Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Breastfeeding in church

I come from a religious culture that is fairly breastfeeding-friendly (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or LDS/Mormon for short). No one bats an eye at large families. (I come from a family with 5 children, and my husband is the oldest of 7. There were 8 children in my mom's family and 6 in my dad's.) Many more women in our church breastfeed than is average for North America.

Our meetinghouses usually have a room called a "Mother's Lounge," a place for women to go to nurse their babies or calm crying children, etc. I've seen some really nice mother's rooms with several comfy rockers, a changing table, and a sink. I've also seen some fairly cramped and unpleasant ones. The building in my town has a tiny room that was recently converted into a makeshift mother's room. It has an old padded armchair and a small side table. The last place I lived, the mother's room was off in a far corner of the church. The furniture was from the 1970s and I tried not to think about the numerous body fluids that had been spilled onto the old overstuffed couch. It was icy cold and always smelled strongly of poop and pee. I didn't go in there unless I really, really needed to take a nap along with my daughter! Some church buildings do not have mother's lounges at all.

Although I am glad that we have mother's lounges, I feel strongly that we shouldn't be expected to only nurse there and nowhere else. I almost always nurse in the pews, unless my baby is particularly loud and fussy. Then I go into the lobby to nurse until they have quieted down. Jane of Seagull Fountain just wrote a post about this, actually, feeling that mother's lounges can quickly become "ghettos" where women are supposed to go to do unmentionable stuff like, say, feed a child from their own breasts. Read her post You don't need an inner city to have a ghetto.

I've never got any grief about nursing in public from other church members, although I have heard of women in other LDS congregations who have. I guess because some churchgoers "immodest" or "indecent" or "licentious," somehow. TopHat, another LDS mama, discusses why she doesn't think breastfeeding in church is immodest. Jane of Seagull Fountain wrote this in Comfort Zone:
let me share my joy [about breastfeeding] without thinking I’m criticizing you or diminishing you.

Unless you think breastfeeding is something that should be hidden or something weird or something to be done under cover, in that small room, or only as long as “nothing shows” or no one is inconvenienced.

Then I am criticizing you, and I’m saying you’re mistaken.

And this includes people who are afraid that exposing (young) men to women breastfeeding will somehow harm them morally. I can’t even believe I typed that sentence. It is completely illogical. Letting young men see what breasts are for will LET THEM SEE WHAT BREASTS ARE FOR.
What have your breastfeeding experiences been like at your church? Where do women usually nurse their babies? Do you have special rooms set aside for nursing or for noisy children? Is it expected that you go to these rooms, or do you feel welcome to nurse wherever you want to? Have you ever received praise or criticism for breastfeeding your babies in church?


  1. Oh, I love this topic!

    I am LDS too and I have breastfed everywhere in church. I never used a blanket, but I am pretty discrete. Most times no one even noticed what I was doing. I would wear either nursing dresses, or skirts and tops.

    I have BF while bearing my testimony in Relief Society.

    I have BF in the pews during Sacrament Meeting.

    I have BF in the comfy chairs in the foyer.

    I have BF during Sunday School Marriage and Family Class. I did ask the teacher if it bothered her as it was a small class and my toddler wasn't totally discrete. She said, "Go for it!"

    I have BF during choir practice.

    I also have BF in the Mother's Lounge. Frankly with my 2nd and 3rd, it was a nice place to escape to during Sacrament Meeting, making my DH be in charge of the older boys. Also my mothers lounge is nice, with comfy chairs and other mothers to share moments with. So I liked the social bonding moments in there.

    But, if the baby was hungry and I didn't want to leave, I just nursed wherever I was.

    I never had a negative comment said to me.

    I wish I was going to have another baby and I was in the Young Women's program, because I would nurse all the time, on purpose in front of them, just to be a good example to them. :)

  2. Breastfeeding and church has been an interesting combination. At our church far more babies are baptized than the number that regularly attend. Even though our child was the fifth baby baptized that month, she is the ONLY child under the age of two that is regularly in the pews. At first, when she got fussy I would take her out and nurse her in the narthex. Every time, I would get the stink eye from people who don't think its polite to get up in church. Out in the hallway I always had ushers and people walking by. Its one thing to see a mother bottlefeeding in the rocking chair but they weren't prepared for a breastfeeding pair. I was a safety hazard. Then for awhile I wouldn't even take her into the sanctuary, we'd just sit in the nursery and listen to the service, but I felt like we were missing out on the family time and she was missing out on getting used to the service. As I got better at nursing in general, I started to feel more comfortable about nursing in the pew. Now I just pop her on the breast when she needs it and I don't cover up because that seems to draw more attention. We stay in the pew and hardly anyone notices. I still get the stink eye from one old lady in particular who always seems to take great notice of our feeding activities but it doesn't bug me.

  3. I breastfeed during church services too--I do have a nursing cover, so no one can see a thing. There is a room for crying babies during the service, but I've never used it.

    No one has ever made a comment to me, except, "What a cool cover you have!"

    I try to breastfeed in public as much as I can -- discretely of course -- bc I think breastfeeding should be okay in all environments and settings.

    I actually felt okay about nursing in church bc I saw another lady doing it as well--she was not covered at all, but was discrete, and I thought it was very beautiful.
    ~ Suzanne

  4. This is a controversial topic among Catholics, which puzzles me. I nurse my babies in church, in part because two of our parish priests are African and thus come from cultures where breastfeeding is absolutely normal. I blogged about the breastfeeding-is-immodest weirdness here.

  5. My church (conservative Anglican) is very family and baby friendly. Nursery and preschool chapel is available, but no one ever feels compelled to leave their children. If we want them in the service with us, great! I feel completely comfortable breastfeeding in the pews. We do also have a rocker in the back of the church, for those who find it more comfortable. And there is a room just down the hallway (where you can still hear the music!) where we can go if our kids are noisy or if the baby is distracted by all the noise around them!

    Personally I think this is the best set-up imaginable. Options are available but no one feels pressured to only use one of them!

