Why is discretion such a hot topic?--Update#127 (pg 7) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think we all agree that a mother and her baby should be able to nurse whenever and wherever they need to. That's a true need, and it's not negotiable for many reasons that have been well-covered . . . it's not reasonable to expect a mother to stay home until her baby is weaned, to carry a bottle, or to expect that the baby will even TAKE a bottle, etc.

But some people seem to have a judgemental attitude toward any woman who chooses to cover herself and/or her baby with a blanket while NIP, because they're "fostering the idea that women should cover when nursing" or something like that. Why shouldn't I cover up if it makes me more comfortable? Why would it be wrong of me to accommodate others' comfort levels by making a minimum effort to provide some sort of visual barrier if it doesn't create undue hardship for me?

I completely understand why people would be against a law that required women to be "discreet" when NIP, because it could be abused and because discretion is subjective and open to interpretation. So IMHO laws should just say that a woman can breastfeed her child anywhere the woman and baby are both authorized to be, without mentioning discretion or anything like that.

But apart from the law, why do some women seem to feel almost a moral obligation to completely refuse to make any accommodation, no matter how minor, to anyone else's level of discomfort with seeing them breastfeed?

In my opinion, nursing the baby is a need. Nursing the baby without making any effort to screen the process in any way from uncomfortable eyes is IMHO a preference, not a need. I don't think my preference automatically trumps everyone else's needs or comfort just because I'm nursing.

I understand the issue that some babies won't tolerate being covered with a blanket. And expecting someone to nurse in the bathroom is unreasonable for both comfort and hygeine reasons.

But, for instance, would people here see a problem with a restaurant bringing out a lovely decorative screen to shield a nursing mom and baby from the rest of the guests? Would that violate her rights or harm her or the baby in any way? It doesn't seem to me that it would.

There's always a lot of debate about how people behave in other people's homes. To me, being in someone else's home is a somewhat unique situation. If I am visiting in someone else's home and I become offended or uncomfortable, I can leave. If they uncomfortable or offended by something a guest does, where can they go? They can't leave and go home--they ARE home.

If I was at someone else's house and they asked me not to nurse in their home I would be shocked and offended, and I would think it was wrong of them, but I would leave. I wouldn't insist on sitting there nursing my baby and refuse to leave their home.

I actually had this happen to me once. The person I was visiting was so uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding that they didn't want me to do it anywhere in their home, even if they couldn't see it happening. So I nursed in my car and then I left. And I would not be comfortable visiting in their home with a nursling, ever again.

But I don't quite understand why some people feel that being asked to be discreet is exactly the same thing as being asked not to nurse, period. To me it's not at all the same. I have a huge problem with being asked not to feed my baby. But I don't have a problem at all with making sure the spot where my baby is latched onto the breast is not in the direct, full line of vision of someone I know is uncomfortable around breastfeeding.

With the exception of that one person who didn't want me nursing anywhere in their home even if they couldn't see it, I've always been able to find a solution that balanced the needs and comfort of everyone present. Almost always, I've been able to do this in a way that doesn't require my missing out on huge chunks of the social event.

Usually I just cover the baby with a blanket or turn my body away from the uncomfortable person a bit. And/or I'll seat myself so that my husband is blocking any direct view from the unfomfortable person to my nursling. I've been known to take a chair and put it so that I'm sitting behind the uncomfortable person, or sit just around a corner so I can still hear and take part in the conversation without giving them a view of my breast in case the baby pulls off suddenly and looks around (as my little socialite is apt to do).

Obviously people can go too far, and if I've made a reasonable effort to at least attempt to accommodate the other person's squeamishness and they're still uncomfortable, oh well. At that point I figure I've fulfilled what's required by politeness and courtesy. If my breasts are not at risk of becoming open to view and they're still not happy, that's probably their problem. If at that point they asked me to do something I felt was unreasonable or compromised my ability to feed my child, I would probably explain why I felt it was unreasonable and then leave if I couldn't bring them around.

I have seen people disrobe to the waist to nurse or pump.

If someone did that in my home I would never dream of telling her that she couldn't pump, nurse, or whatever she needed to do in my home, or that she couldn't take off whatever she needed to to do that.

