Category Archives: World Breastfeeding Week

The Time I Was Shamed For Breastfeeding In Public

Sharing a new article I wrote for RoleReboot​ about the time I was asked to leave a Subway restaurant while nursing my first son. That was over 8 years ago, but I can still feel the way my throat closed up, and how simply terrified I felt. I was a new mom, just trying to get through my days. I am certainly an advocate for public breastfeeding, and this incident didn’t stop me from doing it, but it helped me to understand in a real way why so many moms feel uncomfortable breastfeeding outside their homes. We need to make the world a kinder place for breastfeeding moms and babies.

ginos

Here’s a sample of the article:

By the time my son was a few months old, I became an expert at nursing anywhere, anytime. And let me tell you, my baby nursed all the time. Every hour, to be exact. I gave little thought to nursing in public: If I hadn’t done it in public, I wouldn’t have left the house. (Pumps didn’t work well for me, nor did I particularly want to use bottles.)

So I nursed at stores, parks, and restaurants. I nursed him in a baby carrier while walking down the street. I learned how to nurse while leaning over his car seat (only when the car was stopped in traffic—with my seat belt on).

I never got a second glance from anyone while nursing in public, without a cover. We live in a suburb of New York City—not many mothers nurse in public, but it isn’t unheard of. I took for granted that I was never harassed. It didn’t even cross my mind.

And then, the summer my son was six months old, we spent a week upstate. One afternoon we decided to go out to lunch. There weren’t a lot of restaurant options so we reluctantly settled on Subway.

While we waited for the sandwiches to be ready, my baby needed to nurse. As always, I lifted my shirt and nursed him. We were seated near the back of the place, in a booth, and my breast and baby were fairly well hidden. I didn’t think about that at the time, but it was a detail that would spin through my head later, as I revisited the scene in slow motion.

Across the restaurant, an employee called out to me: “Excuse me, ma’am, you can’t do that here.”

“What?” I asked, truly not even realizing what she meant.

“Listen, I nursed by babies too, but you can’t do that here. You can go to the restroom if you want to continue. People are eating here.” She motioned to the one other patron, his back turned to me. “That’s indecent exposure,” she said.

Click here to read the full article.

***

It’s World Breastfeeding Week, and I will be sharing breastfeeding photos all week on my Facebook Page. Please come over and take a look. I’ll post as many pictures as I get. Email pictures to me at wendywisner78@gmail.com.

Advertisements

25 Things I Want Breastfeeding Moms to Know

10252182_10152453975974515_4985809755467075345_n

1. We’ve all had days when we wanted to give up.

2. There are breastfeeding helpers out there who won’t judge you. Keep looking till you find one who makes you feel safe and supported.

3. Breastfeeding isn’t all or nothing.

4. Breastfeeding looks different for each mom and baby.

5. It’s normal for newborns to never want to be put down. Ever. And it’s normal for them to nurse all the time, sometimes more than once an hour. Really.

6. Almost all moms will make enough milk if they nurse often enough, but for a small number of moms, this isn’t the case. Low milk supply is a real thing, and if you have it, you deserve good, kind, thoughtful help.

7. Tongue tie really can impact breastfeeding. Tongues that are tied down can’t milk the breast properly (leading to low weight gain) and can cause a lot of pain.

8. Tongue tie isn’t always the problem, or isn’t always the only problem. Breastfeeding difficulties are usually multi-faceted, which is why all moms deserve the skilled help of a good IBCLC.

9. I wish all good lactation consultants were covered under insurance. But we are not there yet. Please spend the money to get good help. Most lactation consultants don’t cost more than a good stroller or a baby swing. Most lactation consultants will spend two or more hours with you and provide follow-up.

10. Most breastfeeding problems can be solved by going back to basics. If your nipples hurt, you probably just need to change position, shape and hold your breasts, or unlatch and start again. If you aren’t making enough milk, you probably just need to nurse more frequently. Start with the basics before assuming anything more complicated is going on. Trust biology, your body, and your baby.

11. Lactation cookies and herbs can really help, but they are only helpful if combined with other treatments for remedying supply issues.

12. Breastfeeding isn’t meant to be done alone. Find your tribe. Go to a breastfeeding support meeting. Find moms online who have babies your age. It can make a huge difference.

13. Some babies sleep long stretches and fall asleep easily. Some do not. It (usually) has nothing to do with how you are feeding your baby. It’s usually just genetics and temperament.

14. There is no magic age when babies should stop nursing in the middle of the night. Some babies need the nutrition well past the first few months, and many like the nighttime connection for years.

15. You should breastfeed for as long or as short as you want. It is entirely up to you (and your baby).

16. It is NEVER anyone’s place to judge a mom who chooses not to breastfeed. There are so many reasons why a mother might make this choice, and none reflects poorly on her mothering or her level of care for her child.

17. How much you pump doesn’t always reflect how much milk your baby takes at your breast. Most babies take more than the pump extracts; some take less.

18. Working and pumping mothers deserve all the respect and love in the world.

19. Exclusive pumping moms do too.

20. Babies who never latch are rare, but this does happen, and it is one of the hardest things I have witnessed as a breastfeeding helper. These moms deserve the right to mourn the loss of at-breast feeding, but they need to know this doesn’t make them any less a breastfeeding mom.

21. All mothers have a right to feel whatever they feel about how breastfeeding went for them. All feelings are normal. All feelings are real.

22. Whether or not you breastfed or were breastfed matters in many ways, and in many ways it doesn’t matter at all.

23. Breastfeeding, above all, is love. It’s one of many ways to exchange love with your baby, your toddler, or your child.

24. Children need to grow up seeing breastfeeding. It makes breastfeeding normal. It teaches them breastfeeding positioning, behavior, and more. This is one of the key ways we can increase the breastfeeding rates in our country.

25. Breastfeeding is normal. Breastfeeding is intense. Breastfeeding is simple. Breastfeeding is beautiful.

***

It’s World Breastfeeding Week, and I will be sharing breastfeeding photos all week on my Facebook Page. Please come over and take a look. I’ll post as many pictures as I get. Email pictures to me at wendywisner78@gmail.com.