Breastfeeding in public can be a daunting task for a new breastfeeding mom. Today we’re talking with Abby Theuring of the popular blog, The Badass Breastfeeder, about her recommendations for conquering those initial fears to accomplish your breastfeeding goals. Why is to so important to breastfeed while in public? And what tips does Abby have for dealing with staring onlookers?
The Boob Group
Badass Public Breastfeeder
Robin Kaplan: Learning to breastfeed in public can sometimes be a daunting for a new mom, especially in the United States where mothers can sometimes be discriminated against for nursing in public. How can a mother ease into nursing in public and how can she empower herself to do this with ease. Today I'm thrilled to introduce our expert Abby Theuring or as you may better know her the Badass Breast Feeder to discuss how to become a badass public breastfeeder.
Robin Kaplan: Welcome to The Boob Group, Broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. The Boob Group is your weekly online on-the-go support group for all things related to breastfeeding. I am your host Robin Kaplan. I am also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Centre. Thanks to all of our loyal listeners who have joined The Boob Group Club, our members get all of our archived episodes, bonus content after each new show plus special giveaways and discounts. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for a chance to win a membership to our club each month. Another way for you to stay connected is by downloading our free App available in the Android and iTunes marketplaces. So today we are joined in the studio by three lovely panelists, ladies will you please introduce yourselves.
Rachel Rainbolt: My name is Rachel Rainbolt. I am 30 years old, I am the author of the Sage Parenting Book and I have three little boys who are 7, 5 and 1.
Jenna Ikuta: And I am Jenna Ikuta and I'm 24. I work with Children with Special Needs here in San Diego area as a needy contractor and I have one daughter, she is four months old and her name is Scarlett.
Tiffany Castro: Hi, I'm Tiffany Castro and I'm 31. I'm currently a stay-at-home mom for the first time. Previously, I was in social services. I have one child, his name is Drew and he’s 10 months old.
Robin Kaplan: All right, well ladies welcome to the show!
Robin Kaplan: So we’re here today with Alex Kaslowitz, who is the sales and marketing director of Beco, which is definitely one of our favorite baby caring websites and so Alex welcome to the show. Would you mind telling us a little bit about your company, when was Beco first started and what was the inspiration for it?
Alex Kaslowitz: Sure thing Robin, thank you so much by the way for having us. Beco started eight years ago when Gabby, the CEO and founder, her first son was born. So it’s truly time and tested product based on her son, it was based on her real experiences. She needed a way to carry her son, she tried the options that were currently on the market and they just weren’t good enough or limited within options. So she didn’t come to this country with much money. She came from Prague, Czech Republic. She literally bought a broken sewing machine, fixed it learned how to sell in a few weeks and just made a carrier. She walked into a super market, a mom came up to her and said that looks beautiful, where did you get it? She said I made it and it started from there.
Robin Kaplan: That’s fantastic. So tell us a little about Beco’s product. What type of carriers do you make, and is there an age limit for how old a child can be worn in these carriers?
Alex Kaslowitz: Sure, what we do here is we try to limit any pain point of thinking about wearing in general so you can just share your day with baby. So we provide the perfect combination between comfort and style so that we can help you power through your daily mommy-daddy duties and keep yourself hands-free so – and obviously, baby’s safe and close all the time. With Gemini, which is our flagship of baby carrier, our first model, you can wear baby from day one, so seven pounds up to 35 pounds. The same thing with Soleil with an infant insert, Soleil is our new model. With an infant insert with Soleil you can wear baby from day one and that goes up to 45 pounds and have a little bit longer of a lifespan.
Robin Kaplan: And is that something that can be worn on the back as well?
Alex Kaslowitz: Sure. So Gemini can be worn on the front facing in or facing out on the hip or on the back. And Soleil, because of the difference in the seat, it can only be worn on the front facing in, the hip and back, so only Gemini faces out.
Robin Kaplan: Okay so Soleil is your newest carrier, what makes this carrier different from the other ones?
Alex Kaslowitz: Soleil, we love it, we love it so much. Have you guys seen pictures of it? Oh my god, we just love it! Well, we pretty much told our consumer and fans and pretty much asked what they would like to see added or included within the carrier. So there’s enhanced padding on the – like head padding, there’s enhanced leg padding and if you show it against any other carrier in the market it’s truly unrivaled leg padding. So there’s no trading much more support, a true dotted seat, plenty of storage and also – this is a really cool feature, mix and match capabilities with the accessories options that we’ve brought in with the Soleil. So it’s a really, really excellent carrier, we love it.
