What is the law in your state?

The states in the US vary widely in the implementation of laws that protect a breastfeeding mother and baby...

Breastfeeding gift ideas for an expecting mom

A reader asks: I am attending a baby shower for a friend. I'd like to get her something that will help make her breastfeeding experience more comfortable. What should I buy?

The sole requirement for NIP

During my pregnancy with my youngest son, one of the parts of motherhood that I looked most forward to was nursing. ...

International and Religious views of NIP

Think nursing in public is only a concern in the United States? If so, is it our religious roots that has instilled our country's prudish (and misguided) desire for "discretion"?

Where are our breastfeeding role models?

I saw a woman breastfeeding her three month old son while walking around the busy farmer's market yesterday morning...

Friday, October 29, 2010

CarNIP Creme de la Creme, Part 6

We are happy to share some of the wonderful pieces that were submitted during the Carnival of Nursing in Public as "Crème de la Crème" posts. I'll be posting a few at a time so you can look at them at your leisure. If you feel so moved, please click over, read the whole post, and leave a comment in support of the writers who participated in the Carnival.

  • Life's a Salad Bar, Fighting the Good FightIf breastfeeding weren’t taboo enough, try breastfeeding a toddler. Anna establishes that society puts all sorts of constraints and ideals on how we raise our children, especially on how long we nurse. Her thought places this decision squarely between mother and child, even if it means following your beliefs quietly. 
So how do we fight the good fight? How do we deal with all of the pressure to wean, the disgust by some who want to compare long term nursing to child abuse or scold us for "spoiling" our children? Quite simply? We just do. As moms we are going to be put in tough places, we're going to be faced with opinions on everything from what we let our children eat to what time we let them stay up until to what we let them watch on TV.
Read more from Life's a Salad Bar.

  • Hobo Mama, Breastfeeding Education: In our modern world, the most common forms of breastfeeding education come from books, videos, midwives, and even plastic dolls. Lauren illustrates one unfortunate way that “taboos” are also reinforced - by not taking simple opportunities to educate people. We easily fear/condemn that which we do not understand. For her, the simple act of nursing in public is one lesson she passes on. 
I think that back when breastfeeding was the only way to feed babies that little kids and then parents must have learned to breastfeed the way people learn to wash themselves or eat solid food or put on clothes -- there is no overt education. The events just happen, so often and so naturally, that no one can help but see, and eventually do. It would have been natural and seamless and not a big deal in the least.
Read more from Hobo Mama.

  • Code Name: Mama, Mama Milk Dance!: Dionna discusses both why toddler nursing is normal, as well as some of the health benefits of breastfeeding toddlers.
The argument that breastfeeding should be discontinued after it is “more comfort than nutrition” is similarly misguided. Aside from the established health benefits of nursing a toddler, it makes no sense to take away a food source just because it does not meet every nutritional need.
Read more from Code Name: Mama.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Breastfeeding Letter to Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

I emailed the letter below to the hospital officials listed late at night on Sunday, October 24th. By Monday morning, October 25th, I already had an apology and a promise to talk directly to the lab director and the lab technician from Ms. Meloy.  
Kacy Ellis (the mother involved in the incident) also received emails from Ms. Meloy and Mr. Gitlin, and Ms. Meloy called Kacy personally to apologize and reassure her that she would do everything in her power to make sure this never happens to another mother.
What an amazing testament to a hospital that is concerned about breastfeeding mothers! Thank you, Children's Hospital.
The prompt time and attention are exactly what we hope to see when we send out these letters!

Dionna Ford
October 25, 2010
Kevin Churchwell
Chief Executive Officer
Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232
cc: Ms. Sharin Barkin, Mr. Jonathan Gitlin, Mr. Paul Hain, Ms. Debbie Meloy

Dear Mr. Churchwell:
I respectfully write this letter on behalf of Ms. Kacy Ellis to express my concern over an incident that occurred in the lab at the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt on October 19, 2010. On that date, Ms. Ellis’s statutory right to breastfeed under Tennessee law (Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-58-101) was infringed on by a lab technician (NAME OF TECH).

Ms. Ellis’s son had jaundice when she took him to see the doctor at his three day appointment.  The lab technician, (NAME OF TECH) tested his bilirubin levels.  Ms. Ellis was called in the next day for the same lab test, and she saw the same lab technician.  Ms. Ellis nursed at the office on both occasions with no difficulty; in fact she nursed while the lab tech drew the baby’s blood at the second appointment.