    I love my church. :)

  6. I found the Maria Lactans site quite interesting. Lots of links to paintings of the Virgin Mary nursing Jesus.

  7. My home branch has no mothers' lounge- so mothers who nurse have no choice but to (a) find a private unused room and nurse in there (b) nurse in the foyer or (c) nurse during the meeting. I was at my home branch once during the time I was nursing my daughter and chose to hide out in a private room, not because I felt like I had to hide it by any means, but because I have very, very, large breasts and cannot do it discreetly. I'm personally not comfortable baring my big old boobs to the world. That's my own issue. My little sister and her husband are in that branch now and she nurses all the time in meetings, in the foyer, etc. she just uses a nursing cover because that's what she's comfortable with, and nobody minds. In my ward here, maybe it's my own perception, but I feel like it's almost expected that a mother will nurse in the mothers' lounge and not in front of the other people in the congregation. When I was nursing my daughter I always nursed her in the mothers' lounge. The chairs need to be replaced (some of them are broken and tip over when you try to get up!), and a lot of times they need more chairs for all of the nursers, but it's a fairly decent room. I never covered up in the lounge. I am no good at nursing under a cover and since she was my first (2nd due this month), I had no prior nursing experience, so I had to see what I was doing, especially when she was very young and had to be guided. I honestly felt a little bit judged for not covering up IN THE MOTHERS' LOUNGE! One woman who has had 15 children and nursed all of them had the gall to ask me where my blanket was one day because she had her 5-year-old son in the room with her. I wanted to slap her. I know, not very Christ-like but I was annoyed. I wanted to say, "If you bring your 5-year-old son in here with you while you nurse, chances are he might see a boob or two- and there's nothing wrong with that!!!!" My baby was only a few weeks old and was a very difficult nurser at first- it took some time for her to figure out that she actually liked to nurse and it was a huge struggle for the first couple of weeks. I felt like if I didn't cover up it was somehow taboo. A few of my friends in my ward actually pump before church so they don't have to "deal" with nursing their baby during the meetings. I work full time, so honestly, pumping for over a year at work was enough pumping for me I wasn't going to do it any more than necessary.

  8. I am LDS. My nursing days are long past but we lived in Puerto Rico for a couple of years and our 4th baby was born there. We attended an English-speaking branch where the Relief Society president (American) nursed while conducting meetings. The question just never arose. And there were no mother's lounges although it would have been nice since my babies tended to get distracted.
    When we moved back to Idaho I didn't give it a thought and just popped my toddler on during R.S. Whew! nobody said anything but the room temperature suddenly dropped ten degrees.
    My daughter now nurses her babies in that same building and nobody cares.

  9. I nurse wherever I want to, but honestly, I kind of liked going to the mothers lounge when my baby was younger, because then I could talk with the other women, something that I rarely got to do. My sister-in-law served a mission in Italy, and says that there the members let their kids wander quietly through the chapel during sacrament meeting, and when tourists from the states tried to breastfeed with a cover, the Italian women would take off the cover and tell them they would suffocate their child! It's totally a cultural thing. One of the few reasons I cover up is because my husband doesn't like the idea of other people seeing my breasts. I have never had anyone else tell me off.

  10. I nursed my son in the mother's lounge and that's it. I was all thumbs when it came to covering myself up while trying to get my son latched on and I'm one who doesn't want others to see my breasts. Our Mother's Lounge has 2 blue rockers which never ended up being enough during sacrament meeting b/c of our ward's baby boom so it wasn't uncommon to end up on a hard metal folding chair (why the soft RS folding chairs were never brought in, I don't know).
    Most of the women in my ward will nurse in the mother's lounge or they'll use a blanket to cover up during sacrament meeting. I haven't noticed anyone caring one way or the other, but I think it is expected that women will go there to nurse. When I was getting to the end of nursing my son I saw a woman in my ward stay in Relief Society and nurse using a nursing cover. It was the first time I ever saw one. I thought it was awesome that she stayed. I felt she was standing up for herself and not letting anyone "banish" her to the mother's lounge. It was always more interesting to listen to your own RS lesson instead of some other ward's sacrament meeting - especially when the little babies take longer to eat. When I have my next baby, I plan to nurse wherever I want to because as nice as the Mother's lounge is at our building, it's too small and when no one else is in there it's lonely.

  11. The ward we lived in when my baby was born had TONS of nursing mothers. We had a mothers lounge and I always nursed in there because it was fun to chat with my friends. Way more fun than sitting through a boring Sunday School lesson. :-)

    Now we live in a ward with fewer nursing mothers and our building actually has a very very nice mothers room. There are six big comfy rockers. I do take my son in there when he wants to nurse because at over a year he is way too distracted by everything to nurse discreetly in meetings. Now at 16 months, its becoming rarer for me to nurse during church at all.

    All that said, I have really mixed emotions about mothers rooms. I think we should feel comfortable enough to nurse our babies in church meetings. I don't think we should be expected to sequester ourselves off somewhere.

    I am now pregnant with my second and I think this time around I will probably just nurse my baby in the pew if I want. Especially now that I am very good at nursing discreetly. I will probably still use the mothers room sometimes though too. Its nice to have a quiet moment at times, plus when other moms are there too it makes for some great conversations. I've became much better friends with women in my ward because of mothers room talks.

  12. I am Baptist. We have an infant nursery (up to 2 years old) and a toddler nursery. It is expected that we go to the nursery to bf. Because of all the sickness that is around, I choose not to leave my 5 month old son in the nursery and only go there to nurse and change him and then head back to the service. I have gotten some looks when he has been a bit vocal during the service. I have attended other Baptist churches that have been more friendly to children in the services, but mine is a very large church with many accommodations for parents of small children, and so you don't find many parents keeping their children or infants in the service with them.

  13. I'm a long-time reader & first time commenter. I'm also a new mom! I've been BFing my newbie for 6 weeks now!

    My husband WAS uncomfortable at first w/ me BFing in church--so I went to the nursery. BUT, it took my son the entire service to eat!!

    SO, we talked about it & my husband agreed that if we sit in the back & I use a cover, he thinks it would be ok. So, last week I BF my son during our church service...oh how nice it was not to miss out!!

    Our church has a nursery where we can go to nurse and a cry room. The cry room is located on the back side of the sanctuary & has a large window into the sanctuary. You can see the entire service & screens. You can hear (b/c the sound is piped in) and the sanctuary can't hear you!! There are 4 pews and a rocking chair in the cry room.

    Many families keep their babies in the service & I'm sure plenty of moms discreetly nurse during services too!

  14. Interesting topic. I am not religious and never stepped foot in a church until well into my adolescence and basically only go to churches for weddings and funerals. I was one of those totally shameless nursers in public. But when my daughter was a few months old, we attended a wedding in an episcopal church. I was doing a reading in the ceremony. I was trying to nurse her ahead of time so that she'd be calm while I read, but I timed it totally wrong and my reading came up while I was still nursing. I just stood up and gave my reading with her still latched on. It was the only time I've been nervous and felt self-conscious nursing in public, because I really had no idea how it would go over in the church and didn't want to be disrespectful to the church or to the couple getting married. My reading had to do with birth and giving life, and after the ceremony so many people (bride and groom included) came up to me and said that they loved that I gave the reading while nursing. The bride's brother was a minister and told me it was "one of the most blessed things he had ever seen."