Robin Kaplan: I'm glad you brought up the accessories too because I have to tell you with looking at the website I'm a little bit obsessed with your accessories bags, they are awesome.
Alex Kaslowitz: Thank you.
Robin Kaplan: And so what are these accessories bags made out of and how do they work with your carriers?
Alex Kaslowitz: Everything’s made out of 100% cotton. We do also include inorganic line as well, so that’s an option. The idea behind most of what we do is we believe that you don't want to compromise style and design just for function. So just because the carrier’s ergonomic and structured doesn’t mean that it has to be crunchy necessarily, it can be stylish and trendy. And the best part about Soleil and we got some style is that you can start with, let’s say, a solid print and then start to accessorize it out. So you mix and match by adding a new pattern hood or a new patterned carry all bag which simply just snaps on to the front and kind of replace the panel. So you can continue pretty much to access the carrier as the new patterns come out and completely update the look and feel over and over.
Robin Kaplan: Fantastic and where can our listeners find your Beco products?
Alex Kaslowitz: You can find our stuff everywhere. Well, specialty retails all around the US, all around the world. We were so happy, we tried to stay within retailers that provide that educational experience because I think that even though they’re photographed beautifully these are products that have to be touched and felt and worn. Every carrier looks and feels the same when they weigh one pound without a baby. So I think that it’s really smart and we really encourage the savvy mom that’s to go to a retailer location where they can actually try and demonstrate with a baby doll, at least a weighted baby doll so that they can see the difference and feel the difference. So, and hopefully they kind of like our stuff.
Robin Kaplan: Wonderful and what is your website?
Alex Kaslowitz: becobabycarrier.com
Robin Kaplan: Okay fantastic. Well, thanks so much Alex, we really appreciate your time and for you sharing with us a lot more about the Beco Company.
Alex Kaslowitz: Thanks so much, Robin.
Robin Kaplan: So today on The Boob Group we’re discussing how to become a badass public breastfeeder. Our expert Abby Theuring, started the wildly popular blog in Facebook page, The Badass Breast Feeder after her son Jack was born and she had a rough start to breastfeeding. Now she’s an inspiring breastfeeding mother around the world where women seek support to help them normalize breastfeeding in public and she also talks about practicing gentle parenting. Thanks for joining us Abby and welcome to our show!
Abby Theuring: Thank you so much for having me!
Robin Kaplan: Yeah sure! So Abby how did you start The Badass Breastfeeder?
Abby Theuring: Well, The Badass Breastfeeder was really the perfect accident. I was on maternity leave after I had my son Jack, and I decided not to go back to work. I had such a horribly rough time getting started with breastfeeding as you just said and I just felt like I needed to spend as much time with him getting this down, getting this right as possible and when we did get it right and we started to just to get really going, I felt so amazing; I felt more amazing than I've ever felt in my life, I felt so inspired. I wanted to start writing about it and people kept telling me like, well you should write a blog and that blogging I've never really – I didn’t really know much about it and I thought that it just seems too hard like people smarter and more talented than me did that type of thing. And I was in a mommy group on Facebook, a mom support group on Facebook and I posted a picture of me breastfeeding in the park, we had really been really successful with breastfeeding and Jack had been sick and he’d gotten better, and it was really scary and it was just this week where I just felt so – I just had this amazing like proud mommy moment and I posted this picture in a private group on Facebook and, I mean I was outright harassed. I was told that I was disgusting, and ‘oh my god, how can you post this picture and how can you do that in public and blah, blah, blah.’
And I had no idea that this type of thing existed, I had no idea that like what I was doing was odd or – I had no idea. I thought, well okay, maybe my blog will also have a Facebook page, where people can post their pictures publicly and they can be shared around the Internet and they can be saved and people can get kind of more used to seeing these kinds of pictures because I know how it felt. I know how it felt like being – feeling amazing and how it felt feeling so down in the dump after that. So that was all, that’s how it started.
Robin Kaplan: That’s amazing. So since you started your Facebook page and your blog, you have also started something called ‘Becoming a Badass Public Breast Feeder’ which is your e-course since and so why did you decide to start this and what do moms receive when they sign up for it?
