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Thursday, May 24, 2007Today's Dear Abby column features a reader letter about a new mom that breastfed in front of her.
DEAR ABBY: A couple of weeks ago, some friends and I visited a family friend's niece who had recently had a baby girl. While we were visiting, we noticed that the baby was hungry.
Being a good mom, the new mother unbuttoned her shirt, took off her bra, and breast-fed the baby right in front of us. Abby, was it right or wrong of her to expose her breasts in front of visitors when breast-feeding the child? -- RACHEL IN PHILADELPHIA
You'll have to click through to read Dear Abby's response...but here's a copy of what I just sent in.
I'm writing in response to your letter about the mother who breastfed her new baby in front of her guests.
I'm not sure if you've ever been a new breastfeeding mother, but as someone who spends my days cover this topic, I wanted to point out that while nursing is natural and normal, it's also a learned process. New mothers often need all the "view" they can get to make sure baby is properly positioned and latched on. The first few days after a mother's milk come in can also include painful engorgement of the breasts making even nursing bras highly uncomfortable while nursing.
Finally, I'd note that newborns can sometimes eat as often as every hour. If you match that feeding schedule to the number of guests that tend to parade through to see a new baby, you can imagine how many times a new mom is faced with the task of feeding her child with guests around or of retreating someplace more private. In just the second day of my own child's life I found myself with a hungry baby and a porch full of guests. After a moments hesitation I lifted my shirt and nursed my son. No one minded at all.
I want to commend you for promoting breastfeeding as normal and natural and for pointing out that the mother was in the privacy of her own home, but wanted to offer up an explanation for why some new moms may show a little more skin than even they would like to in those early days. While we all love to curl up with our new babies and just love them, an every hour or two feeding schedule and our own need for adult interaction means that some day, some one is going to see you breastfeeding. The more often it happens, the sooner our country will recognize how much of a difference a supportive attitude can make for new mothers.
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