Tag Archives: NIP

Mother Publicly Shamed on Facebook for Breastfeeding in Public

Emily Slough was shocked to learn that a photo of her feeding her eight-month-old daughter was posted on the (now deactivated) Spotted Rugeley Facebook page Friday, with the following caption:

“I know the sun is out n all that but there’s no need to let your kid feast on your nipple in town!!! Tramp.”

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The Staffordshire mother decided to organize a nurse-in as a response to the image being posted.

The nurse-in will be held in Rugeley on March 15, 2014, at 12:00PM. Slough explained to ITV why she believes this type of “mass feed” is necessary to help normalize breastfeeding in public:

“I was initially going to ignore the post and laugh it off, but then I realised that this is a perfect example of what needs to be erased in modern day society. Why should mothers who are doing the best by their children feel that they should be confined to a toilet or changing room to provide their baby with nutrients? Would you eat in a toilet or with a blanket draped over your face?

I’d like to personally thank whoever took the photograph and allowing those in support of breast feeding mothers whenever and wherever to make a stand and unite against this kind of discrimination.”

– Emily Slough via itv

Victoria Secret Employee Tells Mother to Go Outside and Breastfeed in an Alley

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Ashley Clawson had just finished purchasing $150 of merchandise at Victoria’s Secret in Austin, TX, when her 4-month-old son needed to be fed. She asked the employee behind the counter if she could use the fitting room to breastfeed.

“She said you cannot nurse your son in our fitting room but you can go outside to the alley and nurse him there, no one usually goes there,” Clawson told My Fox Austin. Clawson even had the employee clarify her statement to make sure she had heard her correctly; there was no misunderstanding.

“I was humiliated by the whole thing, I immediately called my husband,” Clawson said.

However, the employee’s statements do not align with Texas law, which states, “a mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.”

Clawson had to file two complaints before she received response back that she would be receiving something in the mail.

Clawson also said,”The posters and everything are just women showing their breasts and obviously to Victoria’s Secret in my eyes, it’s looked at as a play toy. Not necessarily, means for you know nursing your child, which is why we have breasts to begin with,” and then added, “I do think that Victoria’s Secret needs to train their employee’s better on the breastfeeding policy and know the laws on it.”

Victoria’s Secret did issue a statement after the story was gaining traction via social media:

“We take this issue very seriously. We have a longstanding policy permitting mothers to nurse their children in our stores and we are sorry that it was not followed in this case. We have apologized to Ms. Clawson, and we are taking actions to ensure all associates understand our policy that welcomes mothers to breastfeed in our stores.”

 

Breastfeeding During the Great Depression

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Source: Shorpy
Photographer: Dorothea Lange

Many Oklahoma residents were displaced by the drought of 1936. Hoping for work in the cotton fields, families fled to California and camped on the roadside while they looked for employment.

In this photo, a mother of seven is breastfeeding her child on their roadside campsite in Blythe, California.

 
This photo and many other high resolution vintage images can be purchased at shorpy.com

My Breastfeeding Photos

My parents had professional photos taken when I was 18 months old. I wanted to breastfeed in the middle of the session, and my mother obliged me. The photographer quietly snapped pictures while my parents were having a moment with me. They ended up loving the breastfeeding photos the most. To this day, a large framed photograph still hangs over one of their fireplaces in their home.

I love how my mother never made breastfeeding a dirty or secret act. Having that picture clearly in view for all of our guests made me grow up understanding how natural and normal it is.

Clever Cleavage

Everyone Meet Grace!

