Monday, September 01, 2008

Out to Eat

One sentiment I've noticed with some people's issues with breastfeeding in public is, "I hear breastfeeding is this private, bonding time. If it's so intimate, don't do it in public."

You know what? You're right. Breastfeeding can be a very wonderful bonding time. But it's not always and it doesn't have to be every single time.

Imagine you're having dinner with someone you love: a friend, a sibling, a spouse, whoever. That can be a very sweet, bonding time. You can go out to a fancy place and have a candlelit date, or stay in and spend some time talking and catching up. A beautiful bonding time.

But you can't have dinners like that every day. It'll wear you out if you try to make sure you're always intimate every single time- it takes energy and thought and planning. Sometimes, you're tired and just need to throw a pizza in the oven or you have a lot of errands and you need to grab some fast food.

Breastfeeding is the same. You can bond, but sometimes, you need to eat on the go. And expecting that every time you breastfeed it's going to be this magical connection...that's setting yourself up for disappointment, or at least frustration- because your baby's going to want different things out of breastfeeding, too. Sometimes they want comfort and bonding, but sometimes they're just thirsty or tired or are more interested in something else, but are still hungry*. And sometimes I think they just want to show off how flexible and agile they are. "Look Mom! I'm eating AND standing on my head!" "Look at me! No hands!"**

So conclusion, although breastfeeding can promote bonding between a mommy and baby, it also can simply promote food in a baby's tummy. And it can be that simple and doesn't require intimacy.

*Yesterday in Sunday School, Margaret wanted to eat AND sleep, but didn't want to miss out on the lesson. It kind of went like this: sip sip sip, ooh lesson! (pops off to see what's going on), sip sip sip, close... to closing eyes... lesson! (pops off to see what's going on). Sure, I could go to the mother's lounge, but she eats for less than 5 minutes, always has. I'd spend more time walking there and back than actually feeding her. Besides, I'm interested in the lesson too! And the mother's lounge is boring. No one wants to chat in there.

**Yesterday after church, I was playing some Tony Hawk Pro Skater. And somehow Margaret was able to breastfeed AND watch me play. She's very fascinated with the video game controller...


  1. You know, I had never thought about it this way. Great points!

  2. Wren says milk tastes best when she's standing on her head. I like the sleepy cuddly nursing best myself

  3. I agree. Sometimes babies need to eat on the go! And I love that it can be just me and Soren, no diaper bag or anything, and he's still got all the food he needs!

    Still, I like to cover up and make sure that everyone around me can be as comfortable with my nursing as I am.


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