To My Baby Girl,
Did you know, that when you were a baby, that I fed you in the bathroom?
It seemed so normal at the time. I thought I was being “respectful” of people eating in the restaurant, or shopping at Target. I wasn’t thinking about my immense respect for your tiny form. Granted, I never sat in the stall. Instead, I awkwardly held you standing up (Even though we hadn’t quite mastered that skill yet), shirt cocked up, stomach exposed, swaying nervously, as I nursed you. I swayed to comfort you, but in reality, it was to soothe my own unease. Because for some godforsaken reason, even nursing in a disgusting public bathroom was still “nursing in public” to me, and I was afraid of what someone would say. Looking back, I was ashamed to feed you normally, out and about, around people. Ashamed of my huge, milk-laden breasts, afraid your friendly blue eyes would want to greet someone, flashing my nipple for all to see.
I’m so sorry.
I shouldn’t have felt ashamed to feed you in public. Instead, I’m ashamed I nursed you in the bathroom.
Now, my strong willed, brilliant princess, at almost 6 years old, you would look at me like I had two heads if I handed you an apple and shoved you in a public restroom to eat it. Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? So why did I think it was okay to nurse you in the bathroom then? How is it that mothers are so determined to raise brilliant, empowered women, yet still be afraid to feed their children in a way that is respectful… to their babies?
Read this: The Importance of Normalizing Breastfeeding by Lauren Lewis
Breastfeeding you was the first best thing I could do for your development
I’ll always be proud that I nourished you for the first 16 months of your life. Watching you grow, smile, coo, and learn at my breast created a bond like nothing else. Together, we struggled and overcame, all for your immune system, your gut, your social-emotional development. What I didn’t anticipate was how much it would change me as a mother.
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I didn’t anticipate that choosing to breastfeeding you, would help me find my own power as a woman and mother? That it would teach me to love and embrace my body, what it does, and what I choose to do with it. Those awful moments, breastfeeding, alone, standing awkwardly in a public bathroom, trying not to make eye contact with every woman who walked in- those moments taught me that not only were you better than that, but that I am, too.
Now I know better, and I promise I’ll teach you better, too
You will grow up knowing your body is a temple, and to embrace it in all of its strong, capable glory. My wish for you is that you never feel ashamed to hide its beauty and capabilities in order to make society feel comfortable. May you continue to push boundaries, fight for what’s right… and never feel like you have to nurse your child in the bathroom.
Because really…. gross.
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Latest posts by Lauren Lewis (see all)
- “I fed my baby in the bathroom” - January 3, 2018
- The Ultimate Give Away Party: Breastfeeding World’s Week of Thanks-Giving - November 21, 2017
- The Motherhood Support System You Were Looking For Is Here- The Milk Mates Project - September 12, 2017