 

1. Tell us about your personal breastfeeding experience with your children:

I have 4 children. From the time I found out I was pregnant at 19, I knew I would breastfeed. It was normal, natural, what my mother did, and FREE! I figured if God gave us breasts, we might as well use them! Plus, you know, it was FREE! That’s a big deal when you are a broke 19 year old.
I figured it would be natural to just breastfeed, but thankfully, I got a lot of great advice… the first piece being that breastfeeding, in our society especially, is a learned skill. We don’t see much of it, and without being around it all the time, women can struggle. So I took classes, read books, talked to (and observed) nursing moms, practiced with dolls, and basically did everything I could to learn about breastfeeding.
When my daughter was born, I was able to nurse her right away in the delivery room. We did great, until my milk started coming in. Poor thing, I was making tons of milk and had a very active letdown, and she would just choke on all the milk! On top of that, I had all those unfortunate side-effects of a baby who can’t get a good latch: blocked ducts, nipple damage, and mastitis. I worked with my sister (a post-partum RN at the time) and a lactation consultant to figure out what to do, and also decided (eventually) to add a little more schedule to our nursing. All of these things helped, and we pushed through to nurse successfully for 18 months!
My second child was adopted and I did not nurse her. With my third child, we had a great start to nursing. However, when I became pregnant again (he was 4 months old), I started having supply issues. I did everything- supplements, hydration, pumping around the clock to increase stimulation… none of it worked. Eventually we had to switch to formula at the 6 month mark because I wasn’t producing enough, and he was too frustrated to keep going to the breast.
My fourth child is now 6 weeks old. Nursing is going great! I think she nursed 23 hours of her first 24 hours of life! My goal is to exclusively breastfeed for at least a year, and to allow her to self-wean after that.

2. What is your view of breastfeeding in public, and why?

I loved seeing women breastfeeding in Ethiopia, because it was just so unremarkable to those around them. Sadly, in the US, we have sexualized the breast to the extent that breastfeeding in public is no longer acceptable to many.
But I have 4 kids. We are never at home. My baby needs to eat. Therefore, I breastfeed in public.
It is my baby’s right to eat when she is hungry. Adults and even other children eat in public when they are hungry. So should she.
I nursed in public with all my kids, but now that I live in the Jackson, MS area, this is the first that I’ve encountered any real opposition. I’m glad I had the experience nursing my older kids before moving here, because in this area you never see women nursing, and if I didn’t feel confident, I probably would feel forced to stay at home or pump bottles before going out.
So now, nursing in public has become more meaningful to me. I think we need to normalize nursing… it should be like it was in Ethiopia- completely unremarkable to those around you! How do we do that? By exposing others to it. By treating it as normal ourselves. And by teaching those we can (starting with our children) that breastfeeding is totally normal, no matter where you are.
 

3. What is your view of sustained breastfeeding, and why?

When I was nursing my first nearly 10 years ago, most people I knew seemed to stop nursing at the 1 year mark. 18 months seemed like a long time to nurse, and we never nursed in public after her first birthday.
Now I know more. I know the WHO recommends nursing for the first 2 years of life. I know people like Jamie who were breastfed longer and who are breastfeeding their own children longer. I know that what is right for me and my family is no one else’s business. I hope to allow my littlest to self-wean some time after age 2 (she seems pretty opinionated, so we will see what happens!)
 

4. What is your view of adoptive breastfeeding, and why?

I wish I would have known more about adoptive breastfeeding when I adopted! My daughter came home at 18 months, and was breastfed the first 13 months of her life. While I don’t think she was ready the for physical intimacy of breastfeeding (and I’m not sure I could have handled the demands of a relactation protocol as a working single mom on a budget), if we adopt again, I hope to be able to explore this option. There is research that shows that even if children do not gain a physical benefit from breastfeeding, there is definitely a psychological benefit. I think more people in the adoption process need to be aware of adoptive breastfeeding as an option!

5.Is there anything you find unique about your breastfeeding story with your children?

I know most teens would not have chosen to breastfeed, and I think many moms would not have stuck with it after the difficulties I had with my first one. Other than that, I think my breastfeeding journey is a lot like life… there are ups and downs, but it’s mostly about what you make of it!
 

6. Is there anything you wish you did differently?

I used to have a lot of regrets about my parenting, including breastfeeding. But I’ve come to realize that I did the best I could with what I knew and what resources I had. I don’t regret the past, but I now know more for future decisions.

7. Is there anything you would like to add? Feel free to answer questions you feel readers would like to know from breastfeeding moms.

