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Nursing In Public

Wed, 22 Aug 2012|

-More and more women are doing it more in more places. Nursing their babies in public. -Almost everyday, you find a new story about another benefit of breastfeeding and I think more and more people are starting to get that information and choose to breast-feed. The rate of women who start to breast-feed has gone up dramatically. -Whether you're in a coffee shop, a lounge, or even a restaurant, you might see a woman with a baby at her breast. So, what's appropriate and what's not? I'll let the experts and the critics hash it out. -While many are touting the benefits of breast milk-- -We know that breastfeeding is really the gold standard, that it is what's best for babies. -Not everyone is on board with the rise in public breastfeeding. -I don't think it's appropriate. I think it's a private thing, you know. I don't think everybody should see you breastfeeding your child in or out in the open, out in public, you know. Some people agree with it. I personally disagree with it. -Well, it's a very complicated issue because, in our culture, breasts are mainly sexual. And so we-- in America, we have to create laws protecting women's right to breast-feed in public. When it's the most natural thing, you know, your baby is hungry, so you feed your baby. So, women are given very mixed messages. They're told, "You should breast-feed, it's healthy for your baby, it's a health issue, it's very important to breast-feed, but don't do it in public. Stay home." -Still a growing number of women have decided to brave those disapproving looks to keep their babies well fed. -Unless you plan on staying inside all day everyday, you really do have to confront the realities of breastfeeding somewhere other than your house. And that's why there's so much talk about breastfeeding in public. More and more women these days are breastfeeding and they're not about to change their lifestyle completely. They're still gonna go out. They're gonna take their baby and go places. And so they are de facto going to be breastfeeding in public. -Journalist and mother of two, Andi Silverman, is the author of Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding. -Breastfeeding is really a matter of personal choice. You have to figure out what works best for you, what works best for your baby and your family. Breastfeeding works for some women and it doesn't work for other women. And there is a lot of pressure now to breast-feed. -If you do choose to breast-feed, Silverman says there are plenty of safe places to do so. -Outside breastfeeding if you're in the playground, if you're in the park, I mean, there are a lot of people around, there are a lot of kids around, it's-- that's a place of people, even though you're out, you can feel pretty comfortable. Inside, lots of people go to restaurants or coffee shops and you just find a quiet corner where it's not too busy, where your stroller won't get bumped, and that might be a good place. There are also all sorts of crazy ways you can get creative about how to breast-feed in public. I've done things like go into an athletic club and ask to go into the locker room. -So, Silverman says don't be afraid to nurse in public. In fact, in most states, you have a legal right to do so. -Forget about the critics. There's nothing wrong with breastfeeding. In fact, in almost every state in this country, there are laws that specifically protect women when they breast-feed in public, protect them from any sort of discrimination or harassment. -And to most people I talked to on the street were okay with public breastfeeding as long as it's discreet. -I don't have a problem with it. As long as, you know, the mom and the baby have a blanket or some kind of little coverup, then it's okay. -I think as long as it's, you know, kind of covered a little bit, I think it's fine. I don't think anybody wants to see a breast in public, you know, per se, but I think as long as it's, you know, subtle, I think it's fine. -Felina Rakowski-Gallagher, owner of Manhattan breastfeeding boutique, the Upper Breast Side, says nursing wear is all the rage for modest moms. -And you move this down and the only thing is that the baby is right at this breast. So, when you're holding a baby and-- I will show you with the mannequin. When you're holding a baby, women, what they do is they just bring the baby cross-cradle, they flick open their bra, then they lift up the clothing here, and they lower it and the baby is here. So, as you're standing and talking to someone, you're just holding the baby like this, the baby is latched on. And especially if you start doing a little bit of that dance, women, men, the UPS guy who's delivering your package, they think that you're just holding the baby. This is called Larrivo. She has just the most delicious clothing. This opens up and the breast would be exposed here and then, again, the same thing. You have this on your shoulder, the baby is here, and someone just thinks that you're holding the baby. This is the GlamourMom and the GlamourMom as you can see from the design also has the bra inside of it and-- -[unk] -And so then you have that. -But you don't have to spend a lot of money on wraps and shawls and nursing tops to achieve the same effect. You can just take a blanket and drape it over your shoulder or keep your coat on that kind of cover the baby up a little bit or wear a button down shirt with a tank top underneath, so your stomach is still being covered up. Everybody basically through trial and error figures out what works. -But in the end, whether it's in public or in private, a woman should feed her baby in the way that makes her and the baby most comfortable. -Thank you for watching Parents TV. Our families. Our lives.