Breastfeeding in Public

I Love Mr. Sushi.

Yesterday I took Lilah on her first trip to a real live restaurant.  I met my mom and stepdad for sushi at a local hole in the wall joint called I Love Mr. Sushi.  (As an aside, I could eat my weight in sushi as well as have it every day for the rest of my life and be totally happy).  We tried to play it really safe to avoid any possible disasters.  We met there (for dinner mind you) at 4:45.  Lilah was taking a nap (the first long nap of the day) as I was getting ready to go, and she woke up right on time for me to feed her and change her and get her all set to go.  We got in the car without issue and drove the very short distance to the restaurant.  She was quiet in her carseat as I walked in.  “This is going to be just fine,” I thought to myself.  Well, not quite.  I would say “disaster” wouldn’t be the word, but “It was great, so refreshing” wouldn’t describe it either.

Lilah started crying in her carseat pretty much as soon as we sat down, which I should have known.  She hates that damn thing.  And of course I had this huge bag full of diapers, wipes, changing pad, wet bag, etc., but no swaddler or Moby wrap.  So my mom held her while we decided what we wanted.  The waitress smiled pitifully at us while Lilah fussed and said, “Baby’s hungry.”  “No,” I responded, “She just ate 20 minutes ago.”  Well, sure enough, Lilah wanted to eat more.  And I didn’t bring the Boppy.  At this point I have absolutely no idea how to feed Lilah without a pillow.  Lets just say it was awkward.  And while I do have a hooter hider, its not exactly the most full-proof thing in the world.  And of course, just as I whip out my boob and start fumbling around behind the oh-so-thin fabric, with Lilah alternating between fussing and making lip smacking noises, a band of neighborhood high school boys walk into the restaurant.  Luckily, the waitress sat them on the other side of the restaurant where I couldn’t even see them.  She then proceeded to do this with every single other patron that walked in the restaurant.  I’m not sure its because she felt uncomfortable or because she wanted to give us some space.  When all was said and done, we ended up taking the rest of my sushi to-go because Lilah had fallen partially asleep in my arms.  Oh, and I accidentally ate some edamame (umm…probably not a good idea to have soy beans when you are on a no-soy diet).  Good dinner.

There is a lot of stuff out there on breastfeeding in public.  Wikipedia even has a page dedicated to the concept.  Some people get very up in arms about the idea of women doing it, and others assert it as an absolute right.  And while I obviously support it (since I was doing it in a restaurant), I was surprised at how it made me feel.  I already felt a little dumb fumbling around not quite sure of how to do things at a corner table without a pillow, but having the waitress seat ever single other person out of my line of vision was a bit alienating.  I really think she was trying to be sweet and supportive, but I definitely felt like the woman in the restaurant that the staff want to make sure no one sits by (and really, isn’t that true?).

Being a new mom is definitely a bit isolating: you often spend long days in the house, especially with this ridiculous weather (can we have spring already?).  I am working on venturing out now that Lilah is over six weeks old, but I’ve realized after last night that this is not going to be as easy as it seems.  She’s definitely not the baby that is super happy to go everywhere in her carseat (if you have one of those babies, I envy you).  It feels like I need an endless amount of stuff just to get out of the house: diapers, wipes, carseat, boppy, nursing cover, swaddle, Moby, etc. etc.  And, quite honestly, its intimidating.

As a super control freak, I need to continuously remind myself that it is okay that plans change, and then change again, and then again, and maybe even one more time.  And I need to be mindful that it is super important to surround myself with people who are okay with that, too, and who are okay seeing a little boob every once in a while. :)

4 thoughts on “Breastfeeding in Public

  1. I can remember feeding my first was such a drama. However I was relaxed by my fourth. I can remember answering my door one day with my baby under my jumper. I thought it would be a quick caller. However it was a young fella selling something. As I was listening to him, my newest began to suckle even louder and then proceeded to kick under my jumper. Eventually a little foot popped out. He was so distracted he could not deliver his selling speech. I have to admit I secretly enjoyed his squirming. He left in a hurry, with no sale!

  2. I’m on my third baby and its still a little difficult feeding a baby in public. I definitely feel like I’m on display. It actually gets a little harder as they get older because they don’t like to be covered and can really flail around. Don’t worry though, I think people can’t see as much as it feels like they can. The baby covers most of the offensive parts and if you wear clothes that keep your belly covered you’ll be just fine. As far as the waitress seating everyone else far away from you, I think they do that so that if the baby gets fussy its not bothering them and if the people are rowdy they’re not bothering the baby. I never take offense to it, its kind of nice to eat in a quiet place!

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