When she took the baby in for his two week appointment on October 19, she saw two pediatricians, Dr. Keiser and Dr. Warren, both of whom were very encouraging about breastfeeding. One doctor even performed an exam while the baby nursed.  They were referred for more blood work, because the baby was still a little jaundiced.  Ms. Ellis then carried her son to the lab waiting room in a ring sling baby carrier.  While waiting, she nursed him in the sling.  While she nursed him in the sling, the same lab technician took Ms. Ellis to the lab to have the baby’s blood drawn.  When they got to the lab the tech asked, "Don't you have a blanket to put over him?" Ms. Ellis replied, "Oh, I'm fine.  Thank you." The lab technician continued, "Not for you, but for . . . ," and she waved her hand around as if to indicate the other people in the lab.

Breastmilk and breastfeeding are the standard for infant nutrition.
As you know, there are numerous and well-documented benefits for both infants and mothers who breastfeed, as well as risks to those who do not breastfeed. Breastmilk contains growth factors, hormones, enzymes, and other substances that are immune-protective and foster proper growth and nutrition.[1] Breastfeeding is associated with a reduction of the risk for children of contracting pneumonia, staphylococcal infections, influenza, ear infections, severe infections of the lower respiratory tract, asthma, obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, certain types of cancer, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).[2]

Encouraging breastfeeding is an integral part of many governmental health and wellness initiatives, including programs created by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, among others.[3] And breastfeeding is not just for infants. The American Academy of Family Physicians 2008 Position Paper on breastfeeding states that “breastfeeding at least until the second year of a child's life is not considered 'extended' breastfeeding. Rather, breastfeeding until the bare minimum age of 2 years is the norm and anything less brings about detrimental consequences.”[4]

The law protects a child’s right to breastfeed in Tennessee.
Regardless of the many benefits of breastfeeding and its promotion by medical and governmental organizations, Tennessee law protects a child’s right to nurse. Tennessee enacted Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-58-101 et seq. (2006), which reads:

A mother has a right to breastfeed her child who is twelve (12) months of age or younger in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be present. [Tennessee law also exempts all breastfeeding, regardless of age, from public indecency laws.]

Breastmilk and breastfeeding are the standard for infant nutrition. No mother should ever be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed for giving her child nourishment and comfort at her breast. Another mother might not know her rights. She might comply with unlawful requests to cover up or leave. She might decide to pump or reduce her child’s number of breastfeeding sessions (both of which may reduce her milk supply and harm the breastfeeding relationship). She might even decide to wean her child prematurely.

It is my understanding that Children’s Hospital of Vanderbilt has many positive breastfeeding initiatives and is in the process of becoming a “Baby-Friendly” hospital. I commend you for your work in supporting breastfeeding mothers, and I am confident that you will address this incident with your staff.

I am writing to ask you to educate all hospital employees about the rights of breastfeeding pairs so that the next breastfeeding mother will not be made to feel ashamed for nursing her baby in your hospital.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response, and to encountering more compassionate, educated employees at the Children’s Hospital of Vanderbilt.


Dionna Ford

[1] Hamosh, Margit, PhD, Breastfeeding: Unraveling the Mysteries of Mother’s Milk, http://www.asklenore.info/breastfeeding/additional_reading/mysteries.html
[2] Ip S, et al., Breastfeeding and maternal and infant health outcomes in developed countries, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17764214; see also Burby, Leslie, 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child (and citations therein), http://www.promom.org/101/
[3] See http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/ ; http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/policy/hp2010.htm ; http://www.letsmove.gov/tfco_fullreport_may2010.pdf
[4] http://www.aafp.org/online/en/home/policy/policies/b/breastfeedingpositionpaper.html; The AAFP’s position is almost identical to that of the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/infantfeeding/9241562218/en/index.html.
For similar positions from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other medical organizations, see http://www.aap.org/breastfeeding/faqsBreastfeeding.html#10; see also http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/bfm.2008.9988?journalCode=bfm.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Breastfeeding, Church, and Teenage Boys - WWYD?

Laura, a NursingFreedom.org reader, had the following incident happen to her and her son (Cole) recently. She would appreciate your gentle, constructive advice about how to approach the director of the program, and how to handle breastfeeding during future classes. Please, no negative or disrespectful comments about the religion, the church, etc. What happened to Laura is not a reflection of her church or of Catholics/Christians in general, rather it is the result of a very few people who have succumbed to some negative cultural pressures.
Thank you Laura, for this wonderful post and question.

I've breastfed all my babies and, with every child, have done some sort of volunteer work while they were nursing. I always brought my babies with me and nursed them as if we were at home: on demand, without a shawl or blanket. (I have nothing against shawls or blankets, I just don't use them.)