Abby Theuring: Well I started this because – just continuing the story. So I started this Facebook page and I would post these pictures of me breastfeeding in public and when all these – what I found to be beautiful setting, and just the most amazing things that I wanted to be doing with my son which is just living my life and breastfeeding and so many people, I heard from so many women – so many women would be like, ‘oh I wished I could do that or I'm too afraid to do that or I can't believe you do that! At the park or oh my gosh, I can't believe that anybody has the confidence to do that’. I was really surprised at this response so I just felt like – I had quit my job and the job that I had quit was a social work job where we advocated for abused and neglected teenagers and I just felt like this kind of, I quit my job and I was hearing all this from these women, I felt this kind of very natural, instinctual turn in my passion for advocating for people and this kind of thing’s just so natural, like okay I'm an advocate this is – I'm here, I’m here, their problem and I just felt like, oh I got to start – I just felt so passionate about putting something together that would inspire moms and help moms that were in the exact same position that I was in, because I had felt the harassments as well but also felt very passionate about breastfeeding in public. So I wrote this and it was so much fun writing and I talked to as many women as I possibly could to find out exactly what they wanted in this and so now I say it’s an email course. So you sign up and then every day for seven days you get one email and it’s a different topic and you go through the seven days and that’s it! It’s free, you put your email address in there and you get – for seven days you get an email message from me about different topics.
Robin Kaplan: I love it because it’s so comprehensive – it’s a super – we’re linking to it on our page by the way for this episode and it’s comprehensive, it’s easier read like your little sass comes through which is awesome but it’s just, it’s basic information. Just how to make this all work for you and it’s super non-judgmental, which we at the Boob Group absolutely love as well. So Abby, why is it so important to you for moms to feel comfortable breastfeeding in public and why do you think that there are so many moms that are nervous to do it?
Abby Theuring: Well, I think it’s really important for people to breastfeed in public because I think breastfeeding rates in America are terrible. People aren’t breastfeeding and they are especially not breastfeeding beyond like newborn age. And I think it’s just because we don't see people breastfeeding. I mean even for me like I really wanted to breastfeed, I really wanted to and I can't even tell you why, I can't tell you why like I never saw anybody breastfeed, I don't know why. It just seems I was just drawn to it, I was just really – I really felt like I think it was probably the bond, like I was just really drawn to that but we don't see it happening and I feel passionate that if we saw breastfeeding in public and just people were doing it, if we became something that we saw every day, I think more people would do it. Because it would be like ‘oh okay that’s just kind of normal things to do’. And I think that – I mean, I just think it’s just so important – really more babies will get breast milk.
Robin Kaplan: Yeah.
Abby Theuring: If we saw people and if it just became a cultural norm because now it’s like cultural – the cultural norm right now is the baby getting a bottle.
Robin Kaplan: Exactly.
Abby Theuring: And that’s very normal and breastfeeding being so abnormal I think keeps women from breastfeeding, keeps people nervous about breastfeeding and also in this country we are so over-sexualized, our breast are completely over-sexualized and I think women become self-conscious about that. It’s like, well my breast are nothing, anybody really like says this consciously but I mean this is like, breast in America are like the sexual object and so women become kind of self-conscious about exposing themselves, kind of about like just doing this kind of thing in public because they’re afraid, they’re afraid! They’re afraid of being harassed, they’re afraid of taking their breast out, they’re afraid of being stared at, women feel self-conscious about their body overall. I think it’s just people just become afraid of it.
Robin Kaplan: Absolutely, ladies in our studio, were you nervous to breastfeed in public initially and or during a certain situation?
Jenny, you’re nodding, we’ll go to you first.
Jenna Ikuta: I have constantly been nervous about breastfeeding in public but it kind of got to me more so when I was out in public with my husband because I had a feeling that he was kind of uneasy about it. He had never seen anybody breastfeed either and his mom works in a NICU up at Stanford Hospital and she is the goddess of everything breast milk up there but he’d just never been exposed to it and he’d never seen it and up until this point they were his. They were like, okay these are my things to play with and now they’re on loan to this little baby he was just like, ‘I don't know if I want to watch that.’ And in the beginning he was more so on my mind about, ‘okay, I don't want to make him feel bad and him embarrassed because he knows that I don't have any shame,’ I had a breast reduction when I was 18 and I wanted to show everybody my scars. I was like Frankin woman with my 150 stitches and I didn’t really have that nervousness about myself, I was more nervous about how he’s going to handle other people reacting to it. And I got a lot of negativity but at the same time I was more able to handle that than I was their feelings about it. I think still even when I'm out in public I get that nervousness and that, ‘okay, was anybody going to say anything to me, what are they going to look like,’ and I just have to give myself a little pep talk ‘my baby needs to eat, she’s hungry!’ I'm not subject everybody else to her screaming and crying because they have an issue with me feeding her, so.
