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Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public
This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at NursingFreedom.org. All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public (“NIP”). See the bottom of this post for more information.
When Hannah was a baby I covered up when breastfeeding. I was very young and painfully shy and so afraid to let anyone see I was nursing. I was so shy that I would go into bathrooms and back bedrooms to avoid being SEEN doing THAT. When at school I would turn a rocking chair into the corner of the room and stare at the crack in the wall, several times a day, while I nursed my little baby.
With each child I have gotten more bold and brave, and at the same time, more matter-of-fact about the act of breastfeeding my child. Patrick helped me lose my shyness rather quickly. He was always so hungry. I had to nurse him hourly, endlessly, and wherever I went. In very short order those back rooms and bathrooms became mighty inconvenient.
By the time I had Willow I was a staunch supporter of breastfeeding in public. Because of my husband’s long hours we didn’t get out much- I wasn’t going to spend the few hours a week I was out of house in a public restroom!
I breastfeed. Wherever, whenever, and in front of whoever. I really don’t care what their opinion is. The truth is, no one has ever given me a hard time about “NIP” (nursing in public). It’s a good thing- I know- but… I’ve never gotten to show anyone how well versed in my rights I am. I guess I’m lucky. Or maybe the fact that I do it coverless, back straight, with a smile on my face (instead of trying to hide what I am doing) sets off a signal: Back off. She isn’t going to be bullied.
I don’t know.
I don’t understand how it has become such a huge issue. I mean, it is JUST A BREAST. A lump of flesh that has a useful purpose. Get over it. Your hangups and personal issues are not going to come between me and my hungry baby.
The closest I have come to any altercation was a few weeks ago. My grandpa was frowning at me whilst I nursed, and when I reached under my shirt to close the clasp on my nursing bra he said “Are you trying to flash us your bra?” To which I replied, “No, but I can if you want me to.” He hasn’t said a word about my breastfeeding habits since.
In Rhode Island, where I live the right to breastfeed is protected- and I have the following printed on a card I keep in my purse:
R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-13.2-1 (2003) specifies that an employer may provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to breastfeed or express breast milk for her infant child. The law requires the department of health to issue periodic reports on breastfeeding rates, complaints received and benefits reported by both working breastfeeding mothers and employers, and provides definitions. (2003 HB 5507, SB 151; 2008 R.I. Pub. Laws, Chap. 475, HB 7906)
R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-13.5-1 and § 23-13.5-2 (2008) allow a woman to feed her child by bottle or breast in any place open to the public and would allow her a private cause of action for denial of this right. (2008 R.I. Pub. Laws, Chap. 223 and Chap. 308, HB 7467 and SB 2283)
Do you know your breastfeeding rights?
I google searched and found this website: http://www.ncsl.org/IssuesResearch/Health/BreastfeedingLaws/tabid/14389/Default.aspx and I urge you to look around and find out what your rights are where you live.
Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public
Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit NursingFreedom.org any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.
Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.
This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts – new articles will be posted on the following days: