I Felt More Comfortable Breastfeeding Outside The United States
The first time I breastfed in public was more than ten years ago. My daughter, Lila, was two months old. At first, I fed Lila at home. I didn’t go out much, and when I did leave the house, I stayed close to home so I could rush back for feedings.
This is absolutely no way to live, so I decided to take a leap, leave the house and roam free.
For the first few hours, Lila slept in a carrier against my chest while I wandered around Brooklyn. I felt the sunshine on my face, had real conversations with other adults in the world outside my bedroom. It was lovely. When Lila began to wake, I turned my sights to home. She struggled and moaned; I hastened my gait. She began to cry, and I accelerated to a trot. When her screams hit a crescendo, I had to make a choice: Break into a full run or find somewhere closer to feed her.
That right there was the moment I decided my sanity was more important than hiding my boobs, so I found an empty bench at the nearest park and settled Lila on my breast. It’s not easy. Babies wiggle. I needed two hands to latch, and out flopped my boob for all to see. Most averted their eyes, but one woman hairy eyeballed me and scowled to express her discontent.
I became more adept at breastfeeding, but the disapproving looks never went away. Yes, some were supportive, but too often the general sentiment screams “Go to the bathroom. Go home. Go anywhere, just don’t do that in front of me.”
Ten years later, my second child Charlie was born. Now, I’m living in northwest Argentina. Thankfully, Argentines don’t give a damn if you breastfeed in public. In fact, they expect it.