But if she had completely taken her shirt and bra off in front of my husband and my other guests and refused to cover up or go elsewhere to do it, I would have thought that highly inappropriate and would have asked her to find some way to be more discreet.

I know that some people would equate my asking her not to take her shirt off in my living room as being equal to my refusing to allow her to feed my baby in my home at all, anywhere. I just don't see how it's the same thing.

Why do some people seem to think that asking someone to be discreet is exactly the same as asking them not to breastfeed?
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#2 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 05:54 PM
 
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First of all I have no problem with women who WANT to cover up, for their own reasons. I have a huge problem with others expecting me and others to cover, just because they think bfing is "gross" or "unappropriate" or something else along those lines. My DS won't be coverd - he pops on and off at his leisure and would never except a blanket or anything else over his head. Then he wouldn't be able to see and that wouldn't be fair!

If I am ever visiting someone, and am told to cover, I'll refuse. People have asked if I'd like a blanket to which I calmly reply that no, that isn't wanted or needed. If they insist, I'd leave. And never visit them again while I had a nursling. Expecting me to cover or got a different room or whatever just so that they don't have to "see" me nurse (and for that they can just look away), is unacceptable - to me. If your in *my* house or someone elses' house, who is otherwise OK with my nursing, then you should leave. If you make it a huge seen - well, then I just don't think theres any need for us to be in the same place ever again, whiel DS is nursing.

And I think pumping (which might or might not require total removal of a shirt/bra), is a bit different - I hate pumping in front of others, even just my dad. Its a much more private experience vs nursing.

Those are my thoughts on the subject.
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#3 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamadelbosque View Post

And I think pumping (which might or might not require total removal of a shirt/bra), is a bit different - I hate pumping in front of others, even just my dad. Its a much more private experience vs nursing.

Those are my thoughts on the subject.

The "pumping is more private than nursing" idea fascinates me. I don't see it that way at all, really--they're both necessary tasks for feeding the baby (well, necessary in some situations anyway). Neither is any more or less sexual or appropriate than the other in my mind.

So, you would see total removal of the shirt and bra to pump in front of others as a different type of thing than total removal of the shirt and bra to nurse in front of others?
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#4 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 06:15 PM
 
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First of all, discretion is subjective.

Second of all, not all babies can or will nurse with a shield or blanket or whatever.

Third, covering up when someone is offended is validating their criticism, which is completely baseless.

Reasonable attempt is also subjective. You think covering or turning away is reasonable. Someone else might not and might think you should go in the bathroom. Why is your "reasonable attempt" more valid than theirs. I think it is all bunk.

People are offended by a lot of things- same sex couples holding hands, women working outside of the home, tattoos, whatever.

One does not have the right to not be offended when they leave their house. if they wish to avoid being offended, then perhaps they should cover their eyes or stay home.

This doesn't even touch the reasons why nursing in public is vital, how it normalizes breastfeeding, how women standing up for the rights of moms and nursing babies benefits everyone.

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#5 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One does not have the right to not be offended when they leave their house. if they wish to avoid being offended, then perhaps they should cover their eyes or stay home.

OK, I understand most of your points I think. BUT what about in a person's own home? Should I have a right to ask someone not to take off their shirt and bra in my living room, or not?
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#6 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 06:38 PM
 
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I think the reason that being asked to be discreet can be offensive is in the language.
If the word's usage were based upon its etymology then discreet is completely appropriate, and I have found that most moms are so.
However, contemporary usage of the word in regards to breastfeeding generally suggests that there is something that needs to be considered of delicate nature or separate from common behaviour; and many moms who breastfeed, especially those who do so exclusively for extended periods, may also find it objectionable that breastfeeding is not considered common (I am one of those, and feel it is common in my frame of reality).

Two thoughts about covering oneself while breastfeeding:
1. I think it interesting that in countries where women are generally undercover, public nursing is not an issue.

2. I notice people under blankets far more than I notice people just nursing. I think covers draw attention to the act breastfeeding. They are also rather cumbersome to deal with.

