I was reading this letter from a dad on The Breastfeeding Booby Traps web site here about a mom who was asked not to nurse her baby at her Cub Scout den meeting. Fortunately, the woman’s husband stood up to the Boy Scout organization and defended his wife’s right to nurse her baby at such a meeting. I thought, wow, those people are “behind the times.” Being asked not to nurse at den meeting will never happen in my church. Nobody would get uptight about a mom nursing her baby in front of other people because everybody gets it that breasts are for nourishment.
By now, despite the mainstream American media’s obsession with using a woman’s body to sell everything from cars to beer to toothpaste, many people finally understand that God/nature/the universe (pick your term for whatever is “up there” guiding all of creation) created women with breasts so they can nourish their babies with the best nourishment possible, and nourishing a baby is not an indecent act. It is so sad to me, however, that our society has come to a point where, as Marian Tompson, one of La Leche League’s founders said, as she quoted George Orwell, “we have come to a point in society where the obscene is considered wholesome and the wholesome is considered obscene.”
But, coincidentally, just a a week or so later, I heard that a mom with a calling in the LDS Young Women’s organization was asked by her “superiors” not to nurse her baby in her Young Women class, or she would be released from her calling. You can watch a video about the story here. I really don’t know if this story is true, but if it is, all I can say is…
What?! Aren’t Young Women preparing to be mothers, and isn’t nursing one of the most motherly acts a mom can do? A mom nursing her baby is giving that baby the very best she has to offer. She shouldn’t have to be sequestered, unless she feels it would be easier for her baby not to be distracted while nursing. I used to nurse my baby at my Activity Day classes (for girls ages 8 to 11) and no one felt it was a problem. I’ve never had a Young Women calling, but if I did during the time I had a nursing baby, you could be sure I would be taking that baby with me every week and nursing the baby. The LDS Church recommends that moms nurse their babies, in the Latter-day Woman Manual A it says that women should breastfeed their babies.
I love this blog post here about breastfeeding and modesty by Robyn, one of the authors of the beautiful, amazing book for LDS women about the divine nature of pregnancy and birth, called The Gift of Giving Life. Her blog post is the best thing I’ve read about nursing in public. She points out that early in our church, it was normal to nurse in meetings, such as depicted in the painting below, of a woman nursing in sacrament meeting. The image is so unobtrusive, it’s hard to notice. That’s how nursing in public can be. It’s just a part of life. As LDS columnist Robert Kirby says right here , if you have problems with seeing moms nursing babies at church, get over it!
The Feminist Mormon Housewives are collecting letters of support for this mom to show to her leaders that it is normal and right to nurse in church. Please read below and send your emails of support to the address in bold.
A dear friend of mine is being released from her YW calling tomorrow for breastfeeding at church. Furthermore, she has been told that if anyone complains in any other meeting, be that sacrament, Sunday School, or Relief Society, she is to leave the room or cover to nurse from that point on. She was also told that if she does not comply, she is not sustaining her leaders and her recommend could be at risk.
We are collecting letters of support for breastfeeding in church to send to the First Presidency and Scott Trotter, LDS spokesperson. We will send all of the letters we have received on March 29th, 2013. Please email letters to feministmormonhousewives at gmail.com
Suggestions for letters include: personal experiences of breastfeeding in church (good or bad), requests for a statement that breastfeeding in church is acceptable in the Church Handbook of Instructions, and why you think it is important for breastfeeding to be accepted in church. Please pass this along to anyone you feel might be interested in writing a letter.