As a new mother, I often asked if it was okay if I brought my nursing baby with me. Obviously, if someone said no, then I would have had to back out of my commitment; but I was always told yes. To my surprise and pleasure, I found many, many mothers at my old parish who nursed babies AND toddlers openly. Some women used blankets, but most did not. Children of all ages were accepted and welcome at the functions. As another mother told me, "Laura, if you are going to be pro-life and accept the Church's teachings on birth control, you have to be welcoming to children of all ages!" As time went on, I stopped asking and simply brought my children with me. Once they became a distraction, they stayed home with my husband, but young, nursing infants simply joined me in my endeavors.

The Class

Last year, we moved and began attending New Parish ("NP"). We love NP and it completely fills our needs as parents of young children. We are all enjoying the opportunities to grow in our faith. I am also volunteering to teach Confirmation with a co-teacher and working in the Atrium at another parish.

Right before the CCD year began (CCD = religious education), the Director of Religious Education ("DRE") contacted all the teachers and asked if we would like to take an additional training. I said yes, of course, but I would need to bring my  nursing infant. She said that bringing Cole would not be a problem and, "we love babies at NP!" I brought Cole to all the trainings and nursed him on demand.

At the end of the training, I discussed bringing Cole to classes with the DRE. We did not specifically talk about breastfeeding, but she knew I was nursing him.

During our first class, we had the teens do a "get to know you" activity. Cole needed to eat, so I stepped out of the circle and fed him. Some of the students could see me; others had their backs to me. I participated in the activity by making comments and asking questions, but I still sat apart from the group until he finished eating.

I was unable to attend the next session. At the third class, I remembered a blanket and toys for Cole. I made it a point to feed him in the classroom before class began, with only my co-teacher and her daughter present. During class, one girl asked me why I brought Cole. I said, "I am nursing him, and so I need to bring him in case he needs to eat. He won't take a bottle."

The Call

Soon after that third class, I got a call from the DRE about feeding Cole during class. She told me some of the mothers had complained to her and her assistant. She was nice about it, but she said some of the boys were uncomfortable. I understand: young teenage boys are young teenage boys, and I can see how knowing there is a breast out (even if it is covered) could be uncomfortable for them.

She said she had no problem with me bringing Cole to class, but I would need to take him somewhere else to nurse. I agreed and suggested just stepping outside. She said no, as the other students in other classes might see me.

She then suggested the adults-only restroom down the hall, adding that she would put a chair for me in there. The only reason I did not freak out? The bathrooms are large, very clean and brand-new. We have CCD in the school building; in the actual church, the bathrooms have lounges attached to them with couches and chairs.

I suggested a different room that is large, with tables and soft chairs. She agreed, as long as "no one is using it and you close the blinds."

"Close the blinds?" I asked. "But if I shut the door and sit in the chair, no one is going to know what I am doing unless they try to look in!"

"We need to be as discreet as possible. We have to be respectful of everyone and their different beliefs."

Ah, here's the rub. I agree with her.

Yes, I think I should have covered up at that first class. I knew some teenage boys might not be down with the boob out. However, we are trained to have two adults with the students as much as possible. Cole needed to eat; he was sucking on his fingers, drooling, and arching towards my breast with his mouth wide open. It was my fault for not bringing a blanket or warning my co-teacher that I might need to leave.

I agree we should be mindful that everyone has different beliefs.

BUT! BUT! I was teaching at a Catholic Church! We all have the same beliefs, the same faith in God, the same religion. It was a religious class aimed at children of the same faith!

Madonna and Child
Gerard David, 1490
Photo credit: aiwaz.net
That faith has a long history of art depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary nursing baby Jesus. For many centuries, churches were adorned with statues and icons of Mary and a baby (or toddler or young child) Jesus receiving nourishment from Her breast. Why? Because, yes, Jesus was breastfed. All babies were breastfed, unless the mother could not nurse. In that case, a wet nurse would be employed or the baby would receive milk from another animal or, yes, die.

In many of those pictures Mary was anything but "discreet." She used no blanket, no towel, no Hooter-Hider. Jesus is nursing out in the open, looking around. Why? Because this is how babies nurse! Most nursing mamas have a story or ten about how their baby likes to play "latch-on, latch-off" and smile at people while enjoying a snack. It's funny and frustrating and, until about the Victorian period, very normal.

Then came the wars, mothers going back to work, formula and bottles and prudish Puritan beliefs. People became appalled at the thought of -gasp!- baby Jesus sucking at a breast for nourishment! Mary lactating! How. . . un-divine! (Although apparently there once was a devotion to Our Lady of La Leche. Go figure.)

I also agree that we need to be respectful of different cultural beliefs. However, in my culture, babies are breastfed as long as the mother desires. In my culture, babies stay with their mothers as long as the mother wants them with her. In my culture, babies don't "need" bottles unless the mother wants her baby to take one. Babies are worn on the  mother's body, sleep in the mother's bed. That is how I was parented and raised; that is my culture.

