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 didnâ€™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. Itâ€™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 â€œGo to the bathroom. Go home. Go anywhere, just donâ€™t do that in front of me.â€
Ten years later, my second child Charlie was born. Now, Iâ€™m living in northwest Argentina. Thankfully, Argentines donâ€™t give a damn if you breastfeed in public. In fact, they expect it.