Nursing in Church
Many new moms and even not so new moms feel uncomfortable breastfeeding at church and other public places. They feel torn between attending to the needs of their baby and being modest.
Nowadays, there are numerous ways to breastfeed outside the house in such a way that others have no idea what you are doing. Many home based businesses sell stylish nursing covers. Some women wear nursing dresses or shirts that have nursing flaps and slits. Others bring a blanket or wear a sweater to help them cover up while nursing. Many moms find slings wonderful for modest nursing and for general comforting of their baby. There is also the possibility of sitting in your Church's library or even situating yourself next to your husband in the pew so that you are covered well.
Breastfed babies are very portable, so attending Mass requires little else besides a diaper, maybe a change of clothes for baby, and a quiet toy. Actually, comforting a baby with breastfeeding is a very non-distracting way to quiet a crying baby and is just what baby wants!
If you see a mother at Mass with a baby and one or more other children, you can offer to play quietly with her child(ren) or read to them while she nurses the baby. Another way to help that is so easy but still important is praising a nursing mother for her breastfeeding efforts. A positive comment can literally make someone's day! You can also bring a drink of water to a nursing mother. New mothers always appreciate meals so why not bring a meal to a mom who attends your church? One more possibility is to ask your parish priest if you can set out breastfeeding brochures in the back of church. Last but definitely not least (probably best!) is to start a nursing mothers ministry in your parish.
(c) Gina M. Peterson, BS, IBCLC 2014