So as I’m sitting at the water park today with my family my 9 month old (where did the time go?!) started to fuss. I knew it was nap time. I ran a couple different scenarios through my head of where should I take her to feed? Should I try to find a lactation room? To my surprise (not really) there wasn’t one. Maybe I should go back to the car and feed her there where no one would watch. By this time she was to the point of screaming and grabbing at my top. I decided I was going to sit in my lounge chair and make this work. I covered us with a towel and she ate and fell asleep. Have you ever felt like the odd person out, like you just don’t fit in at the time? That’s exactly how I felt as everyone walked by staring at the large lump under the towel. Yes people, my baby is under the towel, move on please.
Now certainly this isn’t my first encounter breastfeeding in public, and it certainly won’t be my last. If I want to ever come out of my house within a 4 hour window, my chances of having to feed her in public are pretty high. My first bump in the road with it I guess you could say was taking my 5 year old to Disney World for her 5th birthday. My baby was only 2 months old at the time. Her birthday is in December and despite it being in Florida, the weather was not the least bit cozy. In fact, it was around 50 degrees and raining this particular day. When we started out in Magic Kingdom everything was great as far as being able to breastfeed. The lactation room is absolutely superb! Comfortable chairs, great ambiance, plugs for pumps. The problem ensued when we were about halfway into our day, and that lactation room became farther and farther away. I went on a mission, as well as my husband and mother in law to find another great lactation room to no avail. In a semi panic state, with my breasts slightly engorging and my daughter crying, I finally asked an employee where I could find one since the one by the entrance was too far away. His response was “it is perfectly legal in the state of Florida to breastfeed in public” and proceeded to show my a bench. I felt defeated. Was I really supposed to take my 2 month out in the freezing drizzle to feed her? Normally I would grumble under my breath but just walk away. Maybe it was my mothering insticts kicking in but I was NOT going to feed my baby in the rain for 20 minutes. I kindly asked if there was another option since I felt outside was a bit inappropriate given the circumstances. He took me to a restaurant that the top section was blocked off and said I could sit in a corner to feed her. Just make sure to tell any workers he sent me. So up the stairs I went to a secluded area to feed my baby. I returned to this area approximately 3-4 more times for the day. I was approached by a worker once but they just smiled and walked away when my husband told them we had no other place to feed her.
My question is as much inclusion as we have made in America for same sex marriages or transgender individuals, why do I feel shamed for providing a necessity to my child? I was unable to breastfeed my first daughter beyond 4 months and I vowed with my second baby I was going to work harder at keeping my supply up. I hope one day help women feel more comfortable with this. I’m tired of reading stories of women being asked to leave a public place for this.
What are your thoughts on this issue?