March 11, 2009

In support of breastfeeding...

This was an email that I got this morning. I am just going to copy/paste it here. I am a strong advocate of a breastfeeding and - now being on the 3rd round of it, I will tell you all : there ARE babies that do not accept blankets, that do not like those gorgeous and very smart ( and at $30 a piece) nursing covers, and there is nothing like dealing with your shirt getting into baby's mouth and having a screaming and very angry at you baby, that wants only one thing and cannot understand what the big deal is. There are also VERY MANY babies that do not use bottles ( none of mine did). There is nothing seducing or dirty in breastfeeding, however, it does make me wonder WHAT is on the mind of a person ( or people in this case) that find is such. How we react to things around us only shows what is inside of OUR minds. LDS culture is the one that makes the biggest deal out of perfection and modesty, and this is the church that has the most abuse ( sexual being number one on the list, and child abuse topping off the list). It has long been time to stop pretending and turn and look at ourselves, and what is going on inside of each of us. Such things as this email should NOT be happening. I am highly revolted by such man as this bishop and those complaining. Women have the RIGHT to be what they ARE - WOMEN. And it is GOD's creation for a woman to nurse her child.
If Madonna breastfeeding her infant ( who is completely naked and exposed) is considered Divine, and ALL Churches, Catholic being first , accept it, and many display it in their most sacred places, how is it that the mother that is following that example , is considered condemned?

"I posted this unfortunate experience on the LDS Unassisted Birth group I'm on and feel I must post here as well. Last Tuesday I was called in to the Bishop's office for a "chat." Here are statements he made to me. I think you know what this is about. The Stake President asked me to have a chat with you. Tell me where you're coming from and then I'll tell you where we're coming from. It's your right to breastfeed. The Stake President and I need to talk to you about this being a modesty issue. Use a blanket. Use the mother's lounge. You can record this. BF detracts from the spirit of the meeting. It's offensive to people. There was a husband and wife at a church activity you were talking with and started BF. It made them very uncomfortable and they've never come back to church since. There have been several complaints from the Primary. BF away from the children. I've heard about large billboards in France with fully nude women on them. T (his wife) didn't BF our 4 children and they perform above where they should. I'm responsible for everyone in the ward and if they feel comfortable. You make people feel uncomfortable. The Stake Young Women's Sports Directors are uncomfortable/offended that you BF last week during a YW's basketball game. You should've stepped out of the room. Go to the foyer or the mother's lounge. Would you let your kids go to a friend's house where someone was viewing pornography on the internet and they were right in the same room? I don't think you are supporting me or the Stake Pres. I want you to make an appt with the Stake Pres. I'm not asking you not to BF.

I've been breastfeeding practically nonstop for eleven years. I'm aware of the ha, ha that lady BF her 2 y o, 3 y o, etc, doesn't send her kids to school, and what have you. But this is taking it to a whole new level. I called Church Member Services and have the name and address of an Area Authority I can write to. I hope to write a letter to him soon when I'm not so busy with I don't know something important like breastfeeding Evelyn!

Thank you for reading. I normally don't post but appreciate all the things I've learned here from all of you.

Andrea Woolley, member of Sandy Utah Mount Jordan 3rd Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; wife of Matt Woolley, Doctor of Chiropractic; mother and educator of 5 brilliant children"

I am also going to add that i remember the ridiculousness of BF issue arising at BYU with some man saying that women have no right to show their breasts, etc , and if the baby is hungry, they should use the restroom of a Burger King ( where the "very offended" young man was dining, and whose digestion was interrupted by having to witness a baby eating). The question asked for me is this : To you , my holy friend, and many like you ; WHAT THOUGHTS WERE GOING TROUGH YOUR HOLY INNOCENT MIND THAT HAD ENOUGH POWER TO DISTURB YOUR DIGESTION?


  1. It IS very unfortunate that so many people find BFing uncomfortable. I didn't run into that very often, but there was one time when we went up to Park City and my baby was hungry, so we went into a quiet corner in the mall to feed him. I got several stares and it made me feel like I was doing something wrong. And I used a blanket too!

    It seems like this Bishop lacked the tact needed to adequately express his concerns that have been brought to his attention. He brought up some good points, about leaving the room and not doing it in front of people if you're not going to use a blanket. And trust me, I know that as babies get older, they do NOT let blankets be used. But by then, most of the time, their heads are big enough to cover everything. My husband served his mission in Boston where there were a lot of convert and immigrants that didn't care one lick about modesty. These mothers would sit on the front row, pop everything out for all to see, and latch their baby on with no regards for covering up or for modesty. How uncomfortable would that make this Sandy ward??? HAHA!!!

