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Another Breastfeeding in Public Experience

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A lot of times the stories that we hear about breastfeeding in public are frustrating, tiring and even infuriating. While it's important to get those stories out there, I think it's just as important to talk about positive breastfeeding in public experiences. After all, if new and expecting moms ONLY hear the bad stories, they're far less likely to be willing to venture out to nurse in public themselves.

So here's another positive story.

Went grocery shopping today. I fed Emmitt right before we left, but he really didn't eat much. I'd hoped that I'd be able to shop and get home in time to feed him again, but thanks to my label-reading, HFCS fiasco, it took way longer than I expected.

Thus, Emmitt ended up getting hungry.

Now I have zero problems nursing in public. That said, I HATE nursing in a grocery store. Why? Because the grocery stores around here simply do NOT have chairs.

Thankfully, the Meijer that I was at has a very tiny Starbucks near the produce department. It's got a little area with two bistro tables and a total of four chairs. So I headed that way and parked my cart along the wall so that I could talk to Nora while I sat and nursed Emmitt. I noticed that a man (about 45-50ish) was sitting at one of the tables drinking a coffee and reading.

As I went to get Emmitt out of his bucket, the man walked up to me. Apparently the diapers had fallen off the bottom of the cart and I hadn't noticed. He asked if they were mine, I said yes and he was kind enough to stoop down to put them back under the cart. I thanked him and he said "no problem" and went back to his table.

I got Emmitt out, sat down and started to get him situated. The man looked over (and it was totally clear what I was about to do) SMILED and then asked me how old Emmitt was. I told him and the man proceeded to start a conversation with me asking about the kids, telling me about his own grandkids, etc. Turns out we both live in the same tiny village north of Columbus. He was born and raised there and told me some things about the town that I didn't know. Emmitt finished up and I was burping him and the man made a comment about the good meal Emmitt had had. About that time Nora got a bit fussy and he asked if she was telling me that she was hungry too. Now that one really surprised me because it was pretty clear that he was asking if I needed to nurse Nora too. I told him that what she actually wanted was some M&Ms (she knew I had some in my purse) and he laughed and said "only moms know what all those sounds mean." I got everyone packed up, thanked him for the pleasant conversation and we went on our way.

So what as the big deal? Nothing really...except that the man acted like it was the most natural thing in the world (and it was) for a complete stranger to sit down not five feet from him to nurse a child. We had a lovely conversation and he clearly enjoyed getting to see and talk about the kids.

It sort of reminded me of the gentleman that wrote the Craigslist entry that I posted earlier this week.

It was refreshing.

It's what we're working for.

I have no idea what that man's name was, but he kinda made my day.

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  1. Anonymous R. | 5:46 AM |  

    What a wonderful, positive NIP story!

    You might consider sharing it with the store you were in, and praising them for their breastfeeding-friendly environment. Yes, it was another customer and not really the store that should get the credit, but the more positive feedback a business gets about this issue, the more inclined they may be to hear constructive criticisms in the future.

    One of my most positive NIP encounters was also with a grandfather (not my own.) I hope these gentlemen know how very much we appreciate their kindness and acceptance.

  2. Anonymous Melissa | 12:21 PM |  

    Wicked cool! :-)

  3. Anonymous Anonymous | 8:52 PM |  

    hey, positive stories are really lacking. I never realized so many people were against breastfeeding until I started reading articles and blogs on it. I have breastfed (still am) 6 children, in resturants, church, and any public place they screamed in. I remember many positive experiences, but the negative ones were either so vague or my selective memory so foggy, I've honestly forgot them!
    What I do remember most are the ones where I failed to be as discreet as I wished (usually the babies fault)! These experiences are hilarious history we breastfeeding moms like to sit around and laugh about.
    Keep up the good work, I really like this site! I like the easy humor of it.
    Rita Bruce

  4. Anonymous Jen | 4:43 PM |  

    I have sort of a weird question for you. I am doing an entrepreneur (Geez that spelling doesn't look right) class and I need to interview entrepreneurs/ those who started their own small business. Would it be possible for me to ask you a few questions via email about your experience starting the Lactivist website (which I love and I have already written down all the shirts I want when my next baby comes - I'm not even pregnant yet !)
    I understand you are extremly busy, and I will not be offended if you don't have time to do it. It doesn't need to be completed in a rush.
    Let me know if you would like to particpate :)

  5. Blogger Jennifer | 7:45 PM |  

    Happy to help! (In fact, I started this business as a case study for my real job which is teaching about online marketing...even wrote a book about it.)

    Drop me an email - jennifer at thelactivist dot com


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