Perhaps those new moms having access to and hanging with those more experienced breastfeeding in public moms would help them to find comfort levels and spread the commonality of baby feeding.
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#7 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 06:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by purple_kangaroo View Post
OK, I understand most of your points I think. BUT what about in a person's own home? Should I have a right to ask someone not to take off their shirt and bra in my living room, or not?
Are you serious? Do you actually think a woman would completely disrobe in your house in order to breastfeed?

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#8 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are you serious? Do you actually think a woman would completely disrobe in your house in order to breastfeed?
Did you read my OP? I have actually had a woman disrobe from the waist up to feed her baby in my house.
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#9 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 07:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by purple_kangaroo View Post
I think we all agree that a mother and her baby should be able to nurse whenever and wherever they need to. That's a true need, and it's not negotiable for many reasons that have been well-covered . . . it's not reasonable to expect a mother to stay home until her baby is weaned, to carry a bottle, or to expect that the baby will even TAKE a bottle, etc.

But some people seem to have a judgemental attitude toward any woman who chooses to cover herself and/or her baby with a blanket while NIP, because they're "fostering the idea that women should cover when nursing" or something like that. Why shouldn't I cover up if it makes me more comfortable? Why would it be wrong of me to accommodate others' comfort levels by making a minimum effort to provide some sort of visual barrier if it doesn't create undue hardship for me?

When I NIP my 20 month old, my concern is for her and only her. The thoughts of any onlookers mean nothing to me. If they are offended by my NIPing, it's there issue, and I refuse to make it my issue.

I completely understand why people would be against a law that required women to be "discreet" when NIP, because it could be abused and because discretion is subjective and open to interpretation. So IMHO laws should just say that a woman can breastfeed her child anywhere the woman and baby are both authorized to be, without mentioning discretion or anything like that.

But apart from the law, why do some women seem to feel almost a moral obligation to completely refuse to make any accommodation, no matter how minor, to anyone else's level of discomfort with seeing them breastfeed?

Again, because I am only concerned with feeding my child. Sometimes, watching other restaurant patrons eat simply turns my stomach. Should they accommodate my discomfort?

In my opinion, nursing the baby is a need. Nursing the baby without making any effort to screen the process in any way from uncomfortable eyes is IMHO a preference, not a need. I don't think my preference automatically trumps everyone else's needs or comfort just because I'm nursing.

Feeding my child trumps the discomfort of everyone.

I understand the issue that some babies won't tolerate being covered with a blanket. And expecting someone to nurse in the bathroom is unreasonable for both comfort and hygeine reasons.

Nursing in a bathroom is not unreasonable. It's disgusting.

But, for instance, would people here see a problem with a restaurant bringing out a lovely decorative screen to shield a nursing mom and baby from the rest of the guests? Would that violate her rights or harm her or the baby in any way? It doesn't seem to me that it would.

It would, though, say that whatever is going on behind the screen needs to be hidden, and that's a terrible message to send.

There's always a lot of debate about how people behave in other people's homes. To me, being in someone else's home is a somewhat unique situation. If I am visiting in someone else's home and I become offended or uncomfortable, I can leave. If they uncomfortable or offended by something a guest does, where can they go? They can't leave and go home--they ARE home.


Private homes are different. My friends know I nurse, and they fully expect me to nurse while I am there. Heck, I even nurse my 4 y/o at my FIL's house. If I ever run into a situation where a homeowner does not want me to NIP, they are fully within their right to ask me to stop. Just as I am fully within my right to leave and not return.

If I was at someone else's house and they asked me not to nurse in their home I would be shocked and offended, and I would think it was wrong of them, but I would leave. I wouldn't insist on sitting there nursing my baby and refuse to leave their home.

I would finish feeding my baby first. Then I would leave.

I actually had this happen to me once. The person I was visiting was so uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding that they didn't want me to do it anywhere in their home, even if they couldn't see it happening. So I nursed in my car and then I left. And I would not be comfortable visiting in their home with a nursling, ever again.

But I don't quite understand why some people feel that being asked to be discreet is exactly the same thing as being asked not to nurse, period. To me it's not at all the same. I have a huge problem with being asked not to feed my baby. But I don't have a problem at all with making sure the spot where my baby is latched onto the breast is not in the direct, full line of vision of someone I know is uncomfortable around breastfeeding.