Robin Kaplan: Yeah, how about you Tiffany?
Tiffany Castro: Oh yeah, I was horrified – terrified. It was probably one of those terrifying things I've ever done in decisions, I had to go ahead and make and I'm still nervous every time. Although I kind of consider myself a breastfeeding – well, not kind of, I do. A breastfeeding advocate now, I still am terrified every time to an extent and maybe that’s just because I'm a pretty shy, very conservative like modest person with my body and definitely very insecure and didn’t want to show my breast but just like the judgments, just worrying about what other people thought, would say and do. So the first time I ever did it was the worst, I was horrified but I lived through it and so I just keep taking that step each day and just making a conscious decision to do it and those nerves are still there but I choose to ignore them and just carry on.
Robin Kaplan: Yeah, how about you Rachel?
Rachel Rainbolt: Yeah I was very nervous the first time with my first, like I said I have three so lots of years of breastfeeding under my belt now and at this point, I don't feel nervous at all when I breastfeed but definitely when I was starting out with my first, I was very nervous. I think it’s like a lack of confidence in the process of breastfeeding to begin with like not really, ‘am I doing it right,’ is he – he just popped off and trying to figure out like where do my arms go, and then on top of that, all of the messages from society of – like you should definitely do it, you have to do it but at the same time don't do it and you shouldn’t ever do it. So that’s a tough position to be in.
Robin Kaplan: Yeah and as all of you have said time and time and time and practice and practice and practice does make it easier but that first time can be – I totally I – my son was six weeks old, we were travelling, it was in California Chicken Cafe and at Los Angeles and I was so nervous, the back fat were showing and all my extra pregnancy weight and all this kind of stuff and I remember my son just – I wasn’t even paying attention to him and he just latched right on and I was like, ‘oh!’ Like you were talking Rachel, we’re so worried about the process and sometimes the process totally knows what’s it doing and the baby knows what he or she is doing and my emotions were getting on the way but. Abby so most of the women here have brought up onlookers so that’s kind of where the fear comes from. So what are your top tips for dealing with staring onlookers?
Abby Theuring: Well this has been absolutely number one reason that I heard from women about being nervous about breastfeeding in public. So absolutely that’s a very normal fear to have, it’s a fear that a lot of women have, most women have and I think it’s really important for people to know that I have that fear too. I'm not without fear I didn’t start this whole – I didn’t start The Badass Breastfeeder like I don't care what anybody thinks and I have no fear. That’s not at all the situation going on, I completely recognize these feeling within myself every single time I breastfeed in public, every single time. Two years into it I recognize that. I'm with you guys, I feel that I totally am with you. My top tips, I would say, that change you're thinking about your body. Number one, change that thinking about your body and I know it’s hard, I totally know that but we become so focused on our insecurities about our body that when we reframe our thinking about our body it actually changes the way that we feel about ourselves altogether and the way that we act. So we’re kind of we know deep down inside that we’re these beautiful badass breastfeeding women if we can start to kind of force ourselves to think that about ourselves, we are going to be more confident. Sit up, look people on their face, smile, do those things that you want to do. We all want to do this. We all want to be this breastfeeding goddess. This is how we feel, this is totally normal because this is exactly what we are.
And if you can start to tell yourself that you are this because you are, we’re going to start to feel differently and act differently in public. And then I would say also like if you’re breastfeeding in public, read a book or play with your phone or kind of play with your kid’s hair, something like that. Something that’s just kind of focusing on something other than the rest of the world. Forget about trying to figure out whether or not that weird guy over there is staring at you, just kind of do like kind of do your thing and kind of do a little like playing and twiddling. We all have phones, we have little books that we want to read and also I would say if you’re more comfortable using a cover, then use it. I feel like there is this -- there seems to be this kind of battle within the breastfeeding world where it’s like cover, don't cover. And people who don't cover are better than people who cover and this is ridiculous. This is nonsense. If you feel more comfortable covering, then by all means cover! It’s fine, a straight up nursing cover, a light blanket, a scarf something like that, if that makes you feel more confident, makes you feel better about breastfeeding and your baby’s getting breast milk and at the end of the day this is what it’s about. The absolute most important is engage with your baby.
