The Time No One Cared

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about nursing in public. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!


 

Photo taken around the same time as this incident.

Photo taken around the same time as this incident.

I think there are defining moments when it comes to nursing in public. Sadly, for many moms, that defining moment is when they’re confronted by some ignorant jerk. It can either make or break a breastfeeding success story.

For me though, it was more subtle.

When I reach back in my mind, there is one huge moment that defined my confidence as a breastfeeding mom. It gave me hope that breastfeeding can be normalized. It was the time when nothing happened.

We were on the bus. Normally I don’t choose to sit at the front of the bus, but I had decided to bring a stroller with us into the city. Somehow I thought that thing would make the day easier, but that evil contraption just complicated things. We can say I was having a bit of a rough day.

So we’re sitting at the front of the bus, Peanut and I (this was in the pre-Twig days) and Peanut decides she needs to nurse. I had been nursing from over the top of my shirt for a few months now, but I still tried to be pretty hidden about it. It felt like some unspoken rule, even in the most breastfeeding-friendly communities in my state, that you must be “modest” when breastfeeding in public (though I don’t believe that breastfeeding is a modesty issue, but that’s beside the point). Well, pulling your breast over your shirt is pretty revealing, especially when sitting at the front of a bus while every person that gets on walks past you.

But, as I said, it had been a hard day. I was feeling pretty fed up with being out in the city and just wanted to take this bus that would take me to the train and then home. My baby was fussing and I knew she would just fuss more if I put my shirt on top of her face. On top of that, I was juggling the stroller and my bags (because the stroller must be collapsed on the bus). So I pulled my breast over the top and nursed my baby.

I spent the first few minutes gearing up for a confrontation. I was convinced that either the bus driver or a patron would say something rude. I was thinking of what I was going to say back in my head. I kind of wanted the confrontation actually. I was so fed up that I was willing and ready to take it out on the poor soul that decided to try to tell me what to do.

After those first few minutes though, I realized that no one was saying anything. Every person who got on the bus glanced my way and then continued about their business. I doubt many of them even noticed I was nursing. I saw the bus driver look back at me through his mirror (or at least I assume it was at me), but he didn’t say a word. Then I look across the way and there’s a little old lady smiling and looking at Peanut nursing.

I continued nursing until she was done. People continued to get on and off the bus without a word. Nothing happened, even though I was so convinced it was going to. Nothing. Happened.

I think that experience gave me the confidence to always nurse over the top of my shirt, no matter where I am. Now I almost exclusively nurse over the top of my shirt, which is not only 100 times easier, but just works a lot better with the majority of my blouses. Sure, I still get a little self-conscious at times, but I’m working on it. Really, who doesn’t get a little self-conscious about one thing or another, especially if that thing is going against the norm of your peers (and in my case, even my breastfeeding-friendly peers).

I think the biggest thing that experience did for me was it helped me to realize that there shouldn’t be a confrontation. Every time I nurse my child, no matter when or where or how, it is just feeding my baby. There shouldn’t be a stigma. It should just be something we do. I knew this consciously for months before this, but I think this experience is what really made it click. Breastfeeding is a normal part of having a baby and should be treated as such. And so, something that was just another day riding the bus for my fellow passengers turned out to be a defining moment in my breastfeeding history.

 


 
Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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2 thoughts on “The Time No One Cared

  1. Don’t we all wait for that person at the end of a hard day – just try and tell me not to feed my child – the only that is going right!!! I can totally feel your emotion, and am so happy that you had the experience to empower you and inspire other women around you.

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