Now my mom and I don't always see eye to eye on politics/feminism but I sure knew she was a HUGE breast feeding supporter. So I sent her the link to the blog referenced above and mentioned that they were collecting letters about breastfeeding and LDS church culture. Here is what she wrote....
My daughter sent me this link and I hope that you will be able to use some of my input/experiences to help your case.
First let me introduce myself. My name is _________. I am a 56 year old mother of 8 and grandmother to one. My husband and I joined the church in July 1978. We were blessed with our first child in May of 1980. Since that time I have often found myself wrangling several children with at least one of them being a nursing infant or toddler. I have had both good an not so good experiences with church leaders regarding the location(s) that I chose to nurse my child. I will only elaborate about one such experience.
We were meeting in a base chapel (a multi-denominational chapel on a military base) and my husband was usually on duty and unable to attend services with me. I had an infant and a toddler who were 16 months apart in age. I had a cylinder cast on my leg due to a knee injury. I could have used that injury as an excuse to not attend church but the though never crossed my mind until my bishop asked to talk to me and my husband about a matter. It seems that some of the young men in our ward were uncomfortable with my nursing my baby in the chapel. I was almost always completely covered except for the few times my elder child tried to play peek a boo with her younger sibling. I was very careful that nothing be showing and after this interview with my bishop I talked to several of the ward members and they were surprised to know that I had actually fed my child in the chapel because they had never "seen" me do so.
My bishop was very uncomfortable speaking with me about this subject mostly because his wife had not chosen to breastfeed their children. He suggested that I go upstairs into the choir loft to nurse my baby which I would have done had it not been for the cast on my leg which made stairs a challenge. He also suggested that I go into the ladies restroom to nurse. While giving my bishop the respect he was due as an church leader I stated that the choir loft was out of the question due to the cast on my leg and that I would not feed my child in a bathroom where the only place to sit was a toilet. I did not eat in the bathroom and I believed that my child should not eat there either. I also informed him that the young men that had expressed discomfort about my nursing in the chapel needed to get their minds out of the gutter. I was using my body the way the Lord intended it and that if they went to Japan or Africa or South America on their missions that they would be scarred for life if they only thought of the breast as a sexual object since other cultures are much more open about breastfeeding than ours.
We reached a compromise...sort of...I was allowed to use the sofa at the back of the chapel to nurse my child after it was turned backward...I thought that this was very funny as the view over the back of the sofa allowed everyone to have a much greater view of my breast that if I had been just facing forward.
I believe that we need to be much more open in our society about breastfeeding. I believe in being descrete and not just putting a breast out for all the world to see. I do not think that any modest LDS woman would deliberately do that. I also believe that both YW and YM need to be exposed to this practice. If we are to prepare YW to be mothers, the sight of a woman nursing their child should not be looked on as foreign or sexual but as a normal natural use of a woman's body for what the Lord intended it. I also believe that to threaten a woman with the loss of her temple recommend for this is an overstep of authority in my opinion.
Good luck in your quest to bring breastfeeding out of the closet in the LDS community.
- signed by my amazing mother.
PS I was the baby that she was nursing...