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...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Nursing Our Future and the Holistic Moms Network

An article published in Australia's Herald Sun (2/2010) indicated that many Generation-Y women polled would not nurse their babies because of fear of embarrassment over public breastfeeding. As much as 75 percent of these young women felt that nursing in public was uncomfortable and few understood the benefits of breastfeeding for themselves or their babies.

Inspired by the article in the Herald Sun (Australia), the Holistic Moms Network launched a project to highlight the beauty and confidence of breastfeeding women. HMN members from across North America submitted photos of themselves proudly breastfeeding their children - everywhere from the Eiffel Tower to the Brooklyn Bridge - for the Nursing Our Future video.

Empowering mothers is a cornerstone of the Holistic Moms Network's mission and through the non-profit organization's Chapters, parents gather to offer one another support and advice while also learning about holistic living options from local practitioners and guest speakers.

"One of the barriers for many young mothers is a lack of awareness about breastfeeding as well as a culture that is not particularly breastfeeding friendly," argues Dr. Massotto. The Holistic Moms Network hopes to raise awareness by showing young women images of breastfeeding and to help them find the support and encouragement they need to continue.

You can learn more about the Holistic Moms Network at their website www.holisticmoms.org. HMN is based in NJ and has 110 chapters across North America. We're not in Australia but we were inspired to create the video after the AU newspaper article.

Many thanks to Julie Wagner of Holistic Moms Network for sharing this story with NursingFreedom.org!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Almost Gave Up

I almost gave up
. . . but then I didn’t.
I was about to wean my 4 month old baby. It wasn’t that I was emotionally ready - I was drying up. I was frustrated and tired and I was constantly trying to breastfeed, pump, wash bottles, and care for two babies under two years of age - all while being a SAHM, part time hairdresser, and starting my own business. I was exhausted.
I went back and forth debating on whether I wanted to try the supplements or power pumping, or a nursing vacation to get my supply up . . . or just let it go. I had a few months worth of frozen milk. My daughter could make it to 7 months or so on what was stored. In the research process I stumbled across some wonderful breastfeeding blogs. And it hit me, I didn’t WANT to stop breastfeeding, it was just too hard to maintain. Why is it so hard? Because I let it be. I fell into the ‘boobytraps.’
I was unaware of my rights to breastfeed in public, so I carried expressed milk every time we went anywhere. I couldn’t keep up with my pump schedule when we went anywhere because, let’s face it, who is really going to stop halfway through the zoo and lug kids and all of your stuff back to the car every three hours for a fifteen minute pumping session? If I ever did attempt to nurse in a public area (with a cover, mind you) I felt like I was doing something wrong and was paranoid that any minute someone would say something to me. Not to mention all the stares. Even when friends or family were over at my house I’d pump and feed because I didn’t want to make them uncomfortable (I’m not at ALL modest so it wasn’t about my comfort.)
I’m over it. I’m so glad I persisted instead of giving up. I’m so glad I found this treasure trove of wonderful women who advocate for nursing mothers. Breastfeeding is a wonderful, natural, special thing. I cannot believe that I almost missed out because our society is so misinformed and backwards. I hope that soon all of the issues we breastfeeding mothers deal with today are gone and a new mother will feel comfortable feeding her baby any way she wants anywhere she wants without worrying about anything. Ladies, enjoy that sweet gift from God nursing at your breast for as long as you want, it’ll be over all too soon.

Bonnie is a married 25 year old SAHM to two beautiful girls ages 2 and 6 months. She is also a part time hairdresser and small business owner. You can find her creations at boutiques in Alabama and online at Bonnie's Bows.

