And breastfeeding etiquette is one of those things that change from time to time.
Now as a mom with a newborn and getting ready to take the baby out for longer periods of time, I find myself googling Breastfeeding etiquette, only to find mostly what people who don't do it think we should do it. And most of the stuff I have found doesn't say it very nicely. I have found blogs where people get really nasty about both sides and mom's taking stuff way too personally. There are very strong opinions on both sides of the aisle on this one.
I think lots of people out there don't understand that etiquette is a culture thing too. It may be okay here, but not there and visa versa. So what I want to do is state a few of the basic etiquette here, ask YOU a few questions and then open it up to what YOU think. So I want lots of comments because traffic here has been good lately and I am sure there are lots of new mom's out there googling this too. Breastfeeding is wonderful and best for baby, and the most natural thing in the world. But it is good to be prepared with knowing what you are facing when going out into the world with that new baby.
Here are a few of the basics:
1. Unless you don't have much of a choice, use discretion in public. Now I know in most cultures it is totally alright to whip out the bare one in public, but here in the states, people just don't see it that way-- and they can get pretty darn nasty about it, too. Sure we women have more rights now than ever, and when we hear about a woman getting kicked off airplanes or out of restaurants for nursing we all get our backs up about it... but sometimes it's just not worth the confrontation. As for me, I really don't care when other mothers are nursing. I just don't stare! But I cover up because not only do I know others care but I don't want people seeing my stuff anyway! Nursing is between me and my baby... no one else's business, I like to keep it that way. HOWEVER: keep in mind, that most people out there would rather have you do what you have to do than to hear a baby screaming to be feed. So do what you have to do, seriously. Baby first! -- you can't please everyone all the time anyway!
There is a site where you only have to pay $9.95 shipping for one with a code ("family2001"). Granted they are back ordered for a few months. I am making my own with my pink camo fabric left over from my rocking purse I made last year. If I am covered people really can't complain too much. It chaps my hide when people complain about nursing mom's who are totally covered. They say it's just wrong because they KNOW what is going on under the cover. Silly reason. Nursing is the most natural thing in the world, women have done it since Eve!
3. If they don't ask, don't tell. People usually don't want to hear about your breastfeeding adventures, unless they ask. So if you are a big mouth like me, try to take cues from the looks on their faces... if they look grossed out... well, change the subject. Because honestly, we nursing mom's will share our breastfeeding info with anyone who might be interested. What mom doesn't like to share her advice and experience?
4. As one mom to another, wear nursing-pads. Please. There is nothing more embarrassing for all (public and mom) to see a nursing mother out in public with the wet dots... you know what I am saying...
And as for a few tips from a mom who has been there done that:
Get a great pump! Ask your friends or research the best ones for you... don't just go out and get a cheap one! It is SOOOO not worth your time, money, or space! Just get a nice one to begin with. I like the nice electric ones, but my sister loves the hand-pumps. Everyone has different preferences. My hand one gave me carpal tunnel in my hands... but that won't happen to everyone.
And get a few nursing bras. When you're breastfeeding, style should be the last thing on your mind. Comfort and convenience are number one. Just remember that breastfeeding is not forever!! Just focus on your baby and being comfortable and healthy.
Now, I can go on and give you all my advice and tips, but really, I want to hear it from you. So....
(Note: You don't have to answer ALL the questions, just give us your best tips!)
What is your best tip on breastfeeding etiquette? What do you do when you need to feed: At the store and you have only half your cart full? When you are on the road? When you are visiting family? When at church, the park, zoo or other public places like that? What do you do different when you are with friends vs. family? How do you answer your other kid's questions about nursing? Do you do anything different with night feeding? What are some foods to stay away from that can give baby gas? How long (months) do you nurse for?
Now, I know that we all have opinions on this, so keep your comments nice. Thanks!