Robin Kaplan: Your baby is not going to give you bad looks.
Abby Theuring: Right! Your baby is looking at you with these like amazing beautiful eyes, your baby is just looking up. Engage with your baby, play with their hair, play with their feet, play with their arms and fingers because the bottom line is if you are noticing all these stuffs going on around you, if you’re noticing that all these people are doing the stuffs around you then you’re really not fully engaged with your baby. Because if you were fully engaged with your baby, you really wouldn’t notice, right?
Robin Kaplan: Those are great tips.
Abby Theuring: But we also have to realize as a woman that we’re awesome. People are going to stare at us because we’re beautiful, we are social creatures, we scare each other. We are so interested in each other but we’re interested in each other on levels that even as breastfeeders we can't understand. I mean if people stare at us because they want to see what our hands look like, they want to stare they want to see what our boob looks like, and they might be looking at us breastfeeding because they’re just interested! They’re just like, ‘oh my god, I’ve never really seen that.’ And you might have an ugly shirt on and that person is like ‘where did you get that shirt?’ Or you might have a booger hanging out nose you don't know why somebody is staring at you, you become your own worst enemy in this situation like ‘this person is staring at me’ when you don't really know what’s going on in the other person’s mind.
Robin Kaplan: Abby, it could be a lactation consultant who wants to give you the thumbs up as well you never know.
Abby Theuring: Yeah, if somebody might be like that it’s the most amazing person ever and I want to give her a high five.
Robin Kaplan: It’s true.
Abby Theuring: Exactly!
Robin Kaplan: I'm totally a lurker but it’s – not a lurker, I totally stare but it’s because I'm like ‘if she looks at me I want to give her a thumbs up!’
Abby Theuring: Oh my god! I am the worst; I'm like constantly staring people up and down. I'm like, ‘oh my god there’s a breastfeeder.’ I say to my husband – even my husband goes, ‘Abby, Abby’ he likes everything about a breastfeeder, the breastfeeder is kind of like –
Robin Kaplan: Heads up, breastfeeder 12 o’clock.
Abby Theuring: We’re the worse, we’re like totally.
Robin Kaplan: Totally! All right, so ladies we want to hear where have you breastfed? Where are some of the most common ones and if you have a few crazy ones we’d like to hear that too. So I see Jenna writing some stuff down. Jenna where have nursed in public?
Jenna Ikuta: Everywhere. As soon as I got over my own issues of my own fear, I kind of went crazy about it because I'm extremely busy all the time and I'm going everywhere whenever I can and we travel a lot, my husband’s in the military and we have gone to Las Vegas to help family – his family lives in Taho we’ve driven there. Breastfed around the lake, breastfed on a rock, there’s a sign that says Las Vegas and Taho. Hopefully, it was the first place that I've ever breastfed in public and the girl was just so taken aback and she had been like ‘oh, well it’s really nice that you cover’ and I said ‘oh, is it now’ and my daughter ended up kicking the blanket right in front of her eyes and I said, ‘well, she heard you’. So we don't cover anymore, we don't have a blanket because she just gets annoyed by it and I would because I'm kind of am larger chested and I would like to cover but she doesn’t do that. We have a huge park here in San Diego called Balboa Park and we live very close to it so we breastfeed in the park often, the zoo, the car on a military base. This morning I was breastfeeding on a balcony outside watching San Diego Pride Parade walk by and all these little kids are running around and there are people staring and looking and – I breastfeed anywhere, anytime that she’s hungry I feed her and it doesn’t matter where I'm at. I breastfed when my in-laws were here and that was I think the most awkward because I wasn’t sure how my father-in-law was going to handle it but I do it regardless. Like I said if she’s hungry, she’s hungry and she’s going to get fed.
Robin Kaplan: Exactly. How about you, Rachel?
Rachel Rainbolt: Yeah everywhere, I think that when you have your first you can really sort of base your life around the needs of your first and what’s happening for you in your life but once you have more than one kid, you can't really do that. So with my other two kids and their needs and their schedules and their lives, I just breastfeed anywhere and everywhere. While guest lecturing in a college classroom I was breastfeeding, while – I also like to take – I mean obviously with the kids we like to take pictures but I always anytime we go anywhere cool I always try to snap a photo of me breastfeeding in that place just like to have those special memories as of that time with these kids. Like we went back to visit the college we went to and I took a picture sitting on the sign with all the kids and the little one was breastfeeding and stuffs like that just like these cool places we go they’re kind of like these special moments captured in time that I just want to treasure.
