Breastfeeding Basics: Can it be done in public?

Q: Is it appropriate to breastfeed at the table in a public restaurant (even when the mother’s breast is covered)?

A: It is fine, assuming the  mother is discreet and, as you suggested, keeps her breasts covered. It is preferable to choose or request a discreet location in the restaurant, as well.


Birthday Budget: Multiple kids, multiple gifts?

Q: What is the etiquette on the number of gifts to bring to a child’s birthday party when multiple children of ours are invited?

A: There are two ways to handle this. The first is to have each of your children give his/her own gift; the other is to have one, larger gift from all your children together. Probably the best way to do this is to determine what you ordinarily would spend (or give) on a gift from one child to a friend and basically multiply that value times the number of your children invited to the party to set a price point for what you might want to spend on a joint gift.

Milk Manners: What to do with milk at the bottom of the bowl

Q: Is it considered improper etiquette to drink milk out of a cereal bowl? Our 2-year-old has started doing this at breakfast with her cereal and my wife and I want to teach her good manners.

A: She is very young and it is great that she enjoys her milk! However, eventually you would want to teach her to spoon any leftover milk rather than tip her bowl and drink it.

Identity Crisis: How to sign a thank-you note from a toddler

Q: I have a 2 year old and I have note cards with her name printed on the front. When I write the thank-you note on the card do I sign my name and write the note from me, the mother, or do I write it in the 3rd person as if the child is writing it and sign her name to the card?

A: You do not write as though your two-year-old had written the note. You can have her draw a picture on her note card and enclose a note from you, but patently she would not be writing a heartfelt thank-you note at her age and it is best not to pretend that she has or use this as a contrivance. As she gets older, you can encourage her to continue with pictures, and eventually with writing her name, until such time as she really can write her own thank-you notes. It is a great way to build an excellent habit.

Traveling with Tots: If the kids are sick, reschedule

Q: Friends with young, sick children visited with us last weekend. When one has sick children (babies and toddlers who share toys and put them frequently in their mouths), what is the proper etiquette when invited to someone’s home who also have young babies or toddlers? Should they postpone or cancel until their children are feeling well? Once a family is in this situation, what is the most tactful way to handle it so that your guests feel welcome, but your children’s health is protected?

A: It is not correct to take children who are unwell to someone else’s home without notice…it is their obligation to say “Jenny and Ben both have colds. I don’t want to impose their germs on your household so I’m afraid we have to postpone our visit.” You then say how sorry you are, or you can say it’s okay, come anyway. No one should assume their sick children are welcome in another’s home. It is understandable for you to cancel, under the circumstances, rather than set up a situation where your children are exposed to germs that make them unwell.