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Old 11-05-2012, 07:59 AM   #1
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how does your church support young mothers, breastfeeding plus?

I have to make this brief because I hear my LO playing in his crib, but I am feeling so discouraged I need to go ahead and ask. How does your church support young mothers (fathers, too)? I am thinking in terms of breastfeeding and also in terms of managing a toddler in church? Background: Our church has no nursery, attended or otherwise. We used to have both, at different times, but between my DS2 and DS3 a cry room was built. When the cry room was built, the old nursery was repurposed. There is a (beautiful, comfortable) closet inside the cry room. There is audio to hear the service in the cry room, but not in the closet. The sign on the cry room door says "Cry room and private area for nursing mothers." The message I am getting is "the primary concern for nursing mothers is privacy, not fellowship."

So my LO is now 2, cannot sit through a whole service, and I am getting lonely. He is no longer breastfed, but #4 is due in Feb and will probably nurse constantly for the first few months like his brothers. I can sit with the 2yo in the cry room, but he is loud in there, too. I bring him a backpack with toys but since he doesn't know how to whisper yet and is very verbal, I still have to take him out. I can also take him to the foyer, where sometimes we see other parents, but there is no audio out there. I feel that the expectation is for me to keep my kids quiet and be available to teach Bible classes.

My DH is a deacon and is usually not able to sit with us. He is working on decreasing his responsibilities during services to be more able to help by the time baby comes. I have heard maybe one sermon in the past 6 months and approximately zero of the announcements. My inlaws moved out of state and my parents don't go to church. We sit with my husband's elderly grandmother. I am already planning to nurse in the sanctuary this time so I don't have to miss as much, but I am just wondering what is done at other churches? What kind of setup do you have? Or what do you do to get through it? We are not looking for another church right now. I am the only one in the family who is not thriving or happy there. There are lots of ministries for kids 4+ and my children have lots of friends there.

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Old 11-05-2012, 08:08 AM   #2
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Re: how does your church support young mothers, breastfeeding plus?

We have nursery that you can go to/ let your kids be in. There is a used to be sound room that's a nursing room with audio not sound proof to everyone in service.foyer has sound & nursery as well. The other church I have been to is smaller & I went to pastor house to nurse & was outside....it was asian so they eat after & there's a little area b4 u go to tables.I grew up there was a room for women attached to bathroom where u could hear all.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:13 AM   #3
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Re: how does your church support young mothers, breastfeeding plus?

We do meals 1st 2 weeks every few days too. To help new family out or when family feels they could use meals/ other ways to help if allergies to things.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:07 AM   #4
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Re: how does your church support young mothers, breastfeeding plus?

I bring snacks and coloring books/quiet toys to keep them still during church. When I have a nursing baby I feed right before we leave and the baby is fine and rarely needs to eat during the service.

I also sit in the back. Is there another family with young children that you can sit by.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:12 AM   #5
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Re: how does your church support young mothers, breastfeeding plus?

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Originally Posted by Nerissa View Post
I bring snacks and coloring books/quiet toys to keep them still during church. When I have a nursing baby I feed right before we leave and the baby is fine and rarely needs to eat during the service.

I also sit in the back. Is there another family with young children that you can sit by.
I have done this with all 3 of mine but they will not be still that long at 2. Even if my youngest is drawing nicely, he still talks. Can you draw an elephant, Mom? So even when he is "good", he is loud. I have thought about sitting with another family, but then DH's widowed grandma would be alone. I'll see what he thinks of inviting another family to sit with us, but the row is kinda crowded with the 6 of us and all our junk.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:20 AM   #6
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Re: how does your church support young mothers, breastfeeding plus?

I breastfeed in any area of our church from front pew t the cryroom depending on MY comfort level and desires.. BF is greatly encouraged in my church.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:23 AM   #7
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Re: how does your church support young mothers, breastfeeding plus?

When our first baby was born, we actually ended up missing a lot of church because I felt like, "What's the point in going if I just sit in the hall the whole time?" I figured I'd rather sit at home with a crying/fussy/nursing baby than in the hallway or mother's lounge for three hours at church. But it got to the point when DH and I decided that we wanted to go to church, and we wanted to be in that habit so that our children will also want to go. So we stopped making excuses and missing so much. It is still SO hard to have a 2.5 year old and 15 month old sit quietly for the first hour of church. We bring paper and books and stickers and really just keep trying to train them to be quiet then. Some days we spend a lot of time sitting in the foyer, some days not. My mom helped me realize that no matter what we do, we train our kids. If our kids are fussing and being loud in the service and we take them out and let them be loud in the hall or wherever, we might be training them that if they are loud they get to leave and play somewhere else. Not always, because all kids are different, but it really made me think and I try to keep the kids in more or make being out not enjoyable so they'd rather color quietly in the chapel. For us after the first hour we can take DD to nursery where they have toys, have a lesson, eat a snack, sing songs, and play. At our church kids go into the nursery at 18 months, so we are anxiously waiting until DS can join his sister in nursery and we can enjoy the Sunday School lesson without chasing him around and trying to teach him to sit still. Oh, and I breastfeed anywhere, the chapel included. I am very modest about it, and have not ever had anyone talk to me about it. If I need to leave and go hide in a corner to get DS latched on I will, but mostly I just nurse as needed.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:45 PM   #8
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Re: how does your church support young mothers, breastfeeding plus?

Can you get together with other moms of little ones and figure out if you can swap days to do a drop off nursery? Or can you and your DH swap weeks to sit in the service or to watch the 2 year old? Sundays can be so hard with little ones, because they need SO much attention, but yet you don't want to miss EVERY service to just play with them in another room.

Our church has a nursery and a cry room. The nursery is for as soon as your are comfortable dropping off your baby...they have bouncies/swings for littles and lots of toys for the older babies and toddlers. In the cry room is a rocking chair, a changing table, 2 pack n plays and a TV where they pipe in the sermon. The rocking chair used to be surrounded by a screen for nursing privacy but it isn't anymore. Personally I nurse in the service with a cover and no one has ever said anything. A few times nursing in the designated rocking chair in the cry room (with or without a cover, but NOTHING showing, I pull my shirt up and have a tank top underneath so everything is covered) a dad will come in a say "oh! I'm sorry!" and I'll just say "No big deal!" and everyone moves on. I have seen a mom walking around with her baby in her sling with the nursing cover on, I guess nursing?

There are a TON of young families in our church and there are at least like 5 nursing moms right now and another 2 pregnant moms due this winter. Our church isn't huge, but it makes the young families a priority. Which is great.

My advice is to see what you can do to get an older baby/toddler nursery going. And then nurse the newborn in the service with a cover, in the back if you feel a little self conscious. Then your toddler will be happy playing and you will be keeping your baby happy while also being amongst the congregation Or nurse in the cry room but don't go in the closet. Some moms might want that privacy but its not required of you to use it just because its there.
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