle room. Unfortunately, there are many states that do not protect the mother from these overtures of others harassing her, as there are no repercussions for those harassing a mother in many states. States like Florida, have specifics in the law that state that breastfeeding does not constitute indecent exposure, lewd conduct, or any of the other labels someone may try to use on her. Unfortunately, Florida does not penalize those harassing the mother, so the people bugging her are able to continue to do so. (Breastfeeding and the Law for Florida)

20141022_180718~2I hope that, with subsequent posts, to be able to further educate our population on how breastfeeding should be as accepted in public as bottle feeding is. It should not matter how the baby gets the nutrition they need, as long as they get the nutrition. People who find the art of breastfeeding distasteful should simply look away, rather than draw attention to their own inability to accept a baby’s hunger. Claiming a mother should feed her child in a bathroom is as gross as eating in the bathroom yourself, and being relinquished away from where the mother was before her child was hungry makes her feel as though what she is doing is dirty and wrong, when it is not. There is nothing dirty or shameful about breastfeeding a child, and the few months or years that they need assistance eating should not ridiculed.

No one should be ashamed of how a baby is fed. It should not matter to anyone by the mother and child. This is purely about what is best for the child, and this is such a brief period in life that it should not be remembered with shame.

What are your opinions on breast feeding in public? Do you know someone who has, wants to, or is breastfeeding? Have you said anything to a mother you may have seen nursing, either with or without a cover?

If anyone has any comments or input, I beg you to leave comments below, and share your thoughts and feelings on this. I intend to use this information not only for the spread of breastfeeding awareness, but also as a class project and paper.

Marcus, J. A. Florida Public Breastfeeding Laws. Breastfeeding Law, State Laws. Lactation and the Law Revisited. Retrieved from: http://breastfeedinglaw.com/state-laws/florida/

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3 Comments »

so much going on

since my last post, so many things have happened, and i just feel so miserable and overwhelmed. my grandmother, who was doing badly, had passed on that morning, and what i had hoped to be a happy day, (my little man was now 6 months old), was now no longer a happy event or day. my father, already upset and miserable, was even less inclined to worry about work, and i had to push him hard to get his paperwork to where i could print it out for him.

between that and the arrangements for what we would do for my grandmother’s passing, i had appointments to take little man to, and my growing lack of faith in his pediatrician is becoming more and more founded. i had some problems with nipping, and when i talked to the lactation consultant, she told me i may be feeding him too often, and not worry. his pediatrician told me that i need to give up and feed him formula from a bottle and most mothers give up breastfeeding by now. he also told me, that little man’s foreskin had fused to part of his equipment, and i should have been on top of that. knowing i was a first time mother, and do not have a penis, how was i supposed to know this? no one told me this, no one talks about this. the pediatrician also told me he had not seen a 6 month old crawling or sitting up on his own like my son was.. i feel like this guy got his license from a cereal box.

my mom and i spent the next few days preparing to go see the family, and handle all the stuff that would come up, and i crunched to finish my schoolwork while getting ready. my husband stayed behind while my son and i went, and handled everything. We left on a Friday morning, and made it to my sister’s house for the night, and left again in the morning to complete our journey to new jersey. we made it safely, without a hitch, and spent the first few hours of daylight not in a vehicle relaxing and enjoying being free. little man was good the while trip, and he and i slept in the back as my mother drove. i got to see cousins i had not seen in a long time, and see how much our families had grown.

Sunday we went to handle some of the affairs of my late grandmother, and it was mayhem. everyone was distressed and freaking out, making this occasion even less fun. we had to clean some of the items out of her apartment, no small task mind you. little man did his best to be good, and we were able to sort through some things and load them into the truck before my cousin’s birthday party that afternoon. the party was fun, and little man played hard and slept hard. i got to spend time with my cousins, aunts and uncles, and my remaining grandmother. i felt so complete and happy.

Monday we attended a mass for my grandmother that passed, and then hit the road back towards home. we made good time, making it back to my sister’s in the late evening, in time for dinner. we sorted through possessions we thought my sister would have liked, and passed them along to her before repacking the truck and heading home Tuesday morning. other than the stupid gps taking us all the way around her city on the way out, we made it back home safely that night.

a week and a half ago, i had started feeling pains in my abdomen, and was unable to carry my son or do much at all. fearing an ectopic pregnancy or worse, i ran to the doctors, who put me on pain meds that made me unsafe to drive. i did not take them because of this. my husband was grumbling because he had taken the car to work when my son had physical therapy, and did not want me to take our son, nor return the car or take us. it was a hard trip, with him saying that theses trips were a waste, that our son was getting better on his own, etc etc. our son has come so far, and made so much progress, and it hurt.

this past Thursday, my cousin collapsed at work, from cardiac arrest. he is in a coma right now, now longer medically induced into it, and we are really hoping he wakes up soon. his sister passed two weeks ago this past Monday, and we hope he can pull through this. my son just turned 7 months old the day after his collapse, but i felt no joy in the occasion. i had just seen my cousin, and he was doing so well. to hear him in this condition is distressing. we keep hoping he will pull through, and i really hope he does. we all want to know what the affects of his collapse have done to him, but until he wakes we wont know.

 

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