Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Best Feeding

Everyone is blogging about breastfeeding today for Breast Fest... as a stand against the whole debacle that Bill Maher and Facebook and MySpace have caused. I am a bit late to the party on this one, however all these posts got me thinking...

I suppose I must be so very lucky. I cannot once name a time when I felt like someone was upset with me for breastfeeding, or overly uncomfortable with it. And let me tell you some of the places I breastfed:
-My husband's office
-In a theatre lobby on breaks from rehearsal (I began rehearsing a play when The May Queen was a mere 6 weeks old. Occasionally she would come with me to rehearsal. If not I would sit in the very clean bathroom and pump during my break... during the shows I sat in the dressing room and did this during intermission. I could not have had a more supportive cast and director for the whole thing, who always encouraged me to take as much time as I needed. If the rehearsal was running long before our break my director could tell by the spots appearing on my shirt! lovely, eh?)
-at bi-monthly mommy meetings
-in various friend's homes
-at the table at many restaurants
-park benches
-mall benches
-the narthex of our church as I watched and listened to the worship service
-airplanes (I had people on the airplane advise me that nursing was the best way to keep the babies ears from hurting at landing and takeoff. I already knew this, but thought it was so sweet when this grandmotherly lady told me that!)

I'm sure there are many more. I have no photos from this time, but I remember that cherished closeness. I remember how as The May Queen got older it got harder to do it away from home as she would be distracted by wanting to watch the world around her (wandering head while nursing equaled pain!). I nursed exclusively for over 6 months. I was proud of how my body continued to sustain the life of my child. I was thrilled when I learned how a mother creates the needed antibodies for their child through her breast milk. My husband fully supported the breastfeeding (we attended a fabulous and free informational meeting about breastfeeding at our hospital before The May Queen was born, and although we were both all for it before then, we were even more convinced after that!) I had a pediatrician who not only fully supported breastfeeding but lobbied for it. I nursed for 13 months, and our time of nursing came to a very natural end, that was not traumatic for either The May Queen or I. We were ready.

I know that not all women can breastfeed for medical reason or life reasons, and that is okay. Yet I marvel how our Creator gave us the perfect tool for nourishing our children. It is the best thing, hands down, for your child. I hope that all women will have the opportunity to breastfeed without feeling any public shame or pressure to do otherwise. I didn't realize how good I had it.

(when I did my spellcheck it did not like the word "narthex" It is a real word - it is the entry area outside of the sanctuary in a church building. I am surprised and a bit disappointed that the spell check on blogger doesn't know the word. but that is a whole other issue...)


creative-type dad said...

I'm always amazed reading stories about people complaining. My wife nursed our daughter at a bunch of places and nobody made a stink about it.
If fact, I think I was a little more uncomfortable because I didn't want strange guys staring at my wife's boob.

jen said...

i too breast fed everywhere and never was hassled. i even breast fed from the top of a Mayan temple in Central America, 1000s of feet up in the sky.

b*babbler said...

What a fabulous breast feeding experience. That's terrific.

(And I, too, am disappointed at the words that Blogger just doesn't seem to know.

susiej said...

Yes -- I have had similar "great" experiences. I didn't try to make a scene about it, I just did it -- and it was no big deal. I'm glad you wrote this.

Aliki2006 said...

I will never, ever understand the aversion to breastfeeding. It is, as you point out, the most natural of things.

Chrissy said...

I, too, breastfed my children at all places public, modestly and frequently. I'm thankful I never ran into any opposition, although I'm certain I would have reacted much like a mother bear. Hey, when a kid is hungry, they're hungry, and the way I see it a nursing baby attracts less attention than a screaming one.

Good to hear about your positive experiences.

Anonymous said...

Same here, as I have commented around...I never had a bad, or even uncomfortable experience. I hope this is true for most women.