    I thought it was pretty cool. :)

  15. I am also LDS and I can say I have never seen a mother nurse anyplace else but the mothers room. I have seen some straight up, immodest nursing with boobs hanging all over the place in there, but never ever ever anyplace else in the building. Very thought provoking. I tried to always have a bottle pumped with me so that I could avoid missing portions of meetings or feel like I was being secluded in the mothers room.

  16. interesting topic! In the church I attended while growing up (Catholic, in Ireland) there was what we called "the crying room" for small children who couldn't be quiet during the service. I don't remember anyone breastfeeding, or indeed feeding, a child in the main church. However, breastfeeding rates are still abysmal here and I doubt there were that many breastfeeding churchgoing mothers at that time.

  17. I dislike nursing in the mother's lounge. In all the wards I have nursed in, the lounges all smelled like a dirty diaper. Mothers would come in, change a diaper, throw it in the trash can, and leave. Sometimes without even nursing! The ward I am in now doesn't even have a changing station in the ladies bathroom, so it is even worse, because they come to the mother's lounge instead.

    Then, there is the fact that you almost never hear sacrament meeting, because all the women talk to each other instead.

    However, I still feel pressured into leaving to nurse in the lounge. The pressure is from nobody (that I have noticed) except my husband. He says he doesn't mind if I nurse in sacrament meeting, as long as I am "discreet"...which means covered. But I pick up subtle hints that he just wants me to go to the mother's lounge.

    I really -REALLY- like the quote from Jane of Seagull Fountain!

  18. When my son was born, he was part of a "batch" of 6 babies born all within 6 weeks... guess something was in the water! There were another 4 who were nursing, and our Mother's lounge was *sadly* inadequate, it being of the closet variety. Though it doesn't usually stink because the bathroom across the hall had a GREAT table for changing. You could actually do a wiggly toddler on it without worrying, and they've taken it away, which is sad, but off topic.

    I think we've still got some progress to make, because we're still getting leaders making announcements at the beginning of meetings from time to time about taking the babies out to cry or eat or whatever. Drives me crazy. One of the newer chapels in the area has one of the really beautiful mothers' lounges, but it's on the other side of the women's bathroom, which I think sends the wrong message. I've been known to nurse all over the church, depending on my mood. I struggle to pay attention once I leave the chapel, but Monkey didn't want to be covered and I'm shy. But it drove me crazy when they invited us to leave, and I've been known to stay out of sheer orneriness! I don't think I've ever had a problem with anyone saying anything, just those announcements. And those leaders aren't around any more, so maybe it'll go away.

    1. I can.not.believe that they tell moms in your ward to leave! I bet Church leaders would be totally mad at them!

  19. I've tried nursing in church, but like another commenter, feel more than immodest with my, ahem, ample bosom. The few times I tried, I put a blanket over me so I wouldn't be flashing everybody, and the baby would just pull it down/off, so I just went in the back. Our church now has a "cry room" or nursery like another commenter mentioned, with a one-way glass into the sanctuary and sound through the speakers, so it's not like I would miss anything in the future.

    -Kathy @

  20. I'm LDS and I've kind of gone through "stages" with nursing in church. At first (aka for 2 weeks) I just went to the mother's room. I still go there if I have a dress on that is really awkward to nurse with (very rarely). Then I would nurse in RS with a cover, since it's just us ladies (yeah right, the first time our Stake 2nd Counselor was there to give us a message and I was in the front row - I think this was my "shyness/modesty" turning point). Now I nurse in sacrament, Sunday school, RS, front row-back row-wherever, and I just usually use whatever blanket we have handy. And I have pretty big breasts, but my husband is a big breastfeeding support, so he helps "spot". I almost feel like I "have" to, to let the other young moms know that it's okay! Not that I mind, I love nursing our little guy... 5 months plus and still going strong!

  21. We are missionaries in Thailand. While Thais in general only breastfeed about 3 - 6 months, if at all, they rarely do in public. But at our church, no one has ever stared or made comments, and that's even with nursing twins! When my son asked to nurse on the front pew, that's where I said no and we went to the back pew LOL

    We went to USA when my 1st born was 10 months old to see our family, and we visited a church we'd once attended. I went to pick up my daughter to nurse her between services, and headed towards a rocking chair. One of the grannies there said, "Oh! we have a nursing room. But no one here has needed it for months." (Made me said to see all those little babies in the nursery who weren't getting nursed!). "Let me see if I can find the room."

    Not understanding why I couldn't just sit in the nursery, I followed her on a nursing room hunt. It was a nice size room, except it was the fake flower closet that smelled like dust and perfume. So I sat there nursing my daughter in a rocking chair looking at the Christmas and 4th of July flowers thinking, if more mothers at this church nursed, there'd be a real nursing room or acceptance of it in public.

    I was so glad to return "home" to Thailand and nurse wherever I wanted!

  22. Lets talk about feeling judged for NOT breastfeeding in the open. I was pretty put off by the strong words you quoted in this post! I feel breastfeeding is a thing just between me and my baby. It is my time to be alone with them. I don't feel comfortable sharing that with the rest of my ward. I enjoy having a mothers lounge and when at the church I only breastfeed there. I have never felt sequestered there. BUT my children have always been really quick eaters and I don't have to miss huge chunks of time. I am only gone for 10 minutes.

    I am completely supportive of other women doing whatever feels comfortable to them. I think breastfeeding doesn't need to be hidden, and I have never been someone to force people to see things my way. I think it is wrong to get angry at someone else if they ask you to cover up because they are uncomfortable. I feel like we need to be a little more understanding of people and not force your ways of doing things on other people. When an argument becomes so polarized and only ONE way is right it is not helpful to a cause. How can we FORCE someone to be comfortable with something like this? I think a quiet example is much more powerful.

    I know my children wouldn't bat an eye at seeing someone breastfeed in the open, but some people have never been exposed to it. I do not think the church setting is a place to start a breastfeeding movement. In my opinion it needs to start in the home, one child at a time.

  23. Liberal Protestant here (United Church of Christ).
    As a member of our worship and music committee, I developed a pew card that begins with the verse,

    "Call a Solemn Assembly; Gather the People. Sanctify the Congregation; Assemble the Aged; Gather the Children, even Infants at the Breast." Joel 2:15-16.

    It goes on to state:
    "St Pauls welcomes you and your nursing child. We encourage you to nurse wherever you feel comfortable. Many babies are fed in the Sanctuary or the Chapel during the worship service. The Narthex of the Sanctuary is also a good place to nurse. It not only has chairs and benches, but the viewing windows and the speaker system enable you to continue to participate in the service.
    Downstairs off the Social Hall you will find a nursery with a rocking chair, changing table, and a qualified childcare staff.
    If your baby is easily distracted, there are several quiet places where you can sit. There is a small Sitting Room right outside the side entrance of the Sanctuary. There are also comfortable chairs in the Social Hall.
    We are the church together and we are glad to have you here."

