Area moms recall their breastfeeding experiences
“I love experienced moms,” the Mary Washington Hospital lactation consultant said to me. “They know exactly what to do.”
I nodded smugly as my newborn son vigorously attacked my boob. I’d been through this three short years ago. I knew what was what.
A couple of days later at home, I was breaking into a sweat as my son thrashed in my arms, tiny fists flailing and impeding his attempts to latch. “The hands!” I yelped to my daughter. “The hands!” I screeched as his toothless jaws made another snap at my breast and his hand banged my ribs.
She gently pinned his arms down as I guided his head. This hurts. This hurts so freaking much, I thought.
I didn’t know what was what — not at all.
If you’ve ever nursed a baby, you probably have a story to tell. Amy, a local mom, still remembers one especially difficult moment.
“I was at a big box store and my baby desperately needed to nurse,” recalls Amy. “I went into a dressing room and began to feed him behind a closed door, but an angry employee told me that it was against the law for me to nurse in there. She informed me that I could nurse in the women’s bathroom.” (presumably in a stall? Ick!).
Amy’s story brings up two questions: Which law and how did the employee know what was going on? Was she watching via camera?
But not every nursing story is painful or humiliating. Another mom, Cara, shares her humorous story.
“My 3-year-old son calls my boob “boop.” Whenever baby Erin cries he proclaims,”She needs the boop!” I told my husband he’s learning boobs solve everything and my husband replied, “He isn’t wrong.”
Then there is the modern day Mother’s Little Helper, the pump.
“I’ve pumped in some odd places (a music concert for one!),” says Gin. “When I had Anna, a severe case of carpal tunnel hit me, and I couldn’t nurse. I was pumping like a beast until I got a cortisone shot. I walked into the lobby of the doctor’s office, my mom handed me Anna, and she started nursing immediately as if she knew I could finally hold her!”
Sometimes there are surprises. Sara from King George remembers one remarkable shopping trip. Her infant daughter was hidden in a sling, nursing, when an elderly man approached and asked to see the baby. Sara told him she was sleeping and he wandered away.
She says, “A few moments later, I heard him say loudly, ‘Ma’am!’ I cringed, thinking I was about to be attacked for nursing in public. He blocked my path. In a terse tone he announced, ‘Ma’am, my wife has informed me as to what you’re doing.’ My heart was pounding, but I was ready to defend every woman’s right to nurse in public. He continued, ‘My granddaughter is having a baby soon and I intend to tell her what I saw you doing and encourage her to do the same. There’s no better way to feed a baby. Good job.’”
In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, we welcome you to share your stories with us by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll select a few to put in our next issue.