Saturday, July 6, 2013

"Embarrassed" by Hollie McNish-- A Spoken Word about Nursing Babies

While some of the word choices wouldn't be ones I'd choose, they effectively point out the double standards and the crassness that nursing mothers endure from other people and when hiding in public toilet cubicles. They also illustrate the vulgarity of commercial ads and dressing choices made by women every day.

She also brings up points that is not often brought up, the sanitation  conditions that we expose our babies to when we are seated in restroom cubicles (which are NOT restful at anytime). If bacteria/germs can spread up to how many feet? three or more? when a toilet is flushed, what is landing on a newborn? I'm no germ-a-phobe but that is disgusting.

I nursed my four babies...often in public, even in church! It was week two of my first born's life that changed me from sitting in cubicles, balanced on lid-less seats to feeding in public. Not that people would know that is what was happening under the receiving blanket.

It was at the Calgary Stampede, July 1980. My newborn (b. June 25/80) needed to be fed. I walked into the public restroom, well, eventually I was able to walk into the main part, took one look around at the toilet paper & paper towel strewn on the floor, the general feel of unclean in there and turned and walked out. "Stuff this!" I said somewhat silently to myself. "What I'm doing is natural and healthy. Just try to stop me!" (I can be really feisty). I sat in front of the displayed quilts and quietly fed my baby. It wasn't in a main aisle or in a high traffic area, but I definitely had something better to look at than the graffiti of a toilet stall. Two older women (70's?) walked by and smiled at me, saying something supportive and positive about what I was doing. That was all I from other mothers that I was ok doing this. I knew what I was doing was ok, but the support in a time where nursing wasn't common enough, and definitely not in public, helped to relax me. I could take on the world! Well, my world anyways. Thanks to those two older mothers, you rocked my world!

BTW, I would sit in the back corner of the chapel with my two older children and only nursed enough to quieten the little baby. I'm not a large person so it only looked like I had a blanket (strategically) thrown over my shoulder. If hubbens wasn't there to be with the older two I stayed because they would follow me, they wouldn't stay with anyone else (I tried & got tired of trying to convince them to stay). It actually was less disruptive that way. In Sunday School it was more challenging because I didn't have the pews hiding me...metal chairs and all and I was self-conscious of the other men in the room even though I was quite well covered. Since my babies fed every 2-3 hours and church was 3 hours it wasn't often because I fed just before leaving for church (at that time a 3min. drive or 10 min. walk). After the newborn stage they lasted longer.

My eldest nursed for 18mos. the next two for less (12ish mos) and the last I said I'd wean when she could verbally ask for milk. Which of course happened in public! I'm sure she didn't get to nurse right then. When people hear that children are nursed to 3 or later, and think the mother is nuts, what they don't understand is that the nursing by that time is sporadic usually when the child is hurt or tired or just needs reassurance. Sometimes it was days between nursing moments.

Nursing is normal and gosh, a great & easy way to feed a baby! (I was six and washing my baby sister's bottles when I thought to myself that there must be a better way to feed babies. So I was all over nursing when I discovered that is what breasts are useful for).

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