The topic of breastfeeding in church has come up a LOT in the past couple of weeks, and I've been seeing blogs and articles all over Facebook about it.
One in particular, from the SLC Tribune:
I don't really want to start a convo on FB about it, but I thought I would blog my thoughts about it here.
Have I ever personally BF during church?
Yes. In the ward where Preston was born, I would sit in the back of Relief Society and BF him under a nursing cover. There were 2 other nursing moms in there as well, and we all felt comfortable nursing in the back. Usually the back of the room was quite open.
However, the ward where Taylor was a baby I tried BFing once in RS and it was a bit awkward. It was a very small room and every chair was occupied. It's not that anyone gave me a hard time -in fact nobody batted an eye. It was just awkward because I didn't have any room and I was bumping elbows.
Did I ever nurse in sacrament meeting or Sunday school?
No. I personally never felt comfortable nursing with other people (men) around. Mostly because I was never savvy at undoing my nursing bra, shirt, and everything else without a boob flying out accidentally. With Preston I only ever had a blanket to nurse with and it's really impossible sometimes to keep a blanket up on your shoulder with a baby under it (who likes to pull it down) while trying to under your bra under your shirt.
But the second time around, I got smart and bought a nursing cover. These tie around your neck so the baby can't pull them off. GENIUS I tell you.
But so anyway, I always went to the mothers lounge during Sacrament meeting or Sunday school, and sometimes it would be freezing cold in there so I always brought extra blankets with me. Honestly, I enjoyed sitting in a rocking chair hearing the talks over the speaker system - haha. I don't know why women complain about that - hahaha.
No, but in all seriousness, to hear women getting released from callings or not allowed to attend YW or Primary activities because they are BFing is crap!
Have I ever BF in public?
Yes. I sat in the corridor of the UofW Stadium breastfeeding Preston during a Huskies football game. Did people look at me weird? No, but they definitely avoided me. Haha. I tried to find a space in the public bathroom to nurse but there was no where sit down. It was either sit on the dirty gross bathroom floor or on a toilet to nurse (which I have actually done before). I didn't want to BF in the stands of the stadium so my only choice was to find a bench in the corridors and do it.
In the article above, it says women were thrown out of Target and malls for breastfeeding. I find that offensive. Feeding your child is not some sick thing that you should be forced to do on a toilet seat in a bathroom stall or on a dirty bathroom floor. The article didn't say whether or not these women were covering up or just BF without a cover, but either way - if someone had walked up to me at the UofW stadium and asked me to leave because I was BF my child, I would have been mortified and deeply hurt. There really was no where to feed my baby, unless I walked the 2 miles back to my car from the stadium to nurse him, and that would have been just insane.
I have also nursed in public parks (covered up). I've nursed in a movie theater. Yeah I've pretty much nursed everywhere out in public BUT I always found more secluded areas and not like I was trying to put on a display or something. Sometimes, I think people don't understand that there is no where else to feed the baby and the baby needs to eat.
I personally LOVE this advertisement from LUVS. Way to make BF look completely normal.
My personal opinion about breastfeeding is that as long as the mother is covering up then there should be no problem. I have been to a storytime at the local library where there was a mother feeding her baby with her breasts COMPLETELY out there and yes it was distracting. It wasn't offensive, mind you, but it was distracting. I had a hard time not looking at her chest.
People who compare breastfeeding to porn or bikini clad models is rediculous. There is absolutely nothing sexy about breastfeeding, and to compare the two is rediclous. BIG difference.
BUT with that said, in our American society and the way that women are objectified, it will still take a lot more time before we are all mature enough to accept BF'ing as normal and acceptable. But until we stop seeing women's bodies as sexual objects (as the US media is so good at doing), that won't happen. And so until then, it's hard for a women to expect people out in public to be perfectly okay with BFing.
But the more awareness going on, commercials like the one above, and more....is all helpful in the movement to make it more accepted.
As for CHURCH though, I'm honestly surprised to hear about some of the negative experiences that some women have had. It's very disappointing. I hope that eventually there are some guidelines so there is more consistency among the wards here in the U.S.