7 thoughts on “Breastfeeding in Public: What Are They Afraid Of? – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. I see this as a pocket phenomenon. Certainly there is this pervasive attitude that breastfeeding IN PUBLIC is somehow a naughty thing which is totally ridiculous, for a zillion or so reasons. And I think it’s that issue of PUBLIC which is at the heart of things. I mean come on, we live in a country where the chief law enforcement agent had Justice’s breasts covered – so as not distract from his singing I assume.

    But here’s the funny thing. We live in phenomenally blue part of the east – I mean, we’re so liberal around here that people accuse Clinton of being part of the vast right wing conspiracy. Breastfeeding is the norm – really without question – among liberal, educated women. There is still this sort of wierd prurient thing in the air about popping a boob out on the bench at the Mall, which probably has much less to do with breastfeeding than it does with BREASTS.

    My wife, for medical reasons, was unable to breastfeed our second child – and I have to tell you, I got serious, serious vibe from folks when a bottle was taken out for our 0-30 week old kid. This air of “oh, how selfish” or something.

    So you just can’t win. My mother says that in her era, if you were educated and liberal, you simply didn’t breastfeed your kids unless you we’re truly a hippie – not a “teacher on campus” kind of a hippy, but a “fuck college, it’s just a further arm of the man” kind of hippy. Maybe she overstated, I dunno, I was only 1 year old in 1967, so I have no reference point.

    So things seem to go back and forth.

  2. Thanks for that comment, Dave. The line about Ashcroft, Justice’s breasts & his Senate barbershop quartet days was hilarious.

    I feel badly for you that anyone would single you out for criticism for bottlefeeding. That is ridiculous & unfair. But I’ve noticed there is this La Leche League attitude among some who attach opprobrium to any form of feeding other than the breast. Everyone has to make their own way on this & no one method is the RIGHT one.

  3. I’m late to the party. Late, late, late. Anyway: “There’s one thing I don’t fully understand about the study (and perhaps one of my more learned readers can explain this to me), pediatricians encourage EXCLUSIVE breastfeeding for the first six months of life. My wife breastfed all our children, but even though she stayed home for the early months she always supplemented. If she didn’t she would never have gotten any sleep. So someone tell me why is exclusive breastfeeding so important (or is it)?”

    Here’s the deal. If you want to still get a decent amount of fsleep and breastfeed exclusively for 6 months (both of which, I’m doing right now) you can: pump into bottles and have dad take a feeding or two, or just sleep with the baby. Me, I opted for the sleeping with the baby. He stirs a bit, I pop in the boob, we both go to sleep, and I wake up rested in the morning. Easy peasy. Yes, it involves setting up your sleeping space to be safe for babies, but that wasn’t a big deal with us.

  4. I have done the same thing with my 2 boys.

    {Me, I opted for the sleeping with the baby. He stirs a bit, I pop in the boob, we both go to sleep, and I wake up rested in the morning. Easy peasy. Yes, it involves setting up your sleeping space to be safe for babies, but that wasn’t a big deal with us. }

    I set up the pillows right and in the beginning I got paranoid about suffocating the baby but now we have a king sized bed and I sleep with my husband, a 3 year old who still breastfeeds and the new baby. It works quite well. He sleeps a million times better at night than he does during the day. And yes, my 3 year old sleeps thru the night before you ask. lol.

  5. Far be it from me to suggest that some Moms might want to consider alternatives to sleeping with their babies–since I know that sleep is precious & hard to come by in that first 6 months or so. However, it’s just not a good idea to sleep with your babies. They get used to it and then you’ll find it incredibly difficult to wean them to sleeping on their own in their own crib.

    All the baby books we read (& we read many) say to sleep separately from your babies. With our first, we started him out in bed with us. My wife found that her sleep wasn’t sound (since she was attuned to the baby’s every movement) and his wasn’t either. When we moved him to a crib he was NOT happy & let us know about it (i.e. punished us)! Eventually, he got used to it & everyone was better off. Yes, there were times when she had to get up in the middle of the night to breastfeed. But eventually all three of our children settled down & slept through the night (which we define as 9-10 hrs.).

    I know that many moms don’t have it so easy & their babies don’t sleep that well at night. That’s why I started out by saying I don’t presume to know what will work best for everyone.

  6. I’m not totally sure where the idea comes into play that women “pop” their “boob” out to feed their babies. Is the breast spring-loaded or something? When I feed my baby I merely wear nursing tops and discreetly adjust the clothing and baby’s head is in front of my breast the whole time so if there’s any “whipping out” or “popping”, it would probably give the child a concussion. Thankfully I am human and do not have hydraulic enhanced breasts and therefore am able to feed my baby quietly and discreetly.

  7. I happened across this post and see that no one answered your question about exclusive breastfeeding.
    The World Health Organization and the AAP both recommend exclusive breastfeeding for 6 full months, although some think that should be reduced to four.
    When a baby is born, her gut is immediately exposed to foreign bacteria. The colostrum–newborn milk–coats her stomach and keeps dangerous bacteria at bay. If the baby gets cow’s milk the immune system is overwhelmed and has to deal with foreign proteins. In theory this is a cause of more allergies among babies exposed to formula supplements at a young age. It also exposes the baby to infection. The younger the baby, the more important. So ideally, supplementing should only be used when it is determined that the baby is not getting enough to eat and his/her mother’s milk isn’t available.
    The other concern about supplementing is milk supply. The body regulates milk according to the amount removed. If the mother skips a feeding, her breasts remain full. A substance in the milk accumulates and sends a message to produce less milk. If it’s only occasional and the mother has a plentiful supply this is usually reversible. But supplementing often starts a vicious cycle and the baby is weaned before the mother realizes what has happened.
    Again, this is more critical with a young baby when the milk supply is still being established. Baby must nurse frequently (or mother must pump)–at least 8-12 times a day– in the early weeks or there could be supply issues in the long term.
    As for supplementing with mother’s milk at night, skipping a feeding may lead to a mother’s period returning sooner. This may not be critical for most mothers, but it’s something that people need to know to make an informed choice.

    That being said, every drop of mother’s milk is important and if her choice is between supplementing and weaning, she should do whatever allows her to nurse longer.

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