This Mom's Experience Breastfeeding on a Plane Will Restore Your Faith in People
Although we often hear horrible shaming stories surrrounding moms breastfeeding in public, there are the occasional instances when people can act appropriately. One mother recounts her positive, but slightly awkward, experience with breastfeeding her daughter during a flight in this post originally featured on Mama Bean Parenting.
A few months ago, I was lucky enough to spend a week at the beach with my husband and daughter.
The bags were packed, our usual last-minute dash to the airport was complete and we were settling into our plane seats with a mixture of relief and excitement in our bellies.
My daughter is now 4 . . . and yes, she still breastfeeds.
So I wasn't exactly surprised when she asked me, half way through the flight, "Mama, can I have some milk please?"
We've all heard the horror stories, haven't we? About the moms shamed for nursing on a crowded plane. We've all read the sensationalistic news stories, no? About toddlers scolded for having their most basic of needs met.
These stories are wrapped in discomfort . . . the discomfort of the guy cradling his cow's milk latte from across the aisle . . . the discomfort of baby, whose feeding has been rushed, hushed, and kept under wraps (literally) . . . the discomfort of mom, whose face is flushed from having to defend her right to nourish her child.
Yet even with this context, I didn't sense any discomfort from my fellow passengers when I lifted my top to feed my daughter. One person smiled actually, but most didn't stop to notice.
Nor did my daughter feel any discomfort, quite the opposite in fact, as she found comfort on a boring flight in unfamiliar surroundings.
But for me, my goodness there was discomfort. Intense, awkward, unapologetic discomfort . . . although not in the way you might expect.
You see, plane seats are only so big. And 4-year-olds aren't exactly small. So to wedge us both into one seat . . . at just the right angle to allow her to latch, well . . . let's just say I earned my Gymnurstics Gold Star on that early winter morning.
Because gone are the days where I feel uncomfortable about nursing my daughter in public . . . yes, even though she happens to be 4.
Breastfeeding is biologically normal. There are no buts after that statement. It really is that simple.
Whether a nursling is 4 hours old or 4 years old . . . both are biologically normal and appropriate ages for a child to breastfeed.
Isn't it about time that breastfeeding lost its shock factor? Isn't it about time that this biological norm was understood and accepted?
Because (sing it with me!) we have to actually see something — regularly and in multiple contexts and forms — in order to view it as normal.
Let's normalize the normal together. One feed at a time.