Old Jan 31st, 2001, 10:56 AM
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How sad that you find the sight of a mother feeding her baby a YUCK, Jeanette. We have pictures of breasts plastered all over the landscape and the airwaves, and nobody thinks twice when they see a glass of COW'S milk sitting on a table, but when it comes to milk from a woman's breast, we say YUCK and banish her to the filthiest, most germ-laden room in the building. How sad that ignorant attitudes might deprive a baby of a substance that will protect him from gastroenteritis, pneumonia, ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's Disease, allergies, asthma, high cholesterol, and obesity, and raise his IQ an average of 8 points besides. I can't believe that Italians are even more backwards about breasts than Americans. Kimberly, I would not let ANYONE deprive my child of the benefits of breastmilk, and when you plan your next trip to Europe, consider taking your tourist dollars to Scandinavia, where nobody says YUCK to the healthiest activity on the planet.
P.S. A tip from a breastfeeding mom: In restaurants, ask for a back table and sit with your back to the room. No one will know. A booth is even better if there is one. Have a good trip and bless you for loving your baby so much.
Old Jan 31st, 2001, 11:09 AM
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This has been very interesting information to me since I'll be taking my baby to Italy this summer as well. FYI, Kimberly, there are catologs that specialize in clothing for the nursing mother. I have purchased a few items and have been very happy with the "coverage". Best of luck.
Old Jan 31st, 2001, 11:17 AM
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A most interesting thread...

Personally, I think this brings up a broader question for people exploring foreign countries and, by default, having to discover a foreign culture as well.

The issue as I see it is then: What cultural attitudes must be respected?

We hear much on this forum about people (the usual stereotype is an American) going to Europe and being loud, obnoxious, not trying to speak the native tongue, and showing a complete disrespect for their host's culture. Yet here we have a fairly passionate debate about whether a particular cultural (for lack of a better word) hangup need be respected by a visitor to that culture.

I personally believe that a woman should not have to hide herself, her breasts, or her baby to do something so fundamental as feeding.

In my city, Toronto, Canada, things have changed for the better in the recent past. In fact, there are now posters on our subways of a woman breast feeding a baby -- and the poster's message is, essentially, that it is a woman and baby's right to breast feed in public. Kudos for this -- it makes me proud to live where I do.

I also believe that Kimberly should not have to sacrifice in this instance.

I am torn, however, because there is something to be said for conforming to the cultural norms of any place we visit. As tourists, do we have any obligation to "tread lightly," so to speak.

I'd be interested to hear what other people have to think about what I've raised...
Old Jan 31st, 2001, 11:23 AM
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Poor Jeannette,
Your father,brothers,etc. are still making jokes about "blue ones"?.....they probably joke about small ones and big ones,too. They obviously took a look, didn't they? Adolescents?
In my family and culture, I'm glad to say, that women get more respect....and mothers,too.
I say, to Kimberly, enjoy your trip and your nursing baby. Life is short, every minute of infancy is to be savored (except maybe the sleepless parts!!!) and so what if a few Italians say "yuck". I can't imagine that you'll cause anything more than a disgruntled passer-by that you'll never see again.
I wouldn't compromise maternal instincts one bit! Have a good time!
Old Jan 31st, 2001, 12:14 PM
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We were in Italy five years ago and saw several times in Rome and in Northern Italy huge advertisements on billboards of a happy baby standing between its mother's uncovered breasts. We were surprised and thought that Italy must be more liberal about such things than the US.
I nursed my babies discreetly in public with no problem- just put a light blanket or shawl over your shoulder.
Old Jan 31st, 2001, 12:32 PM
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If you can suffer one more comment...

I breastfed both my children, here in the U.S. We all know the incredible benefits of breastfeeding, but you also do want to be sensitve to the culture you'll be in.

I also know from experience that sometimes you can't even tell if someone's breastfeeding, if you do it discretely enough. And IMHO, covering yourself with a blanket isn't discrete, it's advertising that something different is going on. When I nursed, I would just wrap a recieving blanket around the baby, just like you do when you're holding a sleeping baby, but so that it jutted up a little, and make sure that my shirt (gently) covered the rest. If your son isn't accustomed to being covered, you might want to get him used to it.

Since tables & chairs in restaurants in Europe tend to be closer together, you might have a harder time nursing in restaurants. Please don't anybody flame me, but churches can be nice, quiet places for nursing. You can sit in a pew in the back, and nobody will know whether you're nursing or taking a nap (and I've seen plenty of people napping in churches)! Or if it's warm enough, in a park. Or a semi-empty cafe in the middle of the afternoon.

If you can, you might want to try to get your son on sort of a schedule, so you can predict when he'll be hungry. That way, you can time the meals for times when you can be in more private locations. For example, you could feed him in your comfortable hotel room before you go to dinner.

Buon viaggio!
Old Feb 1st, 2001, 02:42 AM
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Rob - you raised the key question here, I think. My take would be:

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

I've always found this the best base for my travels.
Old Feb 1st, 2001, 12:05 PM
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Yes Rob did raise an interesting point, taking into consideration the cultural views/attitudes of a country one is visiting.
But, in the case of one's nursing child,
I think it has to go beyond this consideration.Moms have to do what they feel is best for their babies!
Old Feb 1st, 2001, 02:39 PM
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this is really an interesting discussion! thank you kimberly to have start it!

what rob postet is right. i never thought about it, but then immediately i had the idea of doing whatsoever as a woman in for example: iran, irak, yemen.... i don't think i have to talk more.

the advertisment in rome and milano and in other italian cities was from united colors of benetton, and the starfotografer (unfortunately i forgot his name) who's responsible for benetton's advertisment had one idea with all his pictures what he made: get through the people and tell them what's normal. the essence was, that whole italy including the vatican screamed out loud to tell benetton, how awful and rude and bad and respectless against the italian culture and church they are....

i just talked with my life partner, he's italian. and wanted to know if he know more about breastfeeding in public. even he told me, that it's something who isn't done in italy, there is no rule and there is no law against it, but it's not done. i just explained him, that it's possible in switzerland and naturally in the scandinavic countries and he was surprised. well women! we do have for sure a problem. i agree with everyone, we are surrounded by naked superboobs (hope spelling is o.k.) you can see them here all over. but one of the naturallest things in this word is critizied......

however, breastfeeding in italy is a don't and to get back to rob's posting, some "rules" in other countries should be respected. i think kimberly do have a lot of time to prepare herself a good "feedingplan" giving the breast to her son without any big problem. as she know for sure the "eating times" from him.

have a nice evening!

Old Mar 3rd, 2001, 05:08 PM
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Looks like you'll be leaving on your trip soon. Don't forget to fill us in on how everything went (not just the breastfeeding part!).

Buon Viaggio!

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