Yesterday while shopping at the Dutch Market with my mother in law, I had my 9 month old baby strapped to my chest in a baby carrier. Now, like all babies, he of course wanted to nurse, so I pulled the hood over his head and allowed him to start nursing as I continued shopping. For the rest of the shoppers, they had no idea the baby was nursing because the top was covered. An older woman, appearing to be in her 60’s, walked up to me and with one finger pulled the hood back to see the baby. STRIKE 1!
Then she says “Oh you’re breastfeeding! Girl, you need to get out of here with that!” STRIKE 2!
She follows with “I knew he was a boy, how did I guess that?” Ummm….he’s wearing a blue shirt and looks completely like a boy! You must be psychic! So now I’m conflicted. Everything in my head said to clap back. However, everything my parents taught me about respecting elders conflicted with that. I just smiled at her, walked away and continued shopping and nursing.
I realized that the generation from before and my generation are totally different when it comes to breastfeeding. They were taught to shame and to hide. We are normalizing breastfeeding as a movement. I, personally, still maintain some cover in public places when possible. While it is not for the comfort of others, it’s simply for my own comfort.
I’ve realized that it’s not every older woman that feels like that either. At my son’s soccer practice, my husband was trying to cover me up while nursing. The woman says “Aw just let her be. People need to get over that stuff. Babies gotta eat! You’re not trying to show your breasts to anyone.” I said “Thank you!!”
However, the situation in the Dutch Market had me thinking, how do we bridge the gap between the generations? I’d love to hear your thoughts!