Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Under The Dark Cape

You know you're having a mom's-in-need-of-mercy moment when you're at the salon, trying to get a haircut, while also trying to manage your hungry, crying newborn baby. The "rock-the-baby-in-the-car-seat-with-a binky-in-her-mouth" trick worked long enough to get through the shampooing. Then she fell asleep for half of the haircut. But when she woke up, she was not a happy camper. The pacifier no longer pacified. The haircut was only half done. What to do?

Enter: the dark cape.

Sounds like the title for a new Batman movie, hugh?

I decided it was in everyone's best interest to take her out of her car seat, which I was holding sideways on my lap to keep falling hair off her, and slip her under the cape, where I could nurse her.

It's funny how the breastfeeding-in-public (even under a cape where no one can see) debate can affect one's judgements at the time. It was completely in my baby's best interest to feed her. It was in everyone else's, too.

Still, I hesitated. What will people think? Will someone be offended that I'm nursing my baby during a hair cut? (Someone had already made a comment, while my baby was crying, that she never wanted "a thing coming out of her," and that "it just wasn't worth it" after I said motherhood can be challenging at times but it's also a great joy.) Obviously, it wasn't the optimum situation with a supportive crowd. (For the record, I normally have no problem nursing under a blanket if I'm out and about somewhere, although I do aim to find a private place, such as a fitting room, if possible).

It wasn't supposed to happen like this. My baby was supposed to be home during this haircut, happily napping. If she woke up while I was still away, my husband or father (who's visiting right now) could feed her a bottle. But I ended up having to take her in for an emergency doctor's visit at the same time I was scheduled for a hair cut.

See, just before my hair appointment, I had called the doctor about what I thought was an infected eye due to a blocked tear duct. The area was a little puffy, and she had some discoloration under her eye. The doctor wanted to see her right away, since I guess the infection can become so serious that the baby needs to be admitted to the hospital for IV antibiotics. It wasn't exactly like I could say, "Well, I was just about out the door for my haircut, so could this wait 'til tomorrow?" Bad mom of the year award right there.

So we went to the doctor's office together and we went to the salon together. (They let me push the appointment back a little).

In hindsight, I wish I would have felt more confident to nurse my newborn sooner. It wasn't like I was whippin' it out for everyone to see, after all. She was under the dark cape.

As women, we so aim to please everyone. We worry what others will think. This sensitivity is polite, to some extent, but not so great when we compromise the needs of those most vulnerable--such as our newborn babies--to cater, instead, to the opinions and possible judgements of those with much larger stomachs and bigger brains.

This Coffee Talk Thursday, I'd love to talk about your experiences with breastfeeding in public. Do you feel comfortable nursing out and about (under a blanket or similar covering)? Have you ever had a negative experience with it? Let's chat! 


  1. It took me a while after my first child was born to be comfortable with nursing (discreetly and modestly under a blanket or covering) while in public. Whenever possible, I breastfeed my baby in our vehicle (when it's not too hot or cold) before going into the store or wherever I am going. Doesn't always work out, but I try. I can't say I've ever had anyone be negative about it. :-)

  2. I found that most of the time nobody realized what was going on, even though I (at first) felt horribly conspicuous. A good coverup that I wasn't afraid was going to fall off made all the difference. I was never good at using blankets. :-) I really appreciated the public places with nursing mother stations where the baby and I could relax and nurse in private.

  3. I just nursed my 6 week old at the park this afternoon! I use a cover if I'm in a conspicuous spot, but go without it if I'm just with female friends or family. My mom and all her friends breastfed their many children, and I think that helped me to be more confidant about feeding in public.

  4. It's 100% natural and the only thing that's strange about it is the odd opinions others form. Just tryn' to feed our babies.