Whirli: NIP

I really don’t think any less of you if you don’t breastfeed. We all have to decide what’s best for us and our kids.

For me though, it’s been amazing. I’ve read the studies that say breast milk makes babies smarter, and I’ve read the studies that contradict those. Either way, I think it’s really cool that my body knows not only how much milk to make for my baby, but that it knows exactly what to put in it for each stage of growth.

Breast milk has made both of my babies strong and healthy. Robust. Rotund, even. And I’m overjoyed at the thought of all the untold dollars we didn’t have to spend on formula.

I nursed Beans for over two years (yeah, I know. As if this topic isn’t dicey enough, there’s some controversy right there …) and am still going strong at almost nine months with Tallulah.

I’m proud of my body’s ability to provide for them and of myself for making sacrifices to keep it going.

I know it doesn’t work for everyone and I feel so lucky that it has worked for us.

Yep. I’m a big fan of breastfeeding.

BUT … well, to be honest, I’ve never really gotten comfortable with breastfeeding in public.

I’ve nursed in my car, in dressing rooms and in the bedrooms of friends and family I’ve visited. And I’ve expressed milk in the front seat of my car in all kinds of busy parking lots for both of my babies at one time or another while on assignments in the furthest reaches of the state.

It’s hard not to nurse in public if you leave the house at all, though, especially if you’re traveling with more than one kid. It’s neither fair nor realistic to expect a 3-, 4- or 5-year-old to stop what he’s doing and sit patiently while a baby eats.

When Tallulah was tiny I nursed her a several times during a trip to the Memphis Zoo. One of those times was next to the petting zoo, a spot I chose because it seemed secluded – it wasn’t. I soon found myself eye-to-eye with a bazillion folks riding the zoo’s train, many of them waving and smiling right at me and my hungry babe. We also had a nursing session in front of the grizzly bear exhibit, which had far more traffic than I expected just before closing on a chilly fall day.

Most recently, Tallulah got hungry as we were about two-thirds of the way through a two-hour wait in line to register at the Little Rock School District. (Beans will start kindergarten in the fall. ). I knew I would have to feed her soon and I didn’t dare hike the two blocks back to my car and risk having to start the waiting game all over when we got back, so my friend held our spot and I took Tallulah out of the cold wind and into the covered parking area in front of some cars just a few paces away. I sat down and Tallulah happily started brunching. It wasn’t exactly a private spot; not only were people coming and going through a side door in the building and peeking around cars to see what we were up to, I noticed about halfway through that a security camera was pointed directly at us.

Why didn’t I just cover up and nurse her from my place in line? I don’t know. It’s not that any of these situations mortified me. I took it all in stride – I swear. It’s just not something I make a point of doing.

I’ve not gotten a negative vibe from anyone during any of my (relatively few) public nursing sessions.

I’m in no way offended by others who breastfeed in public. I applaud them even! And I think it’s crucial that we have the right to nurse whenever and wherever our babies need to eat.

I just think, in my case, sometimes a little privacy is best.

Am I alone in this?

This entry was posted in Beans, breastfeeding, Tallulah. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Whirli: NIP

  1. Yavonda says:

    In the short time I was actually nursing Alaina before switching to all-pump all-the-time, I couldn’t bring myself to nurse in public. In fact if someone (other than my mom or sisters) was over at my house during nursing times, I covered up or went to the bedroom.

    I applaud women who nurse in public and I will cast ballots or write letters to protect that right, but for some reason I just can’t do it.

  2. Heidi says:

    I think I’d have probably felt more awkward about it if my husband’s aunt hadn’t paved the way on it in the family shortly before me. She was very open about breastfeeding her boys in front of the family — sometimes covered and sometimes not so covered. (She also breastfed her second child until he was a little past 2.) So it made it a lot more natural for me to sit around them with a nursing cover on.

  3. kdishongh says:

    Yavonda, thanks for sharing – it’s nice to know I’m not alone!

  4. kdishongh says:

    Heidi –
    That is lucky for you. Yay for aunts – and for extended nursing! ; )

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