Tonight at my mother's house for dinner, as Snapdragon began to fuss and move his head rapidly from side to side, searching for the breast he knew had to be close by on account of the fact that he'd decided he was hungry, a conversation my mother relayed to me earlier this week came back to me.
She'd been out with friends, both of whom are now in their sixties, and if you're in your sixties and think that my pointing out their age is ageist, you might be right, but nonetheless they are, and the subject of breastfeeding came up.
Now, as you may remember, my mother isn't exactly the type who thinks breastfeeding is particularily nifty, so when she told me that they'd been surprisingly turned off by the idea, I was all (defensive) ears.
It's probably the standard story. The squicked out body language. The gestures one uses when talking about underdone chicken. The grimace intended to look like sophisticated disdain.
"What do you mean she doesn't give it a bottle?"
"What does she do if they're out in public?"
"Or what if she's at your house, does she just expose herself in front of her dad?"
"But what does he think about that?"
"But what does she do if she's in a resturant?"
"Well, it's a good thing she didn't come tonight, she might have had to feed the baby!"
If I'd been there...
No. No bottles. We haven't had a need to, although I have tried pumping and have had milk sit unused in one. Pouring it out always breaks my heart.
In public? Feed him.
I'd have been tempted to say that I first do my ceremonial milk-dance, which involves stripping topless, spinning in a circle and ululating, but of course, they would have only half believed that.
That said, this week alone I've nursed him in public at the library, at the outside eating area of the local icecream parlor, at a coffee house, and in a Barnes & Noble. And I don't get out much.
Yes, I've fed my son in front of my father. Which is what brought this conversation to mind, as I was preparing to do so as I'd done before, sans cover and everything.
He hasn't told me what he thinks. I haven't asked, but they're free to.
Yes, if he'd been hungry, I'd have fed him. Regardless of the fact that I was in an EATING establishment. Doesn't scoffing at feeding a child in a place intended for being fed seem a little, well, like something out of Alice in Wonderland?
Good thing? Yes, it was, because I was at a Breastfeeding Cafe sponsored by the La Leche League, getting to know other breastfeeding moms and women who intended to breastfeed. I got to ask and answer questions, converse and bond with women who were both supportive and in need of support.
Good thing? No, it wasn't, because if there was a woman or girl at the next table idly listening, then she needed to hear that although women of a certain generation generally did not breastfeed because they were *wrongly* taught that formula was healthier, better, safer for their children and therefore have no real experience with it, that it is indeed the healthiest, best, and indeed most natural and therefore normal way to feed an infant.
So if you're a little bit of a lactivist, please, the next time you're out and someone starts in, make sure that anyone listening in gets to hear the supportive side of the story too.