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Jesus was breastfed.

I realize this topic is everywhere and I probably don’t need to add my two cents.  Moreover, if you’re reading my blog, you probably already agree with me.  Still, I cannot help myself.  Deep breath.  Climbing on the soapbox.

The NY State Museum–a place I’ve visited several times–recently required a woman who was nursing her 2 month old to either feed her baby in the bathroom or leave.  In NY, as in most states (including SC), a woman may breastfeed in public anywhere she is permitted to be.  Why is this civil right so difficult to understand?  I’m blown away that this basic human survival mechanism is even an issue.  Then I read the comments in the news post.  They are always the same.  And they always indicate a profound misunderstanding of the incredible way human babies have eaten since the first baby was born!  Before I breastfed, I might have thought this way, too.

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  • Why doesn’t she bring a bottle?  Well, perhaps her baby won’t take a bottle.  Perhaps she is concerned about nipple confusion.  Perhaps she doesn’t want to worry about pumping, milk storage temperature, and finding a place to warm a bottle.  Perhaps she knows that breastfeeding leads to better oral alignment than bottle feeding.  Perhaps she knows that breastfeeding is better for maintaining milk supply than pumping.  This list goes on. 
  • Why doesn’t she feed her baby at home?  Well, 2 month olds eat frequently.  The NY State Museum has a cafe on the 4th floor for the patrons.  Why shouldn’t the 2 month old eat?  If the mom is to feed her baby at home only, then she has a small window of time she can leave the house! 
  • Why doesn’t she feed her baby in the bathroom?  Um, gross.  Would you eat in a public restroom?  Do bottle-feeding moms have to feed their babies in the bathroom? 
  • Why doesn’t she cover up?  Well, this mom was covered up.  But she didn’t have to be.  The law does not require her to cover up.  Some babies won’t tolerate a blanket covering them while they eat (case-in-point Norah).  I keep hearing the phrase “whip out a boob.”  I’ve never seen a mother breastfeeding in a public place who whipped out her breast.  Most moms are trying not to call attention to what they are doing.  The baby typically offers plenty of coverage.  Still, even if they “whip out a boob,” they are within their rights to do that.
  • Why is she so uncaring of my poor husband’s/teen son’s sensibilities?  This comment really bugs me.  It is this “sensibility” that keeps perpetuating the argument!  Moms breastfeeding in public provide a perfect teaching moment for you to remind teens that the primary function of breasts is to feed babies.  Breastfeeding is healthy for both mom and baby in so many ways (101, in fact).  And if the sight of a lactating mom sends your hubby spiraling into sexual fantasy–well, maybe he needs some counseling.   

Did I miss any of the common concerns that the uninformed have regarding feeding our babies?  I remember reading the story of a doctor working in a non-Western country.  He walked into a room of mothers nursing their babies.  There was a flurry of covering up.  Only…the moms were covering their heads; not their nursing babies.