Just before our breastfeeding adventures with Baby #1 ended at six months old, I was still quite shy and hesitant to feed in public, especially after getting a few stares from strangers.
One moment in particular nearly brought me to tears, as I looked for a place to hide and do business, as my son wailed, desperately hungry. Despite being completely draped in excess fabric in the hottest part of the year at an outdoor horse race, tucked away in a corner on an abandoned maintenance golf cart, I still feared that I would embarrass someone, which only increased my anxieties.
I tried to fight back tears as my baby fought with my overflowing boobs, which were spraying him right in the face. As he finally got latched on, a mature older woman walked up to me, keeping a respectful distance as she gauged my situation. She simply said, “You’re doing great, Mama. I breastfed all four of my own; don’t worry about covering yourself up and hiding when your baby needs to eat.” I started bawling and apologizing for my hormones while she gave me a thumbs up and said, “Hey, you’re just fine.”
Though it wasn’t some magical moment where I threw my drape off and forewent covering myself for future feeds, I did remember her sentiment as we took our first family outing last week with Baby #2. I had waited too long to feed and once again, struggled with milk soaking my light colored tank top. Only this time, instead of crying, I started laughing as my son pointed at my chest, proclaiming “BOOBIES!” at the top of his lungs. It was a deep, belly laugh that caught me off guard. Being a mom is super weird.
I hope to pay that woman’s advice forward some day, but for now I am just getting through our next adventure – embracing the fact that not everyone will agree with public feedings, but that having the ability to whip food out for my growing child is a serious blessing that I am embracing this go-round.
Mamas of the world: we are all doing just fine.