Monday, October 4, 2010

What's a guy to do?

I nurse in public like it's my job. Then again, it kind of is. It is my job to keep my baby fed. I still remember the first time I cleared a room. Baby A was about a month old, and my old roommate from Denver had come home for a visit with her boyfriend. I bundled up baby A and took him over to her parent's house to visit. Of course he was cluster feeding, so of course I had to feed him.

I'm a professional nurser. (Like I said, it's my job) I wear two shirts. I use a burp cloth to cover any thing that may be seen while baby A is trying to latch. I don't mess around.

But the look of horror on the boyfriend's face still surprised me. I have never seen a person jump up so quickly. His face turned red and he went to head (I mean run) out of the room. Followed by roommate's sister and other friend. (He mumbled something about not being able to look at another woman's breast in front of his girlfriend.)

There I sat with my long time friend while I fed my baby. The friend that I had spent many late nights at the bar with. The friend I had left in Denver (along with the party lifestyle) to return home to Michigan to get married and have children. The three of us were all alone. I give my friend props for staying with me. We could hear everyone laughing; having a good time in the other room. It forced her to chose between her old roomate that she hadn't seen in a year, and everyone else. (I'm not going to lie, I'm glad she picked me.)

So what's a guy to do?

I'm a huge lactivist. But I understand not everyone else is. I appreciate that not everyone has seen a woman nurse her baby. Men especially, can feel a lot of stress in this situation. Let me offer some advice.

1. To stay or go?

Stay were you are. If Mom starts to nurse in front of you, it's because she thinks its normal. If she wanted to be cast off from the group, she would leave. Let her enjoy your company. She's surrounded by baby talk all day. Don't take grown up time away from her!

2. To talk, or not to talk?

Follow her lead on conversation. Some babies are easily distracted. Others could nurse through a tornado. Men have no way of knowing this, and to be honest, moms don't either. It can change from day to day. If mom wants to talk, talk to her. If not, keep checking your Facebook on your phone.

3. Where to look?

Babies are cute. And for the most part, so are the containers their milk come from. Stare if you must. The same rules apply to bottle fed babies as breast fed babies. If you would look at a baby eating from a bottle, feel free to look at the nursing baby. If you shy away from babies in general, check your Twitter on your phone. These containers are often cuter than a bottle, but just as you wouldn't take a bottle out of a baby's mouth to suck on it yourself, don't ask the baby to unlatch so you can admire them up close.

In summary:

If a mom wants to nurse in front of you, take it as a compliment. She thinks you can handle it. Go with the flow. And if you're going to look, just make sure it's at the baby. Never, never ever look at a nursing mother's stomach!


  1. Well put! I tried nursing, but my little monster refused and no lactation consultant could I pumped until my supply dried up.

    My intentions were to nurse. Publicly. Sometimes life just gets in the way of our plans though. ;)

  2. Erin- Great job for trying! That's awesome! I give a lot of props to women who pump! It is quite the chore.

    I hope you are happy with the way things turned out! You did great!