Although no one ever said anything to me, I have always felt the pressure of the unwritten rule that Mothers could only breastfeed in the Mother's Lounge. I feel I must also state that most of the time I didn't minded going there because I could turn off the lights and close my eyes and take a "cat nap" while my baby was nursing and I really did enjoy that.
Well, I thought this was hilarious. My bishop called me in and said he was uncomfortable w/ what he had to say. Apparently my RS President (of all people) complained that I was breastfeeding a baby (not a toddler) under a blanket at...wait for it...RS mid week meeting in the evening! Seriously! hahaha. I told the bishop that he could report back that he had relayed the message. The end. There was never another issue or mention of it again. And, yes, I continued to breastfeed. This particular president had her own issues about being touched by her baby's hands, I know, can't relate. So, I think this was all from her. I never felt particularly judged, even by her. It was just an odd moment. 1974.
[My experiences breastfeeding at church] changed drastically over the course of mothering infants. My first baby I only fed covered up, in the mother's lounge. I had never really seen it done any other way.
My second baby refused to be covered, so I fed her uncovered, but still in the mother's lounge. I was too self-conscious to do so anywhere else. By my third baby, it was too difficult to always remove myself and I cared less about what people thought. I was fairly confident feeding baby wherever I was (at that time I served in Primary). I once had a kindly older woman tell me where to find the mother's lounge, which made me feel slightly awkward, but I thanked her for the information, she moved on, and never said another thing about it on subsequent feedings. Although, I couldn't help but wonder if she and others cared about where I fed. My current baby gets fed wherever I am.
My confidence has grown over the years. I am in young women's currently and have even fed him while teaching lessons. My YW president commended me on it, saying she felt it was good for breastfeeding to be seen as normal for the girls. I agree. I often wonder if, had I seen it more often when I was younger, I could have saved myself years of feeling like I needed to escape to the mother's lounge. If I could have been more involved the entire time in the congregation and not missed out on the Sacrament so many times.
While I wasn't harassed, I also never felt supported in my breastfeeding at church. I never felt comfortable nursing in sacrament meeting because of some negative comments from a family member about someone else doing it. At the time I wasn't as confident about standing up for public breastfeeding.
I never felt forced to cover. It was so easy to nurse without covering or showing more than a sliver of boob that people often didn’t even notice that I was nursing.
With my first baby, I could never nurse him with a cover because he required al my attention and both hands to help him stay latched. Since I felt uncomfortable nursing uncovered in meetings, I pumped milk before coming to church and gave him a bottle during classes instead of nursing him. By the time I had my third baby, I was able to nurse uncovered at church when I needed to.
-Pasadena, California, United States
"The last time I went into an LDS chapel I was a breastfeeding mom. It was August in St George. I finally found the mother’s lounge. You had to go through the bathroom and once in there, there was NO AIR CONDITIONING!! I tried to adjust the thermostat but it was broken. I then went and breastfed in the lobby cause hell no I’m not breastfeeding in a sauna."
-St. George, Utah, United States
"It’s common in military wards for mothers to nurse where ever they are. No one bats an eye. The week my last baby was blessed there was one other baby being blessed the same day. After both babies had been blessed, the other sister and I were both nursing our babies right there towards the front. The counselor conducting got up and addressed us both with a smile on his face and praised us for all we do as mothers. It drew attention to us both, but neither of us cared and no one acted uncomfortable. It was a beautiful moment. I wish every congregation was like that."
I breast feed four babies at church for a total of 6 years. I almost always went to the mothers room. Occasionally i would nurse covered in relief society. The mothers rooms were always small and usually stinky and dirty. I did not love the rooms, but actually made great friends with other nursing moms in those rooms! Definitely missed a lot of church though. By my last baby I no longer nursed covered anywhere but still usually went to the mothers room. I never liked the feeling that I was being banished when I needed to nurse.
We have 4 rockers in a small room with a changing table. You can hear sacrament via speaker, but no one passes the sacrament in there. Many women nurse uncovered in the mothers lounge, and its comfortable and clean usually. Never felt embarrassed or shamed into using it, but it's nice and quiet so I preferred it to the chapel. Occasionally when wards overlap it was full so I'd sit in the foyer and nurse covered. I've never been one to be uncovered though, so that's my preference. I've never personally seen anyone be spoken to negatively in regards to breast feeding, never heard of it being discouraged, never known anyone with an experience involving leadership or shame of any kind.
-Seattle, Washington, United States