Ramblings about nursing a child in Switzerland

Up until recently, I was lucky enough to be employed by two business owners that worked out of their homes. They had no problem whatsoever with me bringing my infant with me to work, and of course nursing him whenever needed. That was a blessing.

I am still breastfeeding my five month old. No one even bats an eye here at a woman breastfeeding. We had a native Swiss over for dinner recently, and after our dinner Eddie was ready for his. The guest and I were sitting in the living room while my husband cleaned up the dishes. I politely threw a receiving blanket over my chest, and while I was blindly fumbling to unhook my bra and get the kiddo latched on, the guest said, “We don’t do that here.”

Shocked, I quavered “what, breastfeed?”

She quickly corrected me. “Oh no! I nursed all three of my children! I meant covering yourself while you nurse. Women who breastfeed here don’t bother to cover up. Nursing is considered completely natural in Switzerland. Women even whip out their breasts in restaurants right at the table!”

In truth, I’ve not seen very many women breastfeeding – most seem to be formula feeding. Switzerland is, after all, home to one of the first formula manufacturers in the world, Nestle. But no matter where I am, I have never been stared at, made to feel awkward, or inconvenienced in any way when I’m breastfeeding.

I’ve breastfed in public more than ever before back home, and in all kinds of places. I keep joking that I’m in the Dr. Seuss book of nursing. Have you fed him on a plane? Have you fed him on a dock? Have you fed him on a train? Would you could you feed him on a bus? I’ve nursed in all these situations and more – castles, museums, train stations, mountain trails, restaurants. I think just about everywhere but an elevator, perhaps. I still can’t shake my ingrained modesty, and still cover up whenever I nurse.

Nursing in public isn’t always easy, though. My son is spoiled by the Boppy (a special breastfeeding pillow), and it isn’t generally convenient to bring it with me everywhere. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be as comfortable nursing without it, so he will sometimes fuss and do things like yank my privacy blanket off my shoulder.

My newest challenge is these two tiny serrated little teeth that are creeping up out of his bottom jaw. I’m not giving up… yet.

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One thought on “Ramblings about nursing a child in Switzerland

  1. oh, come on! all that theatre and you’re still modest about a bit of boob flashing? 😉

    seriously though, i know where you’re coming from. i *did* pull on my bravado from theatre to get over my modesty myself. i also chose fairly secluded spots and made a grand enough “show” when preparing to feed her that nobody near by could complain that they saw something they didn’t want to see. the older charlotte got and the more interesting the world around her became, i found that the blanket, or some sort of covering, was almost necessary to keep her focused long enough to eat.

    as for interesting places, on a trip to D.C. when charlotte was about 4 months old, i nursed inside a mini movie theatre at a smithsonian museum and sitting on a park bench looking out of the potomac.

    i never had to contend with teeth, thankfully. she started teething (and biting) while i was nursing, but since i stopped at 6 months and she didn’t cut teeth until almost 8, i escaped that.

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