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February 15, 2011 / MrsH

Nursing in Public on Vacation

Our family just returned from a wonderful week away from the snow and ice to go see family.  It was wonderful!  However, sitting by the outside pool Sweetpea asked me to nurse.  I tried to distract, I tried to get her to wait.  Nursing while wearing wet bathing suits isn’t the most comfortable thing I can imagine.  But she really wanted, needed to nurse right then and there.  As we were comfortably snuggled up with a towel over her head to keep the sun out (and to provide some coverage, I don’t own a nursing bathing suit and didn’t want to sunburn any sensitive parts!), I suddenly realized that I didn’t know what I’d do if someone asked me to go nurse somewhere else.  Where I live, in an urban center in the Northeast, I know that the law protects me.  Anywhere I can legally be, I can also legally nurse my toddler.  Sometimes, when I feel awkward, I rehearse myself explaining that law to someone.  But in the southern state where I found myself, I realized I had no idea what the law was.  Thankfully, nobody said anything.

As soon as I could though, I used my trusty google to find out the laws of the state where I was.  I felt relieved to learn that I could breastfeed my Sweetpea anywhere I was lawfully allowed to be.  Phew, my comeback would still work!  In fact, I didn’t realize that “forty-four states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location.”  Imagine that!  We nursed several more times at the pool, as well as in other locations.  Being in a strange place she certainly needed that form of comfort a lot more.  I’m so pleased that no one has ever questioned my choice to breastfeed my child while I was actually feeding her.  I’ve had remarks thrown into other conversations, where arguably the mothers didn’t know my viewpoints about it, but have never had someone tell me anything but encouraging things about nursing while I was actually doing it.

I’m encouraged by that.  I’m encouraged that I can nurse discreetly without using blankets, that I can look into my little one’s deep brown eyes (the same ones MrH has, gorgeous) while she gently, or voraciously, suckles.  We play peekaboo and tickle-bug, and it’s during nursing that she’s learned all her body parts.  What a special relationship, and I’m so thankful that even while traveling other parts of the country, we were able to continue this beautiful thing without any worry about what other people might think.

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