Our daycare provider typically has the news on in the morning during drop off. The other day Elizabeth immediately got excited because it showed a local public pool. She wanted to know why it was on the TV. Unfortunately, the Mora, MN aquatic center was in the news because two women were asked to leave after breastfeeding at the pool.
Minnesota Statute 145.905 says that a mother may breastfeed anywhere, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be, and that breastfeeding is not considered indecent exposure. So, we’re pretty solid on the legal language on that front. How we talk to each other, and especially our kids, about feeding babies is less solid.
In this situation, with Elizabeth, I briefly told her that two mamas were feeding their babies and there were some people there that just didn’t like it. “That’s just plain ridiculous, huh?” is what I asked before going to work for the day.
But this experience, as well as others that I’ve had in recent years, really got me thinking about how we talk to our kids about our bodies. How do we help them appreciate, in a developmentally appropriate way, that our bodies serve multiple functions? For young children, it is important for them to know that our bodies are tools to help us achieve our goals and take care of others (and that sometimes includes feeding our babies) and that it’s important to take care of our bodies. As children grow, we can help them understand that many of us are also sexual beings and that there are parts of our bodies that have functions that are both fun and practical and it’s our responsibility to help kids understand when someone is being appropriate (like feeding their child) and when they are not.
What are some ways you’re working to teach your children to feel good about their bodies?