I think there are a lot of misconceptions about breastfeeding out there (FYI- It doesn’t hurt, and if it does, it means you need some support! Also, it doesn’t feel weird.) Most healthcare providers don’t really know about the act of breastfeeding, even if they are able to tell you that it is the best way to feed your baby (and not all of them even know that much!) That’s why I think it’s important for anyone who loves a nursing woman- or a woman who might nurse in the future- to know the facts and be supportive of breastfeeding! There are lots of great websites with wonderful information. There are also groups like La Leche League who can be great sources of information and support.
I believe all women who want to breastfeed can be successful with the right information and support, so be a part of that!
Also, if you are breastfeeding, take pictures! You’ll never regret recording that special time!
Don’t forget to check out Grace’s Blog! gracelings.org


If you would like to be featured in “Clever Cleavage” please contact me: Jamie(at)iamnotthebabysitter(dot)com

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Clever Cleavage: Angie

Madonna of the Fields, Gari Melchers, c. 1895, gouache on canvas.

 

Hey everyone meet Angie!

1. Tell us about your personal breastfeeding experience with your children:
Wow, my experience…. I have been exclusively breastfeeding my daughter since the hour (?) she was born, we are at 14 months now. I remember not long after I delivered asking them, “Can I feed her now?”. It was SO important to me to nurse her. To be quite honest, I am not even sure WHY, I wasn’t, my siblings weren’t, I can’t even honestly say that I ever saw/knew someone that was. What I do know is that I read everything I could about BF, I went to BF class, I think that I was still “mostly” unprepared. I am SO very fortunate, I never had any (of the big) issues with nursing my daughter, She latched just right, she “apparently” was getting nourishment. I wish though that I had not had the “new mom jitters”. I know that when I never had any leakage before labor, I was SO worried that I wouldn’t be able to accommodate her. I had probably 6 canisters of formula stocked up in my house for “just in case” and I had the WORST dread, of “Oh, my God, what if I CAN’T – What if my body doesn’t work right!”. Also, I wish that I had trusted that she DID know what she was doing, even if I didn’t. For the first 2 weeks or so, I had a fair amount of discomfort. Not to the point that I was ready to give up, but I think I was on my way there. I felt like my chest was just one HUGE bruise. Then, one day, I decided to just let her do it HER way; and we haven’t looked back! The first time that I Nursed in “Public”, she was 3 days old – we were at a Motherhood store and she was hungry and I NEEDED nursing gear. (Never thought about the shirt inconvenience until it was a fact of my life). That is honestly the only time I have ever gone to a fitting room to do it – until all of the “publicity” lately, I had never even thought about a fitting room! After that, I did have occasion that I needed to nurse her while I was out, so I always ended up in the bathroom to do so. But when she was 3 weeks old, I was at a “Craft Store” and took her and my (now empty) cart in the restroom; I had to use the handicapped stall because nothing else was big enough for us and all of our STUFF – I had to sit on a dirty toilet and nurse my baby! Then, oh…. THEN the lady in the next stall was having horrible AWFUL gas and bowel movements….. Oh. MY. GOD!!!! “What am I DOING to my child!!!!!” That moment, I vowed – I would NEVER EVER nurse her in the bathroom again, anywhere, EVER! Ironically, that same night, our family went to dinner with friends. I pumped and packed my cooler, I had bottles, I had milk…… Oh, yeah – how the HELL am I going to heat this up! So I literally had to get the server to bring me a 12″ high container filled with hot water – restaurant tables are NOT that big after all! Later in the evening, I went to use the bathroom myself and on my way back I saw a friend of mine with her 5 month old, NURSING! What?! Right at the table!!!!! I couldn’t believe it!!! What did I do? I walked my happy self over to her and said: “Oh my God, You are my HERO!” Thank you for doing that, you are my inspiration. I have never looked back – (For the record, typing that right now, brought tears to my eyes. I am very lucky that, as yet, (knock wood) I haven’t had any of the hateful run ins that I have heard from some people. I don’t know how I would react, if at all.