Photo credit: Author

Friday, January 21, 2011

Help Change Tennessee Law

I first researched Tennessee's breastfeeding laws during NursingFreedom.org's 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public. I'm not a Tennessee Native, so I had never given it much thought until NursingFreedom.org encouraged mama's to learn about their states' law, and to carry the law with them for protection (assuming the law protects breastfeeding pairs). 
Upon reading the laws for my state, I realized that since my son was nearly 3 years old, we would not be protected from indecency laws if we needed to nurse while in public. I had many emotions, but the one that stands out the most was sadness. I was deeply saddened that the state I lived in thought it only necessary to protect mothers who were nursing babies younger than 12 months. How would this affect a mother who wasn't entirely comfortable nursing to begin with? Would this law affect her decision to nurse beyond one year, or worse, to nurse at all? 
I'm a huge fan of "Be the change you want to see." Instead of being astonished and leaving it at that, I decided to take action. I began an internet search for history on this particular law and came up with scarce results.  My next step was to compose a letter to my representatives (you can read my letter at this link). 
I didn't have high hopes. I never anticipated a single return email. I never expected other moms in my state to respond and write their own letters. The response was overwhelming. I can only imagine what  the Senators and Representatives thought the next morning when they checked their email. 
My imagined morning email check from an unnamed Legislator:

"Diane, what are all these emails about breasts in my inbox?"
"Sir, did you say breasts?"
"Yes, I did. I have 5,698 emails all about breastfeeding. Can you email them all back for me?"
"What should I say?"
"Tell  them something, anything, just be nice. I don't want to be squirted in the eye."

Ok, that may have been a bit extreme, but I tend to over-analyze sometimes!
I received a few responses, surprisingly enough, ranging from "I'm retiring," to "no change needed," (that was from Rep. Ron Ramsey, here is his response), and finally "let's take some action." I was certain the latter email was a bluff. 
Sen. Mike Faulk returned my initial email the very next morning. He said: 

Thank you, Lisa, for your informative e-mail. As I recall the discussion on this bill, there was no discussion of a longer period of time, shorter period of time, or any time constraint whatsoever.
By sending a copy of this e-mail to my administrative assistant, Deana Guenther, I am asking her to forward your e-mail to the State Commissioner of Health for comment.
Once I've heard from the Commissioner, I'm certainly willing to consider an amendment to this law to extend the period of time breastfeeding is protected.
Mike Faulk

This was the email I was sure was a bluff. All smoke and no fire. I was very wrong. 
I recently had a nice surprise in my email from another mom I had joined forces with earlier. Her boss alerted her to a proposed bill in the Senate that removes the age limitation in the law permitting mothers to breastfeed in public children who are age 12 months or younger. You can view and track the bill here.  
I admit, when I saw the bill, a little rush of excitement, and a huge Oh My Gosh moment washed over me. How exciting to be even slightly involved! But then I realized, the hard part has only begun. 
Now we have to rally our efforts and call and write even more than before so this bill will also be introduced into the House, and then it can be voted on. Then, and only then, will we make a difference. 
Even as I write this I know my time nursing is soon coming to an end. My son is now 3.5 years old and only nurses once a day. I will not give up, even if he weans before this is over. It may not affect me, but it could affect my children's children. If not them, this law could discourage another mother from giving her baby the best start possible in life. It's for those babies, for those mothers, that the law matters the most
Now, we need your help more than ever. Call and write your Legislator. Let her/him know that you are in favor of this bill! 
You don't know who to call? No problem! Follow this link to find your Legislator and their contact information. The more interest in the bill, the more likely it will become part of the law. 
Not from Tennessee? It doesn't matter - if you ever visit Tennessee or are planning a visit to Tennessee, we still want you to call or write. You can find a list of all TN Senators at this link.

When you call your Senator, you can say something as simple as this: "Please protect all breastfeeding pairs by voting for Senate Bill 0083. We need to remove the unfounded age restriction!"

When you write your Senator, here is a simple letter you can add to and edit:

Dear < insert name>,

I am writing to ask that you please show support of Senate Bill 0083, so that it may pass and be signed into law. With an abundance of research in favor of breastfeeding beyond the 12 month mark, we, as a state, need this bill to encourage mothers to continue breastfeeding as suggested by the World Health Organization. May we begin to reduce our state's obesity rate by aiding mothers to give their babies the very best start in life, and protect them while doing so. 

