Breastfeeding parents nurse in public all the time, and most never have any issues. Recently, however, a Chicago mom was asked by a restaurant staff member to “do that somewhere else.”
“That” was breastfeeding, and “somewhere else” was a bathroom, a dim corner, or (presumably) a cave. Hello, Dark Ages? Can you hang up now? We are soooo done with you.
A couple reminders about breastfeeding in public:
- It’s legal. Here in Illinois, breastfeeding parents are allowed to breastfeed anywhere they are allowed to be. Covered or uncovered. Period.
- It’s still legal. Even if a customer complains. Even if there are kids present (you’re going to shield them from normal mammal feeding?). Even if you were shamed into breastfeeding privately or you bottle-fed your child. Even if you’re a miserable person with nothing better to do than judge hungry babies.
- It’s healthy. When moms are shamed into covering or hiding in any way, they can’t participate in life. C’mon, you think a parent is going to keep doing something if it means they have to hide away every time they need to FEED THEIR CHILD??? Breastfeeding is way too important for mom’s health and baby’s health for us to do anything except cheer it on.
- Shaming is crappy and mean. If someone doesn’t like seeing you breastfeed, that’s THEIR issue, and they can take their opinion all the way to the dumpster. A simple response to negative comments: “Thank you for noticing my beautiful child. I’m so proud of what a good eater she is.” The. End.
What are the best ways to NIP (nurse in public)?
- Go out into public. You could go to a park, a store, a different park, a restaurant, your front stoop…
- Remember to take your baby.
No, but seriously, how do you do it?
- Practice at home in front of a mirror if you’re nervous. It’s easiest to NIP on a bench or large chair so baby doesn’t kick against a chair arm and rip your boob off. Just kidding, it’ll stay on. But babies do love to kick. Some parents like to wear a couple layers (like a tank top and a shirt); some just pull down the neck of their shirt and go for it. Up to you!
- Phone a friend. The buddy system is great for beginners. Take someone who’s going to tell you that you look like a goddess. Because you do.
- Use a cover or don’t use a cover. Some moms like covers; some think they’re a waste of time and money. Some babies nurse best under covers; some think they’re the devil. Experiment and see what makes you and baby most comfortable. The law protects you no matter what!
- Print out some Thank You for Breastfeeding cards just in case you see other parents breastfeeding in public. You can also print out some Illinois breastfeed law cards, if you want.
So… Breastfeed Chicago is officially naming this the Summer of NIP. If you breastfeed in public this summer:
- Post to Twitter with #SummerofNIP and tag @BFChgo
- Post to our Facebook group with #SummerofNIP
- Instagram with #SummerofNIP
We might just have some giveaways for some lucky folks who post!
Thank you to all the generous mamas who shared their NIP pics with us! Don’t they look amazing? Tip: click on the first photo and scroll through the whole shebang. You’ll be glad you did.