Breastfeeding Diaries tells the stories of moms, dads and supporters of breastfeeding to inspire others to embrace their own journey in breastfeeding. To share your story, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I confess that my main reason for choosing to breastfeed is the distaste for the idea of having to get up in the middle of the night to prepare formula. I like the idea of just popping out my breast and having my kid latch on. No washing and sterilising bottles, boiling water, or measuring out formula powder.
I first left the house on the seventh week after I gave birth. I was surprised to find that somewhere between the ’80s, when my pediatrician’s office was filled with posters and paintings of openly breastfeeding mothers, and 2013, most mothers had made the decision to hold bottles to their children’s mouths. That there was a lack of mothers with babies latched to their chests suddenly made me feel self-conscious.
So I went there. Not to the bottle feeding but to covering up.
I started out using my son’s blanket but he found them too warm to stay under, resulting in fussing and, eventually, kicking the blanket off so he could nurse in peace. I tried switching to using a flat diaper but despite it being thinner, he still detested having to be covered up. I gently admonished him for his indiscretion, insisting that he live with it if he wanted to be fed in public, else, take to the bottle (which he even more firmly refused to do).
Then I discovered Bonchos, after which we had fewer battles. It was far more breathable than a blanket and roomier than a flat diaper. But since it was so big, he eventually found cause to complain again prompting a compromise that I keep just myself covered up so his curious little eyes were free to observe the world as he ate.
That was when pictures of Selma Blair nonchalantly breastfeeding her baby, uncovered, as they rode the tram in San Francisco came out. Cue angels singing “Hallelujah!” I realised, if that is what breastfeeding without a cover looks like then no one would see anything unless they stare long enough. And that would be rude.
I stopped using covers to my son’s great delight and comfort, and continued doing so until I had to wean him at 27 months.
Our second child is due anytime soon. I chose and will again choose to breastfeed boldly because my milk-filled, sagging breasts are simply doing what they’re supposed to: feeding my child.
I chose and will again choose to breastfeed boldly because I can. Where once my body was an expression of human sexuality and the beauty of human anatomy, my child will soon need me to continue providing nourishment and comfort. And I will again go breastfeed boldly because for now, that’s what matters most.
About the author: Rosa is a work-from-home mother of seven cats, three dogs, and one toddler who rules them all. Coming soon: baby number two–and then the power struggle begins.