Saturday, February 16, 2013

What my boobs are for

On Facebook last week, Chronicles of a Nursing Mom posted the story of Kathy Chua-Grimme. She wanted to breastfeed her baby girl while they were out shopping at Festival Mall. But since there was no breastfeeding lounge and because she was gawked at by other shoppers, she was forced to retreat to a toilet stall and sit on the floor to nurse her baby.

A lot of mommies sympathized with her and said she should just use a nursing cover or borrow a shop's dressing room or hide in a quiet restaurant. Other moms called for Festival Mall to build a breastfeeding lounge while commending other malls for already installing nice nursing rooms.

This is how I feel about it: Whenever and wherever you are, just pop out the boob and nurse your baby!

I know how Kathy feels. I have nursing covers. I have special clothes with built-in flaps so I can cover my baby's face. I wrote to Power Plant Mall to ask them to build a breastfeeding lounge (Power Plant's Tin Coquiero told me they are now building two!). I have been there—trying to feed my baby while covering myself up and getting stared at by people, knowing that they're not thinking, "Oh, what a great mom she is!"

I struggled for a while. It was especially difficult when the boys didn't want to hide under a cover anymore. They wanted to observe the world as they ate. How do I breastfeed and be modest at the same time?

You know what, I just realized and embraced that the two don't belong together. A mother shouldn't have to think about modesty or being decent or offending other people. All a mother should be thinking about when her child is hungry is, "My child is hungry. I must feed him!" No hiding, no shame.

Bottled Up! from mire molnar on Vimeo.

You know, I never had boobs. I was a flat AA. That's flatter than flat. That's almost concave! Then I got pregnant and now I have breasts. Obviously, they're not for sex or for my husband's pleasure or so I can look good in V-cut tops. Those are just the happy by-products of having swelled up mammary glands!

But the real reason I have breasts is so I can feed my children the best possible food I can give them. Any biologist or scientist or doctor will tell you that breasts are for feeding your young. So when my children ask for milk, I have to feed them. Don't take that away from me. Don't take that away from my kids!

14 comments:

  1. Sorry, I laughed at the sentence That's flatter than flat. That's almost concave!" Haha! I feel you, I feel you. And yeah, people should stop being so kitid about BF-ing. Labo talaga ng mundo.

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  2. YES!!!! so true. we should know who to please and for a BFing mom, it should be her famished kiddo :)

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  3. I read about Kathy in Facebook too. Breastfeeding moms do not belong in the comfort room, the same way that we adults do not eat there. But if the need arises, who really cares if you pop out a boob? Deadma lang.

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  4. I once breastfed on the plane without a nursing cover or a nursing outfit and I was sitting on an aisle seat. She was crying so bad during takeoff that I know only my breast can pacify her. Had to put aside my shyness so I lifted up my shirt and breastfed her. She quickly slept. I felt proud of myself for doing that. :)
    I also tweeted Powerplant to have a nursing room. Glad to know they're acting on it. I breastfeed in Gingersnaps fitting room. Good thing their staff are very accommodating.

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  5. i know how it feels. to breastfeed sa toilet. even in north america, Walmart does not have any breastfeeding stations. for a time I nursed inside a toiet cubicle, i pity my son for i know he got disturbed with the smell and the sound of toilet flushing! He is now 15 months and we still nurse. I got a little smarter by politely asking to use fitting rooms so that I can nurse my baby.

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  6. Hear, hear! Jacob's now 21 months old and still breastfeeds, but I find it harder and harder to nurse him in public because nga he doesn't like being under our nursing cover anymore! That's why I'm ever so thankful for breastfeeding stations in malls. As much as I'd like to breastfeed him wherever, whenever. I can't because I'm so 'blessed' up there. Nahihiya ako not because of the act of nursing my child, but because my milk makers are really, really big! :)) I hope when I lose weight, I'd lose like 60-80% (much to my husband's disappointment! But what the heck! I can't even run!) of it so I can nurse more comfortably. LOL!

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  7. I'm glad you talked about this, Frances. I also read the story the other day, and I felt sad and angry at the same time. So others can flaunt their boobs for no real reason and there's no problem with it, but when a mom needs to feed her child, suddenly it's indecent? Ano ba! There's no shame in breastfeeding!

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  8. I can relate with the "flatter than flat" boobs, I had one too but breasfeeding changed all that now. I feel for Kathy and the mothers who must breastfeed "in secret". I used to do that too, yun itatago ko but now I realized na hungry na ang baby ko, so what if you see my nipple, you can't have it naman. Hehe. Better to see the boob than have my baby wail from hunger.

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  9. I keep my nursing cover handy whenever we go out. But my unruly toddler now refuses to hide under it when nursing. So deadma na lang if flash the boob! Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed my son so why should I feel ashamed?

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  10. I've never known you with flat boobs. Haha! Me, naku: They're flat again. They were only voluptuous during the nursing years.

    Thanks for writing this, Frances. I remember sharing Kathy's story as well, and felt dismayed at the way things happened for her. This says it all. "A mother shouldn't have to think about modesty or being decent or offending other people. All a mother should be thinking about when her child is hungry is." BOOM. As a mom who nursed for over two years, this is one thing I've learned and have stuck too.

    Parang I can't wait to have my next baby and breastfeed again!

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  11. read about this in facebook too. my daughter is 14 months old and still breastfeeds. i thought i would be fine about the gawker here and there, but once somebody actually commented "ang laki na ng anak mo, dumedede pa rin?!" with matching snide expression. she doesnt like to be under the cover either so yes, i know how it feels to shrink against all those weird looks when i breastfeed. sana talaga people can be more open about it.

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  12. One of the baby shops has a nursing room and diaper changing room. I forgot the name - if you walk towards Robinsons Dept Store wing, you'll see it. I know I can't be wrong because I was so happy to see it! I'm not bfing anymore - but I'm happy for the breastfeeding moms! :-) -mommymich

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  13. Yes to this!!! I am sure breastfeeding lounges would also be open to pumping moms. I pump when I am out and for that I have no choice but to do it in a toilet stall. I try my best to have all my gear at a ready and to not touch any of the space but still this is so unhygienic =( It also sucks when you get a knock at the door from those who do not know what's taking you so long inside!!! =( Really hope this become a norm in our malls

    <a href="http://missusmadmusings.blogspot.com/"missusmadmusings</a

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This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!