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.
by Hannah Rodriguez
I live in a land where breastfeeding is foreign and atypical.
While many women across North America may often feel this way, I dare to say that my situation is different.
Although there are no statistics on breastfeeding by county, I can share the statistics of my life experience. I live in Hidalgo County, Texas. It is an area that is characterized by low education and high poverty - two factors that greatly affect the rate of breastfeeding, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and numerous other statistics.
Of my husband’s entire extended family (my family is 800 miles away), which consists of roughly 15 mothers, I am the only mom who has breastfed exclusively at any age. When I first took my daughter to the church nursery, the volunteer exclaimed, “Oh! It’s been a long time since we had a breastfed baby!” And several weeks later, after my daughter's first nursery poo, a volunteer came up and whispered into my ear with great concern, “It was a little runny and yellow - maybe she has a tummy ache.” Needless to say, declaring that there is a lack of breastfeeding awareness would be a severe understatement.
Everywhere I go, the fact that I have breastfed at all brings astonishment and surprise, much less the fact that I have done it exclusively for six months now with my first child. My husband is proud and supportive of our breastfeeding relationship, but understandably still retains much of the stigma of the “breastfeeding is foreign,” and “breasts are sexual” culture around us.
So, when the time comes to feed Bethany, do I nurse in public? No, I do not. A good day for Beth and I is when she can eat in the same room as family and friends, covered, instead of going off to a bathroom or other solitary room. Undoubtedly many (or most) readers will think that I am weak and foolish for choosing to submit to my husband’s wishes and remain covered, but I choosing to live my lactivist life in other ways. Already I have influenced my sister-in-law so that she has been able to successfully breastfeed her second child, and I often receive serious inquiries about breastfeeding. and encourage nursing relationships with my own positive testimony.
So, from a lone lactivist in south Texas, I salute you moms who nurse in public. Perhaps one day, maybe by my second child, or when Bethany is older, I, too, will join the ranks of you warriors. For now, each day of breastfeeding is another day that I shape the subculture around me, making breastfeeding a little less foreign, and a little more normal.
Hannah Rodriguez is a former educator living in South Texas, and stay-at-home mom with her six month old daughter, Bethany.
Visit this page for additional linked resources (books, websites, articles) on breastfeeding.
Danelle's response to Lone Lactivist can be read here: We Are All Lactivists
~~~~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:
July 5 - Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World
July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child
July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.
July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives
July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It