    Feel free to adapt to your needs!
    Lynn in Chicago

  24. Laura,
    I'm sorry you feel judged for wanting to use the mother's room. I don't think any of the commenters meant that. By expressing our annoyance at *having* to use the mother's lounge, we aren't implying that those people who use it are somehow inferior (or whatever). I'd like to see better-designed mother's lounges, but also want every woman to feel comfortable nursing outside of them as well, if she wishes to. Make sense?

  25. Lynn--love your pew cards! They are welcoming, helpful, and make sure that all nursing mothers feel comfortable to nurse in many different locations, depending on their needs and individual situations.

  26. Lynn, that's awesome!

    We are non-denominational Christians, and have experienced a few different environments. With my first child, our church was mostly unmarried, single 20-somethings, and the church had an amazing mother's room put in, but there was a kind of silent: 'Now you must breastfeed only in there' culture. It made me really uncomfortable, and I felt left out for the first year, till bub could go through the service without a feed. It was a pretty un-friendly environment for families in general, and kids weren't really welcome in the service, unless they were VERY quiet (not my little monkey!)
    Our new church is wonderful! There is no nursing room (the church is too small for one, it's just a little hall), but there are seats along the back wall that you often see mothers feeding in, or entertaining their toddlers. Toddler noise is all part of the service till they go out to creche after the worhsip, and I love that my child seems welcome as part of the church family. As it should be. I see breastfeeding most weeks, sometimes even from women in *gasp* dresses, who are not using covers, and just pulling the front down. I am looking forward to being part of the service as a breastfeeding mother in 9 weeks time when my 2nd child is born!

  27. My husband happens to be a pastor (for youth) and his dad is the senior pastor. Our church is non-denominational and is in the heart of Kansas City's inner city.

    Inner city folk know about big families and would care less where I nursed except I am very modest. I'm not ashamed of nursing but I am still learning and nursing in public is nerve-wracking to me.

    Due to the size of our church we do not have a nursery let alone a mother's room (often called a Cry Room in other Christian churches where women can take their crying babies/children but still hear the pastor's message through a speaker system). I am also the only mother of children under 16.

    So I just nurse her in my husband's office.

  28. At the synagogue I grew up in (age 12 to 18, when I got married and moved away) I don't ever remember seeing women nursing in the sanctuary, but it doesn't mean they weren't. I was a bit younger and didn't really notice pregnant women and babies at that age. I do remember seeing them nurse in the bathroom (after we'd fixed it up and put a nice chair in there, away from the toilet area but still a bathroom, yuck) and others went to the nursery.

    At the church I went to as a child they had a room where the service was piped in to a TV (now that I remember, they did this at the synagogue too eventually, to a TV in the nursery) for moms to nurse in. (Huge church, some 4000 people and the service was recorded and televised) My mom would go in there sometimes but others we would just sit way in the back where the rows were empty and she would nurse there.

    It's one of those awkward things, juggling some religions hangups about nudity and the belief that God made us to feed babies this way, and so of course there's nothing wrong with doing it in church.

  29. I've nursed everywhere, but honestly I'm perfectly happy to go to the Mother's Lounge because I can talk to other moms and occasionally retreat from the craziness that is occasionally going on with our children, leaving my husband to take care of the three older boys. I've never had anyone say anything, and I don't use blankets. I think just being discreet is good enough. Besides, my babies have never cared for eating under stuffy hot blankets. I know a lot of moms in my ward use nursing covers, but I personally don't like them. Too much of a pain.

  30. I agree that comfort with breastfeeding is completely cultural. I've breastfed in Relief Society before, but I would never do it in sacrament meeting or Sunday school. I don't think it's considerate, and it's usually distracting.

    However, I also feel like it's inconsiderate to bring bananas or yogurt smoothies to church when you're pregnant, and I don't think moms should feed their kids wet, messy baby food from a jar on the church pews, and half my ward does that. See? I'm intolerant like that.

    I've breastfed absolutely everywhere else (I typically use a blanket while the baby latches on, and then just adjust my clothes for modesty). I agree that our culture should get over its sexualized image of the breast, but I also think we should be considerate of others. For me it's not just the bare breasts but the spitting up, pooping, and fussing that often accompanies breastfeeding that make it inappropriate for sacrament meeting. Too distracting for others in many ways.

  31. PS--Of course you know, Rixa, that I would never ever say something to a sister breastfeeding in sacrament meeting (or dripping sweet potatoes on the back of the pew, or stinking up Sunday school with banana peels, or whatever). But I feel like it distracts others from concentrating on why we're at church, so I wouldn't do it, myself.

  32. What I can't get over is that I don't even remember ever even thinking twice about this in my other wards and branches. It's only here, back in Utah, that I started wondering -- probably bec. everyone here leaves to nurse. I almost wish I weren't aware of it, that if/when I do have another baby I wouldn't feel like I'm making some sort of statement by nursing as I did with my first three. But after discussing this and being more aware, it will be a statement. (And I guess that's okay).

  33. I'm also LDS, and have nursed both of my children at church, although it's usually been in our mother's lounge (mostly to talk to other women) or Relief Society. My Bishop has said several times over the pulpit that breastfeeding mothers are welcome in Sacrament Meeting and that he hopes we feel comfortable enough to stay and feed our children if we so choose. He also asks that if we're going to give our children (or ourselves) solid food that we go out into the lobby because of how difficult it is to clean those out of the upholstery and carpets. But I've never really felt like there was a double-standard there or anything.

  34. I don't go to church regularly, but when we had my oldest daughter baptized at six months, I breastfed her in the pew during the ceremony and no one batted an eye. We attend a Catholic church.

  35. We attend a Christian Reformed Church. I think I breastfed my daughter in the service when she was very small, but other than that, I have felt uncomfortable doing it in the service and take her to the (rather large) nursery, where there are some comfy rocking chairs and such. I don't like leaving the service for this, but for some reason, I feel very 'watched' at my church. I have, however, breastfed my daughter in a church during a funeral, a wedding, and an infant dedication!

    I'm not sure if I felt comfortable in those other churches because I didn't *know* everyone or if they were just set up differently ...

  36. I am LDS as well. In all the churches that I have traveled to, since we are military we've been to quite a few wards, I've never seen a lady BF in the pews. I did occassionally with my 2nd but my first was way to fussy at feeding time to allow for it. My mom and dad think it is inappropriate to feed in the pews. They that is what the mother;s lounge is for. I think they are opening up more since I've become more comfortable with it. While I'm feeding my 2nd at my parents house I don't cover up and my dad has gotten more comfortable with it. My husband was very against it at first but since I have now breastfed 2 children he is up to any time and place. I do have to agree that having a place to go is nice but I think more women should BF in the pews and then our children will come to accept that as the norm and what a mother does to provide for her baby and that the young men will learn how to respect a woman's body for the greatness that it is. I'll have to see how are new ward is and then once we have our next, I'll just feed right there in the pews. I'm more comfortable with my body now and I don't view BF as an immodest or obscene act. Thanks Rixa!

