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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Are you down with the NIP?

A lot of the boards I frequent have more natural-minded parents. A lot of them breastfeed their babies. Recently everyone was up in arms about the story of a woman asked to go to the bathroom to nurse her baby at a theme park. Which brings up the very hot topic of NIP (nursing in public). I don't really participate in the debates, but I will read them sometimes just to see what is being said. I have noticed there is a wide range of acceptance in our society, ranging from "Please don't even mention the 'B-word' around me", to "Heck, we should all just run around with no shirts on". Me? I fall somewhere in between. I do NIP with Hannah occasionally, but I am one of those discreet people where you probably wouldn't even know that's what I was doing. I'm still fairly shy about it. I was raised in a long line of bottle feeders. I never even saw someone breastfeeding in person until I was 18. And at the time, I was fairly squicked out about it.

I like to think I have matured somewhat. Although I will admit, I am still not totally 100% comfortable being around someone nursing. But would I ever ask someone to go to a bathroom? Heck. No. I believe it's a woman's right to feed her baby wherever she wants, although I don't necessarily agree with the women that just flop it out for all the world to see. Yes, it's a totally natural thing, but is our society ready for that? No. And I don't think the "shock and awe" treatment is going to fix that.

What a funny world we live in though, where the sight of boobs on prime time tv is accepted, but a baby eating?! Heaven forbid anyone actually sees that.

Do me a favor though, those of you out there that are uncomfortable when you see a baby nursing: Look away. And don't look disgusted or mortified either. Heck, if you can manage it, flash the mom a quick understanding smile before you look away. Because chances are, it's a mom like me, who is nervous about having to NIP. And a lot of people will tell you, breastfeeding can be difficult. It would be great if society wouldn't make it even worse.


angi said...

*smiling at you and looking away*

You are doing a great job Momma!! I am always NIP now (even at the public pool!!!) and am so proud that I have come so far, so fast!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you. I actually breastfed Connor in a restaurant bathroom one time. Not because anyone was giving me a hard time, but because I was so completely unsure of myself. I was disgusted, and it disgusts me that someone would send that poor lady to do the same thing. Possibly worse, being a theme park br. I never nursed Ella in public either, don't ask how I managed that.

Heather said...

My daughter did not nurse so I pumped for her. (Long story)

My son nursed for 13 months or so (maybe a bit longer). I was also a reluctant and shy nurser in publicer...or whatever. In fact I was a bit uncomfortable nursing in relative's homes. My parents home. My own home if my in-laws were in the room. I still did, and like to think that I gave them all an education in nursing. I never apologized for nursing. I know many were as uncomfortable as I, but we all made it through and I nursed my baby for more than a year.

Sorry for the rant. I saw your comment on Angi's blog and thought I recognized your name from Babycenter? I have a July '02 and a July '04. I don't get to BBC much anymore.