For parents raising children in foreign countries, breastfeeding seems like one of those issues that could be a minefield. It's touchy enough in North America; add in the general cultural confusion all expats experience and it's enough to make anybody nervous. Here are three accounts by North American moms of breastfeeding abroad.
Get your mind out of the gutter and look again.
Brazil: An American mom living in Brazil writes on the Expat Mums Blog, "I've been impressed by the level of acceptance and support for breast-feeding that I’ve seen. Pretty much every mother that I've met here has breast-fed." Not surprising in a country where the government sponsored the funny, cute ad shown above.
Mongolia: Canadian conservationist Ruth Kamnitzer writes in "Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan" about her three years living in the Mongolian countryside. "Their universal practice of breast feeding anywhere, anytime, and the close quarters in which most Mongolians live, mean that everyone is pretty familiar with the sight of a working boob," she says. But it doesn't stop there: "If a woman's breasts are engorged and her baby is not at hand, she will simply go around and ask a family member, of any age or sex, if they'd like a drink. Often a woman will express a bowlful for her husband as a treat, or leave some in the fridge for anyone to help themselves." Serve Cornflakes a la Mongolia at your next brunch!
France: What Wall Street Journal reporter and Paris resident Pamela Druckerman says in her book Bringing Up Bébé may surprise anyone who thinks France is a bastion of enlightened progressivism. "Breastfeeding isn't encouraged and many people find the sight of it disturbing," she writes. "Locals tell me that breastfeeding still has a peasant image." On the plus side, though, there's no chance your foray into the fridge for a midnight snack will turn into an involuntary breastfeeding episode.
If you've got experience nursing in a strange land - whether that means some exotic overseas locale or the restaurant down the street - share your bounty in the comments below.