A correction

I wrote yesterday that all my public breastfeeding experiences had been positive.  I forgot about the only one where I’d gotten a negative reaction.

Lane was about five or six weeks old, and I was out shopping for a crib for her.  (No time like the present!)  As I’ve mentioned, she has impeccable timing.  As the saleslady was writing up the sale on the crib and changing table, my boobs were enthusiastically summoned.  So I nursed her, discreetly, sitting in a glider rocker on the sales floor and finished conducting my business.

Later on, a friend who was with me and helping me shop commented that he was taken aback by my actions…. he never outright condemned what I’d done, but made it clear it made him uncomfortable and questioned whether the public nursing was appropriate.

Lucky for him, he’s a good guy and a close friend, and I didn’t punch him in the balls.  It helped that his wife, another very good friend, was there too and totally took my side.  Honestly, I was a bit taken aback myself.  I’d mentally prepared for negative fallout from strangers but didn’t ever expect it from a close friend!  I can’t remember most of what was said as I was still sort of in that newborn-baby-induced-sleep-deprived-fog but I think the gist of my message to him was “get over it” and “when you have a kid, I’m sure your wife will do it, too” and his wife heartily concurring with both points.

(I can say in his defense that his exposure to my breastfeeding my kids is probably his first real experience with such a relationship.  I may have been his first close friend to have a baby, and while his brother had a baby before I did, I’m pretty sure she was formula-fed.  This was new territory for him.  And since he’s so opinionated open and communicative, he was eager to share his point of view with me.)

It’s funny to reflect on that now, because his wife, my very good friend, is due to have their first baby — technically in a month but really, anytime soon.  She is 100% totally determined to breastfeed, so good for her.  And he’s come a long way… I’ve nursed in front of him a ton more since then, so either he’s more comfortable with it in general, or he just learned to keep his piehole shut.  Maybe it was a combination of the two… at first, shut piehole, but gradually getting desensitized until one day he realized “hey, this isn’t freaking me out.”  Regardless, he loves my kids like they are his own and they totally dig him too (and the same goes for his wife, who I know reads here and I don’t want her to think I don’t know she adores my kids.  I know.  I love them both immensely for the love and affection they show my children.)

Anyway, he’s going to be a great dad, even if he does get a little overprotective of his wife’s breasts from time to time.  I’d love to be able to reassure him by saying “Hey, don’t worry!  Nobody’s trying to look at your wife’s boobs” but the truth is, she’s got big frigging boobs.  Everyone looks at her boobs.  I look at her boobs.  And pregnancy has made them even bigger… who knows what her milk coming in will do to them.  So, sorry buddy, they are looking.  But they’d be looking anyway, even if there wasn’t a baby attached.  Don’t get too worked up over it.

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2 responses to “A correction

  1. I think almost any new thing is uncomfortable to many. People like your friend aren’t intolerant, they’re unexposed (heh). I think seeing a woman (especially a close friend that they don’t think of in sexual terms (or do they think of all women in sexual terms???)) breastfeed is difficult especially for men because it causes their instinct to think of breasts as purely sexual objects to rear up at full speed and collide with new “data” that they aren’t always sexual. Even though they knew it intellectually before, this is direct exposure. Trying to work that out makes people uncomfortable until they, well, work it out.

  2. I look at my boobs all the time, now, too. They have gotten freaking huge. Anyway, I remember the incident you are referring to, and my husband has come quite far from that time, so much so that I think he is coming close to being a lactivist himself. I think he’s a little sad to realize he will have to share the goods, so to speak, but, having now seen the research regarding nursing, considers it the only acceptable option for our baby.

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