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Breastfeeding in Public

Keeping breastfeeding in the national eye,
a Maine woman just received a settlement from Fossil Inc. after
they banned her from breastfeeding on their New York showroom
floor. They offered the woman $3,600 to avoid a lawsuit they would
most certainly have lost, since New York laws protect a
woman’s right to breastfeed “in any location, public or
private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be."
Apparently they’d removed her from the showroom where she was
meeting with a salesperson when she began to nurse, refused to
allow her to return to the showroom, and cautioned her when she
scheduled a later return trip that breastfeeding was forbidden.

I didn’t do much nursing in public
when I had Maddie; with only one child and no full-time job, I had
the luxury of working around Madeleine’s schedule. So we were
pretty much homebodies those first weeks, or I’d find the
nursing station of a baby store, a friend’s office, the
nursery at church, and so on. I did more than my share of nursing
in the car before heading into a store or restaurant. All of this,
though, was more about my inherent modesty and comfort level than
my belief about where a woman should breastfeed.

Now that I’ve got a second child, though, it’s no fair
to Madeleine to keep her in the house all the time because I like
to be in my special nursing chair with a comfy boppy to give Cora
her snack. So I’m nursing “out” more and finding
it easier than I’d expected.

Let me say first that, since I didn’t go around giving
everyone a free show of my breasts before I had a baby, I see no
reason to do so now. But nursing in public doesn’t have to be
about giving everyone an eyeful, just as it doesn’t have to
be about hiding in a germy bathroom stall to give your child
nourishment. I’ve got – and forgive the name here
– a nursing shawl called href="http://www.mom4life.com/catalog.php?item=21&catid=3&ret=catalog.php%3Fcategory%3D3">
Hooter Hiders
that works very well to cover up while
still giving me room to nurse. It folds up incredibly small for the
diaper bag, is very lightweight so the kid doesn’t smother,
and even has a terry-cloth corner to wipe up wet burps. The best
part, though, is a small wire that holds the top out a bit so you
can see straight down to baby’s head. I use this a lot, both
out and at home when we’ve got guests over. Everyone feels
more comfortable, and if Cora falls asleep while nursing the cover
works as a little blanket. I’ve seen another popular nursing
cover, the Lila Bean, but the owners have refused to answer my
questions about the product so I can’t speak to its quality.

Now, what to wear when planning to nurse in public? Are nursing
tops really necessary? Yes, and no. There are a bunch of really
ugly nursing tops out there, so beware. But if you find the good
ones, they will provide easier access, as well as offer cover for
that mommy roll around your waist. Some of the better nursing tops
even have spots to hold the nursing pads in place. Nursing tops
will also be helpful if you’re trying to nurse in a Bjorn or
other soft carrier – pulling a shirt up between your belly
and a cranky baby isn’t the easiest under the best of
circumstances, never mind on a crowded plane. Glamour Moms’
basic tank top is a great staple for your wardrobe, to go under
layers or by itself. Majamas and Blissfulbabes are also great
nursing-wear lines. I’ve found the best nursing clothing at
href="http://www.breastchester.com">Breastchester (my
favorite) or href="http://www.milkface.com">Milkface.

I say you don’t necessarily need a whole wardrobe of nursing
tops because you’ll find you’ve got things that work
already. Look for button-downs or zip-front sweaters or hoodies.
Button-up tanks work well in the summer. Of course, you can wear
regular t-shirts and simply pull them up to nurse, but most moms
don’t feel comfortable exposing their whole belly to
strangers at the mall. That’s where the Hooter Hiders comes
in handy. But between a good nursing cover and a few nursing tops,
you’ll be covered.

No pun intended.


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