Robin Kaplan: Absolutely, how about you Tiffany?
Tiffany Castro: Well, for me I consider breastfeeding in public the first time when I did it at the hospital in front of the nurses. Like to me that was nuts, that was insane, I was so horrified I didn’t want the nurses to look at me and the lactation consultant I was embarrassed. So that’s just my one crazy hang-ups and that’s how terrified I was and then I kind of like took that empowerment and went and nursed in public in my mind by hiding in dressing rooms. Like at the mall and I was hiding but it was still I was like, ‘I'm outside it’s not in my home, I'm doing it, I'm doing it.’
Robin Kaplan: Baby steps.
Tiffany Castro: Yeah, exactly and I had to build up and finally one day in Target I really didn’t have a choice and I covered and whatever but I was like, ‘okay, I did it here’ and now that I feel real confident – not real but more confident about it, I love doing it in nature. Like doing it on the beach watching the waves, best thing ever. Also in the mountains, we went hiking and camping and just doing it out in the fresh air, in the sun something about being in nature and doing something so natural and beautiful just makes me feel so peaceful and at one and –
Robin Kaplan: That’s awesome, look how far you’ve come.
Tiffany Castro: I know it’s crazy, I can't even do it in front of a lactation consultant like I was crying and now I'm like, ‘look at me, I'm free.’
Robin Kaplan: That’s awesome. Well when we come back we’ll discuss with Abby how to deal with family members and friends and sometimes partners who are uncomfortable with nursing in public as well as some favorite comebacks for when there’s an issue that you need to share your opinion with when you’re out in public and someone says something to you. So we’ll be right back!
Robin Kaplan: Welcome back to the show. We are here with Abby Theuring from The Badass Feeder. We’re talking about becoming a badass public breastfeeder. So Abby Lillian asked this question on our Facebook page, ‘what tips do you have for mothers who are used to nursing with breastfeeding pillows? How could she do better breastfeeding in public and feel more comfortable without it and do you think that carriers are super important when we’re talking about this?’
Abby Theuring: Yeah, I think carriers are so important but I remember being so addicted to my pillow, I got so used to that so when I was breastfeeding anywhere other than like the couch or the rocker where I was used to breastfeeding it felt so awkward. So I think that first of all knowing that when you go out in public that anything can double as a pillow. I mean you can roll up your jacket, you can use a diaper bag, I do this kind of thing where I take my leg and I put it up, I put my foot up on the chair and I kind of use my own leg to prop my arm up for a little bit of comfort. I think that we can find comfort that way in a lot of different ways, we just have to be creative but I think babywearing is definitely a big thing, I think that babywearing – getting a carrier or whatever it is that you’re comfortable with and you can nurse in virtually any carrier and you can be comfortable doing it too. And then you are just completely mobile. You’re just walking, you’re talking, you’re out there doing it and you don't have to even sit down. So then the pillow situation and resting your arm just become obsolete because you’re babywearing. So I think babywearing is so important when it comes to the topic of nursing in public.
Robin Kaplan: Okay and what about – I mentioned before we took our break that sometimes a woman may find that her partner, her family or her friends are uncomfortable with her breastfeeding in public so what type of advice do you have for her?
Abby Theuring: Yeah, this is definitely one of the biggest issues I think that is out there with moms’ breastfeeding in public, absolutely one of the biggest issues and I think that it’s really important to remember that when our partners or our family members, friends whatever are concerned or nervous about it, that these things – it’s really important for us to come from a place that we understand that it’s coming from a place of love and concern for us. We live in a culture where this just isn’t normal and some people have a more difficult time with that than others. I think that we have to really focus on starting a dialogue with these, with our family and friends who may not feel comfortable with this, starting an open-ended dialogue with them and it can be really difficult because – I mean even in all this – just from – all I can do is speak from my own experience is that when I feel a certain way and I want somebody else to feel that way, I want this conversation to end like within five minutes. Like I have an opinion and I want you to agree with me within like point five seconds, like just agree with me because I'm right, come on. And I mean that’s like totally normal for us to – for people to feel that way ‘I feel this way please agree with me’. But I think it’s important to realize that people – that this the discomfort with nursing in public runs so deep, it runs so deep in America that we’re surrounded with people that have these concerns on a level that they don't even know.
