Sunday, August 02, 2009

World Breastfeeding Week: Exhibition

I am not an exhibitionist.
Even if I had the body for it, which I certainly don't, I wouldn't be one for one important reason.
I'm never not sober.
So it always strikes me as a little funny when Spouse looks at me with horror when I'm about to nurse Snapdragon anywhere other than home.
Last night we were out and about in public and Snapdragon was clearly hungry. It was soooo cute. He was avidly watching his parents eating a pizza of all things, staring at the food, staring at us. Staring at the way we move it from the plate to our mouths. And then he started showing
some pretty clear signs of hunger. That said, I'm not sure if he'd have gone for the tatas or the pizza if given a choice!

None the less, nestled in a corner of a resturant, Spouse was looking at me like I'd proposed a strip-tease on the table rather than pulled the baby out of his bucket.
Perhaps this is one of the many many reasons we don't eat out very often other than the whole fiscal!fail thing.
"He looks like he'd rather have the pizza," Spouse tells me.
"No solids 'til six months," I respond.
"But he's so big, won't he need real food soon?"
"Under one, just for fun."
He was clearly getting more nervous as I began to put Snapdragon in the "Cradle" position.
"Could you please open up the diaperbag and hand me my nursing cover? The stripes?" I asked.
It's important you describe the print of the thing you want, elsewise gods know what you'll be handed. The blanket could easily be a prefold in a man's eye. A nursing cover could be anything that goes over your body. He'd have pulled a burka out of the bag if he could have. But instead he smiles and gleefully hands me my nursing cover, which of course is quite lovely, but I think often draws more attention to what you're doing than a baby held tightly to one's chest.

Either way, he was calmer, and it was funny.
The waitress came up and started talking to me briefly about her own nursing in public experiences with her children.
That I liked. I liked that she felt free to talk to me about nursing in public, in public. I like that the fact that I fed Snapdragon in public, where everyone could see it, will normalize the act for any other child or woman who happened to notice.
I love that.

So the moral of the story, you don't have to be an exhibitionist to nurse in public.
You don't have to use a cover either.
Just do it. Be the woman who normalized the act of feeding a baby in the broader world. It feels good.

2 reflections:

Anonymous said...

I use a cover when I nurse in public because I don't want to be bothered by complete stranger.

Upstatemomof3 said...

I like this post so much!! It is so true - the more we nurse where other people see us the more other women will nurse. Now to get up the guts around the family :) Why is it a room full of strangers no biggie? My ILs - not a chance.