Old Jan 30th, 2001, 05:39 AM
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I will be traveling in Italy in March with my 5 month old son who is still breastfeeding. Does any one know if it is a problem to discretely breastfeed in public in Italy? I will be in Florence, Genoa, Milan and Treviso.

Many thanks.
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 05:57 AM
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ciao kimberly

ups! yes this would be a problem! no italian woman is doing breastfeeding in public places, neather discretly. if they do, the do it at home. you will not have problems in norway, sweden, holland or these nordic countrys. but italians are very very conservativ, they love childrens but not the breastfeeding, pamperchangings ecc. outside home.

there is only one thing what you can do and this isn't the nice ambience: if you are not in the hotel, go to the toilet and do it there. i'm sorry to say you this, but italy is in other things in advance but not in this....

tantissimi saluti e buon viaggio!

Old Jan 30th, 2001, 07:52 AM
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We met some Italian friends for lunch in Milan this summer - pavement cafe quite near the castle. Their young daughter got lunch too.

Exceptions prove rules, I suppose. Maybe everybody disapproved, but were scared of us.

Of course, kids are pretty thin on the ground in Italy - less than 1 per couple is the average, I believe, a national crisis.
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 08:43 AM
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Boy, Kimberly.
This should not be a dilemna for you, but from what Christina has written, it maybe! She does live in italy, and I don't , so I can't give you any helpful words of wisdom.
But, as a mom who breastfed both my children over a decade ago, I remember the attitude in this country was not very open to breastfeeding moms, even discreet ones.
Please DO NOT wean your son, just for this trip, though.
The importance of nursing will far outweigh any stares or disapproval that you may face.
I quess, just be as discrete as you can, maybe finding a quiet out of the way room if you are in a public place, or position yourself so the least number of people may view you.
I am sure that you will be able to satisfy your son's hunger, enjoy your visit to italy, and NOT have to nurse while sitting in the bathroom if you are discrete and remember that what you are doing is a normal, legitimate function.
Goodluck,have fun and good for you, still nursing your son!
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 09:36 AM
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Kimberly, I totally agree with Nancy! Most people can't even tell when a mom is discretely nursing her child! Do not run back to your hotel or worse yet banish yourself to a restroom to nurse.
Just relax, (if that's possible at your stage of the game) and have fun! Here's a useful tip which you probably already know, but you are in Italy so you must not forget that a glass of red wine helps when nursing!
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 10:10 AM
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When I was in Florence two years ago I saw a young woman sitting in the square breastfeeding her baby. People were strolling by, standing in line for the Uffizi, viewing the public art and no one's head snapped off doing double-takes. Please don't take your baby to the toilet---I won't eat in there and I think it is unreasonable to expect your baby to eat there! When I had babies 25 years ago I dutifully took them to the toilet to nurse them to avoid making others feel uncomfortable. But I wholeheartedly support women breastfeeding in public today. You may feel some disapproval, but consider it an opportunity to educate the world that the primary function of female breasts is to nourish our children!
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 11:11 AM
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Would it be possible to give your child breastmilk through a bottle? Your child would still be getting the benefit of the breastmilk without offending anyone culturally.

I know in the US it is becoming more and more acceptable, there are even tent like drapes to cover your entire body from the neck down 9friend used these) I personally would feel uncomfortable feeding in public even in the US and I gave my daughter a bottle from the beginning. i don't disapprove of others doing it though as it is becoming somewhat the norm here. However, if its not done there its just not done.
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 11:18 AM
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ciao a tutti!

i agree with all of you, that breastfeeding is one of the best things for the baby!! and i hope i did say it clearly enough that the toilet would not be the nice place!!

if you saw a woman breastfeeding her baby it was not an italian, this is for sure. you can't immagine how the italian women are. the will not show (neather discret) to someone else her breast in the public (or her name is cicciolina). even if this anatomic part of us women is made for breastfeeding. please don't misunderstand me!! if you are very casual and don't care about nothing, go ahead. but kimberly asked if she would find problems here in italy and i would say: yes. it naturally depends the people around her. if she aks for a quiet room in a restaurant, maybe they have it. but it's not normal here in italy. if she goes to sweden, norway etc. then they are fully equipped with everything and really no one will neather turn his head if the see a mom with her baby.

but truth is, that here in this country you could get in troubles if you do one of the naturall things in this world.

i wish kimberly a real nice and fun holiday!!!

ancora tanti saluti

Old Jan 30th, 2001, 11:21 AM
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Kimberly, I agree with the other breast feeding moms. I breast fed all 3 of my children until they were 15 months old. In Italy of all places, where there are more statues of nude people, you would think they would understand what a womans breast is really for. I breast fed in public when my children were hungry. Always discreetly though. I was always covered with a blanket. This is the most natural thing any mother can do, and I think the most rewarding feeling of giving your son nourishment. Don't stop for your trip. Remember also, if you do stop, you will have to pack bottles, formula, warmer..... See, I don't understand bottle moms. Breast is easiest and best for baby. Good Luck!
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 11:27 AM
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Kimberly ever heard of a breast pump?

