It finally happened. This past weekend, when we were out and about at the mall, my five-year old became hungry. I knew I'd have to face this one day, so I was well prepared and stocked. Before we left, I went through great lengths to fix him a nice, big breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast without the crusts. I thought we could make it for a leisurely trip to the mall before he got hungry again, but who am I to question the incredible metabolism of a kindergartner boy. Like I said, because I had been anticipating this moment his whole life, I was proud at how well-prepared I was. Tucked neatly into one side of my purse was a beautiful aqua and brown silk scarf that unfolded to the size of about half of a table cloth. From a deep, hidden inner pocket I pulled out the freshly bought 6-pack of peanut butter and honey whole-wheat crackers. We were so lucky to find a quiet, dimly-lit corner next to the sporting good store that had a comfortable bench for two that sat next to a humongous fern that was just about as tall as me. The fern served as a natural shelter and because it was still early, there were only a few mall-walkers swiftly pacing the perimeter of the stores. I made a quick tear in the wrapper and sat my five-year old between me and the fern. I discreetly threw the beautiful scarf into the air so that it spread out like a kite and landed gently on his head, draping delicately over his entire body. And for the next 10 minutes (my boy is a slow eater), we sat there in silence with nothing coming from under the silk scarf but the occasional crinkling of the plastic wrapper and the messy crunch sound of my son's baby teeth breaking off a piece of the cracker. People walked anxiously around us and shot us quick glares, but they kept walking on, so I breathed a sigh of relief.
By now, if you don't think that we are complete freaks, then you probably are one yourself. Why would the above scenario sound any stranger to you than a new mother breast-feeding her newborn infant in public? Why do we expect unreasonable levels of "modesty" for women who are just trying to offer critical nourishment to a new life form, that so desperately needs it? Not to mention the fact that (man alert!) our breasts quite literally do magically become engorged with this life sustenance called breast milk when it is naturally time to feed our offspring. I know, crazy, right? And you know what happens if we pretend like it's not happening and we go about our regular routine? Well, we leak. We ache. And our freakin' babies starve, people. Females have been nourishing the lives of their babies since the beginning of time and kids have been hungry since they entered into the world. So what exactly is the big deal again? Does it make any sense at all that you want us to sneak around in dark corners and shadows, literally cover up and hide our children under blankets and scarves, just because you can't handle a little glimpse of our nipples? If you can't keep yourself from getting aroused at the sight of me feeding my child, then you may need counseling. If you are a sister who thinks it is unbecoming and not lady-like for me to whip it out in public, tough. I'm pretty sure that my kid's survival trumps your prudeness. If you are a spoiled kid who happens to walk by and points and laughs, let me tell you something little fella, you were sucking a nipple or two just a few years ago. And your mommy probably hid you under a scarf. If you're looking for things we, as a society should be more modest about doing in public, here are a few to get you started - shooting bullets at one another, belittling and degrading our kids and wives, dressing our pre-pubescent girls up like hookers, and tweeting pictures of our friends sexually assaulting passed-out drunk girls.
But for the love of God people, let the infants drink their milk with some dignity.