That's your preference, and that's fine. But not everyone nurses that way, not should they have to.

With the exception of that one person who didn't want me nursing anywhere in their home even if they couldn't see it, I've always been able to find a solution that balanced the needs and comfort of everyone present. Almost always, I've been able to do this in a way that doesn't require my missing out on huge chunks of the social event.

Usually I just cover the baby with a blanket or turn my body away from the uncomfortable person a bit. And/or I'll seat myself so that my husband is blocking any direct view from the unfomfortable person to my nursling. I've been known to take a chair and put it so that I'm sitting behind the uncomfortable person, or sit just around a corner so I can still hear and take part in the conversation without giving them a view of my breast in case the baby pulls off suddenly and looks around (as my little socialite is apt to do).

I'd rather "miss" that event completely

Obviously people can go too far, and if I've made a reasonable effort to at least attempt to accommodate the other person's squeamishness and they're still uncomfortable, oh well. At that point I figure I've fulfilled what's required by politeness and courtesy. If my breasts are not at risk of becoming open to view and they're still not happy, that's probably their problem. If at that point they asked me to do something I felt was unreasonable or compromised my ability to feed my child, I would probably explain why I felt it was unreasonable and then leave if I couldn't bring them around.

I did have a guest in my home once who literally disrobed to the waist (entirely took off her shirt and I think her bra, too) to pump milk for her baby (they were having problems with nursing). Thankfully she chose to do this in a bedroom instead of in front of the other guests. I offered to keep her company, which she graciously accepted.

Why would you offer to keep her company?

I would never dream of telling her that she couldn't pump, nurse, or whatever she needed to do in my home, or that she couldn't take off whatever she needed to to do that.

But if she had taken her shirt and bra off in front of my husband and my other guests and refused to cover up or go elsewhere to do it, I would have thought that highly inappropriate and would have asked her to find some way to be more discreet. If she wasn't willing to do that, she most likely would be the type of person who wouldn't be invited back again anyway.

I highly doubt she would have disrobed in front of you and your husband. And if she had, and if you had reacted as you said you would, you probably would not have to worry about not inviting her. I highly doubt she would have wanted to return.

I know that some people would equate my asking her not to take her shirt off in my living room as being equal to my refusing to allow her to feed my baby in my home at all, anywhere. I just don't see how it's the same thing.

I have a hard time believing she would have done that, and I think your example is a bit extreme.

Why do some people seem to think that asking someone to be discreet is exactly the same as asking them not to breastfeed?

I am all for discretion; in fact, I am a very discreet nurser. Nut it is MY CHOICE. It should not be forced upon me by closed-minded individuals who believe that breasts are for sex and sex alone.


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#10 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 07:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by purple_kangaroo View Post
Did you read my OP? I have actually had a woman disrobe from the waist up to feed her baby in my house.
Hello. Yes, I did. You said this:

Quote:
I did have a guest in my home once who literally disrobed to the waist (entirely took off her shirt and I think her bra, too) to pump milk for her baby (they were having problems with nursing). Thankfully she chose to do this in a bedroom instead of in front of the other guests. I offered to keep her company, which she graciously accepted.
Apples and oranges.


She did it in a separate room, and she was pumping, not nursing. Pumping is both mental as well as physical, and I know many women who cannot pump with a shirt and bra on. I cannot, though, understand why you would want to keep her company while she pumped.

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#11 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 07:23 PM
 
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[QUOTE=purple_kangaroo;10338469]The "pumping is more private than nursing" idea fascinates me. I don't see it that way at all, really--they're both necessary tasks for feeding the baby (well, necessary in some situations anyway). Neither is any more or less sexual or appropriate than the other in my mind.

QUOTE]

I've actually had to pump "in public" before (and i'm not talking just in my car or something)...It was either find a quiet corner, or take up the only bathroom on that floor of the children's museum for 20 minutes. I haven't read anything saying my right to pump in public in general is protected, so, it's sort of a "don't make waves" situation when I've had to do it. I think a lot of people take the "you don't NEED to pump right now" stance b/c, well, my child isn't screaming with hunger, and it's obviously going into a bottle, so, why not just give her formula this time, or wait until we get home to pump, or whatever.

