Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Much Respect

I went out to dinner the other night with my two kids. A three and a half year old and a one year old waiting to be fed, in a pent-up environment where they are allowed to touch exactly nothing, is not a stress-free affair. Especially if you happen to be the waitstaff.

Why put yourself and other diners through it then, you ask? Ah, my friend, I've got a secret weapon, affectionately known as boobies, in my house. They rapidly bring peace to nearly any explosive situation.

The wee ones were getting antsy, copious amounts of water, sugar and salt had been spilled, and the youngest was crying. He needed his milky. Almost four years into my breastfeeding career, I don't give a second thought to breastfeeding in public.

I've breastfed nearly everywhere I've ever been (I wrote about my first time breastfeeding in public here).

A number of mama websites and blogs I frequent often talk about the need to normalize breastfeeding by doing it in public. I'm not talking about being showy, just feeding the babes when and where they are hungry. Everyday, across the country, women are harassed, shamed, ridiculed and ostracized for feeding their babies in the most natural and healthy way known to humans.

This has never happened to me. I don't usually worry about it. In fact, I've had several instances where strangers have actually supported my breastfeeding in public (my favorite instance is described here).

Every once in a while though, especially if I'm in a new place, and there aren't many kids and by extension parents, around, it crosses my mind that someone might say something to me about breastfeeding in public.

Well, it happened the other night at dinner. As the baby fussed, I began to feed him. The couple sitting at the next table, who were obviously on a date, glanced in my direction. Their faces told me something was up. I thought, "Great, here it comes." The man then reached out and lightly touched my arm. He said, and I quote, "Much respect." He went on to say that in his country women breastfeed in public all the time, but he doesn't see women doing it here in the US. "Why?" he asked, "Is it because there are so many hangups with women's bodies?" He might be on to something.

This was too good not to share. Thank you to everyone out there supporting all mothers feeding their babies. And, to all the mamas who nourish their babies' bodies and souls everyday, however they feed them: Much respect.

Has a stranger ever made a comment to you as you fed your baby?

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