Monday, September 26, 2016
My Baby Needs the Breast and Your Making it Difficult for Him
Yes another post about my dear baby, but I feel as though this is a very necessary social post on a very controversial topic: breastfeeding in public. In the United States, women are scolded for feeding their infants via breast in public. Some people will even have something negative to say to a breastfeeding mom who uses a cover. It's ridiculous, and as an exclusively breastfeeding mom, I'm going to give my two cents based on a very recent experience.
Last weekend, me and my husband decided to go out and eat with some friends. Elliott was 3 weeks exactly, and I was excited to get out of the house and actually socialize with someone. Since I'm still establishing my supply and he is too little to leave with a babysitter, we of course take him along. Well we went to a place to eat in the mall and found out that there was a waiting period for a table. No big deal. Until Elliott started getting hungry. For those who have never had an exclusively breast fed baby, they can eat every 2 hours and if they are cluster feeding (going through a growth spurt) they can eat every hour.
I had brought my nursing cover, but I had practiced with it a little at home and knew that it just wasn't an option yet. Here is why. When your baby and yourself is still getting used to latching and all those other details, a cover makes it 10 times harder. Then the baby gets frustrated because you can't see half of what's happening in there, or you can't position him right so he flails, knocking the cover off. This is strike one as to why it's impractical for a breastfeeding mom to be conservative. Some moms might be able to make it work, but for many it is a struggle to use a cover. I've even had an improper latch because I couldn't see well enough to get Elliott on the breast right due to the cover. Any breastfeeding mom knows that latch is everything. Anything less than a proper latch can lead to pain, blisters, and worse your baby not getting enough milk! Common guys this should be enough of a reason to stop sexualizing breastfeeding moms; however there is more to this adventure.
When I looked on the map I found that there was 1 nursing station in the entire mall. So we made our way there and by the time we did he was already extremely fussy from waiting to be fed (It's a big mall). Low and behold, it's a single room and a mother was already occupying it. We waited it out 10 minutes with Elliott screaming his lungs off before I gave up and just went back out to the car to feed. Thing is, breastfeeding can take up to a half hour, so if the room is occupied and there is only one, what do they expect waiting moms to do while their child is starving? So with a crying baby Elliott, we rushed back to the car (it was raining outside by the way) just so I could feed him to avoid the stink eye from people I shouldn't even have to worry about offending. Strike 2 and 3. Not every place even has a nursing room and if they do, just one doesn't cut it for high traffic areas. You can't let your baby cry from hunger pains while you wait for other moms to finish feeding their babies. And what happens if there is more than one mom waiting ahead of you? I'm not feeding my baby anywhere near a toilet, so you can forget it. Take your sandwich and eat in the restroom. Tell me how sanitary you feel. Then going back to the car is even more of a problem. Like I said, that day it was raining so we had to drag him all the way back out in the rain. Load the stroller up so it didn't get wet. If I hadn't had my husband with me, I have no idea how I would have managed to do all of that by myself. By the time I was able to feed him, he was red in the face from crying because of how long it took us to get from inside the mall to outside and all the way across the parking lot. Then we had to unload everything again and go back inside. Did I mention it was raining?
I had half a mind of just sitting down on a bench inside the mall and plopping him on my breast, but honestly I was so frustrated at the time that had anyone said anything, it would have been something that ended up on YouTube.
It's ridiculous that a country like the Unites States, whom has become very liberal on many other topics, is now moving in the opposite direction with women by sexualizing them and making things so conservative that it can actually make our lives miserable. Americans, get over yourselves! We are feeding babies. That is what our breasts are for. Up until the 30s and 40s, when bottle feeding was becoming more popular, women never covered up to feed. They would be in church and just plop it out.
Now I'll admit, the thought of putting myself out there is daunting to me. That's why I still went to the car. However, that's exactly the point. I shouldn't feel ashamed. I shouldn't have to go all out of the way to feed my child when he can just as easily be fed on demand had society not turned it into something sexual. And until you are a mom who has exclusively breastfed you don't know the struggle.