I have pumped in front of my best friend and her whole family (DH, three (breastfed) kids). It was fascinating to them. A very odd reversal, in retrospect...

Oh yah, as to the disrobing - unless you have a hands-free pumping bra set up (and sometimes even then), it can be very hard to get situated w/o "disrobing" at first...getting the flanges held in place while you turn the machine turned on, and the reverse at the end, etc. If your clothes hit the flanges the wrong way, they can dislodge sometimes. I've been doing it for 18+mos, and I still have times where I just have to yank up what I'm wearing to get something set.
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#12 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 07:41 PM
 
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I don't have a problem with those who want to use a cover. I also used a cover for a few months with my twins. They started to get fidgety and it was more of a hassle to use a cover than not using one. So, now, I never use any sort of cover. Does that mean my boobs are hanging out? Of course not.

As far as other's comfort is concerned, I don't understand why other people's comfort is put in the hands of a nursing mother. I don't see that asked of other people.


As far as disrobing in your house, I'm guessing she knew she had to disrobe from the waist up thus asking to use another room. I highly doubt that she would've done it in front of your guests. Having had to pump for the first 6 weeks of my twin's lives, it was more comfortable for me just to take off my shirt and bra to pump.
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#13 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 07:44 PM
 
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So WHAT if someone DOES disrobe to nurse? If I wanna strip from the waist up...people will have to learn to cope or leave. Their issue. Not mine.

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#14 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 07:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by purple_kangaroo View Post
Why do some people seem to think that asking someone to be discreet is exactly the same as asking them not to breastfeed?
I'm going to try to get my point across here. Discretion is so subjective. I noticed that lot of times, when people say "be discreet", they want you to nurse in a corner, with a blanket . That is not how I want to nurse. I don't use a blanket but I can be discreet without one. Plus, it bothers me when people tell me how to do something when I do it already (does that make sense?)
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I don't have a problem with those who want to use a cover. I also used a cover for a few months with my twins. They started to get fidgety and it was more of a hassle to use a cover than not using one. So, now, I never use any sort of cover. Does that mean my boobs are hanging out? Of course not.

As far as other's comfort is concerned, I don't understand why other people's comfort is put in the hands of a nursing mother. I don't see that asked of other people.

As far as disrobing in your house, I'm guessing she knew she had to disrobe from the waist up thus asking to use another room. I highly doubt that she would've done it in front of your guests. Having had to pump for the first 6 weeks of my twin's lives, it was more comfortable for me just to take off my shirt and bra to pump.
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#16 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 07:50 PM
 
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Also, for some people, being told to be discreet does mean not breastfeeding.

It has been shown that if women feel tied down- having to turn away from people, having to carry a blanket, having to find a bathroom, they will not nurse very long, if at all.

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Because it's my body and my baby - NOONE has the right to tell me how to nurse. Requesting I be "discreet" is noones place. Period.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#18 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 07:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kalynnsmom View Post

As far as other's comfort is concerned, I don't understand why other people's comfort is put in the hands of a nursing mother. I don't see that asked of other people.
Yes exactly.

And you know, people can do what they want about nursing mothers in their home, but I can't imagine anything else that is so important and integral to one's health and well being that someone would would tell someone to cover up or go in another room.

I am still boggled that the op sees nothing wrong with a restaurant asking a mother to cover up.

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#19 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 07:56 PM
 
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Another thing...requesting someone cover up implies breasts SHOULD be covered and/or are shameful. THAT is the problem with this anti-nip culture. I will NOT cater to that idea.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#20 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 07:58 PM
 
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Exactly rmzbm.

If someone asked or told me to cover up or go in another room in their else, I would either leave immediately. If I couldn't leave immediately, I would nurse as I normally would, and not have that person in my life any more.

I love how people expect me to respect their ludicrous requests, but they cannot respect my and my baby's need and desire to nurse in the and way that is comfortable for us.