In asking me to respect their culture, a culture that views breasts as only sexual objects and not as a container for feeding babies, they are disrespecting my culture. By asking me to hide in a room with the blinds drawn in case someone might chance to look in while I was feeding my son, they are saying that part of my culture needs to be hidden. They are saying my culture is wrong.

I have formula fed a child and supplemented with formula for another. I respect a woman's right to make a different choice than I have. I know firsthand how hard nursing can be, and I understand why a woman would stop trying to nurse and use formula. I would never, ever ask her to bottle-fed her baby in a closet, bathroom or with the blinds drawn. She is feeding her baby. How is that a problem?

I suggested using a blanket and, if I forgot it, leaving the room. This is not an option, nor is nursing in the empty classroom before class. She does not want to me nurse in front of my co-leader and her daughter, as it might make the daughter uncomfortable.

Class is during bedtime, when Cole likes to cluster feed, and it simply isn't possible to leave him with my husband since Cole doesn't take a bottle can't. But part of me thinks I should keep the peace and leave him at home anyway.
The other part of me, the militant lactivist part that would happily stage a nurse-in, wants to bring him. To just park it in the back of the room and nurse like no one said nuttin. I want to show them that they can't win, won't win, and that my baby belongs with me. It is normal, natural and, yes, what women have been doing for ages.

I want to keep teaching; I love teaching Confirmation. I have a baby who needs me (but who could possibly be left with his father for a short period of time). I need to decide how much of an issue I am going to make this and how much I am going to let slide.

In the end, though, I am going to do what is in Cole's best interests and his alone. I just wish I could help open some minds in the process.

So, readers, what advice would you give Laura? Would you approach the director? If so, what would you say? Would you keep bringing the baby? Where would you nurse? Or would you leave him at home or stop volunteering?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Take Action: Help Michigan Moms Pass HB 5155

I have been breastfeeding for five years. I’ve nursed in the proverbial plane, train, and automobile. I’ve nursed on buses, subways, and boats. I’ve breastfed in 18 states and the District of Columbia. I’ve nursed at the statue of Liberty, on the Golden Gate Bridge, and in Disney World. I had never once been approached and had my right to breastfeed challenged. Until last week.

I was picking up my five year old, Lilly, from Kindergarten. I woke up Caroline, my 18 month old, to go in and get her. She leaned over to nurse, I nursed her. Several minutes later, as I was standing and nursing Caroline in the hallway waiting for Lilly to come out, the principal approached me and said that if I wanted to nurse while at the school, I would need to go to the clinic. I politely refused. I guess, in the back of my mind, I had been waiting for this moment.

In Michigan, breastfeeding mothers have little protection under the law. We can’t be arrested for public indecency, but the principal was well within her rights to ask me to go to the clinic or leave. Most businesses, especially large corporations (i.e. Target or Delta Airlines) have realized that offending breastfeeding mothers is not good for the bottom line. Public arenas though, especially schools, have not had reason to welcome us.

Last November, the Michigan House Judiciary Committee passed House Bill 5155 out of committee. This bill would add breastfeeding mothers and children to the state’s Civil Rights Act. Even though the bill has the support of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, it has languished on the House floor waiting to be brought up for a vote.

I cheered when the bill passed out of the committee, and then I waited. Supporters kept saying, “ It can be brought up for vote at any time.” I’d check on the bill once in a while, but nothing. My recent experience as the spark, I contacted several people involved in sponsoring the bill and involved in the legislative process.

If Michigan HB 5155 is not brought up for a vote in the next 6-8 weeks, it will die and then need to be reintroduced next year. All of the hard work involved in finally getting a breastfeeding bill out of committee will be for naught. Breastfeeding mothers in Michigan will continue to be challenged, embarrassed, and ostracized.

It is time for us to stop waiting for others to advocate for us. Breastfeeding mothers, spouses, parents and friends of breastfeeding mothers, and those who care about civil rights and public health need to come together in a grassroots effort to demand that this bill be brought up for a vote and then passed into law.

Here's What NursingFreedom.org Readers Can Do to Help

  1. "Like" Our Facebook Page: We have started a Facebook page – Pass Michigan House Bill 5515 (HB 5515). Please “like” us and check our status updates daily! 
  2. Call a Representative: Each day of the week, we will be calling a different member of the House Leadership. Your message can be simple. “Please bring House Bill 5515 up for a vote. Breastfeeding mothers and babies need this protection.” Here is a list of the members of the House Leadership and their phone numbers. 
  3. Share Your Story: Check out our website. Share your story here if you have been discriminated against while breastfeeding.
  4. Write a Representative: We have sample emails and letters available on both the website and our facebook page. You can use the links on the facebook page to find your State Representative and Senator. 

