A mommy does what she has to do. Looking back on my nursing experiences I am amazed (and a bit appalled) to realize all of the places I have nursed. I do not claim to be modest. I grew up as a dancer and was quite accustomed to wearing tights and a leotard. Bikinis never bothered me. I have even been known to walk around the house nude (pre-baby mostly!) However, at my baby shower when I received a "hooter hider" I was a bit mortified. I wasn't even sure how to wear it (to be honest I never quite got the hang of it). Then I had my first baby: a daughter, T Bear! In the hospital, I was not reticent at all about displaying the boobs. My sister-in-law even had to manhandle them to help me through those first few PAINFUL nursing sessions. Thus began my nursing adventure.
T Bear did not like to be covered up while nursing. So I went with it. Week one: several friends were oh so traumatized by my uncovered chest, and my hubby's uncle was completely embarrassed by my nursing out in the open. It didn't phase me. Acquaintances would stop by and I would be hanging out boobs exposed trying to feed my munchkin. Our first real public outing included a nursing session at an A&W, with several witnesses (especially an older gentleman who kept peeping). Flash forward several months to vacation: Virginia Beach. This is perhaps the most gregarious sample of my nursing (that is until I had my son!). While on vacay I had to nurse my screaming six month old on the public trolley, on the beach, and on the boardwalk. Let me examine the evening nursing on the beach. While attempting to calm my munchkin I quickly jot down to the beach and find a somewhat covered place to sit. I plop down on the sand and begin nursing: finally quiet. As I catch my breath and look around I see that I am sitting in a public ashtray with my sundress (and therefore my partially exposed rear). Oh well, at least the baby is getting what she needs. The next night finds me in the same predicament: screaming baby at 8:30 (normal parents would have been back at the hotel putting their little one to bed, not us - we are out walking back from dinner). This time I think back to the disgusting episode of the previous evening and head farther down the beach toward the water. I find stacks of lounge chairs and place myself comfortably on one of the stacks. Aah quiet! As I look around my eyes meet the eyes of a homeless and/or intoxicated man who was sleeping on those lovely lounge chairs. He seems unaware of what I am doing, or that I am completely exposed and wobbles away. After that incident nursing was fairly routine: at home, in the car, on a plane...you know the usual, and this went on for fifteen months!
Three years later my son was born - the Mad Man. Once again I began my nursing experiences exposing myself to anyone who dared enter the hospital room. Not only did I have to contend with nursing an infant (and all the glory that goes hand in hand with that), but now I had to explain the nursing process to my T Bear who was less than thrilled; in fact she was disgusted and enraged that this new baby was latching on to her mommy like that. She came around eventually. In the process of nourishing this new life I nursed all over the place once again. In fact, I was much more brazen with my nursing. The car became one of the most popular spots, out of sheer necessity (mostly due to the fact that the Mad Man screamed incessantly in the car). Mind you I did not pull into private areas - wherever I parked was where I nursed. A particular gas station seemed to become "our spot" for quite some time. I can add several locations at this juncture: in front of my sister's new boyfriend, the National Zoo, a bench in the Metro station, in the car surrounded by hubby's high school softball team, and a Target dressing room. Then came vacation: Wildwood, New Jersey. Now we venture to nursing once again on the boardwalk (surrounded by people), under the boardwalk (this experience did not live up to the song!), on the beach, and outside a restaurant on a bench. This is when I had to add public pumping to my repertoire! At this point I was pumping once a day (thank God only once a day) to make rice cereal for the Mad Man. I happened to choose around dinner time to do so. I pumped on a bench, under the boardwalk, and in a restaurant - at the table, covering up with a receiving blanket. Insane and honestly a bit gross.
As my nursing days seem to be dwindling I will miss all of the adventures I have had. To me nursing is a profound bonding experience - one that I would not have missed for anything, even ogling eyes, gaping mouths, and disgusted sighs.
High: bonding with my babies
Low: embarrassment (obviously not on my part!!)