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#21 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 10:36 PM
 
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I don't understand why this keeps coming up here. Wouldn't it be easier for everyone to just read all the previous threads on precisely the same question?

Do I get to control what happens in my own house? Yes. Which is why my in-laws don't have my address.

If someone didn't want me to breastfeed in a particular way in his or her house, I would hope they would let me know in a way that was polite. Regardless, then I decide whether that is a house I will visit again. Which is why I am not on speaking terms with any of my sisters-in-law. These are personal decisions and I wouldn't dictate to a breastfeeding mom how she should respond - just support her right to make the choice and acknowledge that these decisions come with great costs.

Outside of a private home, no one gets to tell a mom how she should breastfeed. Even a suggestion is rude because it is an indication of disapproval of how she is breastfeeding. Few days go by that I don't want to tell someone that their perfume, camera flash, cell phone ring, or peppermint candy gives me a blinding migraine. But my migraines are my issue when I am in public. It is the risk I take. If I were offended by seeing someone breastfeeding, I would know that by going out in public I risk being offended. Tuff.

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#22 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 10:53 PM
 
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Nipples are really funny looking when people pump. Do they make any with opaque plastic?

My cousin who EP-ed for 6 months says she ended up nursing while driving a number of times and she says the only time it got to her was when traffic slowed down and she was next to a truck.
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#23 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 11:07 PM
 
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I saw a woman breastfeeding on the floor of the washroom in the foodbank. I asked her why (obviously after chatting a bit etc.) She said that she's too embarassed to nurse in public Obviously lack of support. It's horrible that a woman should feel it is more appropriate to nurse on a dirty bathroom floor than on a chair in public where she would be more comfortable. She is a new mom and really needs to go to great lengths to nurse comfortably. Plus she is a large woman and skin is exposed no matter what which she said adds to her self-consciousness. Discretion in her world means showing no skin at all that would normally be under a shirt. I would rather women everywhere whip their shirts right off to nurse than to have one woman nursing on a bathroom floor.
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#24 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 11:15 PM
 
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I am one of those people who, at this point in our country's culture, is just glad to see a nursing mom, whether she's wearing a titty tent or letting it all hang out. Neither phases me. I can't say I'd be offended if someone offered me a cover. I'd assume they were just concerned about my comfort. But if I say no thank you, that should be the end of it.
I understand that some people think covering sets lactivism back. I don't necessarily agree. I think if it is done for the comfort of the mother and doesn't make the baby uncomfortable, they are just doing what it takes to make NIP'ing as easy for them as possible. Most of the moms I see covering have no problem with other women who don't. LLL is a good exmple. Some of the moms there are not comfortable nursing around strangers without a cover up, so they use one. But I have yet to see them say anything negative to a mom who chooses not to cover up.
I think the issue of NIP needs more attention in general as far as women's rights go. PSA's, word of mouth, and just going out there and doing it all help. Once breastfeeding is seen in a more positive light, it will become more socially accepted in public. Once that happens, less women will feel the need to cover. Once that happens, nursing without feeling the need to be "discreet" or cover up will become the norm.
I don't think we realise how truely far we are from reaching our goals. We surround ourselves with like-minded people and try to forget that there are people out there who haven't even been presented with the opportunity to form an opinion on the subject, so when they see it, they freak out! Not because they are A-holes or puritans, but because they don't understand. I knew a girl in high school who honest to God did not know that breasts made milk! (this is a rarity, but some people are truely sheltered!) Imagine how she would feel if she saw a mom nurse in public.
Okay, sorry for babbling, lol! If you actually read this, I commend you! I guess my point is that we're skipping steps. People need to be made aware of breastfeeding. Not just knowing it exists and having a vague knowledge that it's better than formula, but knowing HOW MUCH and WHY. I am by no means saying not to NIP. But if you get a comment or an offer to cover, try to understand that the person is probably neither for or against NIP and is probably making comments out of ignorance, not insolence.

... GAH! I hope I made sense. I can't stop talking!

I'm a modifiedartist.gif DH is a reading.gif we have 2 angel.gifs, and DS is a rainbow1284.gif baby.gif
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#25 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 11:23 PM
 
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I bf'd my ds until he was 3.

