Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public
This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public 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.
So, if you consider the NICU as being "in public," then my entire breastfeeding relationship with Acorn (all 3 weeks of it) was in public - every session, every day (well, ok, the two times a day he was allowed to breastfeed).
I considered it nursing in public - we were in a pod that housed 10 infants and their families, plus 4 nurses, and a never-ending stream of doctors, residents, and nurse practitioners, plus a lactation consultant.
I always found it funny that the nurses rushed to find screens to put up around the nursing moms - we were in a hospital, for goodness' sake, in a room where all of us were encouraged (sometimes to the point of badgering) to pump a the very least for our tiny babies. Every woman there had a pump set; every woman was expected to at least try to breastfeed...and yet it was still seen as a time and place where we needed to hide and cover ourselves, when every other part of our lives there were so very public.
I was the odd woman out, nursing a 4-month old who was still more fragile than the other 3-week olds in our pod. I was the only one there who had started with the intent of exclusive breastfeeding - although by this point we were already supplementing my exclusively-pumped supply. I was the only one there who didn't go looking for screens when we sat down to breastfeed - I sometimes turned my chair away from the rest of the room, but that was as much to keep my child's attention as anything else - besides, we had a window space, and I liked the view.
Our breastfeeding relationship ended when Acorn's respiratory status went downhill. I held out hope for another 3 months, pumping every 3 hours round the clock, with my supply decreasing weekly, but reached a point where he was not going to be able to eat (possibly for years) and I needed sleep more than I needed to make breastfeeding work. He's much better now, for which I am grateful.
But if we can't even nurse openly in a hospital, in a room full of mothers and babies who are all learning to breastfeed at the same time, what hope do we have for nursing out in the rest of the world?
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