Kasia Sokalla is a great mom. Clearly she adores her daughter. In fact she breastfeeds, which we know is one of the best ways moms can show love for their little ones because there is nothing better than mama’s milk.
she is in the middle of a vigorous “breastfeeding in public” debate at her daughter’s day-care center. Sokalla insists upon breastfeeding Maya in the reception area and on the front stoop of the day-care. One father complained and the day-care owners do not think it is appropriate.
Pam Greene, director of Washington Street Children’s Center in Methuen, Massachusetts, isn’t so sure it’s the right thing to do in front of other people’s kids. She said Sokalla nurses 18-month-old Maya outside and in the main play area in the thick of the morning drop-off. “We didn’t think that was appropriate,” she said.
Although Greene offered two private rooms for Sokalla to use, she has refused each time.
The more I talk about breastfeeding in public, the more torn I am on the issue. On one hand I know and understand that breastfeeding is the best food for babies and toddlers and I know it is a completely natural practice. I also understand the only reason there is a debate about breastfeeding in public is because the breast has become so sexualized.
I cannot bring myself to be in this mom’s corner. What is so wrong with nursing in another room? Her baby is still going to be fed and parents don’t have to get all antsy. Everyone wins, at least on one level.
Let me share two personal stories with you. When I had my first daughter I was absolutely in awe of breastfeeding. It was purely amazing to me. Breastfeeding made me think of the world in a whole new way and I wanted to share it with everyone.
One summer evening after nursing my daughter my husband and I went next door because our neighbors wanted to see our baby. She was only a few weeks old at the time and I was still floating blissfully in the clouds of “new mother heaven”. The only thing I could think of was being ready should my daughter need to feed, so I went to a house full of people WITHOUT A BRA ON! I am big busted, so just image the sight. Not pretty! Although I only stayed for a short while it did not dawn on me how horrible that was until a few weeks later when reality set in and my head came out of the clouds. To my credit, though, my mind was steadfastly on feeding my baby. I could care less about the others who saw my floppy breasts.
On another occasion, this time at my father’s house, I disappeared suddenly to the bedroom to nurse. A few minutes later my brother came in to see where I had gone and walked in on me with my left breast exposed and my daughter nursing peacefully. He sat there for a few minutes talking until he couldn’t take it any longer. He left saying he didn’t feel comfortable (he was real sweet about it) to which I whispered, “I’m just breastfeeding.”
These two personal experiences help me understand the other side of the debate. Sometimes as moms we get so wrapped up in motherhood we fail to consider other perspectives. Perhaps, like me, it’s time for Sokalla to come down out of the clouds.