Now maybe it's because I work in a field where I see many body parts all the time. Maybe it's because I felt much more "exposed" when I gave birth than I ever did when I was NIP. Maybe it's because I have large breasts that required alot of manipulation of the child & the breast to work together, and adding a cover or blanket to the mix would have been a nightmare, but...

It's a nipple, people. I mean, seriously. I'm sure someone, somewhere saw my nipple when I NIP. Nobody died. Nobody was scarred for life. Children did not go blind. Men did not turn into raging sex machines intent on having me right then.

I support NIP however it makes you comfortable. But I agree that the longer we feel the need to hide (be "discreet" for someone else's comfort, because that really means hiding), the longer it's going to take for everyone to see nursing as normal.

And it is normal, and wonderful, and I hope we can support all women who NIP, and not worry about if they are meeting some vague definition of being "discreet."


Mom, wife, full-time student.  And tired.  DH, DS#1 (9/99) and DS#2 (9/09), and 2 dogs.

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#26 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 11:32 PM
 
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The OP has about a dozen different points.

First off, I think pretty much every lactivist believes a woman should nurse however she feels the most comfortable - and we hope to make women feel comfortable enough to nurse in ways that support the nursing relationship (i.e. being able to NIP or nurse often, etc etc).

On an individual basis, I doubt anyone truly has much issue with an individual woman's choice to cover herself. And the vast majority of nursing moms I know are as discreet *as possible for them* when nursing - meaning they try to avoid showing flesh around non-family.

HOWEVER, the definition of discreet, as someone else pointed out, is subjective - I may see myself as discreet if my nipple is exposed for under 5 seconds period (latch on/latch off). Someone else may think discreet means no one knows what I am doing.

Most of the time, discreet is code for hidden. Many of the people who claim they only want women to be discreet really just don't want to see breastfeeding in their presence - in which case, advertising it with a big blanket or hooter hider is actually more "in your face" than a quick "lift and latch".

In addition, while we all may prefer to avoid showing flesh, circumstances intervene. Many babies won't nurse under a cover or blanket - mine pull 'em off. And I am sure most of us have had babies do the "pop off, look around, latch on, nurse nurse, pop off, look around..." This can be extremely challenging, especially when you need the baby to eat, and he is just so darn fascinated by the world.

And frankly, mamas with large breasts, with latch difficulties, those who use SNSs, or a host of other issues, may not be able to "lift and latch" like others can. For those moms who have resigned themselves to showing more flesh than they ideally would, in preference to their nursing relationship - well, I say more power to them! It is not an easy decision to make to literally expose yourself to criticisms as well as the view of others.

Also, while I never felt embarrassed nursing in front of others (especially when I got really comfortable with how much flesh I would show), I will not pump in front of anyone but my husband or kids (I did pump once in front of another mom who was pumping, too - that was actually pretty cool). So please do not equate pumping with nursing - for many women the experience is completely different.

And for the main point about if someone takes issue in a private home - well, sure, in a private home, their house, their rules. But I also get to choose whether I go or not.

My final comment is this - how do we make these conversations about discretion go away, and make nursing in public more socially acceptable, and make breastfeeding the normal way of feeding babies? By nursing in public. If people see a lot of women nursing their babies - if they NOTICE women are nursing, and they see it everywhere, well, after awhile, it becomes no big deal.

People get inured after seeing something a dozen or so times. It is no longer considered shocking or unpleasant - but rather accepted as the norm. So the more we moms are out there nursing in public, the shock lessens, the indignation decreases and we find the next generation of mothers will hopefully find that nursing their babies is the norm, rather than the exception.

