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Dear Abby: She breastfeeds in public, and husband freaks out

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.

DEAR ABBY: How does one “break up” with a hairdresser? I’m not unhappy with “Flossie,” my current one, but I’d like to try someone else for a change of pace.

I know people of both sexes who have stayed with a hairstylist they are unhappy with because they can’t bring themselves to break up, so I know I’m not alone with this dilemma. I’d love to hear from hairdressers how they would prefer this be handled. Do they take it personally? — TRENDSETTER IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR TRENDSETTER: Some do take it personally, I’m sure. If you have a personal as well as a business relationship with Flossie, she may feel hurt that you’re leaving. However, it is not a sin to want to try someone else. It happens all the time in that business

My advice is to call Flossie in advance and let her know you won’t be coming so she can schedule someone else in that time slot. Then try the other stylist. That way, if you don’t like that stylist’s work, you can return to Flossie with no hard feelings.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)