    BFing is natural, is the best thing you can possibly give your baby, and like your children, mine never took a bottle either. Maybe this woman needs to use a little more discretion, but I'm not saying one party is right and the other is wrong. I just wish people had more tact, that's all. :S

  2. I find the whole debate just sad.

    Why can't people wrap their brains around the fact that breastfeeding is natural and normal? Most people don't mind watching animals nurse their young? Why are we, as humans, any different? Why were females given breasts and the ability to produce milk if we weren't supposed to feed that milk to our children?

    I have to agree with Lori-ann that there are plenty of ways to be modest while still breastfeeding in public. I know how hard it is to get a screaming baby latched on all the while trying to keep my hooterhider in place. It can be very frustrating but I feel like I am doing my part on making others comfortable. But I also can't stand the people who make a big deal about seeing someone (covered up or not) breastfeed in public. If it upsets you that much, turn your eyes away. Unless I am sitting facing right in front of you, there is no reason why you can't just look away. To make a big stink about seeing someone breastfeed is just plain childish.

    You made an excellent point at the end of your post Olya, what kind of thoughts are these good Christians thinking if they are comparing breastfeeding to something "dirty".

    And to think we live in the land of the to do what we want and when we want...isn't it sad that feeding our children as nature intended is limited to being behind closed doors?

    I hope you are doing well! I've felt like we haven't chatted in ages. Do you have any tips on dealing with cramps? My monthly friend came back yesterday after a long 18 month vacation. I completely forgot how horrible this time of the month can be...I am a miserable mess today!

  3. Oh, Lori-ann, I completely agree with you. Honestly, I have a hard time picturing a woman here ( in utah ) that will come on the stage and say : "excuse me, pay attention please, I am breastfeeding now , would you look at me NOW please!". That is the feeling I got though from that email. I feel that everyone has the right of their own, but things like breastfeeding ARE natural. If we go that road - then KISSING ( and how many people smooch their husband/wife at church?) could ALSO qualify. And THEN we become what Soviet Union used to be , and while there are lot's of great things there were lots of not such wonderful things either.
    This "do not feed in public" approach also reminds me of " contain your toddler" . I've heard criticizing of mothers that cannot "teach their children like we did" when a toddler threw a fit in the store or church. One would think that the mother TRAINS her child to do such tantrums! :) And in reality - all the mothers out there - do you LIKE when it happens? I DON"T, but sometimes I cannot change it. And I see the BF the same - sometimes the baby got to eat. And sometimes it is at the most inconvenient time. And if you don't attend it immediately, the baby will go into sleep. DEEP. And it is NOT good for the baby - neither emotionally nor physically. Especially if it is a small baby. So, even it is so happens, and even ( gasp!) so happens that the woman exposes herself( sometimes there is just not even a place to feed an infant at! And church lounges lots of time are full , as there usually 1-2 chairs there, but a whole lot more moms and babies) , so even if it so happens that the child is fed somewhere else in open, it is US who should be respectful to a young mother. BEcause if it is her 1st child - then she may not know better, and she will learn , or she is in a situation where there is NO other choice, and , probably, she is plenty uncomfortable with the situation herself. Or when it is a mother of several children, then there is definitely no other option, as she is experienced. OR... it may be a person of the other culture, and while she tries to accustom herself completely to this culture, there are some things that are plain almost impossible to change. And maybe, we should learn?... After all - it IS natural. And I had a talk with my mom today on this topic, and she pointed out , that while intimacy is also natural, intimacy in OPEN is portrayed in "Sodom and Gomorrah" , yet a mother nursing and infant is sacred. Shouldn't we learn?
    Thanks for your comment :)

  4. Bobbi! It does feel like ages! It is because I am running around :) I am back to dance ( fantastic ) but life is crazy ;) good crazy. But I felt that this is so important to me that instead of getting myself out of the house, I am typing :)
    About your monthly friend : first , avocados. Add them to salads and such. Coconut ( as it is rich in GOOD saturated fat, and helps with hormone production and balance) . From herbs - vitax ( or chaste berry ) : normalizes hormonal make-up. From Essential oils : ylang-ylang, rosemary, rosewood, frankincense : either diffuse or , better, get a little coconut oil ( or olive , or almost, just pure oil) and a couple of drops of each and run it on your lower tummy.
    If there is a different EO that smells really good to you during that time - use it, guarantee it will help.

    You can try everything, just only a 1-2 drops of each EO, they ARE potent .

