Breastfeeding and Bible Study: WWYD?
I received a question on a breastfeeding post last week, and instead of trying to answer it myself, I wanted to get your input. Here is the question:
I have no problem with breast-feeding in public. In fact I am a bit jealous of those who can . . . when my daughter was born we tried everything to get her to latch on and she just wouldn’t. Eventually I ended up bottle feeding her.
I am finding it difficult to word my question, but here goes. I host events in my home quite frequently, and recently one of the mothers was breastfeeding during a small women’s Bible Study. I noticed but didn’t really think much of it. Later another mother contacted me to inform me that she would no longer be attending the Bible Study. I asked why and she said it was because the breastfeeding mother was exposed. She had no problem with breastfeeding, but it made her uncomfortable when no form of cover was used.
I contacted the breastfeeding mother and asked her to cover up in the future. I also apologized for not offering a blanket. Perhaps this was the wrong tactic; my intention was to keep anyone from feeling uncomfortable, but I made the breastfeeding mother uncomfortable in the process.
How do you handle a situtaion like this without making anyone feel uncomfortable & minimize confrontation?
1) How can she make amends with the breastfeeding mother? In my opinion, she should call and let the breastfeeding mother know that she does not need to cover up during Bible Study. How can she do it graciously, so that the mother does not feel embarrassed to attend in the future and feels confident enough to nurse in whatever way makes her most comfortable?
2) How can she talk to the woman who is uncomfortable with a woman breastfeeding uncovered? And when you answer, please try to address both this situation and any situation where someone has to play the middle (wo)man between a breastfeeding friend and a friend who does not understand a breastfeeding mother’s/child’s rights.
I know this is probably not necessary, but let’s try to answer from a place of education and encouragement – the mother who asked this question has a real opportunity to help open someone’s eyes to the beauty of breastfeeding. How can she best do that?
What would you do if it were your friend? You wouldn’t want to alienate her, you’d want to educate her.
By the way, there were some excellent posts from a religious perspective published during NursingFreedom.org’s Carnival of Nursing in Public. These might be helpful to read as you form your answer to these questions:
- Paige at Baby Dust Diaries looked at What The Bible Says About Nursing In Public through examining God’s view of nursing and modesty.
- Ever wonder why Christians are blamed (in part) for the prudishness that has so sexualized the female breast? Lauren at Hobo Mama wrote a thought-provoking piece on the history of the Christian church.
- Jewish women have inherited a beautiful legacy of breastfeeding. Sara at The Covered Wagon explained why Jewish mothers need not cover up to comport with the religious laws of modesty.
- It is our culture’s message, not the Bible’s, that breasts are singularly sexual. Megan at SortaCrunchy shared her perspective on breastfeeding from a Christian point of view.
- Hannah at A Mother in Israel explained that, for Orthodox Jews, feeding a baby trumps any notions of modesty.
- The Catholic Church has a centuries long history of celebrating and supporting breastfeeding. You know what they say – it’s the way Mary fed Jesus! Kimberly at Fertility Flower shared her thoughts on the Catholic perspective.
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"Breastfeeding and Bible Study: WWYD?"
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