Do you remember how difficult it was to breastfeed in public when your little one was a newborn?
I remember desperately wandering malls and department stores looking for the “nursing room.” Then – six years ago – nursing rooms weren’t as common as they are now. I can’t even imagine what it was like in the time of our mothers’ breastfeeding adventures. Usually the room I found was filthy, reeked of dirty diapers, and involved a demoralizing line-up for 1 or 2 overworked, battleworn chairs. But I didn’t feel comfortable getting, and keeping, my daughter latched on. I worried she would cry and disturb people; or worse, that she would attract their attention and they would notice I was breastfeeding in public. And stare. Or give me a dirty look. Or judge me. Or judge my breasts. Or that I might turn them off their lunch. Or that I might inject awkwardness in their otherwise boob-free day. A few times, I nursed or changed a diaper on a public restroom floor. Other times, sitting in the car alone.
In my later nursing days, when my son was around 3 years old, I again sought privacy to nurse. I was bolder then with tons of breastfeeding experience and lots of tricks to minimize the number of times the little dude would expose me in public as he stopped to check out another kid running by. Although I was a confident breastfeeding mother, I felt judged for nursing – in particular, nursing a boy – past the 12-18 month range. But taking a nursing room spot from a new mother didn’t sit right from me as I remembered what prime real estate they were when I needed to breastfeed my tiny ones eight or ten times each day. Instead, I turned my son down regularly and told him, “not until we get home.” I regret that immensely. I said “no” so many times ONLY because there were others around.
A former Belly Bootcamper who is very dear to my heart posted this video on facebook & tagged me. Probably because she and I like to bitch, generally, about the same societal issues…. British poet Hollie McNish finally got fed up with cramming herself and her 6-month old infant into washroom stalls to preserve others’ “sensibilities.” And this is what she wrote:
If I ever have another child (Lord help me) I will breastfeed brazenly, where and when I want. It is gone so soon. It is so precious and fleeting. And it is so natural and healthy. Down with tits. Up with BREASTS! 🙂