Salt Lake City Based Photographer Timbra Wiist owns/operates Landslide Photography & Photographs the Journey of Motherhood (see bottom of page or sidebar for more info. . .depending on what this blog is choosing to do for the day).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Baby Friendly Community: Carnival Day 1

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!
This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on The Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about Baby Friendly Communities. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

A baby friendly community begins with a breastfeeding friendly community which necessitates listening to and touching baby! But I often find that this community is not supportive of either. Too often I watch mothers haul their babies around in carseats . . . and I don't mean just taking them from the car and tossing them in a shopping cart, I've actually seen a couple walk into the MALL with a carseat on dad's arm. That is ONE LONG and TEDIOUS trip to the mall. Sometimes it seems that those who make up our community work hard to take care of babies by means of convenience and with "objects" rather than people. I had a NICU nurse tell me she was part of the "breastfeeding support group" as she forced a pacifier on my crying baby. . . my crying baby who kept crying through the pacifier yet READILY sucked the nurse's finger when offered it. I think she was mistaken, I think she was part of the "breastMILK support group" because her actions and her knowledge showed me that she was not aware of all of the interferences with breastFEEDING that she was a part of.

There are pacifiers and bottles and blankies and stuffed animals and carseats galore. A friend even boasted recently that her sister has a remote control music machine attached to her NEWBORN daughter's crib, so when baby wakes, mom can start the music again by remote from the door, so baby can NOT see or hear her, and will go back to sleep (without being touched, or checked on). There are gadgets and gizmos and training systems available for all. Why not nursing in public, ON DEMAND, and cuddling up to baby by wearing him, yes. . .even taking the time to do so in the winter months? Information on SAFE co-sleeping instead of ONLY scare tactics?

I have walked through stores where itty bitty babes sit in carseats IN carts, crying and crying and crying while mom presses on with her bathing suit shopping, shooshing and every once in a while rocking the carseat, or replacing the pacifier, without TOUCHING baby. . . pick up your baby, hold your baby, cuddle your baby, let your baby know you are there!!! Don't train your baby to soothe himself, or shoosh him because he's being a nuisance while you shop. He will only be that little for a little while and he wants YOU mama!

These are my personal experiences with mothering moments that sometimes break my heart and define for me how our "community" views and "deals with" babies. These moms are, many times, only doing what they think is expected of them, what they think they are SUPPOSED TO do. . . make baby self soothe, cry it out, not give in or let him think he's won, training. I wonder if a another mom would feel relief if I went with my desire to touch her on the arm and say "It's okay to pick up your baby and nurse him." It seems that mothers have within them the instinct to hold a crying baby, to make their world right again. . . so why don't they? What makes them seek a different method? Is it lack of support of a loving, nurturing mother, from our community? Are they afraid that someone will call them out for "spoiling?" Are they worried someone will judge them for "giving in" to a crying newborn/infant? Are they bothered that someone might see them nursing or see them trying to hide that they are nursing with a HUGE waving cape (read: nursing cover) that says "don't look. . .I'm nursing?" I hope that in nursing openly in public, when my baby needs to nurse, I can give other mothers confidence to nurse their babies RIGHT THEN AND THERE if necessary. I hope that mothers who see other mothers nursing babies will realize they too want that peace more than to do what other people think they should.

Utah is a "kid friendly" place when it comes to establishments. I've often been shocked by the movie theatre notice that requests "no children under 8 years old in RATED-R movies, past 8pm". . . . !!!! A crying baby in a movie theatre, in a restaurant, in a grocery store. . . . no one is bothered by the crying baby. No one is bothered by the little kid. But people ARE bothered by nursing in public? By means of keeping kids FROM crying? And "kid friendly" is not necessarily "baby friendly."

I've had family and friends from out of state make appreciative comments about how "family friendly" many establishments are in Utah. It is nice, as a mother, to know that I can count on a changing table, or even a family bathroom when I go places. And so, there are definitely many accomodations made for moms and small kids, but I do not know if this makes me feel as though our community is "baby friendly" as much as "mom friendly." I don't want to confuse "mom friendly" "kid friendly" or "family friendly" with "baby friendly." Utah IS a great place to live if you want to do a lot of things with your family or with your kids. But Utah is sometimes a difficult place to live when you are a mother who believes in listening to her child(ren) and letting them guide you as a mother.

So, what can our community do to be more "baby friendly?" Let's start by removing the BOTTLE decal from the "nursing room" door at the zoo! Better yet. . .let's remove the nursing room so we don't give mothers the idea that they have to hide away in a "special" (read: bathroom like) room in order to nurse their babies. Let's start by smiling at nursing moms to "give our approval" and give her a confidence boost as a mom when she listens to her baby instead of all the social reservations. Let's nurse our little ones in public when necessary and without our own reservation, to make nursing "ho-hum ordinary." Let's encourage mothers to listen to and trust their babies to let them know what they need, instead of listening to the "supposed tos" of the "community." My personal community is a community of breastfeeding mothers. I hope that I can take the values of the community I have CHOSEN into the community I am geographically a part of.
 Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

  • Emily @ Baby Dickey—Living in a baby friendly community

  • Sara @ The Covered Wagon—A Baby-Friendly Worship Community

  • Shary @ Mama Fish—A Community Fit For All Babies

  • Sylko @ Chaotic Mama—Breastfeeding Carnival: Baby Friendly Community

  • Claire @ The Adventures of Lactating Girl—Community is What You Make of It

  • Kimberly @ Fertility Flower—Baby Friendly Maternity Leave

  • Melodie @ Breastfeeding Moms Unite!—The People Who Make My Baby Friendly Community

  • Timbra @ Bosoms and Babes—
    Baby Friendly Community: Carnival Day 1

  • Claire @ Geeky Gaming Mama—Baby Friendly Community: What It Means To Me

  • Renee @ Just the 5 of us!—Baby friendly, one baby at a time

  • Kathy @ Musings From an Arid Neverland—The baby-friendly community vs. the deserted island

  • And of course the guest poster on the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Blog today is Jodie Palmer—Baby Friendly Means Milk Banks

    Family of 5 said...

    all too true. it just breaks my heart to see those babies in car seats that never get touched. the babies with bottles propped so mom can keep on keepin' on :(

    Melodie said...

    I know what you mean. There is a mom at my daughter's school I see quite often who I've watched with her new baby girl for the past year and it broke my heart how she would ignore her cries in her car seat. Once I asked if I could hold her as she was crying and the mom asked if I would watch her for a minute. She told me "no, she's fine." !!!! What ???? It is very hard to be around parents like that and yet they are everywhere. Loved this post. Thanks!

    bungalow said...

    I've often thought a nursing newborn might be the quietest one in a theater.