Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public This post was written for inclusion in the NursingFreedom.org. All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public (“NIP”). See the bottom of this post for more information. ***
People say your life changes when you have a baby and I guess they’re right. The way I see it, though, your perceptions change and because of that, your life changes. I must admit I never thought about breastfeeding much. Why would you, really? Looking back, however, I can’t remember if I ever thought I would or wouldn’t breastfeed, in public or otherwise.
Becoming a mother has opened a whole new world to me, and it’s a world I’ve loved â€“ frustrating as I have found it at times. Once you’ve moved beyond the breast vs bottle debate, you find another â€“ the ‘to cover or not to cover’ debate, with fierce voices and firm opinions on both sides.
I have found myself often surprised by even the existence of the ‘nursing in public’ debate. Don’t get me wrong, I think promoting breastfeeding in public is fantastic, and I think spreading the message of the normality of breastfeeding is wonderful, but it always takes me by surprise that we even have to.
I have breastfed my daughter all over the place. In the Eiffel Tower, outside Buckingham Palace, on an open top tour bus, at my old workplace, in an Embassy â€“ in two Embassies, actually; in church, in Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, in a lecture hall, a restaurant, a plane, on a punt in Cambridge, walking down the street with her in a sling, in a businessman’s cafÃ©, a solicitor’s lobby. The list goes on. I could fill a book.
And I have never stopped and thought, â€œOoh, I am nursing in publicâ€. If I have thought about it at all, I have thought, â€œI am nursingâ€. I wrote a post recently called â€œComebacks for Breastfeeding Commentsâ€ where I wrote down everything I would say if someone made a comment about the fact that I was feeding my daughter. But the truth is, no one ever has.
This morning I was sitting on a train nursing, or should I say, nursing in public, and a man sat across from me. He looked up, looked at the back of my baby’s head and looked back down at his book. The woman next to him looked at my nursing baby, then looked at me â€“ and smiled. And I smiled back.
And this in ‘stiff upper lip’ England.
Now, some women will tell you that nursing is a feminist issue, and some will say that covering or not covering is a feminist issue. I don’t always agree with either view. I think it is a human issue. It is a human rights issue.
It is my right as a mother to provide for my child and this is how I choose to do it. If I choose to cover up in some situations, that is my right, if I choose not to cover up that too is my right. I love that we can talk about ‘nursing in public’, but to my mind that makes it sounds like something we have to discuss, something we have to fight for, a right we need to claim.
I don’t think of it as ‘nursing in public’. I think of it as ‘nursing’. And that is already my right, and it is already protected by law and recommended by ‘them’. It is something I claim and it isn’t something I have to think about â€“ it is just something I do.
Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public
Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit NursingFreedom.org any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.
Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.
This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts – new articles will be posted on the following days:
July 5 – Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World
July 6 â€“ Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child
July 7 â€“ Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.
July 8 â€“ Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives
July 9 â€“ Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It