More than 80 percent of American mothers breastfeed their babies. Even with that statistic, nursing moms still face many issues.
Local moms who breastfeed say it's the best thing they can do for their child.
Studies show that the number of nursing moms is on the rise. Yet, some moms in Winchester say it's been challenging, especially in public. Sometimes, they deal with more than strange looks.
"It made me feel a little bit embarrassed because obviously you want to abide by the rules. On the other hand, it was a little bit infuriating because I should be able to breast-feed my child," said Natasha Ossinova.
That's how full-time mom-of-two, Natasha Ossinova, felt when she was asked to 'cover-up' in Winchester while on-demand breast-feeding.
"It was the first time in my life actually... after four years of breast-feeding," said Ossinova.
"You know, you go into a coffee shop and you always wonder if someone is going to give you a look," said full-time working mom-of-one, Lucy Turner.
Though, Turner says she's been fortunate. She's never been asked to 'cover-up' while nursing her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter.
"I know it will come when someone will say something to me and I am always wondering what can I say back to you know not be embarrassed myself but just express the importance it is to me and my family," said Turner.
As far as their decision to breast-feed...
"Health, intelligence, immunity... and also for the mother. In terms of breast cancer, there are just so many reasons for me to breast-feed it wasn't a choice," said Turner.
Turner says she would like to keep breast-feeding until her daughter is two-years-old, while Ossinova still breast-feeds her four-year-old son.
When is your child too old to be breastfed? It's a controversial issue that's gotten a lot of attention. Research shows most nursing moms stop around one-year.
Ossinova says it's a much different experience than nursing a baby. It's only for a few seconds and they say it's a comforting thing for their child. She says she's met other women who also nurse their pre-schoolers.
"It's helpful to see other moms nursing older toddlers or even young children. And it's totally normal and they love it and they're completely independent and healthy, smart kids. So we just kept going."
Still, she feels that breast-feeding is natural and society should be more accepting.
"The more people breast-feed publicly, the more people will get used to it and understand that this is a completely normal part of the child's development and this is what they need," said Ossinova.
Ossinova and Turner are involved with La Leche League of the Northern Shenandoah Valley. It's a group for breast-feeding moms. They provide mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education. They also strive to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.
They meet on the second Monday every month from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at Winchester United Methodist Church.
The group will also be at Valley Health's Community Wellness Festival on Saturday at Apple Blossom Mall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
© Copyright 2013 TV3 Winchester / Gray Television Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.