At first glance this picture seems ridiculous to me. A husband and wife -separated by a partition so that the wife can nurse their baby. It’s as if seeing the nursing woman should somehow be un-wholesome. But really, what could be more wholesome, more loving?
I’d like to think things have changed since the 1950’s- but in some ways I don’t think they have. I often feel like the woman in this picture. Not in my own home- thank goodness! But whenever I’m out with our baby Molly, I am keenly aware of how long I have until she will want to nurse. And I scan whatever store, or park we are at to see if there is anywhere to go. I’ve nursed Molly while sitting in a dirty public toilet stall more than once. It’s a nightmare negotiating the door, and cramped corners all while trying not to let the baby touch anything- and trying to hunch over because there is nothing to lean against.
I’ve also tried nursing Molly discreetly under a blanket while sitting at a restaurant, or at a park. And I’ve noticed concerned glances. That has caused me to go a lot fewer places with Molly. I limit any long amount of time to basically just one mall nearby us. It offers a room for nursing moms- which is super. But more than providing a place for nursing moms, I wish that our society was more welcoming of moms that nurse in public.
While my own sense of modesty probably wouldn’t lead me to breastfeed in public without a cover up, I do think that should be okay. I think it sends a terrible message not just to mothers who nurse, but to everyone when nursing moms are made to feel they are doing something wrong by feeding their children.
After all- there are Victoria’s Secret stores & Frederick’s of Hollywood stores in malls all over America! How is it okay that those stores have huge displays in the windows, full of half naked women in suggestive poses- but a mother nursing her baby is considered racy? I mean there are teenagers, and children that walk by those displays. The pictures in those windows show much more cleavage than a nursing mom is likely to show, even without a cover up.
I would hope that by the time my Molly is a mom, that perhaps society would have a change of heart- and be more welcoming of moms nursing wherever they are. And I hope she’ll never feel compelled to nurse in a public toilet stall. I hope instead she will feel free to nurse her baby wherever her baby is hungry, and that the only “looks” she’ll get from passers by- will be smiles🙂