Let me present you with a scenario.
Say there’s a mom of a newborn who happens to be breastfeeding. Say that woman is invited to go out to dinner and she brings her baby along because well, it’s her baby. Now say she didn’t have time to feed said baby before leaving her house because the baby was asleep, she had to work, or she did something frivolous such as get dressed in real clothes — essentially, any number of reasons. Now say that right when the appetizers hit the table her baby woke up and started crying.
So that mother, immediately flustered because she is a new mother and she’s super emotional and she just wants to get her baby fed but feels like the whole restaurant hates her for bring her child, tries to be as inconspicuous as possible by nursing her baby in the back corner of the booth. (A spot, for the record, that she has specifically chosen ahead of time when she was scouting out the restaurant.)
But the baby, sensing her tension, starts screaming even more and gets especially angry when his mother tries to finagle the nursing cover over his body. The mother then grows even more frustrated. Suddenly she’s sweating and her boobs are leaking and OMG, baby just stop crying and eat, please?!
And now it feels like the whole restaurant is staring, and if she could just get the baby on her boob, she knows he will be happy but she can’t see under this freaking cover and the baby is kicking like a tiny UFC fighter. So she whips off the cover, which is instant relief to her and the now sweaty, angry baby. She doesn’t make eye contact with anyone while pulling down her shirt and bra ever so slightly so she can see what she’s doing and actually get her baby on the boob. She then feels sweet, sweet relief when the baby settles in happily and stops crying, and she thinks to herself, thank goodness and I wonder if the soup I ordered will be good?
That is when she looks up and realizes that the whole restaurant really is staring at her.
Now you tell me, is that mother making a bold statement in support of breastfeeding? Or is she just a desperate, exhausted mom who just wanted her baby to be happy for 10 minutes so she could eat her freaking dinner in peace?
Honestly, I get a little tired of how much talk and “controversy” there is about breastfeeding in public. We make it seem like all breastfeeding moms are these warrior women fighting for our rights to let our boobs hang out in public — and some of us are.
But some of us aren’t.
Not every mom who is forced to breastfeed a baby in public (with or without a cover) is doing it to make some sort of “statement.” Some of us just do it because our babies are hungry and we have no choice, OK?
Want to know what honestly goes through a mom’s mind when her babies are hungry? Allow me to enlighten you:
That’s really all there is to it.
I think there are still people in the world who don’t understand what it’s like to struggle as a mom whose kid needs to be fed and to, you know, still go on with our lives. It’s hard to fathom what it’s like to be the sole source of food for your baby and to plan outings around when you think he/she might get hungry — which for a newborn, is all the time — if you haven’t been there.
I hate that the issue is so often presented as moms waving their boobs around demanding the world let them breastfeed wherever they want and however they want. Even Alyssa Milano admitted that she was shocked when the simple act of breastfeeding made her an instant breastfeeding advocate. Since when does breastfeeding = advocacy?
The truth is, a lot of moms are just like me and we could care less about making a statement — we just have a hungry baby we need to feed. It’s really that simple.
Trust me, I’d much rather be in the comfort of my own home, in a comfy rocking chair, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, too.