  37. I am Unitarian Universalist. I have never felt uncomfortable nursing in church, though I know that other folks have in the past. I think it is something that is evolving. Interestingly, I have found more acceptance among the older women (say in their 60s or so) than among younger women. I continue to wonder why that is. Some I think might be uncomfortable with my being an "olderish" mom (42), and some I think have a model in their heads and I guess I don't fit it.

    I nurse generally in nursing tops or dresses, and only leave the chapel when my baby (or toddler) is getting loud or fussy. Neither of my kids would allow me to put a blanket over their heads, which I tried to do at first. It got really really loud, which made it less than discrete.

  38. I'm not a religious person, so I pretty much see churches as just another public space. Kind of like a library, I need to be quiet and respectful, but if I need to nurse my baby, no problem. I recently visited the chapel on the campus of Notre Dame and nursed my baby there. There weren't church services going on, just tourists looking at the beautiful building.

    I'm curious about the big-boobed mamas feeling like they can't nurse discreetly. I'm big chested myself and I do feel too exposed if I pull my shirt down to nurse, but if I pull it up I can manage not to show much skin at all. Just wondering if you still feel too exposed with either position?

  39. I am LDS and always nursed my first in the mother's lounge, but more because I felt comfortable there than anything else. I have seen women nurse in relief society and I didn't feel like anyone was judging them for it.

    I'm due with my second in a few weeks and I'm hoping this time around to get over the awkwardness I always felt breastfeeding in public. Speaking of which, do you have an recommendations for a good nursing wardrobe? I felt like part of the problem with my first was always what I was wearing.

  40. So here is a thought about wanting a better-designed mother's room. I realized recently that I probably do too much complaining about wishing things were different, vs. offering to be the one that fixes it. If I was a member of the church, maybe I might decide my service to the church for next year could be volunteering to make over the room. At our small church, the way things happen is that someone raises their hand to do it. In the case of a mother's room, that might mean organizing a fundraiser, asking for furniture donations, getting a crew of volunteers to clean and paint the room, etc. Just a thought.

    There is a note in our church bulletin stating that children are welcome in service. It says "God put the wiggle in children, don't feel you need to supress it here." I nursed my kids freely as needed in back pews without any issues. But there is a nursery on the lower level which allows parents to relax and enjoy the service by having parent volunteers watch the kids. Some moms go there to feed babies too if they feel more comfortable. Its bright, cheery and colorful because a group of parents got together to do a makeover a couple years ago.

  41. My husband and I have not yet become pregnant, but I frequently bring up issues from this blog with him to get his thoughts so we can discuss. I mentioned breastfeeding in public to him a while back, and it got me thinking about my own preferences. I 100% agree that there should be no shame in breastfeeding your baby whenever, wherever, however. Notice I say "should be". I am shy by nature and honestly cannot envision myself ever feeling comfortable breastfeeding in public. I was raised to feel that it is indecent, and though I know in my head it is not, I can't seem to make my feelings agree. This makes me feel like I will be such a horrible mother! What advice do you have for women like me, who WANT to be able to feed their children as God intended, but can't help feeling horribly embarrassed about the whole situation?

  42. I am a Christian, not LDS. My husband grew up in the LDS church. He is very familiar with it, and has always ushered me toward privacy at church while nursing.

    While I don't think it is wrong to nurse publicly, I do think that if it bothers other people that it is wrong. Why be a stumbling block to others? As Christian's we're called to be the light.

    Some people see it that the exposed skin can cause a man present to stumble. And while we all have our own areas of weakness, this could be someone near you while you are breastfeeding and they catch a glimpse.

    I have 4 children and am pregnant now with my 5th. I have never stopped breastfeeding since I started - at all. I love breastfeeding, I think it is the best for everyone involved. I think it is God's perfect food for body and soul. So don't take this the wrong way at all.

    Nothing is wrong with breastfeeding. But if it could cause others to stumble in their thoughts - it is wrong for us to do publicly. After 4 children, I can be very discreet! But I am not fully convinced that it is "our right" to breastfeed anywhere, whether it is church or the mall, unless we are extremely modest and discreet. (And I wasn't trying to say that someone wasn't being modest/discreet!)

    Just my opinion of course!! I breastfeed everywhere, and usually only seek out seclusion when I have a newborn and we are still learning to work together, and discretion just isn't possible.

  43. i am now pregnant with my second child and will definitely nurse during sacrament meeting, sunday school, RS, etc. i did occasionally with my first, but mostly used the mother's lounge. i didn't necessarily feel banished there but i definitely didn't have the guts to nurse very much during the meetings because there was really nobody else who did. this time however i want to be more open about breastfeeding (not in the sense that i am going to bare myself to anyone and everyone) and not feel like i have to do it in a lounge. i will probably use the lounge when my baby gets to the age where she becomes distracted while eating, so it may be necessary to go somewhere quiet.

  44. Nursing wardrobe advice: you don't need any fancy nursing clothes at all. Just wear two-piece outfits, rather than a dress. I can nurse in almost all of my shirts, except really tight-fitting button-up shirts. With those, you can wear a layer underneath (either a special nursing tank or just a regular old fitted shirt) so you can unbutton the top shirt and pull up/pull down the underneath shirt.

    We always talk about nursing in public with the assumption that you'll be worrying about hiding your breasts. But frankly, a much bigger concern for a lot of women is exposing the lumpy postpartum stomach when they lift their shirt up! The baby does pretty much hide everything, but it you want more coverage, you can wear a second layer underneath. Some women cut a tight fitting t-shirt off right at the bust line and wear it like a kind of tube top, only the tube doesn't cover their chest area. That way, when you nurse with your shirt lifted up, you don't have any stomach/ribcage exposed (and in the winter, that can be really nice!)

    I've bought 2 nursing tops and made 2 other ones. Some of them are a pain because they have so many complicated flaps and layers. In general it's so much easier just to lift up your regular shirt and nurse. My favorite nursing top styles are ones that have a horizontal overlap in the front. For some examples, visit this webpage, which has links to several nursing top tutorials:

    Anon, about feeling comfortable nursing in public: I think you will be surprised how quickly this will come. Just focus on getting a good breastfeeding relationship started and go from there! Once you and your baby have everything figured out, it will become second nature to sit down, lift up your shirt, and nurse your baby. Honestly, when you're nursing with your shirt lifted up, you can hardly tell the baby's nursing! A lot of people might even think you're holding a sleeping baby. Hopefully the act of breastfeeding will become no more or no less shameful or personally embarrassing than, say, eating a snack or drinking a glass of water in public. It really really helps to hang out with other nursing women. It puts you so much more at ease once you've been around women who also nurse their babies.

