But since I have never before allowed myself or my daughter to be in this situation before (previously, I had rigorously planned outings for days when I knew precisely how much Livie had ingested, at precisely what time she would need to eat again, and even then only at times when we'd be sure to return home for the next feeding) I had yet to closely examine my feelings about breastfeeding in public.
My first memory of breastfeeding in public isn't really all that public. It was my friend Timmy's mom, in her own living room, talking with my mom while I played with Timmy and his little brother. I remember being somewhat shocked that other moms did this, too. I guess I thought Lizzy was the only baby who was ever breastfed. Like my mom had a special power that others did not possess. Years later, I learned that Timmy's mom had fought and won a battle with breast cancer. I don't know why, but the two images have always been connected in my mind: breastfeeding in public, and breast cancer. Can anyone explain that one for me?
Anyway, I've never really had a problem with breastfeeding in public. It's always been a very natural process in my mind, and while my own mom was very discreet about breastfeeding, I did not mind other women being less discreet.
Which is why I was a little suprised at how shy I was about breastfeeding in public today. I knew it was natural, I knew I was in a place inhabited only by women, I knew my baby girl was hungry and depending on me for sustenance, and I knew I had deliberately not packed any milk because it was time to do this. Yet when the time came, I hesitated. This bothers me, because as a mother and as a foodie, breastfeeding should totally delight me. It's gourmet motherhood at it's best.
I have since resolved to conquer any misgivings I have because I know that I am doing the right thing. While I will be careful to be discreet and respectful of others (who may not be as open-minded as I would hope) I will not be banished to a back room. Nor will I be confined to my home. How can I be expected to be a good mother, to teach my daughter about the world, if I cannot take her into it?
I am happy to report that I did not receive a single dirty look or rude comment while I fed Livie. I am also happy to report that she did a great job of eating on the run, and I'm so stinking proud of all the progress she's made. It seems a shame to waste it by not showing off her new skills, eh?
I'd like to hear what others have to say on the subject. I've posted a poll on the right, but please leave a comment as well, because I'm really interested to see what the consensus is among my friends and family.