The Time I Almost Nursed Where I Was "Supposed" To

I shared with you all our wonderful family trip to the State Fair. The food, the 4-H, the fun it. was a blast and a wonderfully relaxing day with just us. Well, us and the rest of the state. But thats ok!

There was however an "incident." And I'm only calling it that for dramatic effect and also because it was something big enough for me to feel like I should write about it so surely it was an "incident." Right? I'm also fully aware that some of you may end up thinking that I'm making something out of nothing. That I should stop being such a lactivist, a whiner, or whatever but I've got a point to make so here it goes.

The Nebraska State Fair is in it's new location-in case you hadn't heard. The facilities are all but new and they are fabulous. The emphasis is on family and agriculture- it's wonderful. There is one building called the Welcome Center. You can get educational info, first aid services, and use an ATM. Three years ago when I went to the fair in the new location I saw the "Nursing Lounge" sign, and I thought to myself, "Wow, that's a pretty awesome gesture." Fast forward to a two weeks ago and I'm at the fair with my nursling and it's time to eat. It was hot out so I thought we should go check out the Nursing Lounge for a comfy place to cool off.

Let me paint a picture of what I was envisioning. A decent sized room bathed in cool and calming colors, pretty, with comfortable couches and chairs. Soft music playing. I have a pretty good imagination. And apparently high expectations.

We walk to the Welcome Center. The sign says First Aid/Nursing Lounge ---> We walk around the corner. Meanwhile, I'm trying to ignore the windows that were covered with window coverings that looked like shower curtains. Plastic rings included. I walk to the side door. Assuming to glide in for a relaxing nursing session with Millie and what do I see? The first aid center. An attendant talking to this grody(sorry, but true) looking couple with their hands all over each other. There were also a couple other people there sitting waiting for treatment. I promptly turned around and told the man coming out of that door that I must have had the wrong door. I walked around the corner of the building searching for the entrance to my nursing oasis. Only to find nothing.

Jerrel kindly guided me back to the aforementioned door. The man was still there and I said, well I'm looking for the Nursing Lounge. He politely said "Oh you have the right door, you have to walk through the first aid." I hesitantly started to walk in with Millie, my bag, a stroller, and my husband. Then a lady sitting by the door, like she owned the joint, stood up and said. "You can't bring the stroller in there. We are trying to keep strollers out." Then I gave her a look I'm sure not too friendly, and really turned my hiney around and got the heck out of Dodge, with my husband following behind wondering if I have finally lost the rest of my mind. It wasn't until after I explained my feelings that he put the pieces together and agreed with me.

I wanted to sit on a bench and nurse in front of here.

This is where they milk the Dairy Cows for show. I think they should move or rename the Nursing Lounge 
I thought that would have been hysterical and a wonderful photo op. The benches were all full though. Maybe next time.

We then decided to watch a hog show in the hog building, I sat at the top of the bleachers and nursed my baby. It wasn't exactly the oasis I desired, it was a bit smelly, fairly crowded, and not quite as comfy. It was however, air conditioned and entertaining with the hog show.

So here's my deal, granted I don't even know what the place looked like on the inside but here's a few things that made me not want to find out.

*The windows completely covered. I get that privacy was the idea but from the outside it felt more like they were trying to hide something. I like a little natural light!'s called the Nursing Lounge...we all know what's going on...

* The entrance was through the First Aid area. This is gross and odd. Also no matter how you feed your baby it's really not a medical issue. Why should I have to walk through the injured, sweaty, dirty people to feed my child? When I opened the door I felt like I was interrupting something. And I was. Someone's medical care. It shouldn't be awkward, uncomfortable, or a hassle to get to the nursing lounge. Period.

*I wasn't allowed to take my belongings (stroller) in. I also understand that strollers are bulky and can take up space. But in my estimation the room should be big enough so that I don't have to leave my stroller out of my view. What if I was alone and didn't have a husband willing to sit with it? Plus this made more of a hassle for me and other moms. We then have to lug our diaper bag, purse, baby, and whatever else we don't want unattended into the Nursing Lounge. When a simpler solution would be to roll the stroller in and get the job done.

In essence I felt like I was supposed to nurse in this area closed off from the rest of mankind yet they could tell me what I could bring. I felt a bit like I was answering the question, "If you were on a deserted island and you could only bring one thing..." Expectations, rules, or guidelines like this don't sit pretty with me.

The Nursing Lounge at the State Fair is a fabulous idea. I commend whomever thought it was necessary. I didn't want to use it because I felt I needed the privacy (obviously, I moved to the hog show) I wanted to use it because I thought it sounded nice...but it ended up feeling like a very uncomfortable situation. My main beef is that we can do better. Our moms and babies deserve better. They deserve the area I imagined. And they need to know they deserve more.

I plan on contacting the fair board with my concerns. I'm not sure what they can do about it, since the building is new and the arrangement seems fairly permanent. But I can try.

So thats my incident. And I'm grateful for Jerrel who is so very supportive of me, my ideals, and my passion for nourishing our child in the way God intended.

Here's to expecting a little bit more.

Did you check out the Nursing Lounge? Am I totally off on my quick judgment? Have you checked out other "Nursing Areas" in public places?


1 comment:

  1. First baby I would find the private places. I would even go into the bathroom set sideways on the toilets so I wouldn't fall in and nurse so I was in private. Second baby, there seemed to a little more places designated to nursing, but it was usually in the bathroom (unsanitary) on a little couch in the corner. Usually right in front of the door like you were the greeter. Third baby, I nurse, I nurse wherever I'm at, I nurse no matter who is around. I was always covered, we didn't bare all for anyone to take a gander. Most didn't even realize what was going on under my Moo Moo Cover. This is the way I feed my child, the way God intended. If it offends you look the other way. If God blesses us with any more babies, that's the way it will be done.