  45. What fun to read all these comments and experiences! I will breastfeed anytime, anywhere (my favorite example: grandstand at a NASCAR stadium), and even though I have BFed in church and will many more times, it's honestly the worst place! If someone is sitting right next to you, that's the most exposed place and never mind if someone is standing up behind you! I often feel awkward but won't stop doing it because I don't want to miss the service and I often feel it's more disruptive to get up and leave.

    All that said, I'm a birthing teacher, and I strongly emphasize to my students the importance of learning discreet BFing without using a cover up early on, because older babies don't tolerate being covered up. I can't tell you how many times I've nursed in public and no one has a clue what's going on. Even when I do feel awkward, I look around the room and do a run through of who's there ("They're women, they've seen them before! He's a daddy with a nursed baby, he's seen this before. He's going to be a daddy someday and needs to get used to it!). I can see the argument for "stumbling blocks" based on Scripture, but I honestly don't agree. I think that making a woman feel that the way she feeds her baby is immodest or suggestive is not right. If someone is tempted or disturbed they simply don't have to watch. I certainly don't condemn people who are self-conscious - you can't change the way you feel. I just hope they are able to put those feelings behind them if their desire is to breastfeed.

  46. I have family and friends in many different Christian traditions (Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Evangelical, etc.), and I have nursed in many different churches. I've never had a rude comment from anyone, and many times I've had nice comments from older women. (Is it just me? I seem to get all the nicest comments from little old ladies. One said she thought my baby carrier was so nice because she gets worried seeing so many young women who "don't know how to carry a baby properly"! I also get lots of nice comments in regards to breastfeeding and having a large family -- I have seven kids.)

    In the churches my family attends, we typically have a nursery where parents drop off their babies during church. Most people assume that mothers do not WANT to "deal" with a baby in church, and mothers who do take their babies into church are met with confusion, but not antipathy. No one has ever objected to me nursing in church, but if I left my babies in the nursery I'd be asked why I didn't just let them give him a bottle so I wouldn't have to miss part of church to nurse! It's annoying, but well-intentioned.

    Personally, I am big on modesty, but I find it a bit absurd to talk about breastfeeding in that context. We're talking about feeding a child the way God designed, and we feel the need to qualify it with, "as long as it's done discreetly"! How ridiculous is that! IMO, it's a sign of our perverseness, the way that we "call evil good and good evil." And the one comment about a woman who wanted a nursing mother to cover up in the *mother's lounge* because her five-year-old was there? Wow -- just WOW.

  47. I belong to a non-denominational convervative Christian evangelical church. I was always comfortable nursing in the sanctuary here - but only attended this particular church when my 4th child was a nursling, so my own issues were well worked out by then! I was never made to feel uncomfortable. Breastfeeding rates are pretty dismal here and I honestly think most folks didn't know what I was doing, just assumed baby was snuggling or sleeping. I've only seen a couple other moms breastfeed in the sanctuary. In particular, own of my own clients who gratefully told me once that watching me nurse in church gave her confidence to do the same (which makes me really sad that my role model days are over that way!)
    My previous 2 churches were extremely breastfeeding friendly, more so than this one, with notes in the bulletins that a nursery was available is wanted, but that infants and children were welcome in service.
    Once, in a previous church, I attend a service even though I needed to leave just a bit early for another engagement (actually, a Jewish friend's baby-naming ceremony) Just before we needed to leave, my older dd who was a nursing toddler then, was become fretful and I was trying to keep her content for a few more minutes, so she was on and off the breast, offered toys, cheerios, etc. While she was nursing, the older woman in front of me turned around and whispered how much she liked seeing babies in church (I was so grateful to receive a loving comment like that while struggling with an irritable toddler!) Right after that, we left early as planned.
    The next morning, my pastor called the house very worried that the older woman in the pew had said something unkind to me and made me leave! She wanted to make sure I knew that babies and toddlers were always welcome and I was welcome to nurse as needed. She was very relieved to here that real story, and I was thrilled to know how supported moms were in that church!
    My current church is more on the tolerant, but hasn't made any effort to be supportive end of things - very comfortable for an old pro nursing mom like me, but might have been more intimidating for a new mom now that she doesn't have me or my client to watch nursing in front of her!

  48. I'm not a regular church goer, but I had the delightful experience of attending a chamber music concert in a church with my then 6 week old. I sat towards the back close to the door in case we needed to make a speedy exit if putting him to the breast didn't quiet him smartly (the performance was being recorded).
    As if on cue minutes into the second movement, Hugo began to fuss and as I lifted my shirt to pop him on, I looked up to find the pastor sitting almost next to me. He simply smiled warmly.
    Hugo nursed away happily and paused at the end of the second movement. In the middle of that *recorded* silence he let out a LOUD fart more fitting a stevedore than a tiny baby. The pastor almost had to excuse himself, he, and everyone else within earshot were killing themselves laughing.
    He paused as we were leaving and said to me "I'm so glad your baby enjoyed his meal SO much!"
    I thought it was sweet. ;)

  49. I used to be a Jehovah's Witness. It was a very pro-breastfeeding culture, just about everyone breastfed, but I never saw anyone breastfeed in the main hall. It was expected that mothers would go to the mother's room. The mother's rooms were always attached to the women's restroom, which was just gross to try to feed a child in. Also, they were very pro-spanking as well, so often times when I went back to breastfeed my son, someone would inevitably come back to spank their child, which would upset my son and make feeding him even harder. Also, the JW's had conventions that lasted two to four days, for about 8 hours a day. It was also expected that at these conventions mothers would get up from their seats, climb down flights of stairs (and then back up again, with a tiny baby), and go to a designated nursing room which never seemed to be comfortable or convenient (for quite a few years it was a locker room with bleachers about 6 inches wide). Towards the end of my time with the JW's I got sick of the whole thing and started nursing my son at my seats at conventions, but I never could bring myself to do it at church in the main hall. It might be fun to go back now and nurse a baby right out in the open :-) Of course, they think I'm evil now so it would probably not have a positive effect.

  50. I have been reading about nursing in church at a few other blogs; it seems to be a popular topic these past two weeks which makes me super happy!

