I don't write much about breastfeeding. In fact, a quick search of my blog only uncovered two breastfeeding-specific posts. One was about my older boys' curiosity about their baby brother, and the other about extended breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is just something I do with my babies. Nothing more, nothing less.
While it took me a little while to find my feet with my eldest, I quickly adapted a matter-of-fact approach to it:
If I act as though it is normal it will look normal because it is normal.
The few negative comments I received were quickly dealt with by well-rehearsed rebuttals. Negative looks never bothered me, as I figured their attitude was their problem.
Since 2002, I've spent over 10 years (cumulatively) nursing babies, toddlers, preschoolers, nursing through pregnancy and then tandem nursing, and I've done it as just another part of my day.
A nurse-in was held at the Ottawa IKEA location today, in a misguided attempt to celebrate or normalize nursing. As Amy West points out, there is nothing normal about a nurse-in. Our babies are not accessories to further our personal agendas.
Women do not congregate in flocks to nurse their babies.
We nurse them whenever and wherever they need to be fed -- THAT is normal.
I am extremely fortunate to work in a store that encourages employees to bring nurslings to work. My youngest, born a year after I started working there, has been nursed in front of hundreds of customers over the past 4yrs. I've had many interesting discussions about nursing toddlers and self-led weaning with customers as a result.
One customer come back a year after she talked to me while I nursed my 18mos old, to tell me that she was now nursing her 18mos old and would never have considered it if we hadn't had our conversation. That made me feel great. I became the poster in that doctor's office.
Seeing breastfeeding in action, as just another part of someone's day, is what makes nursing normal.
Next time, skip the nurse-in and do it in line at the grocery store. Or at the movie theatre. Do it at your table in a restaurant. Do it while walking the dog or while watching your older children in a school play. Do it at the park.