I went to visit a girlfriend and her new baby boy today at the Naval Hospital. When I arrived, she was heading into a breastfeeding class, and asked that I stay and join her. I thought, what the heck...I might learn something!
There were 4 new mommies in the room. They were all memorable in their own unique ways, but there was one who stuck out for the wrong reasons. She was an attractive, young woman and from the look of her and her boyfriend/hubby/baby daddy she was about 20. The class was clearly optional and run by the lactation consultant on staff.
This gals baby started to cry during the class. The young Mom tried to soothe the baby in his bassinet, but was unsuccessful. The lactation consultant allowed the babe to cry for a while, she clearly didn't want to rush the mom or make her more nervous, before she stepped over to the gal and asked her if she would like to feed her baby, since it was rooting and giving all of the signals that he was hungry. The girl quietly said she would rather go back to her room. The LC (strongly) encouraged her to feed him, but if she was more comfortable, to go to the back of the room.
This poor little crying newborn baby was being put on hold due to this young woman's shyness, or modesty. Here we are in a breastfeeding class, in the maternity ward, surrounded by new Moms and their babies, and this gal didn't feel comfortable feeding her baby in front of anyone... In the rear of the class, after several minutes (which for the new Mom, likely felt like 10 years...), the gal was able to get her baby latched on while under the careful drape of her blanket and rejoin the class.
I couldn't help but feel bad for this gal, and moreover for her newborn son. I wondered why this woman was so uncomfortable with her body? Was it youthfulness? Was it insecurity? Was it embarrassment about exposing her breast for her baby to suckle? Was it at her partners insistence that she be modest? Who knows. All I know is that it 'seemed' like her baby was going to be fed only after his mom's modesty issues were addressed...a fact which seems pretty sad to me.
To me...there is nothing sweeter than seeing a baby suckle on its mother breast. There is nothing more satisfying to me than the act of nursing my baby. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that my baby is growing and thriving with each drop of milk my breasts provide. I only wish I could express to this girl the love, the bond, and the satisfaction that comes from nursing your baby. It supersedes all modesty, and is worth every sore nipple, sleepless night, and extra pound gained.
But, alas...I left the class with my girlfriend, walked her back to her room, said my goodbyes to Mom and beautiful baby boy, and went home to give my baby the breast.