Sunday, June 9, 2013

Uphill Bottle

There's something wrong with this picture...

Photo from Cate Mari

And it's not just the fact that the nursing room is off of the public restroom in this Tyler, Texas mall. 

Don't get me wrong - it's lovely that a private room is provided for mamas and babies who prefer it.  And of course we want pumping moms to have access to privacy.  But "restroom" is just a polite word for the toilet room, yeah?  A restroom isn't a lounge, and it's kind of unpleasant that when places of public accommodation put in a nursing room, they attach them to or combine them with public toilets. 

But that aside, it does irk me that a bottle would be used to symbolize breastfeeding.  Either it's some sort of visual euphemism for breastfeeding (because breastfeeding is so, I mean, gosh - there are breasts!) or the bottle is such an ingrained symbol for babies that someone was completely oblivious to the idiocy of symbolizing nursing with a bottle.  It seems to be the latter in this news clip about public breastfeeding in which a bottle graphic is the backdrop for an interview - or is it? 

Either way, can you say "uphill battle?"

(Note - the sign says, "Nursing," not "Pumping.")

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Thank You for NIP

What do you say when you see a mom nursing in public?

I used to not say anything.  But after the first time someone said something negative to me, I vowed to always say something encouraging to anyone I saw breastfeeding in public. 

But what? 

Then I read a post on facebook about someone who thanked a mom for NIP, and I thought, "That's perfect.  I can say that." 

So now, whenever I see a nursing mama, I get all giddy.  I dig through my bag to see if I have one of the "Thank you for breastfeeding" cards with the right-to-breastfeed law inside.  Then I look over at her & think, "Maybe I should wait until she's done nursing so I'm not interrupting."  Then I start to get nervous.  I don't know why.  Except that I'm shy, and it's just kind of what I do sometimes, I get nervous and I clam up.

Nursing Bellybean months ago at a pizza place
Tonight at Kerbey Lane Cafe a mom seemed to be nursing, but I wasn't certain.  I had my card ready and had myself all excited and nervous (and boy do I feel stupid admitting that publicly), when suddenly Sweet Pea had to go pee, and off we rushed to the restroom as I tried to tell Adam to give the lady the card if they left before we got back.

Well wouldn't you know it, we came out of the restroom and I could see through the front windows that they were getting into their car.  The "thank you" card still lay on the table, and my heart sunk at my failure.  (In Adam's defense, he had no idea what I'm mumbled on my way to the restroom, and he'd have felt awkward as a man thanking a mom for breastfeeding.)  This was, I think, the fourth mom I'd seen NIP (besides quite a few at MommyCon) since the fall, and the first missed opportunity to thank a fellow mom for normalizing public breastfeeding.

We gathered our leftovers and headed out, and Adam nagged and nagged me to go up to their car, as they hadn't yet pulled out (since getting kids into car seats takes forever and a day).  "But that's creepy and weird," I complained.  Nonetheless I followed him into the parking lot and up to the front door of their car. 

I waved.  I'm such a dork.

She put down her window.

I said, "Hi, I'm being creepy and weird, I'm sorry.  Were you nursing your baby?"  I'm smiling big so she knows I'm not intending to yell at her for it.  And so she knows I'm a big fat dork.


"I just wanted to thank you for nursing in public, and to give you this."  I hand her the card and try, lamely, to pin the blame for my creep weirdness on my husband, explaining that he was supposed to have given her the card for me if I didn't make it out of the restroom before she left.  I apologize (in my mind this was an apology for stalking her to her car, but I may have been incoherent in my dorkiness at this point, I don't really know) and walk away. 

So I did it.  Not in an ideal fashion, but there it is.  It sure as heck beats being told to cover up or go to the restroom, right?