If you’re living in a middle Eastern country, or visiting one, you might assume that breastfeeding in public is not accepted. It’s true that nursing in public is best avoided in some places like Iran, where the Islamic government sent officials to chop breasts off mannequins in a clothing stores. But in places where breastfeeding is considered the normal way to feed a baby, people don’t give a second thought to a nursing mother and baby.
When you are breastfeeding your baby, you’ll want to feel comfortable feeding her everywhere. Breastfeeding is enjoyable for baby and mom and helps keep you both healthy. You’re helping the environment too, because the manufacture of formula and bottles uses precious water supplies and generates pollution and waste.
Wherever you live, you might be nervous the first time your baby gets hungry at the market or in someone’s home. Here are Green Prophet’s top ten tips for public breastfeeding in the Middle East or anywhere in the world:
1. Try and find out the norm in the place you are visiting. But in the end, it’s your choice whether to stay or move.
2. A crying baby is more disturbing than a calm, nursing baby.
3. Your first priority is to your baby. Avoid nursing a baby in a bathroom or a stuffy closet just to please others.
4. You’re most likely to expose your breast when your baby first latches on. Practice at home in front of a mirror. When out, you can get started in a private place or turn against the wall, then return to your original spot.
5. Lifting up a loose t-shirt exposes less than opening a button-down shirt from the top. The baby will cover your torso.
6. A tank-top with large sleeve holes covered by an unbuttoned shirt or jacket gives more coverage from the side.
7. You can cut slits in a t-shirt or tank, then layer another shirt on top.
8. Act confident in your choice. If you ask permission or apologize, people are more likely to object. But don’t hesitate to ask if you need a private place to sit.
9. Remember that breastfeeding is normal, and that nursing mothers don’t have to hide away until their children grow.
10. Nursing your baby is a great way to reach across cultural barriers. Why expect criticism? You may be surprised at the positive reaction, especially from parents with fond memories of their children’s nursing years.
By choosing to nurse in public, and supporting breastfeeding moms, you’re encouraging future parents to choose breastfeeding for their own babies. And what can be “greener” than that?
More green articles on breastfeeding:
Why Baby’s First Gift Shouldn’t Be Formula from the Hospital
Breastfeed Your Baby in a Hijab: Public Breastfeeding in the Middle East
Is Breastfeeding Immodest? An Orthodox Jewish Perspective
Image via Tim_Selena