Nursing, the early stages, Part I: I remember the first few weeks well. My nipples bled, and as my baby went to town on my sore nipples, my ex-husband slept peacefully next to me. I wanted to choke him. Thankfully I decided prison orange was not my shade, and he got to live another day.
Part II: Then there were the few nights during growth spurts in which my child became like a third boob. She nursed and nursed. And nursed. And nursed. Pulling her off would produce a cry until finally, we both started crying. All these years I thought my fun bags were for fun, but this was NO FUN AT ALL!
Part III, The Sweet Spot: And then it became easy. Like so easy I could poop, nurse, eat, and read a book. For almost 13 months, I didn't get my period (HOLLA!). We are talking no cramps, no PMS breakouts, and did I forget to mention that nursing made me eat like a quarterback yet not gain weight? Yeah, it was the sweet life. And free.
But with the pros and cons of nursing (pro: no period for me; cons: leaking in front of my male friends), the one thing I worried about the most after popping out a kid was this:
Will I feel comfortable enough to nurse in public?
I'm a high-energy broad. I wasn't going to sit at home until my girl weaned, and I'm a little OCD. There was no way this blonde was going to nurse in a bathroom. My dad thinks every freckle on him is a malignant tumor. That's who raised me. I rest my case.
I told myself no matter who or where, I was going to get out and be social — and nurse my kid without feeling ashamed. I was a new mom who was mostly at home and trying desperately to figure stuff out while healing over a C-section. I didn't need shame on top of the rest of the whole "new mom biz." No one ever gave me a hard time about nursing — minus one lady who eyed me funny as I sat on an outlet mall bench with my then 3-month-old, but I had a list of witty comebacks in case someone had something to say to me about my breastfeeding. Plus I live in the state of New Jersey, and the state laws say that a woman can nurse in public. So, I thought, let some fool say something to me. I'll get all preachy that it's the LAW!
New moms and pro moms: you have the right to be a functioning human being, and if that means nursing your kid at Starbucks so you can feel like an actual adult again, do it. And because I love you all, I've created these nine witty comebacks in case someone wants to harass you about nursing in public. Feel free at your own risk to use them, and never, ever feel like you have to stay on home arrest because you nurse. And if all else fails, use a nursing cover. It saved me many a time, and eventually, people got used to Laura with her nursing cover and her nursing baby . . . And people just kept their mouths shut.
The Freudian Analysis
If a man decides to comment on your public nursing, take it to the Freudian level. You might say something like, "I see you don't feel comfortable with my nursing. Freud would say that's because subconsciously, you find me incredibly sexy. It's possible you're thinking about my breasts because you are still stuck in the oral stage. Have you considered a good therapist?"
Be prepared to duck in case he swings a punch.
The Mother Guilt
Male or female, the next time someone gives you a nasty look for nursing your child — feeding him or her as you the mother chooses — lay on a little mommy guilt.
Say, "How would your mother feel if she knew you were harassing a new mom feeding her baby?"
Take it to the next level:
"I know you must have been a Girl (or Boy) Scout. Do you think they would revoke your badges for intimidating a new mom?"
Shame That Sucker
If you're a good actress, break out the tears. People will get especially uncomfortable with this.
"I'm just-just-just trying to keep it together!"
Then bawl for at least five minutes straight. No pauses.
The Woman-to-Woman Preach
If it's a woman giving you grief, try to get all uppity yet maintain an earthy tone.
Something like, "You know, sister, we're all in this together. Mothers of all kinds and shapes. Mothers of all kinds of ways. Acceptance. Tolerance. That will bring us together."
If she isn't sickened by this, continue to go on, and say how human bodies were meant to produce milk — most likely she'll be walking away rolling her eyes.
If someone is creepy at all — even the slightest — just stare back really hard and say something like, "I wonder if Charles Manson's mom nursed him. What do you think?"
The No Bathroom, Thanks
When someone gives you some lip about breastfeeding your baby, turn the tables.
"Oh, sure. We would love to go eat in the bathroom, in which tons of bacteria are breeding. I mean, would you like to eat your steak or burger on a toilet? How about you pull up a chair to a urinal — be sure to bring a napkin and fork. Are you hungry now?"
Someone doesn't like you breastfeeding at Panera? Try this.
"Oh you should see what it looks like after he/she nurses. The poop comes out in sprays. Like a damn water fountain. Green, yellow, brownish sprays everywhere. Like a poop hose. Wanna see a diaper? I can prove it. Or just wait a bit and you can see how far Junior can shoot his poop. It's amazing."
The Dry, Naughty Remark
"Do my boobs make you uncomfortable? Is the thought of my baby's mouth on my nipple making you feel squirmy? Does the thought of areolae in a baby's mouth make you feel unsettled?"
This is only effective when said in a deadpan tone. If you can't do that, try motherly.
All in a Boob
No matter what, don't feel ashamed. Nurse your kid and live your life. As a mom, you'll start to get used to other embarrassing things, like when your toddler gives you a titty twister in front of your friends.