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. ( Make Partner More Comfortable with NIP )
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:
- 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child, by ProMom
- Breastfeeding is better for the environment, by Eco-Mama
- Why Breastfeed?, an excerpt from LLL’s The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
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?
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.
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.
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.