Okay, I have emailed my pastor about this and have received no response for weeks, despite his acknowledgement that he received the email. So I can only assume he is too busy or he does not know what to tell me. So I will ask here.
Does there exist any guideline on reception of Holy Communion by a nursing mother who is unable to be present for much of the Mass, due to needing to nurse a baby?
Ever since my youngest was born, I have been struggling to be able to get to Mass and remain in the church. I am able to get all my other little ones fed and dressed and my husband drives all of us to church on time. But by the time I get there, the baby is hungry again and needs to be fed. So I send the other children in with their father, and I either remain outside in the car to nurse the baby, or I go in to stand in the bathroom for nursing. Many times, I am unable to enter the church and sit down until the end of the Liturgy of the Word. I may or may not hear the Gospel or the homily.
I have been told that if I do not arrive before the reading of the Gospel, even if it is because of nursing the baby, that I must not receive, or I am in danger of committing desecration of the Eucharist. So, despite the fact that I did receive one Sunday before I knew about that horrible sin, I now refrain from receiving Holy Communion most Sundays, because I cannot get inside the church in time. I know that, as a parent of an infant, I may have as an excuse from my Sunday obligation the care of my infant, but I am actually making it TO church, and want to participate as fully as I am able. And sometimes, I feel sad and starved about not being able to receive Jesus when I have worked so hard to get us all there (I know, I am a melodramatic martyr, I should just probably not receive and put a smile on my face and suck it up).
Am I understanding these things rightly? Was I told correctly? Are there any pastoral guidelines for this particular circumstance?
I do know that this period of time in my life will pass, and probably quicker than I anticipate, but I just need some clear answers on what to do when I get to Mass, so that I can make informed and virtuous decisions about participation. Thank you!