We need your help even if you are not a Michigan resident. You may be traveling through our “Pleasant Peninsula" one day and need to take advantage of the rights House Bill 5155 would provide.
We need to demand that House Bill 5155 be brought up for a vote and passed into law. I do not want my daughters dealing with this issue twenty-five years from now!

Many thanks to NursingFreedom.org readers who respond to and act on our call for help. Michigan mamas and babies will benefit for generations to come!

We are proud to help in the efforts to pass HB 5155. This post was written by Monica Kulaga. Monica is supported by her husband, James, and two wonderful girls, Lilly and Caroline. They live in Madison Heights, Michigan. Monica is a former middle school math teacher and current stay-at-home mom. She is passionate about all things breastfeeding.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How to Make Your Partner More Comfortable with NIP

Because we live in a culture that sexualizes the female breast (and sometimes even scandalizes the nursing breast), it is understandable that many new parents take some time getting used to nursing in public.
But what happens if a nursing mother's partner is reluctant to support her when she breastfeeds in public? Are the partner's feelings and discomfort more important than the child's right to milk and comfort whenever and wherever? Need a mother be shamed or pressured into covering up or leaving the room when she needs to nurse?
Of course not.
If your partner is still uncomfortable with a mother nursing her child in public (namely - you), here are a few things you might try.
1) Educate: Share facts about breastfeeding with your partner. Let them know why breastfeeding anywhere, anytime is so important to you and your child. Here are a few resources that might help:
2) Celebrate: Take joy in the milestones, the successes of breastfeeding. How much weight has your little one gained by exclusively breastfeeding? How long have you breastfed? 
3) Normalize: Make sure you are breastfeeding around your partner as often as possible. Make the sight of your child nursing so normal that your partner won't think to bat an eye when you nurse in public.
4) Find Strength in Numbers: If you have any breastfeeding friends, ask them to join your efforts - have them over to your house (and nurse!), go on a double date (and nurse!), take advantage of power in numbers.
5) Reassure: Ask your partner why s/he is uncomfortable with you nursing in public. Talk through it without judgment, reassure them that most people have no idea, and that (if applicable) your right to nurse is legally protected. Often, the chance to talk it out and have their fears heard will make your partner more comfortable with NIP.
What suggestions and tips do you have to make partners more comfortable with mothers nursing in public? Please share in the comments.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Five Tips for Nursing in Public

5 Tips for NIP if You're Nervous

"NIP," or nursing in public, is something that many breastfeeding mothers don't even think twice about. Baby is hungry, baby needs to eat - end of discussion. So if you're wanting to feel a bit more carefree about NIP, use these five tips:

1) If you're concerned about showing skin or being immodest, try practicing in front of a mirror. Then you can see what's showing and what's not. Remember as the mom, you can usually see much more of what's going on from looking down, simply because you're the one nursing. Most people can't see a thing!

2) Invest in some nursing clothes, or at least a nursing bra. I used to try to get away without nursing clothes, figuring that it was just a way for someone to make some money, but then I was gifted a nursing top. The difference was amazing!

3) To cover or not to cover, that may be the question, but the answer may come from your baby. Perhaps you're ready to NIP but your baby nixes your cover by batting it, crying when you put it on or refusing to nurse. It's okay, figure out how to deal with it in a way that is comfortable to you and your baby.

4) NIP in a group of supportive friends. This will help you gain confidence in your ability to NIP without the added pressure, not to mention the power of the human shield is a mighty one.

5) Choose your spot to NIP wisely. See if you can choose a location to have your back towards the majority of people wherever you are located.

NIP is really not some major controversy.  My personal opinion is that you've got a vocal minority stirring the pot every so often. So go ahead and NIP to your heart's content!

We are honored to host a guest post today from Robin. Robin Elise Weiss, BA, CLC, ICCE-CPE, CD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, is the author of more than ten books, her newest book is The Better Way to Breastfeed.  As a mother of eight, one of her proudest accomplishments is nursing all of her kids, including a set of twins, through thick and thin! You can find her on the web as the Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth for About.com (http://pregnancy.about.com) or at her personal site (http://robineliseweiss.com).

We are looking for more guest posts! Check out our contributor guidelines, and send us your story about normalizing breastfeeding, nursing in public, or breastfeeding advocacy (lactivism).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Joys of Nursing in Public #4

Today we are happy to host a guest post by Casey. Casey resides in Upstate New York with her husband Jason and two daughters, Anabella 3 1/2 years and Elsie 7 months. The whole family enjoys practicing the attachment parenting lifestyle. Here is her nursing in publicguest post.

