Who knew inappropriate clothing was such a hot topic? (Me! I did!)
A point of clarification is in order, since it seems the subject of nursing mothers hit a little close to home namely for, you know, mothers who are nursing.
No one (ok, me) is saying nursing is a bad thing. Nursing isn’t wrong. Nursing in church isn’t wrong. But nursing in such a way that shows your girl parts while adjusting yourself and your child is very, very . . . unnecessary.
Some women have nursing down to an art. They’re so adept that the average person sitting next to them in the pew would never even know that Junior is enjoying second breakfast.
But some women don’t or maybe just don’t care. I’ve seen, unfortunately, both in the seminaries’ chapels and in churches, mothers exposing pretty much all there is to expose while getting their child situated. That’s not cool.
Nursing is natural. It’s a wonderful, normal function of the female body. But a husband and wife having sex is natural too. It’s wonderful and normal. But we would never, ever condone displaying all of that in front of church.
So the point is not whether or not nursing is okay or natural or good or something that God created the body to do. The point is that there are situations where men can see parts of the female body that they shouldn’t and they may have sinful thoughts because of it.
So let’s help a weaker brother out, ladies. Toss a blanket over you. Buy an Udder Cover. (I’m a farm kid, and can I just say . . . that company really needs a new marketing manager.)
At the very least, be aware that something as normal and natural as nursing may not be perceived as such by men around you. You can do that, right? Sure, you can. Your neighbor deserves that.
10 thoughts on “an addendum to the addendum”
I said that thing I said up there just to be a jerk. It is in such poor taste I would like to delete it but if there’s a way to do that I cannot figure it out. I am sorry. I repent. I ask the forgiveness of anyone I have offended.
One more thing, and then I’ll be done. Low cut, sexy, tight, or revealing clothes causing men to ponder improper thoughts…sure. Nursing mothers, and those babies they are trying to soothe while trying very had to keep their bits covered – I’ve yet to meet a man that finds that sexually appealing in any way. Breasts used for their primary created function are more likely to be a turn-off! Nursing is not a sexual behavior, and to compare it intercourse by calling it just as natural and wonderful…incorrect. To imply that nursing doesn’t belong in church because it is like sex, even if it is an unintentional implication, is a great way to keep women out of church.
I really appreciated the point of your previous post, and I understand what you’re saying here. What continues to bother me, though, is that you treat it as though covering up is a very easy thing to do. I try to be as discreet and modest as possible, but sometimes it’s just not easy at all. From what you said about changing a diaper a few posts ago, I’m sure you can appreciate this. Getting a squirmy baby attached to you, under a blanket, under your clothes, while unhooking other garments is not as easy as it may seem. And no, it won’t starve the child to wait a minute for all that to happen, but there are days when even my well-behaved, happy daughter would have started screaming. On those days, I chose to be less modest than I would like for a short period of time and risking someone who might be tempted to sin looking back at me at the wrong moment over having my daughter disrupt everyone’s worship and cause everyone to look at me.
It can be really hard to be a mom in church when it feels like you’re being judged, and as Heather noted above, it can sadly just be easier to stay at home. We should be as concerned about moms in that position as we are about the men who might be caused to sin by a wayward glance.
I’m so glad people are talking about this because a few months back it was an extreme source of anxiety for me! I wasn’t able to BF my first, but when my second was born she breastfed like a champ and suddenly I was confronted with whether or not it was okay to do in church.
My tiny church is like a family to me, but it’s not well equipped in the nursery department. There is a room with a speaker in the back, but no chairs, let alone a good chair for nursing. So I was faced with either breastfeeding in church (with a cover of course, which even then made me feel a little embarrassed and exposed) or going to my car in the parking lot. (I recently found another nursing mom in the back room, sitting on the floor nursing, poor thing!)
But when I asked for advice from my (now ex, they moved) pastor’s wife (who isn’t a mother) she said she felt it was inappropriate for a mom to nurse IN church, even with a cover. So I didn’t.
But now I’m curious what most other Lutherans think–is it okay in church, during a service, with a cover? Or should I just keep searching Craigslist for that rocking chair to donate to my church’s ill equipped nursery?
And I think churches need to be aware of helping out young mothers who want to nurse their babies while also needing to feel included in the worship. Some Sundays I avoided going just because it was a source of frustration and I worried about how to feed my child if I did end up going.
I’ve always nursed in church, covered with my shirt/a shawl/a sling. I felt like it was more distracting to get up and leave with a fussy baby than to sit and nurse. The sides of our pews are high, I have never felt exposed. If the people behind me stand up they are either praying (eyes closed) or singing (where the hymnal would obstruct any “view”). We don’t have a nursery, there is a rocking chair in the bell tower if I have a squirrely kiddo but it is a poor place to nurse (too close to the organ). Plus, my husband leaves after the offering to vest and serve as elder at Communion. No way I’m dragging the whole crew out! No one has complained, though I have been commended* 🙂
*By the sweetest little old pastor’s wife I have ever met. I have always gone with the notion that if it is okay with her (kids’ behavior, nursing, what have you) then it is fine.
I nursed two children but when it came time for them to eat in public, particularly in church, I always brought a bottle. I was more comfortable and at ease with a bottle and my little guys didn’t care one bit. Food is food. 🙂 Perhaps you will find this helpful so you can stay in your pew and not feel uncomfortable. It worked for me!
I would definitely prefer the bottle! My first daughter wouldn’t have me, only a bottle. My second, however, refuses bottles. Fortunately, we’re close to being weaned now so it’s not as much an issue anymore…
Hopefully if I have another one that baby will be a little less particular 😉 Girls in my family are stubborn creatures….
Our daughter absolutely refuses a bottle, and always has. It’s great that that worked for you, but it wasn’t ever an option for us.
Please allow full text to be shown in an RSS subscription. I just heard about this blog the other day concerning your post on modest dress and would like to subscribe. However, as a matter of principle, I only subscribe to blogs that show the full post in the feed (I like to read everything in the reader). If you have specific reasons for not showing the full text, then by all means don’t change for lil’ ol’ me. But if not, by all means change it! Thanks,
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Stated so clearly, simply and so right on. Thanks for this.