NIP–WIN!

Today we have a guest post from Tina at The Modern Mommy. She has a wonderful story to share!
One day my best friend and I decided to escape the FL heat by walking at the mall instead of dying outside.  We picked one of the bigger 2-story malls in the area thinking it’d give us more ground to cover.  This was all good in theory…  I should note that this mall is probably the swankiest mall in the area.  I did see a diaper bag for $120 and the most adorable outfit for Squirmy…so adorable that it was $56!!!  Moms with all too expensive strollers kept giving me and myChicco Cortina dirty looks; Yes, I’m serious.  (Side note: we almost turned around and went to a different mall for all the cop cars and people standing around outside….until we realized it was the iPhone release day and the insanity was limited to just that entrance.)  Of course we couldn’t manage to just walk the mall without shopping.  So I tried on some shirts, desperate to add something to my wardrobe that is flattering and accommodates this baby weight I’m working on.  No such luck.

So I’m feeling fat and “unworthy” when I felt my sugar start to crash.  We hadn’t eaten before hand and it was well past 1:00pm.  So, off to the food court.  Nice little boost to my feeling fat thing 😦  I’d fed Squirmy before we left the house, but we’d been gone awhile.  That in mind, I plowed the stroller through the impossibly crowded seating area in hopes of finding someplace where Squirmy and I would both be comfortable eating (and my friend, too).  I was about to give up hope in finding any of the more comfortable, booth style seating and just settle for the minimalistic, hard plastic chairs at the incredibly small, closed in tables.  Finally, at the FAR end, I found some seats that were comfortable for all of us and not too many people around.

I quickly polished off my meal while Squirmy sat on my lap smiling at his “aunt.”  Before too long, as I expected, Squirmy started to fuss.  You know what I’m talking about…the “I’m letting you know…I’m not obnoxiously demanding just yet…but I’m letting you know” that goes on for about a split second before the real demands are voiced.  I looked around, gaging my “audience.”  Sitting directly across from me was a well put together gentleman, probably in his 60s.  Great!  I decided to toss a blanket over my shoulder to keep from offending anyone too much, all the while worried that someone was going to say something to me 😦  Once Squirmy was content doing his thing, I took the blanket down.  I was fully covered by my white nursing tank and white shirt.

Well someone did say something.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman trying to see what I was doing as she passed behind us.  I didn’t really think much of it (figured I was being paranoid) until she reappeared on the other side of us.  She was clearly trying to catch my eye.  She was smiling so big and was giving me the thumbs up.  Her husband threw his hands over his head and applauded.  I blushed and got a bit choked up as I mouthed, “Thank you!” (I’m getting choked up typing this).  Their daughter was all confused, and the happy little family moved on.  My friend asked who the family was, assuming our interaction was based on previous encounters.  Nope, just an amazing family, doing something amazing for a first time mom who was doing her best to care for her son.

I’ll probably never cross paths with that family, again (they looked about as out of place as we felt in that mall).  But, they will forever be in my heart.  Ironic how, on our way to the mall, my friend and I were talking about the impact strangers and their acts of kindness can have on someone else’s life.

Thank you little family!!  I will be sure to pass along the kindness and encouragement you bestowed upon me the next time I see a mother nursing. 🙂

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Pay Attention!

There I was in a crowded bowling alley in Alabama nursing my 15 month old when…nothing happened. No one said anything to me. No one suggested I carry on in the bathroom. No one even noticed I was breastfeeding!

The family with three young boys bowling next to my family didn’t glance my way, not one single time. I had given them plenty of things to be offended by: Baby girl was not covered by a blanket. In fact she kept pulling up my shirt exposing me more than I cared for!

But like I said, no one would pay any attention to me.

Once I was nursing my youngest at a store known to have “issues” with breastfeeding mothers. I sat down on a chair outside the changing area while my oldest daughter was trying on clothes and began nursing the baby. The worker asked if I wanted to go in to a dressing room. I declined. That was it.

And this scene repeats itself over and over for me the entire 13 years I’ve been a breastfeeding mother. No one ever notices even though I never wear a blanket, cover, or any other thing that is supposed to disguise what I’m doing.  (I believe those covers are more like giant neon signs that scream “BABY NURSING UNDER HERE!”

Women have been nursing in public for a very long time. The vast majority of women do it so discretely you never even know it’s happening. And most people really don’t care. Every day women all over the country nurse in public without incident. They are completely and totally ignored.

Confidence goes a long way. If a mother looks like she’s where she’s supposed to be and doing what she’s supposed to be doing, people are less likely to take notice. People notice things that are out of the ordinary. The more breastfeeding because ordinary, the less people will notice. And that really is a good thing.

It wasn’t funny at the time

There’s a certain restaurant in Oregon I can’t visit any more, aside from no longer living in Oregon. I’m sure the workers have all since moved on to other better jobs over the 13 years since this happened. I can’t go because my husband launches in to this story and I am all at once mortified and amused.

As a new mother, I wasn’t very adept at breastfeeding my preemie so I nursed him in the car before going in. While waiting for our food, he got fussy, so I fed him again. Our food arrived and he was fussy. So I fed him again. We were eating and I’m still trying to manage to feed both of us. It’s going pretty well. The Boy had always been a very slow eater. Looking back, I realize we had some issues with poor suck and nipple confusion.

I didn’t have a lot of support of information at my disposal for nursing, so my basic strategy was every time the baby fussed, he nursed.

I can’t really say how long he was nursing before I realized he hadn’t burped. It was long enough that I had nearly finished my food. The waitress, bless her heart, had stepped up to the table to ask if we needed anything just as The Boy burped. And refluxed. Projectile. It covered our table, the rest of our food, and the poor waitress.

I was completely mortified. No one said anything. The waitress got some towels. We paid for our food. Never to return again.

Thirteen years later, this story is hilarious.