Last weekend, my husband and I went out on our third date since Penelope was born. We went to a lovely, outdoor, paella cooking demonstration with live flamenco music. We ate good food, drank wine and had a really nice time.
Except for one thing. We had to share tables with other guests we didn’t know, a la wedding seating style. We were sat next to an older couple, their son and his new wife, and two young men, who had just graduated from college.
To the table next to us was a sweet family (why didn’t we get to sit next to them!), an older couple and their daughter, her husband and their two kids, who looked to be an almost 2 year old and a 4 year old. The woman was nursing the 2 year old in plain view. She used her sweater to cover her skin, so absolutely no cleavage or nipple was showing at all. But it was clear as day that she was nursing.
The younger wife at our table, gasped in horror and announced to her husband and her in laws that woman was breastfeeding! Breastfeeding!! And she went on to say, that the kid had to be 3 years old, and oh my word, the kid should be cut off by now, that is ridiculous. The mother in law replied to these statements by saying, well, I never breastfed. As if she was too good to breastfeed.
I immediately looked over and gave the nursing mom a sweet smile, but then, very uncharacteristic of my personality, I just sat there eating my paella and drinking my wine.
I said NOTHING.
Not my finest moment.
Part of me, did not want to start a fight and ruin our so rare date night. But mostly, I was afraid to speak up. ME! Who has been given a ceast and desist letter for my very vocal attempts of trying to get a local OB fired.
As we were walking out, I told Peter what happened (he was talking to another person and wasn’t paying attention and didn’t hear her say any of it.) He couldn’t believe I didn’t say anything, he told me if I told him, or if he had heard, HE would have said something. Gotta love husbands that 100% support child led weaning.
The whole rest of the evening, I felt sick to my stomach with regret.
What I should have done, was say I too, am breastfeeding a toddler and that I will continue to breastfeed as long as she wants and that it is very normal in other countries to breastfeed a child past one year. It is only this country that we have such a prudish mentality about toddlers nursing.
Maybe, I could have planted some seeds in this woman’s pre-motherhood mind and begun to unravel the ideas she had in her head about what kind of mother she is going to be one day. Maybe, I could have planted seeds in the two young men minds for their future wives. One of them was going off to Med school in the fall, maybe I could have planted seeds in his mind about what kind of doctor he was going be, one that pushed formula or one that supported breastfeeding.
I should have gone over to the mother nursing and said thank you. Thank you for nursing in public and taking one small step in creating a world where it is not weird to nurse a toddler period, let alone in public.
So to the nursing in public mom that night, I thank you. Whoever you are. Your family and your boys are beautiful. You are an amazing mother. You are a million times better mother than that woman will ever be. How lucky your sweet boys are to have you as a mother! You are an inspiration and I thank you.
And I am so sorry for not sticking up for you.
As Mother’s Day nears, I want to also thank ALL mother’s, EVERYWHERE that nurse in public. Whether it was a 6 week old or a 3 year old, THANK YOU! You are awesome! You are making a huge difference.
Here are several pictures of me nursing Penelope during our recent trip to Disney and Miami Zoo. I got lots of looks, but I didn’t care. If someone were to say something about me nursing Penelope, I know the Mama Lion in me would have come and that person would have wished they were never born, but why, oh, why didn’t I say something at the table that night?!
Checking out the elephants and getting some nuh-nuh.
While in line at It’s a Small World, and we were very close to people in line, so I tried to cover Penelope up while she nursed. Penelope has never had a blanket cover her while she nursed in her life. She thought it was for a game of peek a boo.
My sweet love.