The body issues, the breastfeeding issues and all this stuff runs so deep that we really have to just – we have to start a conversation, we have to really open the lines to the communication and if you sign up for the e-course, this is the biggest day, this is the longest – this has the biggest focus of the whole entire thing. So I would say, briefly I would say try to find non-stressful parts of the day to kind of sit down and have a conversation with your partner, expressing each other, listening to each other’s feelings about it, your partner doesn’t like breastfeeding in public, okay that’s frustrating, I get it but listen to them. Try listening to what they have to say because you might find that there’s something that you can reassure them about. And you want to express back to them how important it is to you that this happens and you really want to be focusing on listening to each other and not kind of talking at each other.
And I would say that it’s just basically trying to coming to an understanding of each other’s feeling and it’s not going to happen in one day. It’s not going to happen in one conversation and ending a conversation in a positive note is a great thing. Taking it up the next day, couple of days later. Understanding that this is something – this is not like – this is a parenting decision, it’s like a parenting decision like anything else, like should it be cloth diaper? Who would decide that in one conversation? I mean I – should we cloth diaper, should we spank or not spank I mean – obviously these are complicated things because culture plays such a huge part in these things, we have these things that are so popular in our culture that we really have to sit down with our partners and decide how we feel and – I know I'm talking a lot about this but this is such an important thing to me. This particular topic is so important to me and I think it’s just a matter of really starting this conversation and really understanding that these are really complicated things and they are not simple, they’re not one conversation decision and really focusing on creating an understanding of each other’s feelings on this topic.
Robin Kaplan: Okay thank you. So we’ve had a bunch of people write in to Facebook actually and as we’re conducting this interview and so MJ, our producer, can you choose one of your favorite questions that you would like to ask Abby?
MJ: Hi Abby.
Abby Theuring: Hi.
MJ: Jessy Roscup, I don't want to butcher the name but she says so when you’re at a swimming pool filled with children who are learning to swim, do you just nurse without a cover right there or would you be a little modest to keep from having the little kids just fall in the pool and freak out?
Abby Theuring: Well there’s no such thing as a little kid freaking out about breastfeeding. There’s only such thing as an adult freaking out about breastfeeding.
Robin Kaplan: That has been my experience as well that I have breastfed on every playground, in every classroom experience and the kids don't have issues with it, the kids – and even if they do have a question – I’ve had a little kid come up to me before and say, ‘what are you doing?’ and my older child just said, ‘feeding the baby milk, that’s what babies drink.’ And the kid said, ‘oh, okay’ and walked away. The kids don't have issues so it’s really the adults.
Abby Theuring: Yeah, we know. So obviously there’s so much influence that we have over our children and we know this, we know this because we – we obviously know this because we take so much time to focus on what parenting decisions that we’re going to make with our children. How are we going to deal with this, how are we going to deal with that and obviously this all plays such a huge part in how we deal with our children and obviously just everything that we do with our kids starts with us! So yeah, actually it’s funny that you asked this question at a swimming pool because I'm visiting my parents in Wisconsin where we spent the day at the swimming pool and Jack said several times, ‘booby, booby’ cause he either fell down and the water got in his eyes and whatever and he was surprised it so booby helped him or he was hungry and booby helped him. We had booby and listen I'm in Racine, Wisconsin and if I'm in Racine, Wisconsin and nobody said anything to me then we’re pretty good.
Robin Kaplan: So Abby, we’re running close to the end of time but I did want you to share a few of your favorite comebacks on your e-course and then I’d like to open it up to our panelists as well if they’ve either had any in their mind that they’ve actually had to used or ones that they’d just keep back filed away just in case. So Abby what would you say kind of your top four comebacks are if someone came over and asked you what are doing or why are doing that here?
Abby Theuring: Well, I remember my favorite ones, there seems to be this whole popular list, whole popular thoughts that you should breastfeed in a toilet and I feel like – my favorite thing to say to that would be like, you don't eat in a toilet so why should my child eat in a toilet and pointing out that, okay so you’re a little bit uncomfortable, okay well my baby is a little baby so he can't really deal with discomfort, you’re an adult you can deal with a little bit of discomfort.
Robin Kaplan: That’s a good one. All right cool, I'm going to open up to our panelists as well. So Rachel, you have any come backs that you keep that you’ve either had to use or you keep filed away just in case?