Casey tandem nurses her four month old
and 3 1/2 year old in a Moby wrap.
This is a picture of my first tandem nursing in public experience, and it was taken at a hospital. My three year old had a minor day surgery, and as luck would have it, she needed comforting at the same time my four month old was ready to eat. We were at the hospital in a patient recovery area with about six other patients, and while tandem nursing them at home was a regular occurrence for us, I had never tandemed in public, especially with a three year old hooked up to wires!

I started nursing them, and in walked the nurses. "Great!," I thought. 

I was ready with a comeback as to why my three year old needed to nurse, how it was not child abuse, etc., when the older nurse started to gush about how wonderful it was that I was tandem nursing.

After I got over the initial shock - not only was she happy about me tandem nursing, but she was also encouraging me to continue nursing my daughter as long as possible - she then went on to tell me how she had had home births, coslept, breastfed, etc. We then talked about how we also have had home births, have a family bed, etc. It was great! 

Her encouragement and support made me comfortable to tandem nurse my girls in a room of strangers.  


Despite the fact that negative nursing in public experiences get the publicity, more women receive the kindness and thanks from strangers for making breastfeeding a normal sight.
We want to share your positive stories so that other breastfeeding mothers and mothers-to-be will be inspired and encouraged to N.I.P. If you have a positive N.I.P. story, please contact us. We will include them in the series and credit you, your site, or post it anonymously if you so desire.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Breastfeeding While Babywearing, Part 4

We're celebrating International Babywearing Week by featuring some of our readers' stories and pictures while breastfeeding their babies in carriers. 

The resounding response to the question, "what is your favorite carrier to nurse in?"
A soft structured carrier, the most popular of which is the Ergobaby.
April breastfeeds her 6 month old in an Ergo.
Soft structured carriers like the Ergo help distribute baby's weight more evenly around your hips and back, so you are less likely to get sore shoulders (an unfortunate side-effect sometimes when wearing baby in a ring sling).
Breastfeeding a sweet 4 month old in an Ergo Sport.
One of the best things about most soft structured carriers are their versatility - you can wear baby in the front or the back. Along with the support, this makes it easier to carry baby for longer distances.
Lisa shares: "the Ergo is super easy! We went to the Memphis Zoo this summer when my son was 7 wks and I nursed him while we walked around. We were with some friends and she didn't even notice I was nursing until I switched sides."
Amy assures us how discreetly one can nurse in an Ergo: "I LOVED nursing in my Ergo. I nursed her so often, in so many places and in front of so many people who would have otherwise been aghast. Alas, they never knew."
Suzi communes with nature while nursing her 8 month old in an Ergo.
 Christiana prefers the Ergo for ease of breastfeeding: "I'm joining the Ergo bandwagon - love it! I've nursed in a Babyhawk mai tai as well, but the Ergo wins for me because of the ease of loosening the straps to drop the baby to the best height for her to eat. I feel like she's securely in there the whole time (not that I've had a mai tai fall off)."
You can read a great review of the Ergo at Adventures in Babywearing. And here's a video tutorial on how to nurse in the Ergo. 
Nursing a 14 month old at the beach in an Ergo.
We've featured several popular types of carriers as we celebrate "breastfeeding while babywearing": mei tais, stretchy wraps (or SPOCs), ring slings, and now soft structured carriers. But there are many other types of carriers that may work for you. Here are a few more pictures of our readers breastfeeding while babywearing:
Kristi makes dinner while breastfeeding her 20 month old in a homemade pouch sling.
Dorothy nurses her 11 month old in a hip carrier - the Side Rider.
Melissa snuggles up to a sweet 3 month old in a Beco Butterfly 2 - another type of soft structured carrier.

What is your favorite baby carrier to breastfeed in?
Do you have any great stories of nursing while babywearing? If so, consider submitting them to our "Joys of Nursing in Public" series!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Breastfeeding While Babywearing, Part 3

We're celebrating International Babywearing Week by featuring some of our readers' stories and pictures while breastfeeding their babies in carriers. 

Sara nurses her 3 week old in a ring sling.

The classic baby carrier? 

The ring sling: a piece of fabric with rings on one end, looped around mama so baby can fit snugly inside. 

The ring sling works for newborns . . . 

Mallory nurses her 23 month old in a GriffinFamilyCrafts ring sling.

on up until about 30 or 35 lbs

Kirsten loves her ring slings - she has some from Sleeping Baby Productions, Over the Shoulder Baby Holder, and Sling Fling Sling. Kirsten says that ring slings are perfect for breastfeeding "even now that my daughter is 14 months old and 23 lbs. I actually wore her in a ring sling while walking the Bronx Zoo last week and breastfed while walking. By the way, she's half as tall as I am."

