The Jewish holidays have just come to a close, just before Sammy turns three months old. My little family traveled to my parents' home for the holidays. What a great treat to be around family, so many helping hands. I was actually able to shower EVERY day! I don't think I've been that clean since Sammy arrived.
As Orthodox Jews, modesty is a big thing in my parents' home so breastfeeding was bound to be an issue. I am a free spirit and I truly believe that my baby should be able to eat whenever he needs to, no matter where I am. All of the female members of my family were completely comfortable around me nursing but my father would excuse himself at Sammy's mealtime. Before I nursed, I would ask my father where he was going to be, he would always allow me to stay where I was and he would either look away or leave the room.
It was actually a great experience to nurse Sammy in front of my family. It made me feel like such a great mother. I'm ashamed to admit that I secretly loved the fact that I was the one that Sammy sought out when he was in need. I also brought my pump with me so that the rest of the family could experience the joy of nourishing our little bundle of joy. The pump was a great help and enabled me (and my husband) to achieve a modicum of independence, but I had never gone two feedings in a row from a bottle and not the breast. While the pump is incredibly efficient at getting the milk out of my breasts its not the same as having Sammy remove the milk. I think that my production got thrown off because of it. It wasn't anything too crazy, but I started to get nervous that I didn't have enough milk. I'm saying this as a woman who has experienced overproduction since Sammy was three days old. Now that we're back at home my boobs are back in full effect. It's been almost a week at home and Sammy has only had one bottle.
I could be wrong, but I feel that as Sammy nurses in front of more people, friends and family, it will help him to become better acclimated to the world. As he grows we want him to be an independent and happy baby, but we also want him to know that we will always be here with him. I feel that nursing is the best way to show Sammy that while the world is a big and sometimes scary place his mama and papa will always be close.
Breastfeeding has become somewhat of a trend lately, which is fantastic, but not everyone is open to it. I believe it will take every breastfeeding woman nursing in front of family and friends for it to become commonly accepted. I believe that if more of us that take a stand for our babies society will become more openhearted to hungry breastfed babies.
There was a recent story of a woman nursing her baby on an NYC subway. Someone was so upset by it that they asked the conductor to tell the woman to stop. Of course, there is nothing that the conductor could do, the woman was allowed to breastfeed, but let's all aim for a New York, better yet, a world where hungry babies can get fed regardless of whether its from a bottle or a breast and their mothers will not be criticized.