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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Why it's illogical to tell women to nurse in the restroom

Now that I'm no longer nursing, it seems that I'm even more acutely aware of public bathrooms: specifically, what if I were nursing here right now? Logistically, nursing in public with three kids was sometimes difficult, especially since I was not up on baby wearing and how awesome it is.

I once attempted to cram my toddler in one of those insanely huge race car shopping carts into the bathroom with me and he wouldn't fit. Do I leave him outside basically unattended? Do I leave the door open so I can see him, and therefore the rest of the world could theoretically see me, too? Then I thought, what if I were nursing? Egads, that would potentially be a logistical nightmare, since women are typically expected to feed their babies in stalls instead of disgracefully doing so in public.

What about handicapped stalls, especially when there's only one available? If women are supposed to breastfeed in bathrooms, is it ethical for a nursing baby to take up that stall space instead of an actual handicapped person?

What about places with only one bathroom? If nursing should only be done in there, then most people are not going to appreciate waiting in line for a single stall for a baby to feed (both sides!), while everyone else has to pee. But you said I should go nurse in the bathroom, right? So you'll have to wait until my child is finished eating. Sounds gross, I know.

As far as single stalls, this lovely photo was taken at one of my favorite grocery stores - they only have one bathroom, and in this case I think an employee did not have enough time to properly clean it. Either that, or a poor customer thought she did a better job than she did. Most of us wouldn't want to sit there to relieve ourselves, much less nurse a child there. Still think a baby should have to eat in the bathroom?

When there's only one bathroom available, who takes precedence? The person who has to pee, or the baby who is screaming loudly? Tough call. Some would suggest mom and baby stay home, which doesn't seem fair, really, when life must go on. The rest of the family doesn't stop eating just because there's a nursing baby at home that keeps mom from going grocery shopping; errands don't stop needing to be done. Staying at home is a great option for those who don't feel like ever leaving the house until baby is weaned. Child won't take a bottle? Then you have another problem. Can't pump more than half an ounce no matter what you do? But just pump! Because pumping is so easy, surely everyone should be able to do it (says the woman who pumps Niagara Falls at every sitting). Sadly it isn't that easy, nor should a woman be forced into doing something potentially stressful and unnecessary when she could just bring her baby with her.

I find that people are so quick to give solutions to a problem that isn't that they rarely think about the next step: it's like they expect every public restroom ever to have a place to sit down (besides the toilet) and rest and be spotlessly clean. They expect there always to be a bottle and for that baby to always take it, without issue. The lengths women (even myself, regrettably) go to to avoid offending someone - even to the point of never breastfeeding, sadly - is pathetic.