At a day away from being 10 months old, Diva (my daughter) pops on and off the breast. She begins to nurse and gets distracted by a noise, a voice, something shiny. That is all normal for her age. What is also normal for her age is crying and screaming when she is tired and wants her milkies, now!
The other day in Walmart she did just that – crying, screaming, rubbing her tired little eyes. We were almost done and heading to the checkout, so I took her out of the buggy where she rode, and I cuddled her close to no avail. She wanted milk and that was all that was going to calm her down.
I gave in.
I tilted her sideways, stuck my hand in the side of my shirt and adeptly un-clicked the cup from the strap of my nursing bra, pulled her head up and my boob out in one swift motion, and she latched like a dream. She knows this routine as well as I do. It is one we have been practicing for a solid 9 months daily everywhere we go. No one sees anything unless they are looking – no staring and trying to see.
We stood in line and nursed while my husband loaded the groceries onto the conveyor belt. The woman behind the counter smiled.
“My 8 month old grandson still nurses, too. It’s such a beautiful thing. How old is she?”
I replied 9 months and said, “Yes, it is a beautiful thing. A perfect bond I wouldn’t give up for anything.”
She went on scanning items quietly. But the woman behind us had overheard our brief exchange. I saw her head bob and weave around my husband (a whopping 6’3 260 lb man) to get a good look at me. She cut her eyes.
“In my day, we didn’t flaunt our breast in public. We had the decency to use a cover,” she stated, nose stuck so far into the air I’m surprised she saw anything but the ceiling.
My husband never missed a beat in answering. He turned so that she could not longer see me, positioning himself between us with his back toward me.
“Why are you staring at my wife’s breast? Are you gay? You must be since you are sexualizing her breast. Right now, her breast are being used as a tool to feed our daughter, and you do not have to look.” He turned back around still between me and the lady. (Note: my husband isn’t being mean about being gay. Instead, he was inquiring as to why a woman would be ogling another woman’s breasts so intently if she were not gay.)
“Well, it’s hard not to look when someone’s breast is out in the open,” she replied haughtily.
My husband once again turned around. “Her breast isn’t in the open for anybody to see, but even if it was, she is feeding our daughter. You can avert your eyes somewhere else. She is feeding our daughter.”
“She can use a cover or go to the car so that no one has to look at her breast. Now she is just flaunting it out for everyone to see.”
My husband leaned forward toward the woman a little. “She doesn’t like to eat under covers. Next time you, please cover your own head with something because nobody likes to see old women with fake teeth chomp food. Better yet, just go to the hot car. That way I don’t have to see anything at all. You wouldn’t like to do either of those things; therefore, by daughter would not like to eat with a blanket over her head or in a hot car either. Breastfeeding laws state that anywhere mother and child are allowed to be that they can nurse. We are allowed to be here, and she is nursing. If you have a problem with that, you can go to another line or quit staring. Didn’t anyone teach you it isn’t nice to stare?”
He once again turned around. By this time everyone around us was silently listening and watching. The old woman’s husband had slipped a few paces back as if he wasn’t with her, and the cashier was ready for us to pay her.
The old woman stood behind my husband, a sour look on her face, but stunned to silence. As we pushed the buggy away I looked back and smiled. Diva’s head popped away, pushing my nipple into her throat so no one could see her Milkie. She looked around my arm at the old woman and smiled a toothless grin then went back to nursing as if she knew what had just transpired. The old woman saw, puffed and went back to her groceries.
As we walked to the car, the baby nursing sleepily, I thought how lucky I was to have a husband who supports breastfeeding as much, if not more, than I do. I could have easily defended myself. However, he stepped up so that I could continue nursing and not scare the baby and jumped to put the old woman in her place. We, as people, must protect our rights, and we, as mothers and fathers, must re-normalize a tradition that should have never went out of style.
#normalizebreastfeeding #breastisbest #child #motherhood #eatlocal