Typically, Desmond nurses laying down on the bed or in a chair with a sturdy armrest. He’s like a big lovable Lab that runs into your lap licking your face and expecting to stay there, not realizing they are way too big and way too heavy. He doesn’t lick my face, but he’s big and heavy and can’t quite keep still. Nursing him in my lap probably looks like a mess of arms and legs frantically trying to fit in a space that’s just a tad too small.
At the playground, we usually end up sitting in the grass, and he nurses there. A few days ago, Desmond was breastfeeding and was spotted by a boy he was playing with earlier. The boy was bumbling about, half waiting for Desmond to play again half just jumping around. When he happened to glance our way he stopped suddenly. He didn’t know what to think about Desmond nursing. He danced closer to us bobbing in and out of my view. He finally got up close enough to ask “What is he doing?” I said “oh, he’s having milk.”
The boy wasn’t quite satisfied with that answer. I could tell he was still confused. It didn’t seem like he knew anything about breastfeeding. Perhaps he’s wasn’t breastfed or was weaned very young. Perhaps he didn’t have any siblings or cousins young enough to come across it. I never really know how to answer little kids when they ask. I didn’t want to launch into a long explanation; so I kept my response short and to the point. And I smiled.
He danced around us a few more times before he went off to find his mom. I could see him at the corner of my eye asking her to come over but she wasn’t paying attention. He kept asking, yanking her in my direction. The mom never stopped talking on the phone but allowed herself to be pulled over to us. When she caught a glimpse of what her boy was asking about, Desmond nursing, she yanked the boy back violently like he had witnessed a horrible act. She yelled at him. I’m fairly certain she didn’t answer any of his questions.
I don’t know what she said or what she was thinking. Maybe she felt embarrassed and thought I wanted privacy. To that I say, I was in the middle of a playground nursing a big toddler without a cover. Nothing in my demeanor asked for privacy. What will that poor boy think about breastfeeding? That it’s something very bad. So bad that his mom yanked him away from it to keep him safe. Sigh.