Nursing on the Wild Side
By: Clarice Joos
Back in the era B.C. (that’s Before Children), my girlfriends would compare stories about the wildest place we’d ever “done it.” We all know what the “it” in that question used to mean. But at this life-stage, while the question may sound the same, the “it” for some of us mothers has taken on a whole new meaning. Where’s the wildest place you’ve ever had to breastfeed your baby?
For me it’s the low, uncomfortable concrete wall behind the beach bathhouse, only 20 feet from the bus stop where several people waited. We hadn’t brought a beach umbrella, and it was the only semi-private shady place I could find. Of course I was as discreet as possible, and I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but I couldn’t help feeling like someone would notice me and I’d get “caught,” or that something would be on display that shouldn’t.
Some others I’ve heard include:
- in an alcove within the stacks at the public library;
- on a sofa at Starbucks;
- in the restroom of a car dealership service area, because the minor repair took three times longer than promised;
- and the nursing mother’s version of the “Mile High Club”… in a coach seat 30,000 feet above the Rockies.
In a study done by the Center for Disease Control, the statistics on breastfeeding and attrition showed that in 2004, 70-75% of mothers of newborns started out nursing some or all of the time. This number dropped to 40% after six months, and to about 20% after one year. Why the decline? There are many reasons, but perhaps one has to do with having the feeling that you’re doing something illicit and “wild” when compelled by nature and your baby to perform as personal and private an act as breastfeeding in a public place.