2. What is your view of breastfeeding in public, and why?

^^I kind of answered this already, but I will add to it.
I think that women should be permitted to feed their children, anywhere and any time. You can regularly (at least in good weather) see at least 1 man walking around topless, regardless of his attractiveness (YUCK!) – you can (at almost ANY time) see at least one female with too tight/small clothes walking around. If you go to the grocery, you can see (at least 1) parent that has gotten a snack from the shelf and opened it to keep their kid quiet and contented. Babies don’t understand the concept of “wait” they understand “this hurts and I need it NOW”. I wish that more people would understand that nursing my child is not done to offend you. I am trying to care for this little person who depends on me for everything, ESPECIALLY food and comfort. I wish that people would understand that just because a baby eats solids, or can drink from a cup doesn’t mean that I have to stop nursing them, or that they are READY for me to. I wish that people would understand that not all babies will tolerate being covered, I remember learning in BF class that when a baby is born they can only see about 8″ which happens to be the approximate distance to their mothers face when feeding (I don’t care if it’s true or not, it was a WONDERFUL thought). I wish that people were more tolerant – I wish that it didn’t have to always come down to sexuality, because that is SO far from being the point.
On the other hand, I wish that BF mothers were more understanding as well. I feel proud when I nurse my child, I feel strong when I do it in public. And while she may occasionally detach and look around, I do my best to remain discreet and modest. I don’t use a nursing cover, I felt like it drew SO much attention to me. I don’t think that it is cool for a mom to (literally) pull her shirt up or down, haul out a breast and say, well too damned bad, YOU have to deal with it. I think a lot of it has to do with being compassionate. Be empathetic to the people in your surroundings. Yes, it IS your legal right, and NO, no one should ever try to take that away from you; Yes, it IS natural and normal – but who are YOU to force another parent in to having to explain it to their child? Granted, there are times even with the utmost modesty that someone could see something, but that is completely different from being “In your face!” about it. I don’t like that attitude, it feels like I have to work twice as hard for my rights, because in a sense you are abusing yours. (not you specifically)

3. What is your view of sustained breastfeeding, and why?

Honestly, I don’t know what that is – well I probably do, but not in that terminology.

4. What is your view of adoptive breastfeeding, and why?

I think that is AMAZING! What a wonderful WONDERFUL thing for a mama to undertake! To my understanding it is a difficult thing to achieve and I think those women are just , I’m in awe of them!

5.Is there anything you find unique about your breastfeeding story with your children?

Just that it is mine :)

6. Is there anything you wish you did differently?

I wish that I had had more faith in myself and my daughter. And I wish – I SO wish that I had gotten a picture of the FIRST time I nursed her :(

 

 

 

Nurse-In Report!

Well, I went!

Much to Brian’s relief there were no arrests or babies in mini handcuffs- maybe next time.

I wrote about it for MomsLA

What surprised me the most is the absolute hatred people have for women wanting to feed their babies! I won’t post any of the blog links because I am not in the mood to give them more traffic.

I’ve pretty much ranted enough about our cultures weird views of breasts. So I won’t get into it.

Here is my issue. I am completely for free speech, but I hope the people who are blogging against the nurse-in realize what they are doing.

Our culture deems breastfeeding in public and full-term (extended) nursing as unacceptable. Even if there are laws protecting mothers, society makes it clear it is not a welcomed practice.

So, when critics are making very uneducated analyses of these issues (with absolutely no personal experience) it actually hurts the mothers trying to care for their children.

Find me a child that was breastfed past two that said they wished they hadn’t been. I was breastfed well past two, and I am so glad my mom stuck to her beliefs.

I clearly do not give a rat’s butt what people think about me or my parenting practices, I have the support of my family. However a lot of mothers feel the intense pressure from society and family members conforming to it. A lot of women change their parenting style to stop being criticized. I don’t blame them at all. Motherhood is hard enough, then to hear constantly  how you are caring for your child is “weird” or makes people “uncomfortable,” is almost too much to handle.

