Sunday, January 6, 2008

Breastfeeding in Church

Yes, I've finally done it. I never thought I would dare to but today, the perfect opportunity arose.

We went to St Michael's Church today and it has a 'Cry Room'. I've always found that term a little offensive and used to say 'My baby isn't crying' whenever the wardens asked me to take Aaron to the room.

Anyway, Aaron is no longer the little baby that I can keep quiet in the sling. The 'Cry Room' is actually a good place for him now. Its a sectioned off glass area that cuts down the noise that children make but still allows everything that is happening in the main part of the church to be heard.

Initially, we were the only ones in the room today and I didn't turn the lights on. The glass is tinted so we could see out of it but the congregation couldn't really see us inside. I thought Aaron was reasonably well behaved in there. He marched around inspecting every corner of the room. Then he sat down to do some drawing. Eventually, two other families with little girls came into the room and Aaron tried to make friends.

When Aaron failed to engage the girls in any play, he eventually found his way to me, lay down on my lap and asked for a drink. I happily obliged because everybody was facing the front and nobody should be looking around anyway. I couldn't believe I was breastfeeding during Mass. My mind kept thinking of what I would say if somebody approached me at that time or maybe after mass.

"I'm sure Mother Mary breastfed Jesus"

"I thought the whole idea of the 'Cry Room' was to keep Mass times as quiet as possible"

"God made my body this way to feed babies"

I didn't need to face any grown ups. The only person that took any interest in what Aaron was doing was one of the little girls. She looked really puzzled! I actually gave him three short feeds during Mass.

When Mass was over, I felt good that I managed to pay attention to most of it and at least pray more than I usually did. We didn't have to deal with a baby that kept wanting to go outside. Neither did I have to deal with a baby that was constantly tugging at my shirt. This is another situation where I've been thankful for how convenient breastfeeding is and how easy it is to calm a baby down. It just happened that I did it in a place where I think most people would prefer I didn't. But, they don't have to know.


Bilbo said...

Back home at our parish in Pittsburgh, the "cry room" was officially called "The Young Catholics' Club." I never noticed anyone breastfeeding there, but I have no doubt that it happened...some things just have to get done when they have to get done, and I don't think God minds a bit.

Amanda said...

"The Young Catholics' Club" sounds so much more positive. I'll have to give some suggestions to this church over here.

Kellan said...

I think it is perfectly fine to breast feed anywhere - I never breast fed any of my kids, but I believe it is perfectly natural and normal and people should feel okay with seeing it - it's strange how they really aren't, isn't it? We have a crying room in our church too and I would imagine that most of the congregation would prefer a mother to breast feed her baby in there rather than in the pew next to them, but I saw a woman a few weeks ago at my church that sat in front of us that was breast feeding her baby and it was fine and lovely. You go girl! Take care. Kellan