Breastfeeding in Public: When I stopped hiding

[Brelfie of the day: Breastfeeding my 13-month-old at the park]

Breastfeeding in public is something that is a part of my daily life. We leave the house nearly every day and I have always been an exclusive breastfeeder. I attempted to pump with my first child but she never took a bottle and since pumping hurt for me, I never tried to see if my second or third would take a bottle.

I probably seem like I’m a super confident NIPer but actually, it’s not something that came naturally to me. When my first child was born in the fall of 2009, I used to cover. I was too embarrassed to just breastfeeding openly and freely without a care in the world. I continued covering up until about three months after the birth of my second child in 2011. But for two solid years I let breastfeeding in public really stress me out. I always tried to use a blanket or a napkin or a scarf or I’d run off, sweating from stress, to find a bathroom or my car or a fitting room. Making my child wait made my head, heart, and boobs hurt. But I kept doing it. It was like I was ashamed to be feeding a child from my body, a part that I had seen as sexual for a decade. It was too animalistic, too primal, reminded me too much of that unevolved side of humans that we try to hide. I knew the law was on my side but I thought I needed to be considerate of others, modest always. I wanted to be respectful. I didn’t realize I wasn’t being respectful to myself and my children by putting everyone under such stress and denying and delaying them and their basic human needs, love and nourishment from their mom.

One day I dropped the cover. I stopped hiding. I started to feel more confident, sure of myself as a mother tending to her child in public. Sure, I stress out a little sometimes because I’m a reserved person but I stop myself and remind myself how important it is to send the right message to my children, everyone around me. Breastfeeding is necessary, beautiful, a mother loving and caring for her child, and is something to be incredibly proud of.

‪#‎FreeTheNipple‬
‪#‎NormalizeBreastfeeding‬

How do you feel about nursing in public? Did you always have confidence or Did you ever drop the cover?

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My thoughts at this moment: Appreciating my children, my life

[With my toddler at Muir Beach this week]

I’m having one of those “I love my life” moments of appreciation right now. I’m running off to spend another day out and about with my kids. My thoughts on parenting at this moment: Parent how you’d like to be treated. Spend that time with your kids. Laugh with them, run with them, give them more hugs and kisses than you  ever thought you could in one day. Cherish yourself, your children, this beautiful earth, all the love in the world. We only get one life. Let’s live without regrets.

Are you happy with your life, your place in this world? Are you the parent you want to be or working toward it?

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Australian model Erin McNaught shared the beauty of breastfeeding with her 117,000 followers

Australian model Erin McNaught shared her lovely breastfeeding portait with her 117,000 Instagram followers last week.

[Erin McNaught's breastfeeding photo shared on Instagram with the caption "Top: @lornajaneactive Thanks @bertscotty for my chocolate locks xx"

I like how she mentions having her hair done. Did you know lots of ladies breastfeed at the salon? It's true. And who needs a cover? Not Erin! Good for her. Sharing an uncovered breastfeeding photo certainly helps others see that it's normal, acceptable. Why should the child have to breathe recirculated air, feel hot and cramped, not be able to look around like everyone else?

Her snap reminds me of my brelfie from a couple years ago, my little girl photobombing a selfie. I didn't even realize my nursling was in there until I almost sent the snap to my girlfriend, showing off my new scarf.

[My brelfie from 2012]

How similar are those? Love it! Well, I mean, I’m no super model, I didn’t just have my hair done perfectly and let’s be honest, I look a bit tired in comparison, but it’s pretty funny. I love our little babies down there, doing what they do best.

Erin joins a long list of high-profile women who have shared their personal breastfeeding journey with a photo or two to help normalize it with the public. Have you seen the photos shared by Gwen StefaniJaime KingNatalia Vodianova, Giselle Bündchen, Miranda KerrJessie James DeckerEmma Heming WillisPink, and Teresa Palmer? Speaking of Australia, did you know my breastfeeding portrait was shared in Nurture ~ Natural Parenting Magazine?

Breastfeed with pride, ladies!

Do you have a photobombing nursling photo? Share it! 

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Canadian family restaurant, Cora, told breastfeeding mother to cover up

Another breastfeeding incident has been reported in Canada this week: Employees at Cora, a family style breakfast and lunch restaurant in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan told Jennifer Willems to cover up, despite the law being on the mother & child’s side. Just a couple days before, another mother was harassed for breastfeeding in Union Burger.

Jennifer reported the incident on Cora’s facebook page on Monday.

