A new mom breastfeeding in public got positive words from a stranger when she needed them most
Sadly, it’s not often we hear a story from a mom about her experience breastfeeding in public that doesn’t end in the reader feeling terrible for her. Usually, it’s tales of being asked to leave, cover up or being told it’s obscene to show boob in public. As if nursing moms wander Target with one breast akimbo, asking everyone to stare. Because that’s something we all do, right? BOILING RAGE.
Anyway, I digress.
The story of Becky Wetherington and her “empowering” experience breastfeeding her infant son in public for the first time is a wonderful one. She shared it with the breastfeeding site Breastfeeding Mama Talk and it’s racking up likes and comments from moms who are so happy to hear about someone being lauded for nursing in public instead of shamed and asked to move or leave.
Becky explains, “Dylan got hungry at Outback tonight. Other than struggling to nurse once in an empty restaurant when he was only 3 weeks old, the situation hadn’t really presented itself since then. We were just really good at timing and he was sleeping all the time.”
Ugh, so many of us have been there. I remember when my son was an infant counting any outing where he slept the whole time as a victory because I was outright terrified of nursing him in public. The first time I realized I would have to do it, I was shaking with the fear that someone would call me out.
Luckily, no one did. But no one said anything positive either, like the amazing comments Wetherington received from a total stranger. Acknowledging that she was “nervous,” she fed her son without incident. Then, this happened.
“Later, a lady came over to our table and put her hand on my shoulder to ask me if I’d been nursing my baby, and told me what a beautiful thing it was that I was doing, how good it was, and that I had a beautiful family.”
All the feels. What a wonderful woman to go out of her way to reassure a nervous, new mom that what she was doing was alright by her. Wetherington says, “I managed to not get emotional (just barely) but I was so touched – I hear so many stories of mothers getting nasty looks or harassed or insulted or asked to leave when nursing in public… How lucky am I for my first interaction to be such a positive one?”
Incredibly lucky. As a new mother nursing in public for the first time, it must have felt incredible to have someone validate her instead of asking her to cover her sliver of boob or retreat to a poop-scented toilet stall to hide in shame. These kinds of experiences can absolutely make or break a breastfeeding mother. If she were on the fence about nursing and had negative or shaming comments come her way, Wetherington could’ve easily thrown in the towel on breastfeeding.
According to Huffington Post, Wetherington felt apprehensive about nursing in public as breastfeeding isn’t common in her family. She says the interaction with the stranger at The Outback made her feel better about breastfeeding her baby in public.
When it comes to being successful at nursing, it’s the positive reinforcement that gives a new mom the confidence to try it again. Even if her hands are shaking, her boobs are leaking and she’s convinced that everyone around her is clucking their tongues thinking she shouldn’t be doing what she’s doing, a mom can call up the memory of the time someone told them what they’re doing is awesome. This kind woman telling Wetherington she did something great obviously went a long way toward shoring up the new mom’s confidence.
And no doubt, she’ll keep these comments in mind the next time she nurses in public. Wetherington ended her story by saying, “The next time the situation arises, I think I’ll feel empowered instead of paranoid.”
As she should.