‘I Just Said Boob In Front Of The Capitol:’ Mommyish At The First Annual Great Nurse-In

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The Great Nurse In 2012

Iris, Ife and Mike Bolds

I was surprised at how many men were in attendance at the event. Mike Bolds, a Washington DC father who accompanied his wife Iris and infant daughter Ife to the Great Nurse-In, said: “At these type of events, I’m usually taken aback by how few men there are. Today, I’m surprised at how many men there are.” Mike said he wanted to come to the event because, “I really see breastfeeding as a family endeavor, not just something between a mother and a child, it’s something that has to do with the health of the whole family. The healthier that my daughter is, the healthier we all are.”

Most people I spoke with said they were there because they wanted to show their support for public breastfeeding, something that’s been increasing in the news during the past few months. 45 states, including the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, have laws that specifically support a woman’s right to breastfeed in any public or private location, and 28 states have laws that exempt public breastfeeding from public indecency laws. Katie Daily, a doula who is training to become a certified nurse-midwife, said “I don’t think there’s enough people who support women breastfeeding out and about.”

But attendees at the Great Nurse-In were careful to address the fact that breastfeeding doesn’t come easily to every woman.

The Great Nurse In 2012

Lindsey Silver feeds her daughter Mayaan

Margaret Wills, a certified lactation consultant who works with the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington, talked about the difficulties modern women who want to breastfeed face, especially working mothers: “We’re trying fo fit breastfeeding into lots of different lives, lots of different circumstances. It takes a lot of ingenuity in the modern world. We’re lucky we’ve got the tools that we have… Mothers work very hard at this.”

Dr. Marguerite Duane, a family physician, also commented on the difficulties of breastfeeding in today’s world: “There’s a lot of misinformation. That’s why I think it’s so important to breastfeed in public. Women need to see that this is normal, this is easy, that you can do this, that this isn’t hard to do.”

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