According to Global News, Jennifer Willems was with her nine-year-old daughter, three-year-old son and nine-month-old baby, Dahlia meeting some friends for lunch at Cora restaurant at Preston Crossing in Saskatoon. When Dahlia became hungry and Jennifer began to breastfeed her, her server asked her to cover up. Then restaurant manager asked her to cover up.

“I let her know it was actually a violation of my human rights and Dahlia’s human rights as well,” said Willems. “This went back and forth for at least 10 minutes,” she said in reference to the argument.

Willems is filing a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) because breastfeeding is protected by law in Canada and has been for the last 41 years.

She posted on Facebook, “I am looking for education, change and acceptance. How I was treated was wrong on so many levels and in so many ways. I would like to try to find a way to ensure that a situation such as this never happens to another family again.”

Watch the interview.

Apparently, the restaurant was founded by a single mother of three and this incident really stings for them. The owner of Cora’s at Preston Crossing has apologized to Jennifer on behalf of the staff and on the Cora Saskatoon Facebook page.

“As one of the owner’s of Cora Preston Crossing, I want to state publicly that we support a woman’s right to breastfeed at our restaurant. Without question, we recognize that breasfeeding is a human right and women should not in anyway feel restricted in exercising this right in any way. It is not just because it’s the law for all businesses… but because it is right.” – Cora Saskatoon.

How does this incident make you feel? What do you think of their apology? Let Cora know – call 450 435-2426 or email info@chezcora.com

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Brelfie of the day: Breastfeeding at Muir Beach

We spent the afternoon at Muir Beach today and of course, seven hours out of the house means my baby needed to nurse at least seven times.

Where did you NIP today?

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Big Latch On drops controversial sponsor Mother’s Milk Cooperative

Good news for those following the Big Latch On - Mother’s Milk Cooperative controversy.

From Jodine Chase’s blog this afternoon:

“The Global Big Latch On has confirmed in private correspondence with Human Milk News that they will be moving forward with the 2015 Big Latch On without the sponsorship of the controversial Mother’s Milk Cooperative.”

I am so thankful to hear this news. Last year’s World Breastfeeding Week event was dampened by the controversy, with many of my friends refusing to participate due to the questionable alliance. I thought the positive message, mama friends meeting up to spend the afternoon together, and the public seeing so many ladies nursing in the open at the same time outweighed the possible negative side, but that was just me.

If you’d like to attend this year’s event or host, contact the BLO and mark your calendars for Friday, July 31st and Saturday, August 1st.

Will you make it this year?

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Breastfeeding past infancy in the news: Study links breastfeeding past 1 with higher IQs, education level, and earnings as adults

I’m happy to share the news of a positive study linking breastfeeding past infancy with the kids growing up to be more intelligent and richer as adults than babies who were breastfed for less than a month.

Read the study: Association between breastfeeding and intelligence, educational attainment, and income at 30 years of age: a prospective birth cohort study from Brazil – Lancet

Findings:

“…participants who were breastfed for 12 months or more had higher IQ scores (difference of 3·76 points, 95% CI 2·20–5·33), more years of education (0·91 years, 0·42–1·40), and higher monthly incomes (341·0 Brazilian reals, 93·8–588·3) than did those who were breastfed for less than 1 month. The results of our mediation analysis suggested that IQ was responsible for 72% of the effect on income.”

The lead author Dr. Bernardo Lessa Horta from the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil was quoted in Science Daily:

“Our study provides the first evidence that prolonged breastfeeding not only increases intelligence until at least the age of 30 years but also has an impact both at an individual and societal level by improving educational attainment and earning ability. What is unique about this study is the fact that, in the population we studied, breastfeeding was not more common among highly educated, high-income women, but was evenly distributed by social class. Previous studies from developed countries have been criticized for failing to disentangle the effect of breastfeeding from that of socioeconomic advantage, but our work addresses this issue for the first time.”

My poster to share with the news:

[Photo by Nicole diGiorgio of Sweetness and Light. Poster by Paala Secor]

Now, as always, I support all women. I understand that breastfeeding isn’t possible for everyone and making it to 12 months and beyond isn’t always feasible either. But with the overwhelming negativity in the news toward breastfeeding in public and bullies criticizing nursing past infancy, this study’s findings are important to share. I look forward to the day when I don’t hear of anyone being told to wean or being told to cover up, move, or stop breastfeeding in public.

Did you breastfeed past infancy? How do you feel about these new findings?

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