Monday, April 19, 2010

Inquisition Monday: Church Breastfeeding

Last week on Twitter, CrunchyMummy asked,

So here's a question for inquisition monday: How do you handle breastfeeding at church? I know a mother's room is available. Do you use it?

I've used the mother's lounge once. There was a time when Margaret was around 3 or 4 months old where she went on a strange nursing strike and would only nurse lying down. Since that's not very feasible in the pews or in Relief Society, I went to the mother's lounge to lie on the ground. There are a lot of new moms in our ward and not enough space in the lounge for everyone if everyone needed to be there, so I don't go. Also, Margaret is a very short nurser. As a newborn, she would only nurse for maybe 5 minutes on one side. It wasn't worth it to get up, walk to the other side of the building for a 2-5 minute nursing session. I always thought it was more distracting to get up and leave and than to just pop a baby on the breast.

Now that Margaret's 2, her nursing sessions are around 30 seconds to 2 minutes if she's not nursing for sickness or teething. Even for sleep, she'll be out between 2 and 10 minutes depending on the day.

As for the actual "how to" aspects of nursing, I've written in the past about using layers at church. However, right around 18 months, Margaret decided that layers were too much of a fuss and just wanted me to pull everything up and be right up against my belly skin or pull everything down. Obviously pulling everything down was easier, so that's what we do. I did attempt to use my tiny white top layer last week, but it just caused extra conflict. It's far less distracting to just nurse her than to fight her about layers. Besides, none of the other 2 year olds who snack at church have to eat with fabric right up against their noses.

Here's a video of how I latch her on with minimal nipple showing. In fact, I'm pretty sure the only time there's a slight chance of seeing actual nipple happens when she unlatches.

Haha! Check out my hat hair! I wore a hat to church, but took it off for the video so you could actually see my face.


  1. I have to ask what style/brand of bra do you use? One of my biggest frustrations is unhooking my bras and re-hooking afterward.

    With your method it's MUCH quicker and there was absolutely no fumbling at all! :)

  2. Do you pull your bra down, too? That's one thing that was always annoying for me. I don't have any shirts that I can pull down, so I would always have to reach up my shirt, unhook my bra, then pull up and get Bug latched on. Although, that isn't so complicated that I feel like I have to go to the mother's lounge. I'm actually anti-mother's lounge at our current ward building, because there is a diaper changing station in there (but NOT in the women's bathroom) so it always smells like poopy diapers. I would like to get that changed. But I'm also planning on just nursing in whatever meeting I'm in at the time anyway, when this baby comes!

  3. Yes, I pull my bra down. For the first 11 months of her life, I used those criss-cross sleeping bras because I still had a lot of change in breast size feeding to feeding because of my extended engorgement. I was also afraid of using "real" bras because of a couple of mastitis issues.

    So when I got my first actual nursing bra, I was really unexperienced with the clips. I tried to get used to them, but I decided it wasn't worth it. I just pulled those down too. It does mean extra bunching under your breast, but no one sees that. The ones I have are a soft foam kind, so it's not too formed, but are thick enough that you don't see my nipple through my shirt. I got this one from Sears. They aren't the nice expensive kind, but I'm not using them the way you're supposed to use them, so I don't think it's worth buying $60 ones.

  4. Oh, and even when I pulled my shirt up to nurse her, I just pulled the bra down. It was easier. I still can't really do those little clasp things.

  5. Thanks for the shout out. :)

    As a follow-up question, how do people handle that? Has anyone ever reacted negatively, or asked you to stop?

  6. You've got skills! I'm all for nursing whereever I'm sitting. Which includes our sunbeam class. I figure majority of them have younger siblings and so may have seen breastfeeding in their own family. Not that they even notice anyway!

  7. Heather, Thank you for this post! I really, really, appreciate you nursing in church, and not making a huge deal of it. I love how you said that it's more distracting to get up than to just pop her on.

    I recently read that breasfeeding in public only recently became an issue. In the 20's and 30's it was normal for women to breastfeed in public, in front of men and in front of strangers. What changed? Do you know if the church has said anything about breastfeeding in public? Do you know if women in the church breastfed in public in the 20's and 30's?

  8. My question is: how do you get margaret to sit still? I've been going to the mother's room at church because Aellyn just won't lay like that. She wants to stand on my lap and bounce around, unlatch and look around, unlatch and give me a (loud) kiss, etc. She is seriously having fun! I don't want to discourage her having fun but the idea of not seeing nipple is just not possible with her all over the place.

  9. we just stay in the pew/seat. It's way more distracting to let her cry as I get up and try to stumble over everyone to get to the nursing room. So we just nurse when she wants and nobody knows! :)

  10. You all don't mind if I save your questions for another Inquisition Monday, right? I don't have time to answer them all in the comments right now.

  11. Possibly another Inquisition Monday question - I tend towards hypoglycemia when not pregnant. (I am not diabetic and my hypoglycemia does not stem from any sort of insulin treatment.) Currently, during my first pregnancy I've found this tendency towards hypoglycemia to be enhanced. I've noticed that when it happens (infrequently) I tend to swing straight into a low blood sugar episode without the minor warning symptoms that I used to notice pre-pregnancy. I know that hypoglycemia is mainly controlled/treated by diet. I also know that many women have no history of hypoglycemia, but experience low blood sugar episodes for the first time while pregnant. I understand what my episodes are when they happen, but someone else who's never experienced them before becoming pregnant may not.

    Basically, my question is - do you have any experience with low blood sugar episodes and any nutrition/lifestyle advice on preventing/dealing with them?

    Sorry this got so long! I'm new to your blog and really enjoying it.

  12. I hope I have as easy of a time as you do. :) Due any day. Found your blog on :)

  13. The chapel in the small branch where I grew up has a mother's room between the clerk's office and the kitchen that is the size of one of the classrooms. The one in the chapel I attend now (a "full size" building) has a tiny room that is literally smaller than my closet and is right next to the women's bathroom so it is SMELLY and noisy from all the in and out and flushing toilets.

    I do not use it. Pisses me off, to be honest. Really, never understood how a church that promote so many babies would provide a tiny room that no more than two people can be in at once for THREE WARDS.

  14. MJK- ha! You should see our ward's "mother's room". They realized they didn't build ones, so they took a corner of the ladies locker room and carpeted it, installed a diaper changer and put in a rocking chair and two metal folding chairs. When the diaper changer is down, it takes up the whole "room". And yes, there is still tile where the carpet ends and no, there is not a door seperating the locker room from the mother's room. Pathetic.

  15. Our mother's room in a closet with a stinky diaper pail where mothers like to bring their babies and toddlers to change poopy diapers.

    I'm still afraid to nurse in the chapel. If I could start all over with a newborn, I think I could do it in the chapel and work my way up to nursing a toddler in the chapel, but I can't start with a toddler...I'm just too scared, and don't have any church clothes that are really discreet.

    It's better for us to stay in the meeting. That's where we are supposed to be. I would love it if bishops would start encouraging mothers to nurse their babies in the chapel because I think so many feel expected to use the mother's room.


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