Joseane nurses her 3 month old in a BabySling

You don't need to be on dry land to nurse in a ring sling, Sarah uses a solarveil ring sling for nursing in the pool on a hot summer day.

Coralissa breastfeeds her 12 month old in a PSling.

Mallory shares her favorite part about ring slings: "The same sling that I loved with my 10 lb newborn still works with my 30 lb toddler. A plus is that I can use the tail to cover my tummy when he's nursing."

Tonya breastfeeds her 7 month old in a PSling.

Ashleigh nurses a sleepy 6 month old in a MilkyBaby sling.
Ashley Poland shares a story about nursing in public in a ring sling:
We were a book signing for Jim Butcher in Kansas City -- I went with my then 13-month-old son, my sister, her rooomate, and a friend in full-plate armor. We got there at about seven, and lo and behold -- it was a three hour wait (and well worth it). Thankfully I thought to bring the Baby K'tan I own, which I'd only had for about two months; by 9:00 my son was well past his bed time, overstimulated, and getting grumpy.
Twelve people back from the author, I began to realize that the only thing that was going to put my son to sleep was nursing. He's too big for the cradle position, so I pull my breast out the top of my shirt and let him nurse as he is. Between my shirt, the carrier, and his head nestled on my chest, no one was the wiser.  Even my armored friend looked right at me and went, "Oh, wow, he's breastfeeding -- I had no idea!"
Still, all I could think was please, please don't let me be nursing while I meet Jim Butcher. While I'm all in for public nursing, all I could imagine was at just the wrong moment my son would unlatch, and my boob would just come flying out in front of this author I really admire. Luckily, my son was done before it was our turn to get our book signed.

Stephanie breastfeeds her 10 month old in a Maya Wrap.

Want to make your own ring sling? Jan Andrea offers free tutorials for one layer ring slings, reversible ring slings (pattern 1, pattern 2, pattern 3, and pattern 4), and a no-sew sling.

Anita shows off her homemade ring sling while nursing her 11 month old.
Katie peeks in at her nursing 6 month old in a Taylor Made sling.

Sara - BabyEtte Ring Sling - 23 months
Sara's 23 month old nurses comfortably in a BabyEtte sling.

Joseane nurses hands-free with her 3 month old in a BabySling.
Do you love your ring sling? Why or why not?

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Joys of Nursing in Public #3

Today we are happy to host a guest post by Ashley. Ashley Scott-Fisher is a Birth & Postnatal Doula and mumma to two gorgeous little people! Here is her nursing in public guest post.

We had just gotten to the children's play area in the park. As my two-year-old daughter ran off to play, I heard the familiar sound of my newborn son trying to tell me he was hungry.

I had only breastfed in public a few times, and I was still very nervous about doing it. It was a sunny summer day, the park was packed, and there were no seats on the benches. I first tried to calm my son by walking around (he was in his sling on my front) - this only worked temporarily, and after a few minutes he started to really cry in hunger.

So I made a decision: I am going to feed him, right here, standing up! I pulled up my top, and as I attempted to latch him on in the sling, a nearby mother called me and said "come and sit over here, you should have asked us to move - your baby has every right to eat his lunch!"

It was such a small thing, but it meant so much. I fed my son - in public! - and I felt confident and accepted while doing so. I just wish ALL mothers could feel like that every time they breastfeed in public!


Despite the fact that negative nursing in public experiences get the publicity, more women receive the kindness and thanks from strangers for making breastfeeding a normal sight.
We want to share your positive stories so that other breastfeeding mothers and mothers-to-be will be inspired and encouraged to N.I.P. If you have a positive N.I.P. story, please contact us. We will include them in the series and credit you, your site, or post it anonymously if you so desire.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Breastfeeding While Babywearing, Part 2

We're celebrating International Babywearing Week by featuring some of our readers' stories and pictures while breastfeeding their babies in carriers. 

Judging from the number of pictures we received from mamas nursing in wraps, our readers would love to gift every breastfeeding mother a long stretchy wrap, also known as a "simple piece of cloth" or SPOC. The most popular stretchy wrap among our readers is, hands down, the Moby Wrap.
Danielle breastfeeds her two month old in a Moby Wrap.
Once you get the hang of wrapping it around you and positioning baby inside, a stretchy wrap makes hands-free holding and nursing relatively easy. Jen fondly remembers making pizza (the dough from scratch!) for guests - all the while nursing her little one in a Moby.
And while many mamas prefer a stretchy wrap when their babes are smaller (up to six months or so), others keep on using one for much longer.

