I have two kids.  I’ve nursed both of them for fairly long periods of time.  It was the right choice for me and mine, but I’m not a member of La Leche League, and I don’t think moms should beat themselves up about it — do whatever works for you.  I wanted to do it for my kids because I had read a lot touting both the health benefits and the bonding experience.  And the 600 cal./day post-baby burn sounded pretty good too!

But with that said, it was a huge pain!  Not at home, where my family (extended family too) got used to it, but in public.  I’m still irritated by the fact that even though I could be completely covered with blankets, the fact that two little feet were poking out and so you could tell what I was doing was enough to cause people to give me dirty looks.  Seriously?  All I’m doing is feeding my kid.  If I had to stay home to feed her, at least in the beginning, I’d never be able to go anywhere!*  Newborns (at least mine) eat every hour and a half!  It’s crazy.

Generally speaking, I did try to go to someplace that wasn’t quite in the middle of traffic — maybe a fairly secluded bench.  But on a recent trip to the mall, when I went into the bathroom, I was greeted by the lovely and comfortable spot depicted above.  A bench, maybe a foot deep, right across the door back into the mall, smack in the middle of the bathroom.  People trying to get to a stall would have to wiggle around anyone sitting on the bench.

I just don’t get it.  NOBODY would eat their lunch in a bathroom on that bench.  Why should my newborn be forced to eat lunch there?  Hundreds of thousands of kids are born in the United States every day.  All of them need to eat.  If nursing mothers must be kept out of view, then surely nicer areas could be set aside for us?  I’m not looking for something grand or cushy.  Just something that would pass food safety standards for grown-ups.  After all, it’s the newborn who has zero immune system — maybe we should protect her too, rather than forcing her to eat lunch in a bathroom where roughly 50% of the users failed to wash their hands?

* I understand I can pump bottles and bring those in public, but a) when you’re trying to establish a good milk supply you’re supposed to nurse as often as the kid wants to eat so by feeding a bottle while out you’d be skipping a nursing session, b) in the beginning you may not have enough extra milk that you can pre-pump in anticipation of going out, and c) if society hadn’t over-sexualized breasts to start with there would be no expectation that I should bring a bottle and I could just do as nature intended.

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