Rachel Rainbolt: Yeah, just kind of relating to the bathroom thing like anytime we go out to eat I'm kind of always got the list of come backs, yeah the whole like ‘oh if it makes you uncomfortable you’re welcome to eat your lunch in the bathroom’ or ‘if it makes you uncomfortable to be around women and babies you’re welcome to stay some place a little more private’ things like that just trying to turn it on their head like anything that they would be saying to me but really my favorite thing’s just to keep at the forefront of my line is just the law, that it’s a legally protected right, so that’s really the thing that’s at the forefront of my mind that, ‘well actually in California it’s a legally protected right to breastfeed in public with no conditions so, I'm sorry that’s what the law protects my right to be here and to breastfeed my baby.’ And that gives me confidence too.
Robin Kaplan: Yeah absolutely, how about you Jenna?
Jenna Ikuta: Same thing as what Rachel said I was in Vegas at a chocolate factory and an elderly woman had asked me ‘you don't have anything to cover with do you?’ and so I said ‘no, I don't actually’ and I didn’t necessarily know the law in Nevada but being from California I knew the law and I had one of a card that Robin had actually given me that has the laws on the back of it to kind of show people that don't necessarily believe you or don't believe the same thing that you do and I really love to fall back on the law because it does protect me and it does protect my baby and it ensures that everybody gets fed and everybody is cozy and just fine so I really like that one. And just sticking up for my baby’s right to eat wherever anybody is allowed to eat and we don't take our food to the bathroom, we don't take our food to anywhere private. We eat at the table so when my daughter is hungry at the dinner table, she gets fed at the dinner table, same thing.
Robin Kaplan: Cool, how about you Tiffany?
Tiffany Castro: Well, luckily I haven’t been put in that position yet and I fear everyday that it’s going to happen and I'm not somebody who when someone confronts me in a moment I don't have zingers. I can't just come back, I'm not witty like that so I'm just hoping it never happens and my alternate plan was just to refer to the law and just maybe be nice to them, just smile and say ‘thanks for your concern and just so you know’, just try to leave it positive and nice that way it doesn’t cause more friction with the whole issue.
Robin Kaplan: And if you’re confident and calm and at ease and positive then the people around you tend to be that way as well. It can be very disarming like it’s hard to argue with somebody who’s not arguing back. Well, I just want to say a big huge, huge, huge thank you to Abby and to our panelists in the studio today for sharing this incredibly valuable information about breastfeeding in public as well as sharing your experiences. It was a pleasure having you on the show Abby, thank you so much.
Abby Theuring: Yeah, thank you so much for having me here and I am so honored that you had me here interviewed with such amazing panelists that you have on here today.
Robin Kaplan: Oh thank you and for our Boob Group Club members our conversation will continue after the end of this show, as Abby will discuss advice for the mom who has a very distractible nursing, who likes to pop off a lot of while they’re feeding. So for more information about our Boob Group Club please visit our website at theboobgroup.com.
Robin Kaplan: So here’s a comment from one of our listeners, this is from JD and this is what she wrote, ‘thank you so much for the episode on breastfeeding after implants. I really do feel that you all are a source for judgment-free breastfeeding information now after hearing this podcast. Having my surgery wasn’t something I would have chosen in a perfect world but it was necessary. It is great that finally, I was able to hear someone say yes, you can breastfeed, it is possible even after implants without tagging on things that make me feel guilty that I had the surgery in the first place.
A lot of times when I have searched for information on this, that is all the people say to you and to let you know that you’re probably a superficial terrible person who doesn’t think ahead or care about your future children if you got implant surgery. Thanks for not judging those of us who had this surgery or for assuming that you know the reasons why we’ve chosen to undergo this difficult surgery.
I actually cried when I heard the expert and the panelists talking about how things can work and giving specific things I can do to help make it happen. This was so encouraging and something I had never heard before. Thank you for helping me feel like I can potentially do this and thank you for being willing to break out of the norm. Women like me who have implants often have a sense that our breasts kind of betrayed us anyway and not being womanly enough or weird like mine were, one so different from the other, so to hear that it is possible that my breast could still do these amazingly womanly things of breastfeeding is so encouraging, thank you’. And thank you so much JD for writing this, I'm practically crying reading this. It was a really beautiful story, thank you for sharing this comment and I'm so glad that it helped.
Robin Kaplan: This wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to The Boob Group. Don’t forget to check out our sister shows, Preggie Pals’ for Expecting Parents and our show Parent Savers for Moms and Dads with Newborns, Infants and Toddlers. Thanks for listening to The Boob Group; Your Judgment-Free Breastfeeding Resource.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in these areas are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified healthcare provider.
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