Breastfeeding in church
My favorite birthing and mothering website continues to be the blog of Rixa Frost, PhD, a homebirthing mother of two. She recently posted on breastfeeding in church, and at last check, nearly 60 women have chimed in with their own experiences and opinions. I found it fascinating! My comment ended up being really long… I’ll post it here, and I would love to hear your own observations and experiences (both good and bad!).
I think that the culture of breastfeeding in a church really depends on the opinions of the leadership, and from what I’ve been reading here, that can REALLY vary, even from church to church within the same denomination.
I go to a nondenominational Christian church (a Vineyard), and while we tend to be more laid back than a lot of other churches out there, the only thing that bothers me a bit about my particular church is that it is not particularly … well, I don’t know how to put it. Families are blessed and encouraged. My pastor even called out my hubby and me on a recent Sunday morning with some public words of encouragement and blessing for us as parents, and for our brood of five. So, it’s not like it’s anti-family. But, if you do have a baby in the service, there is an expectation that you would leave the room if the baby became very vocal; it’s not an environment that is particularly friendly to noisy babies, let alone toddlers. Along with an infant’s nursery and age-appropriate classes for children during the main service, there is a nursing mother’s room — which has a fairly nice set-up and is clean and good-sized and in fairly good repair. The sound is SUPPOSED to be piped in, but it doesn’t work very well, and the room is actually in a building that is totally separate from the church sanctuary! Still, I have long enjoyed the community of nursing mothers that frequent the room… Even though I love being a part of the service and hearing the message, I also think that it is part of Christian community to… fellowship with others — to share in their lives, catch up on their triumphs and struggles, share advice, find out who needs hand-me-downs, etc. So, I ALWAYS enjoy going to nurse my baby and — basically — socialize with the other mothers. And, if I miss a message, I can always listen to it online the next day (or whenever), and I have done that frequently.
I have occasionally bf’ed from the back row, covered with a blanket, and I’ve seen other mothers do so, too. But, ALL of my children have been noisy, distracted nursers… and despite nursing five, I always feel clumsy nursing in public, and generally prefer going somewhere more private.
There is a smallish storage room that shares a wall with the sanctuary. I have long considered asking my pastor if that room could be converted, with two-way glass, to a more conveniently located nursing mothers room. I think this post has spurred me on to do so!!!!