I think I have an opportunity to do some lactivism at a local elementary school, but not sure how to do it.
DS and I participate in a Roots of Empathy program (if you want more details about ROE, here's a link: http://www.rootsofempathy.org/ It's a fabulous program). Basically, we visit a kindergarten class once per month for the entire school year, and the facilitator leads the kids in observing the baby, talking about how he might be feeling, talking about what babies need, seeing how DS grows, etc. This is all to foster empathy in young children, and I think it's a great program.
Anyway, whenever infant feeding comes up, there are always pictures on the board of baby bottles, mothers bottle-feeding, etc. Not a single mention or picture of breastfeeding. Appalling, I know. And I want to change that, but how?
Any suggestions? Our next visit is in December. I was thinking of bringing in a few pictures of breastfeeding (something as simple as a clip art pic) to add to the board. Anything else?
So cool to "meet" someone who participates in RoE! there has been lots about it on the news in Canada these days.
I think the biggest thing you can do is to nurse your baby with the class. Would you consider giving them (the class, not the teacher) a photo of you guys nursing to put up in the classroom?
I'd recruit the kids first and then work on the teacher/school
eta: just saw you are in ON - that changes my answer! I'd definitely still talk to the kids, but would also approach the teacher about the images in the classroom, the need to normalize bf and why.
Yep, I like the RoE program! Do you participate too? I wish we had the program at my daughter's school! The only thing I'm not crazy about is how structured and rule-oriented it is (use soft/quiet voices around the baby, only touch the baby's foot, don't get too close to the baby, and sit still, which I find is very hard to JK/SK kids to do. And DS is a rough and tumble baby who loves to interact, so I wish the kids were able to have some unstructured, free interaction time with him), but I guess it's the only way to keep a group of 20 pre-schoolers organized!
I really want to nurse him in the class (I'm all about unabashed NIPping), but he's one of those babies who will have nothing to do with nursing if he's not hungry! DD used to want to nurse all the time, for comfort and entertainment, but DS goes in, does his job in just a few minutes, and then doesn't want any nursing for a few hours. So it's pretty unlikely that he'll want to nurse during the half hour that I'm in the class (and if I try to put him to the breast when he's not hungry, he protests VERY ADAMANTLY). I'll keep hoping for the opportunity though!
Great idea about the photo of him nursing though! I'm going to try to take one today. That would be a fabulous thing for the class, because they have a little corner of pictures of "their baby". I think it would spark some questions and interest in the kids. I'll also take your other idea about approaching the facilitator and the teacher. Thanks!
Are you the "facilitator"? I'm not sure how much autonomy you have. But here are my ideas that may or may not work.
Can you integrate breastfeeding-related props? (even though the beauty is they aren't needed) perhaps a sling and boppy? when you talk about how the baby is feeling, certainly hunger can come up, and the default way of satiating that hunger that is discussed should, of course, be breastfeeding. Talk about wanting a pacifier or wanting to suck or being sleepy should automatically lead to breastfeeding too. Talking about growing could segway into breastfeeding- it helps him grow now and eventually he'll grow out of it. Can you talk about how he was angry earlier in the day b/c he wanted to b'feed or that he's happy now because he did earlier or that he might be upset later or that if he doesn't bf then he may become upset?
might as well use the int'l sign for b'feeding instead of a clipart pic.
i would think that they are talking a fair amount about babies when you aren't there too so the conversation with the teacher about normalizing would definitely be a good idea.
(curious why Ontario means approach the teacher first? b/c in the US it would be better to approach the kids first?)
Just because in Ontario baby has the right to be breastfed anywhere, any time. It's pretty accepted in the culture, at least in more urban areas. I know there are areas in the USA where nursing is not a right, and wouldn't want to suggest something that got shot down by a teacher first, leaving mom no room to nurse or talk about nursing with the kids. It is very hard to protest against nursing a baby and talking about nursing in front of young kids when you have seen how they react to it.
Hmm, I'm not sure about a clip, only because the whole visit takes 30 minutes, and includes some songs, some observation time, and picture-taking, so it goes by very fast. But I may mention it to the facilitator. Thanks!