    I am pregnant with my first baby and I have been too sick to attend church, unfortunately. I'm anticipating that we won't be able to attend church until the baby is born, due to the severity of my hyperemesis. I am planning on meeting with one of the female clergy and talking to her about breastfeeding, especially about the importance of me feeling comfortable doing it during service and knowing that I will receive support from the church if we continue to attend. I don't feel that I need permission or anything, I just want to know that I am supported. If they seem wishy-washy about it, my partner and I are well prepared to stop going to that church if they don't support such a normal and natural thing. There are plenty of other churches in our area and I'm sure I can find one that fits our family's needs. I can say right off the bat that most of the people who attend our church are middle-aged and older, and I seldom see small children there because they all go to the nursery. We shall see....

    Thank you for this post, Rixa.

  51. I am Roman Cathoic. Breastfeeding during mass has never been an issue at all, many of the moms I know do so. It's not considered immodest at all, and the group of moms I know are all a conservative bunch. It helps keep babies happy and quieter! I have never felt uncomfortable in the least. However, I am sure this may vary by geographical location or social composition of the parish.

    We do not have a cry room, the priests have refused to make one, and I am happy for it. (there is also no sunday school or day care) They want the children to be incorporated into the mass, and honestly most kids learn pretty quickly how to sit quietly through service. Sure, toddlers especially have to be removed once in a while, but I like this set up. I've been to cry rooms that were over-used by children who just went in there to play unsupervised. I also would hate to think I was expected to go nurse out of sight. But I can see why they would be useful to moms sometimes!

  52. I'm not religious, and haven't been to a church service in years. However, I was part of a wedding in a very big swanky church when Jacob was about 2 months old. This church had the best of everything, very opulent - I definitely noticed the enormous flatscreen plasma TVs in every room. The dress I was wearing as part of the wedding party did allow me to nurse by pulling the front aside, but I chose to place a burp cloth over my chest because I was unsure how a 95% exposed breast would go over in such a swanky environment. As luck would have it, Jacob had to nurse right as I was headed down the aisle, so I did it with the burp cloth in place and then went to my seat.

    I had been told of the nursing room off the main sanctuary, and decided to go there right before the end of the ceremony because the very loud organ music would have scared the baby. Imagine my chagrin to find the nursing room to be a tiny, cramped dead-end hallway of sorts, barely even a room, with a few bare cushionless rockers and a rickety change table. With no expense spared anywhere else in the church, it was a letdown to see the nursing room being such a neglected afterthought.

  53. To Anon, I'd add that one of the keys to bf in public is confidence. Practice nursing in front of friends and family when they come to visit the new baby. When you do nurse in public, hold your head high, and know that what you are doing is right, and anyone who doesn't like it can turn the other way.

  54. Well, I think it's fairly obvious how I feel. :)

    I've been phone called by my RS President about it, asked by my bishop to "pray about it" and even yelled at by another member while we were walking home from church one day.

    But I've also nursed in the Sacramento temple waiting room uncovered while the temple workers came up and Oohed and Aahed over my baby while she was latched on. For my birthday last year, we went to the Church History Museum and saw a display of scores of nativity scenes set out for Christmas- and in at least five of them, Mary was nursing her newborn Christchild, uncovered. I was even told by someone in the ward that seeing me breastfeed has been like an extra layer of protection for him against pornography and that remembering me has kept him from visiting sites from time to time.

    So there is obviously a great difference between the culture and the gospel doctrine around breastfeeding. I hope that someday those two will finally meet up and women won't be confronted on the street by members in their wards like I have been. I hope that every time I nurse in Church, it means there will be less resistance for the future mothers of the Church.

  55. To Anon: When I felt like I'd gotten the hang of nursing at home (kind of, anyway), I did some "practice runs" before I tried nursing in public. The first was we walked to the park and I nursed on a bench. The park was deserted, but it was still "public" in that someone *could* have come at any time. Then, I think I did 2 or 3 more "practices," at friends' and family's homes (I really don't care for an audience, and nursing for 15 months never cured me of wanting to stay covered), before I attempted church and other more public places. Nursing is a skill that Mom & Baby have to learn in the first place, and so is nursing in public, however you decide is comfortable for you. Good luck!

  56. I think everyone on the stand has seen my breasts. I nursed my daughter till she was 3+. I think while a lot of LDS people are pro-nursing, not many LDS people do extended nursing, for whatever reason. I like to think seeing me nurse a 3 year old made a lot of people see that it wasn't that weird. She was also the only kid in nursery who was never sick.

  57. I've read about 1/2 of the comments... (time is short here -- hopefully I'll be back soon to read all of them).

    However, I must say that I love this discussion.

    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!!!!

  58. I have been nursing in the mother's room for nine months now, and do wish I could sit by my husband, but I do feel a bit uncomfortable. So, I spend 10 or so minutes away from him with my baby.

    My feeling is that, though being exposed to breastfeeding can help give boys and men the proper view of what a breastis for, it is a fact that our society has oversexualized the breast. Knowing this, I do not feel comfortable breastfeeding in the pews. I am modest, but I know that it may be enough for some guys who struggle with lust to just know that I am undoing my bra and nursing. I don't think that church is the place to "expose" them to the breast in this way. At the very least, it can be a distraction for them, keeping them from hearing the message being spoken.

    My primary concern is for my child's nourishment. My secondary concern is the purity of my "brothers". So, I am able to place my own desires to be in a normal seat out of love for them.

    I realize that some may say that those men need to find it in themselves to not look at a woman that way. The truth is that many men struggle with sexual temptation. I am not willing to make their struggle more difficult by demanding my own rights, especially in the church, a place where they should be able to find refuge from these struggles.

  59. Mother Earth--I know a great deal of my fellow LDS sisters who extended nurse their babies. In my last ward, out of the 15 of us nursing, 7 of us were extended nursing.

    It's so interesting to read other people's experiences, especially those of you who are LDS like me, because our experiences are so varied.

    I live in Utah. I've nursed in every meeting at church. I've never had an unkind word, or icy stare, not even a bat of the eyelashes. I've always felt welcome with knowing smiles. I've even received wonderful advice from the bishop's wife on when to see an LC. Most of my neighbors were even extended nursers.

    My parents have told me how when they were young, women nursed everywhere, including church, without covering up, because it was normal. When I have another nursling, I'll nurse in church again.

  60. I'm Catholic and belong to a very traditional parish in the heart of Chicago.

    Every mother I know (and there are jillions) nurses in the pew, most discretely but without a cover.

    We go to lunch at the cafe after Mass - the nursing mothers nurse right at the table. I have never seen anyone, ANYONE, bat an eye.

    Times have changed, thank God.



