|Mama Steph rocking her nursing shawl!|
The other day, someone sent me an article on "BIP" (breastfeeding in public). I am what many would consider to be a lactivist. In my non-blogging life I do research on breastfeeding, and so it is a passion in my life. However, I am not that person that will scream at someone for bottle feeding. The fact is, I know after 3 kids, that parenting is HARD work. After my first child, I really thought I "got" it. With my second child I realized that it was MUCH harder to have 2 children than 1 (imagine that). By my third, I threw all of my pre-conceived notions about parenting out the window. I realized that sometimes life happens. As I often say to new moms, "Sometimes, even in our house, we have cupcakes for breakfast." Of course, we do not have cupcakes every day . . . but there has been a time that the cupcakes were left on the counter and the kids got up BEFORE the grown-ups, and cupcake eating ensued.
I tell you all of this because I want you, our readers, to know that here at MamaBreak we support ALL mamas. We support you regardless of HOW you feed your child. Because we KNOW it is hard work, and we are all doing our best.
With all of that being said, we 100% support the mamas breastfeeding in public. You want to use a cover-- go for it! You do not want to use a cover-- go for it! You want to bottle feed-- go for it! You want to mix formula in front of us-- yes, you can even do that! Because of this-- BEING A MAMA IS HARD WORK!!!
One thing I hate about the breast vs. bottle debate and the debate over breastfeeding in public (with or without a cover), is that we seem to forget that we are all moms, grandmothers, and/or women. We are all trying to do the best we can to raise our children in the best way we see fit! Why can't we SUPPORT one another, regardless of this decision. I always presume if someone decides to formula feed that they have been given the information they need and have come to an informed decision. And if I hear someone making a fasle statement about breastfeeding, I WILL correct them. But I know in my experiences with mothers, that there ARE women who cannot breastfeed.
So here are my tips for FEEDING in public, because really, it does not matter how you do it.
- Be prepared for judgmental looks. No matter how you are feeding, SOMEONE is going to disapprove. Guess what? It is NOT the first time this will happen in your time as a parent. I believe feeding in public prepares us for the on-slaught of public scrutiny we will face later in parenting (like when your child is screaming HELP at the top of their lungs as you walk through a store-- because it is their favorite new word).
- Be prepared for snide comments. I stopped being critical of people who would make negative statements about me breastfeeding in public. People are always going to be critical of something you do (just wait until the first time you need to bring your child out and they refuse to wear anything but their pajamas/Halloween costume/snow boots in summer). I take a deep breath and wish them a good day.
- KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!!! This is mostly true for breastfeeding mothers (but ANY mother should know their rights). If someone attempts to kick you out of an establishment, share with them the laws in your state! I have them laminated on a card (even though I no longer breastfeed-- but to support other mothers). Don't know your state's laws? Here you go!
- Be STRONG and be PROUD of you as a mom! You are doing a GREAT job!!!!
- FIND SUPPORT!!! Find other moms to support you! It is the #1 way to build your confidence as a mom!
- If you feel uncomfortable without a cover, there are so many wonderful covers out there! We loved ones with a hooped top, so that we could still see the baby. We also loved using A & A blankets as a cover!
- SUPPORT ALL of the other Mamas out there!!!! If you see someone giving another mother a hard time for her feeding choices, speak up! We need to support each other as mamas-- not matter what the feeding choice is!
- LOVE YOURSELF! Mamas, we need to love ourselves no matter what! By loving ourselves and owning our actions, we are teaching our children to do the same. By loving ourselves we are teaching our kids to love themselves as well!
10 years ago, I was pregnant with my first child, and I would never have imagined that breastfeeding would become such an important issue in my life! We change so much as women when we become mothers!
We support all of you, Mamas!