Kayla nurses her 12 month old in a bright pink Moby Wrap.
But Moby isn't the only brand of wrap on the market - one of our readers makes and sells her own organic version of the stretchy wrap.
Emmanuelle nurses her 6 week old in a CurlyMonkey Organic Stretch Wrap.
The CurlyMonkey Organic Stretch Wrap is comfortable enough to nurse a 16-month-old babe too!
Some mamas prefer to nurse their babes upright in stretchy wraps.
Jenn nurses her 3 month old in a Sleepy Wrap.
Others like the support a stretchy wrap gives to a baby who would rather lie down.
Jenni's 6 month old reclines while breastfeeding in a Moby.
But you don't need a fancy label on your wrap - you can make one yourself! There's a reason it's called a "simple piece of cloth," all you need is a length of cotton gauze and a sewing machine or serger to finish the edges. Monkey Sew Monkey Do has an easy tutorial that even the most novice of sewers can follow.
Anita nurses her precious two-day-old newborn in a homemade SPOC.
Not sure how you'd wrap such a long piece of cloth around you? Try one of the many tutorials. MobyWrap.com offers a comprehensive PDF with pictures; my husband and I (1) perfected our wrap technique by watching the dad in this YouTube video. Here's an excellent review and tutorial from Hobo Mama.
Keep trying - you'll get the hang of it! You might get some fussing from baby, who will probably get tired of being taken in and out of it during the learning curve, but eventually she'll thank you for letting her snuggle and nurse, warm and close to your body. (This picture tutorial on nursing in a wrap might help!)
Christina nurses her eight month old (with amazing eyes!) in a Moby Wrap.
Do/did you like to nurse your little one in a Moby? Please share your tips/tricks in the comments for our readers who haven't quite gotten the hang of it.
(1) "My" being Dionna and my hubby Tom.

Check back with NursingFreedom.org throughout IBW - October 6 - 12 - for more pictures and stories of breastfeeding while babywearing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Breastfeeding While Babywearing, Part 1

We're celebrating International Babywearing Week by featuring some of our readers' stories and pictures while breastfeeding their babies in carriers. 
From the tiniest breastfeeding newborn to the most independent of nurslings who are past infancy, mamas across the world love to snuggle and nurse their little ones in carriers.
Let's look at one type of carrier today - the mei tai, or Asian-inspired baby carrier.

Here, Jennifer peeks in at her 19 day old newborn nursing in a Silly Goose Baby Mei Tai.
Many mamas love the support and versatility of mei tais - you can wear baby on the front or back.

Audra breastfeeds her three month old in a mei tai carrier.
If you are nervous about using your mei tai, try watching an instructional video first. Here is a video tutorial for a front carry, here is one for a back carry. You can also check out this list of tips and these instructions (including slideshows) for using your mei tai carrier.

Nicole nurses her 10 month old in a Babyhawk mei tai.
Crafty mamas can even make their own mei tais - here is a tutorial for a mei tai with interchangeable panels, and here is a tutorial for a Scandi mei tai.

Megan breastsfeeds her 21 month old in a homemade mei tai.

A few of our readers lament that they've never been able to master breastfeeding in a mei tai. If you love nursing in a mei tai, please share your tips in the comments!

Check back with NursingFreedom.org throughout IBW - October 6 - 12 - for more pictures and stories.

Monday, October 4, 2010

CarNIP Creme de la Creme, Part 5

We are happy to share some of the wonderful pieces that were submitted during the Carnival of Nursing in Public as "Crème de la Crème" posts. I'll be posting a few at a time so you can look at them at your leisure. If you feel so moved, please click over, read the whole post, and leave a comment in support of the writers who participated in the Carnival.

  • Breastfeeding Moms Unite!, What is Beautiful: Melodie discusses the controversial breast - it has a dual purpose. Have we as a society forgotten that?

And now society can’t tell the difference between the non-sexual breasts for feeding a baby and the sexual breast used to titillate men. Either way women lose. You’re a trollop if you want to feel pretty and dress sexy and you’re repugnant if you nurse your baby in public and someone sees a little bit of flesh.
Read more from Breastfeeding Moms Unite!

  • Peaceful Parenting, Breastfeeding Baby Jesus: JD Fritz, M.D. Ph.D. shares long lost images of a breastfeeding Jesus from the Birth and Babies library.  

Images of Mary breastfeeding Jesus were once ubiquitous in churches around the world. But eventually in North America, as the artificial feeding of babies became more popular, and the plastic bottle replaced the breast, our nipplephobia got the best of us and these sacred images all but disappeared from churches and art galleries in North America.
Read more from Peaceful Parenting.

I would not, could not, when in Spain.
I would not, could not on a plane.
I will not do it at the mall.
I will not do it on a hill.
I will not do it here or there.
I will not do it anywhere.
I do not like to nurse in public.
I do not like it, friend of mine.

Read more from PhD in Parenting.