Feed your child naturally in the hotel room, use the bottle when in public. won't have to take formula that way and won't have to change bab's diet either!
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 11:42 AM
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Can someone please tell me why it is perfectly fine to view a plethora of penises on public statues but it's not okay to breastfeed? Something is wrong with this picture!
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 12:19 PM
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Oh Boy!Here We Go!
Kimberly has inadvertently started one of these posts that will garner many responses, some polite, some helpful, some that may even get nasty!
A few points;
Confused, forget about all the naked stautes, from what I understand about news publications , TV/movies,and even beach wear!
there is more than enough nudity in italy, so it could be a bit confusing to all of us not from the italian culture to understand the difficulty with public breastfeeding.
But Christina's point of view is a very valid one, being directly from the source so to speak!
But, as far as breastpumps, bottles, etc.
This would not be a good idea if Kimberely's baby does not already occasionally nurse from a bottle.
Breastfed babies who also use bottles, usually wean themselves earlier than just breastfed babies, and the bottle feeding could cause what is called
"nipple confusion" (can you believe that term?!)
because bottlefeeding is easier physically than breastfeeding, and the baby could get lazy (if any baby could actually be called *lazy*)
Plus, tio the one suggesting a pump,
Have you ever tried one of those things?
I did a few times, when my child was old enough to start on cereal.
Let me tell you, there are many other things I would choose to do with my time and my breasts!
I think that Kimberly just has to assess her own level of comfort, be as discreet as possible, and realize that she may offend some people, but that is not her problem.
After all, she isn't going to relieve herself in public, or do anything which would (as my grandmother use to say)
disturb the horses.
As Liz said, have a glass of wine first and remember what Jo said,
concerning the primary function of our breasts.
You mentioned Kimberly could "get into trouble?"
Do you mean arrested? or asked to leave a restaurant?
This has happened in the States, that is why I am asking.
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 12:31 PM
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Dear Kimberly, I wish I would have breast fed(back in the dark ages, when very few women did it). I think it is beautiful when done in a discreet manner...If I am not mistaken, this is the same culture where the Madonna & Child is very prevalent, yes? What about the topless beaches in the S. Mediterranean....
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 01:24 PM
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You didn't specifically ask about pumps, but someone suggested it, so I'll comment. I think it would be a middling substitute for nursing naturally. You'd have to get a good pump, and mine cost about $200. You'd need a converter for the electricity, and it might not even work. (See prior threads on converters). Yes, there are battery pumps, but my battery one was quite lame. You'd have to pack bottles and the means to clean them in a hotel. You'd have concerns about keeping the milk fresh and safe on long day trips. I say nurse but be respectful about it, but leave the breast pump at home if you possibly can.
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 01:31 PM
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Do what is best for your baby--nurse him--and what is easiest for you--nurse him. You've got the key: discrete.

Old Jan 30th, 2001, 08:42 PM
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While traveling by train from Santa Margarita Liguere to Pisa in 1997, I was in one of those compartment cars that seats 6 people, 3 on each side facing each other. A young Italian woman was breastfeeding her baby, and nobody (all Italian except me) seemed to think anything at all of it. Frankly, I was quite surprised to read Christina's post here.
Old Jan 31st, 2001, 04:47 AM
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ciao nancy

no, i didn't meant arrested. but it could be that people around her start to look agressivly, telling things to her in italian or just stare like she's a glamour girl. for me this would be embarassing and a problem, and i think even for kimberly.

ciao holly

don't be surprised about my respons. if you see this girl in the train, then she was maybe one of the young generation. but fact is, that i never saw a woman breastfeeding her baby in public. italian women are very conservativ what their body belongs. (ups hope to explain now everything correct!). look it's like this: an italian woman (younger one) will show you during the summer and even during the winter all of her body with extending push-up bras, mircromini and high-heels, she will flirt around and give everything from her. BUT! don't try to touch her!! she just show you, but nothing else. i talk from florentin women as i live here, and they are known to be very snob and very proud to be a florentin woman. so this is the one part. the other side: as soon as they get married and do have childern (and this is still the target for a lot of women under 20 years old) they will be the most conservativ and "closed up" (dressed) women you can immagine.

i do frequent the fitnesscenter, i'm original swiss, living here in florence. i teached aerobic by myself in switzerland when i was younger. while taking the class, this florentin women show you really everything you want or don't want to see. as soon as they are in the "changingroom" and this is naturally women's only! they do hide themself behind bathtowles, turn away while putting on the bra etc. i was used to this from my american clients, while i teached aerobic. to see the same thing (and even more hidden) from an european woman who's going topless on the beach was very surprising for me! and i really never ever saw a woman breastfeeding in public. ups, this was a long message now but i truly want to explain me well and to give some more backgroundinfos from my side.

tanti saluti ancora!

Old Jan 31st, 2001, 05:39 AM
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Ciao Christina,
Spero per te l'inverno e` buono!
Grazie, for your opinion, because even if most of us are encouraging Kimberly to breastfeed (if she chooses to,)
your point of view as European, Swiss and a person living in italy are good to know.
Old Jan 31st, 2001, 06:45 AM
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Hi Kimberley,

Having lived in Italy for most of the 80's I can only fully endorse what Christina says. Breast-feeding in public is a big NO-NO

Old Jan 31st, 2001, 06:58 AM
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This is true. Italian married women are held up to a different set of propriety/ values. This was a problem for me when I was young in the USA within my own Italian-American family. Also as "nurser" I could never feel comfortable around this attitude, couldn't then anyway. Also amazes me how women can nurse undercover. My kids all knocked all covers off in a minute, they couldn't make eating a close-eyed in the dark thing ever. Every time I'd try it they would fight me so much that I felt climbed up and bruised- like I was the mountain. I did use rest rooms etc. for a short while. To tell you the truth, as an over 50 woman, even after all these years the same set of values still color my thinking. It would be a social YUCK to me. There are a whole lot of things that are natural that I don't want to see. Brothers, sons, father etc. also got so sick of seeing my sister-in-law that they talk about the "blue ones" to this day.

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