Thank you for your time and effort into this matter. 


Many thanks to Lisa of YoHo Graphix (an Etsy shop that has great breastfeeding gear!) and Iced Mudd for being a wonderful advocate for breastfeeding rights!

Monday, January 17, 2011

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. I did not nurse my older son as long as I wished, and I was determined to nurse my new baby for at least a year. I was positively giddy at the prospect of nursing, and I educated myself on all aspects of the endeavor. This research included the laws in my state regarding breastfeeding in public.
California Civil Code § 43-53, Section 43.3 states: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present.”(1) Armed with this knowledge, I understood that I could breastfeed my son anywhere so long as I didn’t barge into strangers’ homes.
Within the first few weeks of my son’s life, I breastfed in an elevator, a grocery store, a doctor’s office, the mall, and several restaurants. I could not tell you if I upset anyone because the time I spent nursing I was focused solely on my son. Watching my baby nurse was bonding, soothing, and empowering. I was feeding my baby with my own body! Before my son was a year old I had breastfed on a family road trip across several states, on a plane, at parties, and on countless benches in a variety of venues. If he was hungry, I fed him.
My sole requirement for nursing my son in public is comfort. When he was a tiny infant I could nurse him easily and comfortably in a sling while walking, shopping, or eating. As he grew I was unable to nurse him while standing, so as long as I could find a place to sit he was able to eat. Sometimes that place to sit was on the ground, but he didn’t mind as long as he had his Mama’s milk.
For the first year of my son’s life I did not worry about bringing food or drink when we left the house. If he was hungry I nursed him. Bottles filled formula or pumped milk were just not a part of my routine. It was liberating to never worry about running out of milk, or having it spoil in the heat. The only downside was having to repeatedly assure my mother that I did not need to bring a bottle or cup when I left the house. She was always concerned that my son was thirsty. For a baby that existed almost solely on breast milk for the first year of his life I am doubtful that thirst was ever an issue.
Now that I’m breastfeeding a seventeen month old toddler, nursing is not his main source of nourishment. He eats real meals, drinks a variety of beverages, and nursing is not as important as exploring his world. However, he still nurses for comfort and reassurance sporadically throughout the day and night. We still nurse in public, but not as frequently. The world is an exciting place when you are a toddler, and Mama’s milk is not the foremost thought in his head.
Whenever he asks to nurse in public, by signing “milk” and looking excited, I look for a place to sit and feed him. Sometimes that is the outdoor furniture section of a home improvement store- which I highly recommend for the plethora of seating options. Sometimes it is a bench at the local zoo. Wherever, it is not about being discreet. It is about finding a place to park my bottom, focus on my son, and relax while I offer him food and comfort.

1. Breastfeeding and Healthy Living: California Laws


Sam has been writing at Sam's Stories since 2005. She is the proud mother of two boys with another on the way.

Photo credit: Dionna at Code Name: Mama

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winner: Beauty of Mothering Calendar

A big congratulations to the winner of the 2011 Beauty of Mothering Calendar:


Vanessa said:
"I would keep the calendar for myself, to inspire me on tough days to keep our breastfeeding relationship going :) That, and who doesn’t love breastfeeding photos?!"

This was a joint giveaway with CodeNameMama.com, so entries were combined and one winner drawn. Vanessa entered at Code Name: Mama.

If you were not the lucky winner, you can buy the 2011 Beauty of Mothering Calendar from their website. 2011 Beauty of Mothering Breastfeeding Wall Calendars are 13 month (December 2010 through December 2011), 12x12", and include lunar cycles and breastfeeding quotes. Each calendar is $14.99 + $4.99 shipping and handling.

The calendars are available now exclusively through Beauty of Mothering using your choice of Paypal, Amazon Checkout or Google Checkout.

For a limited time, NursingFreedom.org and Code Name: Mama readers can get a 10% discount on the calendars! Click the "Buy Now" button below to get your 10% discount - you can only get it here!

Be sure to connect with Beauty of Mothering:

Disclosure: Our reviewer received a free product for review.
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