Recently, there have been a lot of stories in the national and local news about mothers being illegally harassed for nursing their babies in public (“NIP”). The latest one involved a Twitter exchange between a breastfeeding mom and a Delta Airlines Public Relations employee.
While we think it is so incredibly important that these types of incidences are highlighted and spoken about, we also believe it can paint an incorrect picture that if you nurse your baby in public, you’d better be ready for a fight. So we thought we’d seek out some positive experiences mamas have had feeding their little ones while out and about - below are a few of the responses we received. For every woman that may be made to feel uncomfortable for NIP, it is our greatest hope that there are 100 that receive smiles, nods, and even an occasional high five.
From Lara Snyder:
Our son is three months old and so far I have had nothing, but positive and amazing breastfeeding experiences! The first time we ever tried NIP-ing was when my family was flying home to Colorado, for Christmas. It was my husband's and my first time flying with an infant so we got to the airport early. Our son was only one month old and like any one month old he got hungry often! Since it was my first time flying with a baby and NIP-ing I was really nervous that someone would give me a hard time and make the flight difficult. Luckily nothing like that happened! After getting through security our son started to get fussy because he was hungry, so my husband found a comfy bench to put all our stuff down and so I could nurse. Oddly enough the bench was right outside some bathrooms and quite a few people saw what I was doing!! Once we got all our stuff situated and I got comfortable, my husband simply said, "Ok I'm going to the bathroom, you feed the baby," without even second thinking my boob was going to be out in public. Sitting right there in the middle of the San Diego Airport, I fed our baby boy while airport employees and multiple travelers walked by. No one said a thing about my nursing! I'm sure a few people felt uncomfortable, but they just looked away. One man even came out of the bathroom and began talking to my family. It was a little strange to me and my husband because we didn't know this person, but he was rather nice and wished us safe travels! Once we got on the plane the positive experience continued and our wonderful little man slept the entire flight! The pressure changes bugged him a little, and even then I started nursing him and everything went smoothly! My husband offered to sit in the middle seat (even though he hates it) just in case an unappreciative person sat next to us, they would have nothing to complain about because they would see my husband and not me! After our flight landed in Colorado we waited to be the last couple off the plane, and a lot of the other passengers were surprised there was a baby on board! Both my husband and I were so grateful I could nurse my son during the rough patches during the flight, and we felt so proud of our little man surprising everyone by not being that crying baby on the plane!
From Marion Luebberman:
I had to take my little guy to two life celebrations for friends who had passed away before he was four months old. I was terrified both times because I was sure people would give me the stink-eye for bringing a baby to something so somber, but the truth is, people love to see babies during times of sorrow. At the first event, I had to nurse during the eulogy and my son was only a couple months old so he was very floppy and not cooperative at all. The mother and aunt (neither of whom I'd met before) of our deceased friend came over and offered to help me. I was struggling with my cover and they both said "we've all been there, do what you gotta do!" I felt so comfortable there and my boy was fed and happy. At the next service, which was attended by 200+ bikers, my husband and I were talking to the widow of the friend we had just lost. She lit up at the sight of a little baby and told me that if I had to feed him at any time, I was welcome to "whip it out and do what you gotta do!" I did just that and nobody blinked an eye. If I could pass on any message to moms who are wary of nursing in public, I would tell them what these awesome moms told me - do what you gotta do!
From Tiffany Kyle:
In my 15mo of breast feeding I can honestly say I have never had a negative experience nursing in public. One day stands out especially for me as being an incredibly positive moment. I was at Starbucks with my son and I think he was probably 7 or 8 months at the time. It was one of the Starbucks that has comfy furniture and it was quite crowded. I had been chatting with the people around me a little bit and they were commenting on how cute my baby was. When my son needed to nurse, we did our thing. I'll admit I wondered for a split second if any of these strangers who were sitting very near to us would have a problem with it, but everyone was more than supportive. The lady across from me gave me a high five and said what a great job I was doing and no wonder my son was such a happy guy. Seriously made my day. :)
Thank you so much to all of the ladies who contributed their positive stories - let’s keep it going by not only sharing our own experiences, but creating a happy memory for the next woman you see feeding her baby at the zoo, or the park, on the airplane, or in the grocery store - give her a high-five and tell her what a fantastic mama she is, and “to do what you gotta do!”
Do you have a positive NIP experience you would like to share with our readers? Send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will include it in an upcoming article!