I travel between Chicago and Los Angeles a lot. And most of the time I bring the baby. (She’s become quite the expert traveler!) And it’s been interesting to observe the differences in attitudes, approaches and opinions about breastfeeding.
Disclaimer: These observations are based on the women I know personally. I’m not sure they’re representative of the cities overall.
The subject of breastfeeding seems to be more taboo amongst the moms I know in Los Angeles. I’ve rarely been asked by anyone there if I breastfeed. Even my nearest and dearest friends don’t engage the topic unless I bring it up first. And even then, the conversations don’t last long. But back in Chicago, it’s a whole different ballgame. I’ve written before that, was I going to nurse? was the #1 question I was asked while pregnant. And, are you nursing? was the #1 question I was asked after I had the baby. And I remember feeling like it was a very personal question to be asked. And maybe I get that attitude from living in California for so long?
Nursing isn’t as prevalent with the moms I know in L.A. In Los Angeles not as many of my friends nursed their own babies. And they had no qualms about admitting this. They weren’t worried about judgment. And I never thought twice about it when I was living in L.A. In fact, I’m not sure I would have nursed had circumstances been different and I’d given birth and raised my baby there. But in the Midwest, it’s been rare that a mother has told me she opted not to nurse. That she didn’t even try it. In fact, I can think of one friend who skipped it altogether.
The moms I know in L.A. don’t nurse as long as the moms I know in the Midwest. The women I know in California who did breastfeed didn’t do it for an extended period of time. Three to six months seemed to be the norm. I only know one friend in Los Angeles who breastfed her baby for a year. But back in Chicago, a year seems to be the norm.
I’m not sure why these differences exist but it’s been fascinating to observe them.