Nursing Moms

Dear Sharon,

I am a new Mom and I am nursing my baby. I have been experiencing some negative reactions when I find it necessary to nurse in a public situation. I try to be as discreet as possible, but it seems that there are many people who still find this inappropriate. What’s a nursing mom to do? Is it wrong to feed my baby outside when she needs to? I thought things had opened up in our society.

Barbara (in Marine Park)

Dear Barbara,

Thanks for an important question. People can have all kinds of reactions to new babies and new mothers. Adults of all ages, parents and non-parents, have lots of opinions about nursing, crying, eating, clothing and almost anything else involving a new little one. Life is challenging enough for a new mom and baby without handling other people’s worries and emotions as well. Given this phenomenon I am glad to hear you are being di screet when you nurse. It can be useful to you and your child if you keep the amount of reactions you get to a minimum.
If you are nursing it is definitely not wrong to feed your baby outside when she needs to eat. As I discussed in the July issue, the beginning of a child’s life is a very important time in their development, being frustrated about eating because some people think breast feeding can only be done in private is not good for babies or their moms.

Of course finding a quiet corner in the middle of a supermarket is no small accomplishment. Look for other women or mothers to help you in these situations. They might have thoughts about comfortable or less visible places to sit or can stand nearby “handling” other people who walk by and might feel uncomfortable.

If you haven’t already, you might want to contact the La Leche League. The La Leche League offers support and information to nursing mothers. You can contact the New York City La Leche League by calling (212) 794-4687. When you call you will get numbers of member volunteers who are available to answer questions and/or to refer you to leaders of meetings that are held throughout New York City. Meetings might be a good place to hear other people’s strategies. If you have access to the internet it could also be an excellent place to find useful information or trade stores with other nursing moms.

There are many nursing moms in New York and the United States but many adults were not nursed as babies and there are families that do not nurse for a variety of excellent reasons. As with many issues that affect parents there are few simple decisions we make in the course of our children’s lives. If a mother nurses or not can easily be an emotional decision that many people will have thoughts about. Congratulations on your decision and thanks for sharing your experiences with others.