I started shamelessly nursing in public when my oldest was about 8 days old. My in-laws came to visit their new granddaughter. In the course of the visiting I needed to feed my baby. I discreetly nursed her shielded by a light blanket. It was August people, and so blazing hot! But I covered up for their comfort. My father-in-law got up and not only left the room, but the house!! I saw him out the window walking the fence line of the property, it was an acre of land away.
I got the hint, he was uncomfortable. They took us to dinner that night. Again, she was tiny and so we nursed every couple hours. I ordered my meal and she started crying. I gathered her and my blanket and headed to the restroom to feed her, not wanting to ruin my father-in-law's meal. The bathroom was tiny, no room for us to nurse. I found a chair in the tiny cramped hall that led to the rear exit.
So there I sat, in a dimly lit hall, trying to nurse my week old baby, occasionally being disrupted by dishwashers on their way to a smoke break.
It was AWESOME! I sat there and cried.
I finally finished feeding my darling baby and then returned to the table to find that my hubby and his parents had also finished feeding. My Alfredo sat on the table untouched and cold. The waiter was a friend of mine from high school and he kindly offered to take my meal back to the kitchen and have the cook add some cream and heat it for me. I gratefully accepted. They waited as I scarfed my food as quickly as possible so we could go home and I could cry some more.
Keep in mind that my husband and I had yet to celebrate our first anniversary. We were still getting used to being married and I was still worried about impressing his parents.
I have since given up on ever impressing his parents, and my hubby told me he'd rather his dad be uncomfortable (or get over it!) than me sit alone in a corner.
I now feed my baby whenever, wherever. And I RARELY cover up! Make no mistake, I am discreet and respectful, but I will never again hide in shame to feed my baby.
This past week was World Breastfeeding Week. I have friends that are also breastfeeding nuts so I found this on Facebook...Stop the Craziness. Then I checked my email and found this on the news feed of Yahoo....Boobs are a Box Office Hit (I made my own titles for the links)
Our society is hypocritical in our view of Boobs! Either they are acceptable or they are not. The sad part is that the sexual view of boobs is considered acceptable, but the nurturing aspect of boobs is considered inappropriate. How messed up is our culture?
I have a theory that women who are afraid or shamed to breastfeed in public have greater tendency to suffer from postpartum depression. Motherhood is a new, exciting, difficult journey. Breastfeeding is also new, exciting, and can be difficult. It also takes up about half your day. If a new mom is stuck in a dimly lit hallway all alone feeding her baby then there is no one to encourage her, to chat with her, lift her tired spirits, share conversation that involves something other than poop and boobs. Those dark thoughts can creep in without any one close by to chase them away.
I am not saying that private breastfeeding causes PPD, just that it creates a different environment, one in which depression thrives.
What do you think? Please share your experience in the comments.