My 2 cents.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#27 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 11:43 PM
 
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Well I think women should be allowed to nurse where and when they like to.
When I was nursing my son, the following story happened to me and made me feel like total crap.
We were in line at the post office. It was 4:50 and the package I was sending out HAD to get sent out that day. The package was resting on the counter in the line and my 6 month old son indicated he needed to nurse. I was wearing a calf length sundress with another skirt underneath it, so I helped ds to my breast and let the dress drape over my belly while I stood there nursing in line. The (older) woman in front of me turned in disgust and told me that I should really find somewhere private to "do THAT". (I was baring less skin than most women do in regular summer clothes, and really not baring any "boob" at all) I told her that the post office was about to close and I couldn't help that my baby was hungry and I was sorry it bothered her. By now the everyone in the post office is listening to our interaction. She huffed, it was her turn, and the clerk called her up to the counter. The super sweet clerk said, "Babies sure need alot of attention, don't they?" The woman had the nerve to reply loud enough for everyone to hear, "I think the babies MOTHER is the one who is looking for attention!"
Ooohhhhhhh.................. I was so upset!
After that I decided I was going to nurse wherever, whenever, and not care what people think. The more people see mamas nurse, the more "normal" it will seem, and I think thats what alot of us Lactivists think.
I never bare my whole boob on purpose, I think discretion can happen without a blanket. My son would pull the blanket off anyhow, then grin and pop off my boob, like a game, therefore LESS discreet than just letting my hem of my shirt meet his lip. Babies like to gaze in their mamas eyes.
If a mama wants a privacy screen in a restaurant, let her have one. If she wants a nursing poncho, let her have one. But to be obligated to use one because someone else feels uncomfortable, thats not fair. I have dreads and hairy armpits and that makes some people uncomfortable, should I have to cover my hair and wear sleeves when I go out? What about the trend of big cleavage, midriff baring shirts, and shorty shorts with bum hanging out? Do I have the right to ask someone wearing that to sit behind a privacy screen because it makes me uncomfortable? What about the tipsy couple making out in the restaurant?
I'm not posting this to be obnoxious, just food for thought.
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#28 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 11:54 PM
 
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But, for instance, would people here see a problem with a restaurant bringing out a lovely decorative screen to shield a nursing mom and baby from the rest of the guests? Would that violate her rights or harm her or the baby in any way? It doesn't seem to me that it would.




:

The problem is that discretion is completely subjective.
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#29 of 145 Old 01-20-2008, 11:56 PM
 
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This thread just makes me angry and I don't even know why. I'm not directing anything at you OP, I can't even get my feelings straight. All of my friends have been so supportive of me nursing at their house. I have dealt with feelings of being ashamed and ugly when I nurse. Don't ask me why. I would be the woman who would rather nurse in the bathroom. I usually find a Nordstrom's and even there, where many women are supportive, I feel very insecure.
When I went to my cousin's son's birthday party, my aunt took me aside and told me to nurse in an empty room because she didn't want the kids to see "that." I nursed alone listening to them sing Happy Birthday and open presents. It was such a lonely, shaming feeling.
Reading how a breastfeeding mother thinks I should breastfeed behind a SCREEN if someone else requests it makes me sick. I had to do that in the NICU and it made me feel so strange. Why did I have to hide from other mothers and nurses? What's so disturbing about me? You know that rationally you're just feeding your baby, but inside you feel like it must be wrong if you are asked to be out of sight.

You know what is really weird? The most ardent supporters of NIP have been my male friends. One is from Haiti and he just doesn't get the American mindset. He jokes that when he was about ten and his mom was nursing his baby sister, she would tell him to do something and if he didn't do it fast enough she would squirt him. So many people would think that was perverted. Another friend is a dad and he completely understands.

Well this is a very rambling post and I'm scrambling to finish before DS wakes, but I guess my point is that with all my hang-ups and anxiety about even nursing in friends' homes, it makes me sick to think that other mothers could think that about breastfeeding women. Can't we support each other? I and other women need this support! Formula, EP'ing, bfing whatever can't you just assume we do the best for the children who we love with all of our hearts?
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#30 of 145 Old 01-21-2008, 12:07 AM
 
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I will never forget what happened when my daughter was about a week old. A friend arrived unannounced one afternoon after she got off of work. She sat at my dining room table and, after I announced that I was going to nurse my daughter, she said, "I hope you'll be more discreet than my sister-in-law is". IN MY OWN HOME. I couldn't believe it and asked her to leave and never spoke to her again. Three years later I'm still mad about that.

I just had to get that off my chest.
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