Monday, December 21, 2009

A Positive Public Breastfeeding Experience

So this has nothing to do with photography, but I have to take a few minutes to comment on a postive public breastfeeding experience I had today. I hear a lot about negative experiences nursing a toddler in public, but rarely do I hear anything positive. I thought this needed to be noted somewhere, so why not here?

Today I took my son Owen to a nearby hospital to get blood drawn. The older he gets, the more difficult it becomes to keep him calm during blood draws. He cried as he watched the nurse slide the needle into his arm. As the blood started flowing down into the tube he was screaming, "Go bye bye car!" His face and chest were turning red and he continued to scream as I tried to console him along with the three nurses in the room. They offered stickers and toys and I promised goldfish crackers when we were done. I knew what would make him feel better, but the chair we were in just wasn't big enough. He hid his sobbing, wet face in my neck and I smothered him with kisses, the best I could do in that confining chair.

We finished up and I took my crying son to the waiting room. I offered him the goldfish I promised, but he pushed them back to me, tears streaming down his face. I asked him if he wanted milk and just the sound of that word calmed him slightly.

At the time, there was no one else in the waiting room, so I snuggled up with him on the couch. He nursed and the crying ceased in mere seconds. I was happy to still be able to offer something so soothing for him. I swear it's like magic.

Just then an older gentleman and young college woman walked into the room. He smiled and she sat near us despite the wide open room. The man turned the television so I could see better, insisting that I needed a better view. Then a nurse approached to ask Owen's birthday so she could verify it for the bloodwork. When Owen finished nursing and we were getting ready to leave, he ran over to the young woman and asked her to color with him. He handed her a blue-green crayon. She was happy to do so and commented on how adorable he is as he swapped crayons with her a few times.

No one mentioned the fact that I was nursing. No one looked away. No one seemed uncomfortable. No one gave unsolicited advice about when I should wean my child. There in that room, nursing a toddler two weeks shy of his second birthday was normal to all that could see.

It gives me hope that there are secret supporters out there of breastfeeding. I had expected the worst and got the opposite. I always hear about mothers' bad experiences nursing their toddlers in public here in the U.S. where it just isn't the norm. I'm happy to report that today in that hospital waiting room, it was normal.


Anonymous said...

It is so nice to read that someone did not feel bad breastfeeding 2 year old in public. I wish that my own family will do the same when I nurse my 19 month old child, instead I get a reaction " He is still nursing???", like I am doing something bad...

Anonymous said...

Hey--it's Chris, Samantha and James's mom. Glad to hear it. James just weened himself the third week in November. I kept nursing him because I knew we had the eye surgery coming up. As soon as I offered milk after his surgery, he was able to calm down. I felt it was the ace up my sleeve so to speak. And as crazy as he was, the nurses seemed glad as well. Non-nursing moms don't have this secret weapon. Continued luck. I am planning on coming to Pat's on the 29th. Happy New Year.