I never grew up saying, “I can’t wait until I can breastfeed”. In fact, the idea always kind of grossed me out. Just something about it gave me the creeps. But now I have babies and my thoughts and views have changed dramatically. It’s not anything you can explain until you have the experience.
However, public breastfeeding is still something that gets me.
Just today, the hubby and I went down to the infamous (well maybe not quite infamous, but all people from Grand Rapids would like to think so) ArtPrize. We walked around for about an hour or so and it came time to feed my 5 week old baby, Greydin. Then out comes my fear of public breastfeeding. Not only am I completely uncomfortable in this act, but today I forgot my nursing cover (double whammy). Forget pregnancy brain, I have post pregnancy brain.
We walked around for a while trying to decide what to do. I had my Moby wrap so I figured I could cover up with that, but I just needed to find a place that I felt comfortable (if this was possible). I was also hungry so we thought the best solution was to go to a restaurant and get lunch and I could feed Greydin without too much discomfort. Well we walked.. and walked… and walked some more… deciding at each place that we walked by that it wasn’t “nursing friendly”. I was starting to get crabby, Ryan was getting annoyed and Greydin was getting hungry (need I say more?). Then we decided on a restaurant that we felt was appropriate and had booths that I could hide in while feeding Greydin. We made our way there only to find out they had a 25 minute wait to get in, booth not guaranteed.. So we threw in the towel and decided to just go home.
For the first time ever, I nursed in public last night.. I went to ArtPrize (see a theme here?) with my mom and sisters and had no choice but to nurse my baby. One time I found a room that was empty and off the public trail where I proceeded to hide in a corner, cover myself with a nursing cover and STILL faced away from the one area of the room that had an open door. And boy oh boy, all I thought about that entire time was someone coming in and telling me I had to leave. I was uncomfortable, and hot and I just wanted Greydin to eat faster so it would be over. Then we went out to eat and we thankfully got seated at a corner table where I was out of sight from most people and was able to nurse more comfortably (still completely covered of course). I mean, heaven forbid my mom or sisters get a glimpse!
Why is this? Why do I not feel comfortable enough to just find a bench somewhere and feed my child? After all, this is a perfectly natural thing. I’ve been thinking about this question all day. I consider myself to be a fairly modest person, I don’t wear too low cut of shirts, and I don’t flaunt around in a bathing suit in the summer (I mean two pregnancies don’t really leave one feeling like that’s any sort of being appropriate). Do I feel uncomfortable just because I don’t want anyone to get a glimpse? Am I hesitant to do this because I am simply uncomfortable with myself?
Or is it because public breastfeeding is not a socially acceptable thing? I mean, after all, when I saw a nursing mom in public (which might I add was a VERY rare thing) before I had kids I couldn’t help but think “doesn’t she realize that’s not appropriate?”. Am I just afraid that that’s what people are going to think of me?
So why is it that I am so uncomfortable with this? I can’t tell you the answer. But I give some serious props to those that can and feel 100% at ease with themselves. I mean, I never intend to be brave enough to just bare all and whip it out with no cover. I just wish I felt comfortable enough to the point where leaving to go home wasn’t even a thought…