For the smallest member of my family, I don’t need a recipe to prepare his food with love.
It’s 4am and I’m feeding my 3 month old son, flipping through facebook on my phone while he eats, half asleep. As I read through another article about breastfeeding, I think to myself, “Man, I’m glad I’m a breastfeeding mom in 2015.” Here’s four reasons why.
1. State laws protect my right to nurse anywhere
According to the National Conference on State Legislatures:
“Forty-six states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location.”
Idaho is the only state that doesn’t at least exempt breastfeeding mothers from public indecency laws, but there’s a push to change that!
I haven’t experienced any negative feedback for breastfeeding in public–yet. So far the most public place I’ve fed my son is a nearly empty restaurant, and all I got there was a waiter who avoided eye contact. I’m sure my time will come. I’m fortunate to have a husband who supports me and knows I’ll do what I want regardless.
2. Breastfeeding moms are banding together for support
Thanks to social media, I’m never more than 10 minutes away from another mom answering a breastfeeding question! Nursing moms are up at all hours of the day and night, and often on their smart phones, ready and willing to help a mom out. Closed facebook groups allow for blunt questions without fear of offending anyone.
We help each other out off-line, too. Have you ever witnessed a “nurse-in”? That’s when a breastfeeding mother has been kicked out or harassed for feeding their child in a place in which they legally have the right to breastfeed. They spread the word, and a large group of breastfeeding mothers descend on the place to exercise their legal right. Here’s an example. I haven’t participated in one, but I haven’t been invited to participate–yet.
3. The Pope supports me
In case you hadn’t heard, Pope Francis stated in a homily that mothers should feel welcome to breastfeed their babies in church. I read this story on a Sunday when I had decided to skip church services because my baby was going to need to nurse in the middle of Mass and I didn’t know what I would do. Now I don’t use that excuse to skip! I haven’t had to feed him during a service yet, but I have fed him at church social events. I get lots of smiles from little old ladies, which is my second favorite response.*
4. My insurance supports me
The Affordable Care Act/Obamacare now requires insurance providers to cover the cost of breast pumps, counseling, and support services. This is a fantastic way to remove barriers for women who couldn’t afford breast pumps and need to go back to work. Thanks to this coverage, I got a brand-spanking new Medela pump to use when I need to pump so mu husband can feed a bottle or so we can go out on a date!
Maybe some of these things have been around for some of us–if you had a great insurance plan or have lived in a progressive state. Maybe some have come and gone with the fashion of breastfeeding (not very fashionable in the 50s and 60s). But for me, these 4 facts have made me more comfortable and more successful at breastfeeding. It isn’t the best choice for every family, but for me and Baby J, it’s going great, and I love our bonding time. I love that I get to provide all the nourishment he needs right now and see his gorgeous smile when he’s done eating.
*My favorite responses are from curious children who want to know what I’m doing. I welcome their questions and never feel weird that they want to watch.