What makes me even more mad is that we are fortunate to have a number of options. We should embrace that and support what any mother chooses….but we don’t do that! We are competitive and nasty. It is really sad.

I met a woman the other day who first told me her son weaned at a younger age than he actually did (when she found out I also breastfed past two she told me the truth) because she said people got “weirded out” by his true weaning age! How awful that it has come to that.

At least that mother still kept doing what she felt was right for her child and didn’t succumb to the pressure.

I fully believe that criticism of this issue is actually hurting our children. It is not allowing mothers to explore every option and choose that is best for that particular child and family.

Hopefully, these critics will think before they put any of their  ideas out for people to hear. They need to know they might catch the ear of someone thinking full-term nursing (or even nursing in public) would be in the best interest of their family, and decide not to do it because they don’t want people to be uncomfortable or think they are strange.

 

Here is a great link for Beyond Toddlerhood Nursing.

 

Clever Cleavage: Janelle

Everyone Meet Janelle!

  1. Tell us about your personal breastfeeding experience with your children:

I always knew I would breastfeed my children.  When I had my first child, at the age of twenty, I had no expectations about how breastfeeding was “supposed” to go, nor were there ever thoughts about not being able to nurse.  My daughter’s birth was challenging; her latch was poor and no one offered me any help while at the hospital, despite noting on my chart that our nursing sessions were merely “fair”.  The day after we came home from the hospital my milk came in and my daughter grew increasingly lethargic, refusing to latch at all, and it was obvious her newborn jaundice was worsening.  A patient home nurse visited us, providing me with a quality breast pump and control-flow bottle. She encouraged me to offer the breast every few hours first, then to try and offer some expressed breastmilk.  I was devastated, believing that I would not be able to nurse my baby. I am incredibly grateful to that nurse; resorting to formula was never mentioned and she provided gentle encouragement.  It took a week before I was finally able to get her to latch on and nurse successfully; later K self-weaned at the age of two and a half.

My three subsequent children were born un-medicated and out of the hospital.  I noticed an amazing difference in their alertness, as well as how our initial nursing sessions went.  My boys latched on like hungry barracudas, nursing until ages two and two and a half.  With them I experienced the ease I had always expected “naturally” occurred between all moms and babies.  My last baby, a girl, followed in the footsteps of her sister, latch-wise.  We constantly had to work to get it right and it took hard work and perseverance on both of our parts.  She recently weaned three months after her third birthday, ending a cumulative ten and a half years of breastfeeding between my four children.

  1. What is your view of breastfeeding in public, and why?

People need to eat.  Babies are people.  Sometimes, when I am out and about I get hungry; as such, my babies sometimes would get hungry too.  Naturally I would always nurse prior to going out to run errands in order to avoid a cranky, hungry baby screaming in the backseat of the car.  Avoiding nursing while out was not always possible, though (not that I worked to actively avoid it by any means either).  Sometimes, a growth spurt would be going on and my little one would be cluster feeding (nursing many, many times in short periods of time).  Other times, my little one would not be interested in nursing before we left out, but would become hungry during the trip.  Regardless of the reason, eating is a basic life necessity and therefor, a priority.  I have nursed using slings while walking through stores, on park benches, on blankets in the park, on pews in churches and in restaurants.  Most of the time, my babies would not allow a blanket over their heads so I would pull my top down enough so that I wasn’t flashing everyone and then proceed to nurse.  Countless times strangers have stopped to admire one of my babies nursing, not even realizing the baby was sleeping.  I remember specifically in the grocery store, a woman leaned down to get a peek, “Awwww, he’s sleeping”, she said.  Some people argue that nursing is a special intimate time and should be reserved to being in a private area because of that.  I would agree that nursing is special and a bonding experience.  At the same time, it is still “just” eating, a normal part of life.

  1. What is your view of sustained breastfeeding, and why?

I never imagined that I would nurse my children into toddlerhood.  When I had my first, my goal was to do it for a year.  Once she turned one, forcing her to stop did not seem the right thing to do.  She was still enjoying it just as much as she had for the past year, my milk had not suddenly lost its benefits and she was no less a baby since she hit her first birthday.  Because she was a year old, cow’s milk was not suddenly more nutritious to her than her own mother’s milk, nor did she have any desire to drink it. When she turned two, I tried to encourage her to wean, resulting in screaming battles that consisted of her crying “Help me, mama, help me!”  After a few nights of that, I gave up, allowing her to gently wean herself on her own.  I found that allowed her to do it in her own time.  There was no trauma for either of us, no tears, no engorgement.  Instead one day she politely declined my offer to nurse before going to bed and that was the end of it.  Having learned from that experience, I took the same approach with my subsequent children.  I learned how much of a benefit full term nursing can be, from providing hydration and nourishment to a sick child who refuses to eat or drink, to soothing boo-boo’s to calming a scared child during a medical procedure.

  1. What is your view of adoptive breastfeeding, and why?

I have never adopted a child (though I would love the opportunity one day), however I fully support adoptive breastfeeding and would do so myself.  Sort of related, however, my stepdaughter had a baby six months prior to my last child being born.  When she unexpectantly needed to wean her, I began pumping extra milk for our granddaughter so she could continue to receive the benefits of breastmilk.  She still needed formula supplementation; however she was able to receive the benefits of having breastmilk in her diet until she was 18 months old and loved it.  Every baby deserves human milk.

  1. Is there anything you find unique about your breastfeeding story with your children?

I do not believe that my journey in nursing my children is any different than many moms out there.  I did what I felt was best for them and happened to enjoy it in the process.  It wasn’t always easy or fun.  At times I would feel frustrated or “touched out” when having a baby or toddler that would want to constantly nurse.  I have dealt with clogged ducts, soaking through shirts, reeking of sour milk, and having my nipples used as teething toys.  Despite this, there were more sweet times than not.  One of my favorite memories is sitting down to nurse my oldest one day, when she was about four months old.  My breasts were full and she was hungry.  Just as my milk began to let down she stopped, looking up at me with big brown eyes, nipple still in her mouth, milk dribbling out from her smile.  I remember thinking “this is what makes everything worth it”; it was a perfect moment.

  1. Is there anything you wish you did differently?

I can’t think of anything I would have done differently.  I provided my children with the best nutritional start that I could.  In the process, my three step-children were also exposed to breastfeeding as a normal part of life and as something to not be ashamed of.  My four children all know that they were nursed, as well as regularly seeing their younger siblings being nursed.  To them it is simply the way babies are fed, something that will be carried into their lives as adults and hopefully impacting their own children.  There isn’t much more I could ask for.

  1. Is there anything you would like to add? Feel free to answer questions you feel readers would like to know from breastfeeding moms.

I fully believe that it is our job, as mothers, to constantly advocate for our children.  This certainly can apply to many aspects in life, but it can be hard to do sometimes.  For example, a few years ago I brought my youngest, A, to our pediatrician’s office for her DTaP.  I have always nursed my children whenever they have had any shots of blood draws, and even nursed A in the hospital while they performed various procedures (and the hospital staff appreciated not having a squirming, screaming baby fighting them!).  This time, however, the medical assistant told me I would have to wait to nurse her until afterwards as “she could choke”.  The statement was humorous.  Studies have been conducted on infants younger than six months of age, showing that their pain response was significantly lessened when allowed to nurse during painful procedures, such as shots.  Even funnier was that A was almost two years, an expert at nursing, and at that point I was not exactly “busting full” of milk.  Our pediatrician was on maternity leave, so I told the assistant that she would not be touching my child and I left.  I wrote a long letter to the head of pediatrics for that clinic with my complaint, advising that despite like our ped, I would not continue to take my children to a place that refuses to practice evidence-based care.  To my surprise, our pediatrician found out about my letter (while still on her leave), found the study I referenced, stuck to my side and has since changed the policies at that clinic.  A few months later I returned, A in tow, and she received her shot, hardly noticing it as she was comforted by mama’s breast.

Don’t forget to check out Janelle’s Blog! www.beneaththebabymoon.blogspot.com

 

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