Stacy Michelle said...

this made me cry. i tried so hard, but didn't make enough milk. in fact my milk supply was so low that my xander lost 18% of his body weight in his first two weeks of life, and had to spend five days in the hospital.

i know that breast feeding is best, and that it is amazing. i loved nursing xander. he had a perfect latch and nursed until i was empty...i just never had enough for him.

i know i'm too hard on myself. i still feel a twinge of guilt when i make him a bottle. i continued to nurse and pump while supplementing with formula, but even though i pumped eight times a day (getting only 2-4 ounces TOTAL) my milk dried up before three months.

anyway, this is just to say that you (and anyone else who had such a wonderful experience) are very blessed. i was so gung ho about nursing... but anyway, xander is happy and healthy and growing and strong, so i guess that's all that matters.

but it still makes me sad.

Beck said...

I've breastfed all over the place, too - and was never hassled, unless you count my father-in-law running from the room as fast as he could whenever any of my babies looked even a LITTLE bit hungry...

Julie Pippert said...

I think, in general, most people mainly keep their discomfort and objections to themselves.

I think mainly few women are hassled, or hassled horribly such as the lady at Applebees.

But then again, I think it is actually pretty common.

The few things I encountered simply made me sort of sad for how we view breastfeeding here, as something to prompts some degree of antisocial behavior in some way.

For example, while eating dinner with friends at a friend's house, Patience began to cry and I reached for her saying, "Oh (lol) she wants to eat too!"

And the hostess flew out of her chair so fast she nearly knocked her chair over. She practically shoved me upstairs, across the house, and into a guest room as far from the dining room as possible...without even asking.

She did it pretty courteously, and yet...without asking. I went back and forth between feeling offended for being hidden and trying to feel appreciative and understanding that she probably meant well.

When I got back, I found an argument had broken out in my absence about breastfeeding, and one woman was horribly angry at me for "provoking" it simply because I "had to nurse" instead of "using a bottle" like a "civilized person."

I nursed everywhere and peopel generally didn't know or care, but now and again, I caught the looks, the uncomfortable shifting, and so forth.

I don't think it was always cruel, out of line or intended fact i think that was rare.

I just find the general apprehension and antisocial attitude about it so very sadly misplaced.

Using My Words

Magpie said...

Lovely post. Funny about "narthex".

Luisa Perkins said...

Having nursed five kids for a year each, I've breastfed through countless movies and church services, in restaurants and in parks, on airplanes...I've never had a bad experience with it.

Great post! (And OF COURSE narthex is a word! What is UP with that?)

Rimarama said...

It's so nice to read about a positive breastfeeding experience!

Heidi Hyde said...

Agreed! (Although I realize there wasn't actually a statement to be agreed with...but still a robustly whole-hearted: Agreed!)


theflyingmum said...

My husband and I both love the word "narthex."
And excellent post, by the way!

furrow said...

Oh, I hope, I hope, I hope that my breasts will do their job. I have no reason to believe they won't, it's just a fear I have because of the heartbreaking stories that I read from other women (like Stacy Michelle). Assuming that everything works fine, I hope that I'm strong if anyone ever hassles me. Maybe I'll carry about a typed statement politely asserting my right to breastfeed in public, along with the state law protecting that right. I'm not so good at speaking off the cuff when flustered.

soccer mom in denial said...

Lovely post. I like the list of all the places you nursed.

WorksForMom said...

Beautiful post. I just finished weaning last week and am totally saddened by that fact.

And I'm so glad you got to breastfeed in all those places, mine weren't nearly as memorable.

Amy York said...

I only made it about three weeks...
I envy you mamas that were so much more successful! What lucky kiddos you have :)
Great post!

Susanne said...

I'm very happy to hear about other people having had good experiences with breastfeeding in public too.

Regarding those who can't or won't breastfeed I have to say that I'm equally glad that there is an alternative way to feed our babies with the bottle too.

Suki said...

Glad to hear of your positive experience with breastfeeding! It's really a welcome change from the horror stories all over the Net - I especially loved the one about the airplane! :)