Dec 18 2013
I remember clearly the day that I learned for sure that I know nothing. I was standing in line at the dollar store, casually eavesdropping on the woman ahead of me talk with the woman behind the register about feeding their ravenous newborns. I nodded smugly, caressing my huge belly and thinking back to when my other two kids were new and endlessly hungry. I smiled, confident in my ability to empathize and ready to interject a wise comment as a soon-to-be mother of three.
And then I stopped to actually listen. And I heard the woman behind the counter lament that her 1-month-old still seemed hungry even after finishing his formula. I nodded, a little less confidently (having no experience with formula) but still with sympathy; hungry babies are hungry babies.
I heard the woman ahead of me suggest following her lead by giving the baby cereal. And now I nodded even less securely, resisting–somehow–the urge to scream, “Noooo, don’t do it, your baby is way too young for solids!” But (and I am embarrassed to recall this) a part of me really really wanted to pass on my “advice.” A part of me really want to jump in with all the judgment I’d resisted on the nursing front (because, and I swear I mean this, I do get that what works for me doesn’t work for everyone, and that there are many many reasons why women don’t or can’t nurse), telling her (not that she’d asked) that formula really is just fine for a newborn, but cereal certainly is not. Read the rest of this entry →
May 23 2011
Nursing at Target.
Cara’s post got me thinking: I hope that one day nursing will be so universally accepted that no baby will ever need to eat in a bathroom.
For me, it took a while to get the hang of nursing in public, let’s be honest; it took me a while to get the hang of nursing, PERIOD. Fumbling with a screaming baby didn’t exactly make me feel at ease at home–let alone in front of others. I was mortified to be using a nipple shield (what is that gadget? she can’t just feed her baby like a normal person?) and everything about nursing felt forced and awkward. I brought bottles of pumped milk wherever we went and let myself get engorged, while missing out on yet another bonding moment with my newborn. In retrospect–what was I thinking?
And then we settled into a rhythm and ditched the shield and I remember crystal clear one afternoon when he was 4 months old, he fell asleep nursing in bed and just before I dozed off I thought to myself, “THIS! This makes it all worth it. My perfect nursing moment.” And then his first tooth came in, and more teeth and biting, and acrobatics, and now popping off to talk to me (most often saying, “Da-dee?” or some random animal noise) and now nursing is intertwined with how we exist together.
We moved when my son was still a newborn so I nursed him as our little family explored our new city. The beautiful part is that my first memories of so many of the places we frequent, involve nursing. I remember nursing in the Target parking lot. I fed him in a booth at Panera, at my doctor’s office and at brunch with friends. Almost every place we go has a spot where I nursed my tiny son. I nursed him on a park bench while on a walk with friends. This is my favorite memory because a college co-ed type guy walked over and showed us his dog. He said hello and looked me right in the eyes. He didn’t shy away; he didn’t pull his dog by the leash to avoid the crazy woman nursing her child in the middle of a public park. He smiled and waited until my friend’s toddler was done petting his dog, said goodbye and walked on as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. I wanted to hug him.
I’ve always been discreet about nursing. We use a cover; I turn away or try to find a private booth in the corner of the restaurant. Not because I am embarrassed, I just don’t want to be made uncomfortable by stares or dirty looks just as much as I don’t want to make others uncomfortable. As my son gets older, I do find myself being more self conscious about nursing in public. He will not tolerate a cover so when he asks to nurse I try to distract him until we can get somewhere more private. It’s fairly easy for me to be discreet as I can mostly cover my breast with my shirt so I’m not sure what my hang-up is. I nursed him on a plane a few months ago and I contemplated lying about his age to the person next to me–because for some reason it’s acceptable for an 11-month-old to still be nursing but not a 15-month-old.
The other day I had to run into Target for a few things. My son was a cranky mess and by the time we walked in, he was having none of it. I carried him in a front pack while he fussed and waved his little hand around in front of my face pumping his fist to show me the sign for “baby milk” (as if I didn’t already know what he wanted). I really needed to grab a few things, so I unbuttoned the top of my shirt and nursed him while I shopped. He nursed happily with his head resting on my chest and while I was a little paranoid that people could see this insane woman walking around Target nursing her kid, also felt empowered. I was meeting his needs and still getting done what I needed to do. I even snapped a picture of us so that I can have two memories of Target. Nursing my infant in the parking lot and now calming that same baby-turned-toddler while I grabbed a new toothbrush and a pack of Clorox bathroom wipes.