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Thinking Pink.

by - Tuesday, October 13, 2009

She was impeccably dressed. It was hard not to notice her - perfectly coiffed silver hair, wearing a cream silk blouse and matching slacks, sitting at the picnic table drinking red wine out of a plastic wine glass. Not the sort of thing you expect to see at an antique fair held out in a field.

I was sitting at another table, waiting for HandyMan to come back with some lunch. The little one was hungry too so I did that awkward dance -- unhook the bra, put on the nursing cover, get baby in place, move all my clothes out of the way, all the while trying not to give anyone a peep show. I saw her looking at me and wondered if she thought it peculiar (odd? wrong?) that I would be doing there what I was doing. Yes, that must be it because soon enough she was standing at my side. "I must commend you on your decision," she said. "Not many young women today breastfeed. I breastfed both my sons - they're 50 and 48 now - and I have no regrets". I murmured a quick Thank You, and with a smile, she was gone.

Her words had an impact on me that was unexpected. The first thought in my mind was how hard it must have been for her to be a breastfeeding mom 50 years ago. I'm sure those types of things weren't done in public in those days so I imagine she was pretty much confined at home, what with a baby on a two-hour feeding schedule. And the logistics of it boggles my mind. When I think 1959, I think dresses with heavy boning, zippers up the back, cinched at the waist. There were no nursing bras, nursing tops, or nursing covers in those days. How did she do it? I was amazed since her well-kept elderly exterior didn't say "breastfeeding advocate" to me.

My second thought was this - thank you for saying that. As a new mom (and I'm sure many others out there can relate), its natural to second guess yourself. Am I doing this right? Am I feeding baby too much? Not enough? Do I dress her too warmly? Am I playing the right games with her? Am I doing enough to help her learn - grow - thrive - succeed?? Everywhere you turn, there is some magazine or blog or tv show telling you how you should raise your child. It can be daunting to pick the "right" way, the way that works for you and your family. So when that sweet old lady came up to me and said "I commend your decision" what I really heard was "Good job. Keep at it even though it can be tough. You're doing well." Because I'll tell you, breastfeeding a baby every two hours for the last six months is tough. And sometimes a kind word is all you need to help you keep going for another day.

******

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I'm writing this post for Chloe, who reminds me why its important, and for Willow, who is fighting her battle yet again. Be aware, be proactive, and take care of yourself.

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8 comments

  1. Anonymous4:49 PM

    I love this story. I too breastfeed my new little one, and breastfed her brother before that. In fact, I breastfed him until he was about 22 months (we tapered down to one morning session by the latter months--at home, not in public--people can be really judgy!), and I am SO PROUD of us for doing that. It's so good for babies. Plus I just loved it. I will breastfeed this one for as long as she lets me, and will be pumping, of course, when I go back to work soon.

    jbhat

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  2. That is AMAZING. I know exactly how you must have felt as she approached you, trying to thicken your skin against the reproach {although it's never happened to me, I often think I'm being judged}. How awesome of her to commend you.

    And what an observation on your part of how difficult it must have been for her!

    You ARE doing a good job. :)

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  3. Hee Hee. 48 years isn't That long ago! I have a brother that age, and I would classify my mother as more of a 'hippie' than a confined '50s housewife. One with a full time job, also... who still managed to breast feed (don't ask me how, I can't fathom). I guess women really can do it all!

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  4. I am so glad to hear you are still breastfeeding , it is gift you give your child, and good for you to breatfeed her in public yet under cover , I was never bold enough to do that with my first , I sadly spend a lot of time out of sight , but with my youngest I was much more comfortable , especially if we were eating or in a food court, then hey she needed to eat too , but descretly .
    Soon it will be over and you will never regret giving Chloe this care.
    I personally don't go past a year , but that is my comfort zone , I have experienced in my life children being BF until the age of 7 , now that is beyond... in most circles ,
    I commend you , there are so many excuses to stop and give up , you were obviously dedicated .

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  5. Great decision to breast feed ... it is healthy for Chloe, and super bonding for you both. Don't second guess yourself ... you'll know instinctively what is right. Way to go!

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  6. I loved reading this, thank you for sharing. Very well written too!

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  7. Fantastic post. I plan on breastfeeding too. The comment from the little old lady would have had the same effect on me. There always seems to be someone giving advice. It's nice to hear of someone commending you on making your own decisions.

    take care,
    Lisa

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  8. Oh it was lovely for that women to come and speak with you. Bravo to both of you!

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