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by Abigail Van Buren

Irate Husband Makes a Scene When Wife Breastfeeds Baby

DEAR ABBY: I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl three months ago. I had breastfed my 15-year-old, so it was natural for me to do the same with my new daughter. The problem is my husband, "Jerry," does not support me breastfeeding in public.

I'm somewhat large-chested, so I always cover up for fear of offending strangers. The last time we went shopping and the baby got hungry, when I attempted to feed her in a dressing room, Jerry got so upset he stormed out of the store and took the baby bag and stroller with him.

I had a receiving blanket tucked into my tank top and had covered my breast so no one would see anything. I asked him what the problem was, and he said just because I thought it was OK didn't mean some kid trying on clothes would think so. He told me I should breastfeed in the car or a bathroom. (Jerry doesn't eat in restrooms, so why should our baby girl?)

I don't plan to stop breastfeeding or going for outings with my baby girl, so how do I approach the situation without a fight? -- TRYING TO MAKE HIM UNDERSTAND

DEAR TRYING: How about this: Go without Jerry. Your husband is behind the times. Breastfeeding is nothing to be ashamed of, and is promoted by pediatricians as one of the best ways of keeping a baby healthy. There is nothing shameful about this normal function, and you shouldn't be banished to a car in a parking lot or a public bathroom in order to carry it out. The dressing room should have offered sufficient privacy.

Jerry should stop worrying about other kids and concentrate on his own. If a parent had felt her child needed to be protected from the sight of a mother nursing her baby, she would have been perfectly free to shield the child's eyes and usher him or her from the dressing room. If you are unable to get through to Jerry, or your husband cannot grasp this concept, your child's doctor should explain it to him in simple English.

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