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Breastfeeding in Public: Nursing Moms Band Together

"Be confident and discreet," is the rallying cry of all mothers who nurse in public. Find out how these women are working to breastfeeding misconceptions.

On any given day across the United States, nursing moms gather to discuss breastfeeding at numerous support groups offered at hospitals and private storefronts or through the international La Leche League. La Leche League has been advocating breastfeeding since 1958.




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  • PAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Walk into one of these support groups, and you’ll find enormous diaper bags and infant carriers strewn about the room with tired-eyed women holding sleepy, gurgling babies of varying ages. It’s tough to be a new mom – let alone having to worry about public perceptions about breastfeeding.


    PAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">“I don’t care what others say or what kind of looks they give me,” says Katie Baillo of Sherman Oaks, California. “If my baby is hungry, that’s all that matters. You just have to be confident and discreet.”


    PAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Strength in Numbers
    Being discreet and confident are two big issues for new moms learning how to nurse in public. Moms often discuss new products – such as nursing covers, shirts and so on – that help them when they are out in public.


    PAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">But confidence can’t be purchased. A mom who wants to breastfeed needs plenty of support from the time she gives birth onward – from the hospital staff, her doctor, pediatrician, husband, family and friends.




    Today, many women rely on lactation consultants to help with breastfeeding issues since their own mothers – who did not breastfeed – can’t answer specific questions. Many of those who are now grandmas were encouraged by doctors to use formulas and forget breastfeeding in the 1950s and ’60s.


    “My doctor told me my milk wasn’t any good,” reports one older woman, who was witnessing her niece breastfeed. “It was something I wish I could have done.”


    While many moms are carefree and confident like Baillo about breastfeeding in public, others who are self-conscious find it difficult. So lactation consultant Terri Gass suggests that nursing moms band together for public outings.


    “Being with other breastfeeding moms helps new moms get over the fear of being out in public,” Gass says.



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    by Brenda Rees

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