Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Tale of Two Boobs

Photo Credit: Beatrice Murch (Flickr)

It was in the checkout lane that she got fussy.  We'd drug her to our annual Homebirth picnic and through the store, each of us taking turns wearing her.  My husband had her in the Ergo now and we knew we'd never make it home if we didn't attend to both ends, so I grabbed her and my diaper bag and headed to the restroom.  The changing table was right in the entry and as I approached it I glimpsed a woman and a girl huddled by the sinks.  The woman was carefully nursing a younger infant.  She looked a little uncomfortable at my arrival and I knew the look - would her breastfeeding upset me?  So I smiled and went about my diaper change and she relaxed back into nursing.  I could hear her speaking with the girl and I realized they were speaking Spanish.  I tried to recall my 4 years of Spanish.  I wanted to offer her an encouraging word, but I couldn't remember a few keys terms.  I realized even if I could speak to her, I probably could not keep up if she said something back.  Frustration.

Connected Daughter and I babbled at each other, and it was quickly apparent that her diaper wasn't the issue.  She needed to nurse.  And then I realized I could communicate with this stranger across this language gap, so I popped my girl onto my breast with no carrier and without the right shirt to discreetly nurse.  I heard the woman exclaim something quietly but happily.  We were just two breastfeeding moms.

I headed back to my husband who was waiting, still nursing Connected Daughter and was met with a raised eyebrow and a quip about taking Kansas' pro-breastfeeding laws seriously.  I told him about the woman and the language barrier and how I wanted to offer encouragement.  He smiled - he's a big lactivist himself.  I just can't help but feel connected to this other mom, and I kind of hope next time she needs to nurse in public, she'll remember that crazy lady who just let it all hang out and remember there's so many of us out there supporting each other, and that she's not exiled to the bathroom.


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Belly Rumblings said... [Reply to comment]


Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said... [Reply to comment]

Awesome - what a sweet story!

Annie said... [Reply to comment]

That is so sweet! It was wonderful sweet of you to off her encouragement in that way! I have nursed in public in some pretty stressful places (for me). Like in the Oak Park mall (where I have never been and is 10x the size of my Manhattan mall)but even without a nursing cover I was relaxed and thankfully the only comments I got were "Oh what a sweet little baby!"

With my first I felt exiled to the bathroom as well. During a meal at a restaraunt I felt it was either the bathroom or the car so I went out to my car. Thank you for being the "Crazy Lady" to make her feel better!

MamaMia said... [Reply to comment]

That is so amazing. I wish you'd been there when I tried to NIP for the first time!

CrunchyVTMommy said... [Reply to comment]

I absolutely loved this post.

Crystal said... [Reply to comment]

Wow, I feel inspired! I am nursing an 18 month old and am afraid of the reactions I would get nursing in public, even more so now that my baby is a toddler. Great story!


Ashley said... [Reply to comment]

Awwwww, that is so sweet! I've had nothing but good experiences nursing in public in Kansas -- we lived in Manhattan, and are now in Lawrence.

SWWBO said... [Reply to comment]

It's very sweet. 26 years ago, when I was nursing my son, I usually sought out a private place. I knew which store's ladies rooms had a lounge with a sofa in them (Dillards, Penny's and Halls on the Plaza) So I would head there to nurse.

Even so, sometimes people would tsk tsk at me. So glad things are easier these days!

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