  61. I am currently expecting baby #4 and am also LDS. When I had my first baby, the Church house that we attended didn't have a "mothers room" so to speak, or one that I could find anyway, so I just stopped going to church! I had a VERY fussy baby that like to nurse all the time, and I wasn't about to nurse him in church! I know, not so righteous.... When I had son #2, still in the same ward, now also active again, I discovered that there WAS a mothers room, but no one told me it was just a "room" off of the Chapel, big window that looked right into the chapel.... It had a curtain, both on the Chapel side of the glass, as well as the room side of the glass, sometimes the chapel side curtain was open, and I would take my older son with me to nurse the baby.... and he would open the curtain on the inside of the room! So, I was exposed on occasion for all the ward to see, but that didn't bother me so much. We now live in a new ward, and the "mothers room" consists of a closet sized nook in the bathroom. It has two small rocking chairs that are so close together that they don't turn, and when ever anyone goes in or out of the extremely LOUD bathroom doors, it almost always startles babies. There are currently 10 pregnant women in my ward, all due within 6 months, so I am assuming that the mothers room will not be sufficient. I intend to nurse wherever I am! I have a cute nursing cover, and have learned with 3 other kids how to be discreet. Intresting subject Rixa, thanks!

  62. There is nothing wrong indeed to nurse you baby in the church or during church services. Its god's gift for ladies to breastfeed, then what wrong with breastfeeding in gods place

  63. I'm fortunate in that our meetinghouse was designed without a Mother's Room. Over the years one of the small classrooms became our Mother's Room. It's fairly nice with an upholstered rocking chair and two soft armchairs. I dislike that bottle feeding mothers use it as a changing room and leave soiled disposable diapers in the trash can! :( We have changing tables in the restrooms for that purpose.

    I have never seen a mother breastfeeding in our ward without covering completely or else breastfeeding in the Mother's Room. Some even cover in the Mother's Room.

    When my youngest was born I had been a member for less than a month and didn't know the "culture" yet. I nursed her without covering in Relief Society and actually had sisters get up and move away from me.

    Nearly all mothers in our ward begin breastfeeding but most quickly transition to a combination of breastfeeding and formula feeding. They'll bring a bottle of formula with them to church and feed the baby formula rather than nurse.

    I don't have exact figures, but the number who continue to breastfeed up until one year is low. Perhaps higher than the national average, but still far less than the babies need and deserve.

    There are just a handful of mothers who nurse beyond a year and I'm in that minority (three moms that I know of other than me have nursed beyond the age of one).

    I wish that I could nurse my children in the chapel, but if I did I'd be even more of a pariah than I already am. As it is, being a convert who births at home (UC), nurses her children on request (don't follow a strict schedule), co-sleeps (and doesn't sleep train her children), uses cloth diapers, etc. has really caused most mothers to avoid me at any costs and gossip about me incessently.

    If it weren't for the Gospel I would have left this "welcoming" group a LONG LONG time ago!

  64. I love using the Mother's Lounge to nurse during Sacrament Meeting. I get to leave my rowdy children with their father and go sit in relative quiet with several of my friends where we can either listen to the talks while we feed our babies, or have a friendly conversation. It's lovely! For a women who doesn't have her husband there to watch the rest of the kids, or the one who doesn't want to leave, I think it's fine for her to stay in church with everyone else while she feeds her baby. WWJD? I never leave Relief Society to nurse though--if you can't nurse in a room full of women and babies, where CAN you nurse?

  65. I am LDS too. We attend a new building that has a really nice mother's room, with comfy, rocking arm chairs, a widow, sink and changing table (with a non-stinky diaper pail). I prefer to nurse in there durring sacrament meeting, so I can do so peacefully, without the distractions from my other childre. However, I have seen many moms nurse discretely in the chaple, or durring other classes.

    I am thankful that women in our ward are able to nurse which ever way they are most comfortable with. If they want to stay in classes while nursing, wonderful. If they are more comfortable in a private setting, then YAY for mother's rooms!

  66. I had to comment on the nursing wardrobe question. I have a friend here in Utah who has a business selling a very unique nursing undershirt which I think many of you might like. It's like a camisole with no straps over the shoulders and it hooks directly to your nursing bra. That way when you lift up your shirt, your stomach/back is always covered. It's more helpful to look at their website and see how it works than for me to describe it. It's

    Also, if anyone here cloth diapers you may like my line of one-size pocket diapers found at

    To the blog owner: maybe you'd be interested in trying out and posting bout cloth diapers as well? Great blog! I am also LDS and I've been reading your posts all afternoon.

  67. Katie,

    I reviewed the Undercover Mama this past year. It's a fantastic idea! I'm actually wearing one right now.

  68. I know this has been started a few years ago but I just stumbled on it now and found it fascinating. I'm LDS and on my second baby. With my first I ALWAYS nursed in our mothers lounge. It's a small room with the changing table and two chairs but sometimes you're the unlucky one who is the third mom in there and you stand up and are kind of squished in there. With this baby I am feeling braver and have a couple of times nursed discreetly in my ring sling which is nice because usually nobody has even noticed (the first time my husband didn't even notice and he was sitting right next to me). I tend to mix it up depending on if the baby is drawing attention or not, and also depending on how how it is in the chapel (we're in the middle of summer and our AC is out) but I don't remember ever seeing other moms nurse in there. I ONCE saw a sister pull out and nurse on the choir loft while I was sitting a few seats away and it was weird, I was a nursing mom at the time and felt uncomfortable with that but I've kind of examined my own feelings and decided that maybe it's not such a bad thing. My husband says that if the YM or any other of the men have a "thing" about moms feeding their babies there is something wrong with THEM and THEY need to deal with it...That being said, I do cover and am discreet just because that's me. I don't like to draw attention to myself in any way let alone nursing...but sometimes the baby needs to eat and if the talk is something I really wanted to hear well others will have to get over it. Besides, I've seen some of our YW wear some pretty immodest things, and one keeps insisting on putting lotion on her legs in the middle of sacrament meeting (and above the knee). I"m not sure why that bothers me but if the YM and men in the ward have issues, THOSE would be some of the first places that need to be addressed and NOT me feeding my hungry baby. (Isn't it weird how you can nurse them RIGHT before leaving for church and yet somehow they always want to eat right as the sacrament is being done? I'm getting braver and braver. thank heavens, I really do like to hear some of the talks!

  69. oh and in case anyone comes back through and reads old comments like I did...for the record, not all LDS women would consider another a pariah...It looks like poor Kari had some bad experiences but I am LDS and I cloth diaper, feed on demand, practice extended breastfeeding (I let my first self wean at 19 months and will feed my current little one as long as she wants to)I babywear,etc. I grew up in the church, but have learned that the culture is kind of what you make of it. I was not married until my mid thirties and in a very family oriented ward that set me apart I can understand the feeling...just wanted anyone seeing that to realize they're not alone!

  70. Amen!!! And I much prefer the lobby to the m lounge if my son is too wild to stay in the pew. I wish there were more women who were open about this around me. I know most of the women in my ward breastfeed/have breastfed but they don't like talking about it.


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