    About the BF : It wouldn't bother me so much if I didn't see so much of false "happy faces", etc. I am not bitter, and I am very active, and I think that there is a HUGE problem in the church among the people about seeing what is right and what is over the top. I can give millions of examples that I see around me where PEOPLE make rules misinterpreting and misrepresenting the first presidency or the gospel. And this self -righteous attitude towards mothers... I am NOT a feminist, but I WILL stand up for women's right after I almost lost my daughter to a PRIDE of a SELFISH man, who
    was a bishop and a professor at BYU. At a time we didn't press any charges , we just wanted our daughter alive and well, but when a similar situation happened to another person , who actually had the emotional strength to resist the man at the right time, and acted out WITHOUT thinking who would think what about her, we joined in on the charge. And then, after I did, someone else did. And someone else, and someone else... And then it turned out that there were 17 people that ONLY I knew that suffered , and there were more... Taking one girl at a time, he always could justify himself and make others not only look, but feel terrible too.
    Somehow, while we have the power, we also are gentle, loving women, that succumb to the circumstances. And there are times , when it is for someone else's good, not ours or our childrens' . I learned that hard. And I will stand up for every woman now that is protecting her child. Veronica, if you are reading this, you probably remember that night that Brian came over?

  5. Olya - I wonder if this bishop knows that it is federally mandated that women are allowed to breastfeed in public! It states (and I don't know the exact wording so I will summarize) that a woman without a top is considered "indecent exposure" with the EXCEPTION that she is breastfeeding a child. She has the right to breastfeed when and where she pleases.

    I don't know if that extends to private structures such as churches, but I'm sure if she really wanted to she could quote the law to the bishop.

    The thing I want to know is was she using a blanket to cover up while feeding, or was she just exposing her breast? It sounds like the latter since the bishop compared it to "pornography".

    I have to say that I think this bishop was very harsh in comparing her to porn, internet sites, etc. BUT I do agree with him that it does make people uncomfortable to expose your breasts in public. Breastfeeding or not. I personally would never BF in public without a blanket because I would never want strangers to see my knockers. :) LOL

    BUT I do think it is every womans' right to BF in public. I have done it on several occassions and I have never gotten any looks for it. Maybe it is because I am in Seattle and people are pretty liberal here. Last September we went to a football game and Preston was about 2 and 1/2 months old. I needed to leave and find a place to BF him. First I went into the bathroom but they had no benches in there (think about stadium public bathrooms). I actually went into a toilet stall and sat there on the toilet and BF him. But after a while, I got frustrated that I had to be stuck in a bathroom stall to feed my son, especially sitting on a toilet doing it. So eventually I went and found a hallway with a bench where many people walked by. But I sat there and breastfed Preston under a blanket. Eventually another mother came and sat down next to me with her 6 month old and bottle fed her. Even though she wasn't BF'ing her baby, I could tell that she felt relief that another mother had found a place to tend toher child in this manner.

    Preston no longer lets me use a blanket because he just tears it off of me no matter how hard I try to keep him covered. I still BF at our friends house in front of her and her husband and I just hold the blanket up like a shield in front of him so they can't see me. But I no longer can feed him in public because too many times he has pulled the blanket away and exposed my breast. THe last time I fed him in public was a couple of months ago when I sat in the backrow of Relief Society and fed him under his blanket. I was wearing a dress that was strapless (with a sweater over it) and so in order to feed him I had to pull the dress down. So all there was was skin on top, no shirt to cover. He yanked the blanket off and YOWZERS there I was.LOL Luckily it was all women and no one saw cuz I was in the back but nonetheless I was still embarrassed! LOL

  6. Olya i just read your comment to Bobbi. wait, so what happened with the BYU professor??????

  7. Jenni,
    Thanks for your comment!
    This email was from a yahoo unassisted childbirth group, and then Andrea posted it in another natural birth group. There is quite a discussion there, and I am SURPRISED to see how closed minded some women are! No wonder there is a bishop with a problem... and we are talking about women who supposedly support BF...
    To clarify more : in the discussion there were several other women who know Andrea personally and each and every one testified ( churchy :) ) that she is VERY modest when BF - nobody ever saw her breast. She is not using the blanket, but she adjusts the clothes in such a way that there is no breast showing. I, actually, learned that two second time around - I wear layers of similar colors and nobody ever saw anything:) Although , it is, sometimes, frustrating to me and the baby, when I have to dig thought 3-4 layers for food :) :) :)
    It also appears that this particular bishop is quite against BF in public period. There were several other women who god his disapproval, but stayed quiet at a time. He also has very strong opinions about childbirth choices, and uses his authority to press people. I think it is WRONG. And even IF the woman BF exposed, I doubt she is doing it for sexual reasons. Plus, with proper positioning ( and the woman that wants to BF strong enough to BF on demand WOULD know the proper positioning) baby's head covers most of the breast anyway. :) I also think that most of us look for a quiet , non-disturbing places, anyway. But if the baby wants to eat - the baby wants to eat. I BFed ALL my babies during the sacrament ( noone ever complained , they probably didn't even know :) ) , as that IS still the best way to keep the baby quiet ( unless asleep) as somehow mine manage to make plenty of noise otherwise : whether being super upset about something, or super happy - bubbling all the way :)
    If I go with "retire to the mother's lounge " - that is where I'd spent most of the church. In such a case, I don't really see a point of the church. PLUS. I do not think it is very well done to have mother's lounge right along with the toilets ( and my heart goes out to you for having to BF on the toilet! our society MUST become higher , then we stand right now. A mother should NOT accomodate ( sp?) everyone else. They would not BE there in the first place, if not for a loving mother ) SO, coming back : flushing toilets can be VERY distracting to the baby. Smells are NOT appealing ( neither to the baby, nor to me ) , and people are NOT considerate of nursing mothers : loud talking , yelling, laughing. It is VERY frustrating sometimes) and then the fact that we have only 2 chairs in our church ( and a couple of other's I've been to didn't really differ ...) and a LOT more babies. Lot's of times I found myself "inline" . And then my biggest argument : how many of us would go to the bathroom to EAT OUR LUNCH when the SMELLS, ACTIONS, SOUNDS are there? I don't think that especially that particular bishop would, neither would I . So why the baby should?
    Anyway. I think that, yes, modesty is modesty. But I also think that the woman that WANTS to come to church knows that and understands that. And she is not there to seduce someone . She is there because she wants to be close to God. So , here we go. We ,as church , send missionaries to pull out drunks and druggies, "light headed ladies" and accept them and love them ( as we should) , yet we will criticize a BF woman in the home ward. In my opinion , something doesn't click right.
    From what I know, she is very hurt ,as she is a very good and active member. She always attended her callings ( not easy ones too) , despite of 5 LITTLE children. Something that Justin said about this : "if the bishop is unhappy that she is BF while serving in her calling, WHY CALL HER? He CAN see that she has a little baby " That kind of leads to what happen to me. But later - gotta run right now :)
    LOVE you all :)

  8. Olya, I just now came back to read your comment. I need to remember to hit that little button that says "email me follow up responses" because sometimes I forget to come back and check! LOL

    I totally agree with everything you said. And I never thought of it that way - that why come to church if you have to spend most of it in the mothers lounge. I agree with you on that. I sometimes find it a relief though. There is so much distraction in relief society and sunday school or sac. meeting that sometimes I LOVE going to the mothers lounge so that I can sit in the comfy reclingin rocker and feed Preston. And sometimes I get a little nap in too (ssshhh don't tell my husband! LOL).

    But we also don't live in UT, and right now I am the only nursing mother in our entire ward. So I pretty much have the mothers lounge to myself, unless there is someone else there from one of the other wards.

    I agree, from what you said about Andrea, she is doing NOTHING wrong and there is absolutely nothing seductive about it. It sounds like this bishop has some issues and views on things that aren't exactly in line with church principles. Maybe that is excessive, but if what you said was true, he had some alternative views on childbirtha nd doesn't support BF'ing at all....well, sounds pretty male chovenistic if you ask me. (I know I didn't spell that right).

    I know what you are saying too - about how you can breastfeed without a blanket and still be modest as long as you are wearing the right kind of shirt. I have done that as well.

    One time, Will's brother and wife were at a family gathering and she needed to feed their baby and Luke (Will's bro) loudly announced to everyone "Spencer is going to eat his lunch now and if anyone has a problem with that then you can either leave the room or not watch." Everyone laughed but I totally admired him for saying that and for sticking up for his wife and baby and calling it "his lunch". When you put it that way, it lets everyone else realize that he is eating his meal just like the rest of us.

    Anyway. :)

  9. P.S. I hope I wasn't coming across as "close minded". Let me reiterate that I am 100% supportive of breastfeeding in public. I just don't think women should plop their bare breasts out for everyone to see, breastfeeding or not. I know that isn't what this girl was doing. I am just speaking in women in general.

  10. Argh once again I forgot to hit the button, so I'm leaving another comment so this time I can get the followups. LOL

  11. oh, a PS : I also found out later that the reason he used ME was because he did not want to pay anyone. He was sure ( and was right ) that I'd do it for free ( I did not know that he should have paid me) and the "no contract deal" only put HIM as the right person and me as a very "dedicated volunteer" - all in his favor and all against me. And, please, excuse all the punctuation and typos - this whole experience brought up a lot of emotions...

  12. oh. my. gosh. Olya, I had NO idea this happened. I don't know that Brian even talked to me about that night and I have never even talked with you about your dancing. What a sad, heart-wrenching history and experience. It makes me SICK to hear about that man. I wish I would have known more when this was happening. did we live in afton's at the time? If so, why didn't you come to us for help? (hospital--or were we gone?) Man. I'm so glad Nadya is o.k. You guys have REALLY had a tough road to travel. Like you said though, you are were you are b/c of it. You're an inspiration. I am SO glad you're all o.k. love you.


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