I'm very partial to the issue, as it literally is quite close to my heart. I'm not into politics and usually neither into public protests, but when my daughter was a baby, I did stand along with many other breastfeeding moms in front of the ABC headquarters on the Upper West Side after one of The View's TV show former hostesses made some offensive comments against breastfeeding. And there I was seven years ago, feeding my hungry daughter with no bottle nor zippy cup, making a statement on West 66th Street.
That's when I wrote this "article" that I tried (not very hard, though) to get published. None of the few publications I pitched to was interested, but now, I have a blog and I can write whatever I want (and only if you want, you can read it).
Here it is:
prayed as my mother’s best friend nursed her fourth daughter sitting
on a bench in the middle of Disney world. Then, I made a promise to
myself: I would never, under any circumstance feed my babies in public
without total coverage. That was when I was about 10. Almost twenty years later, I’ve broken my promise more times than I can remember. I’ve fed my little girl in restaurants, parks, planes, cars, hotel lobbies, bathrooms, stores,
Central Park West, friends’ apartments, museums, and although I
haven’t made it to Disney world yet, at this point I would do exactly
what my mom's friend did.
Have I lost my dignity? Maybe. But after having my breast out in the
air for 90% of the day (including the night), I’ve reached a point in
which I don't care anymore. Just for reference, if you’re planning on
breastfeeding exclusively as I did, at the beginning of his life, your
little bundle of joy will cry for food about every two hours, and that
time starts counting the minute he starts eating (not when he’s done),
which in the first weeks might take up to an hour. Then, experts
recommend to let the breast air-dry for about ten minutes to prevent
infections. By the time the breast finally makes it back into the nursing bra,
it'll be time to bring it out again.
Of course, the first time of doing it in public was the hardest. Our baby
was just a couple of weeks old when we all ran out to get some lunch
after feeding her. She was sleeping like an angel. But seconds
before they brought my salad, the little one woke up in fury demanding
to have lunch too. I felt electroshocks going through my body and cold
sweat running down my forehead. I couldn't see my face, but I could feel it
was boiling red. It was pouring outside, so running back home, as I had done in previous occasions, was impossible. The angel was roaring, so I breathed in deeply, took her out of the stroller, grabbed a blanket (of course), and tried positioning her so she would eat. In a failed attempt to find my nipple, she kicked, screamed and squirmed her little body in frustration as I held my breast with one hand, her body with another one, and the blanket with the third hand that seems to show up in every female body after delivering a baby. As I struggled, my mother-in-law was trying to help me hold the blanket on one side, but inadvertently uncovered the other one. I yelled to let her know what she was doing (but you should not yell at you husband’s mother) and then I tried telepathy as I repeated in my mind: “please, Vietnamese-restaurant-waiter, please don’t look in my direction. Please don’t look at my bare boob.” I don’t remember what happened next, but everything went all right, as I slowly began the practice of feeding my baby wherever hunger struck her. That’s how I became a “Mom Gone Wild.” I just lift my shirt whenever my baby needs to eat. By now, she knows her way quite well and suctions better than a Dyson vacuum. I still feel uncomfortable if strangers watch, but I’ve decided that if they do, they’re stupid, childish or perverts.
Don't worry, I will not give you a recipe to prepare breast milk, as that's more a Divine process than a kitchen task. But when I was a new mom, I barely had any time to feed myself. I lost a lot of weight and I barely ate anything but power bars. However, once in a while I would make no-cooking required dishes, and the following one is a healthy, quick, easy option that only needs a Tupperware container with a lid, and a can opener. No washing, cutting, cooking, marinating. Just mix and eat! Plus it is made with good for you veggies and legumes. Yes, they are frozen, not fresh, but when you have a crying baby on a strapped carrier on your chest, this is a good dish to make.
I dedicate it to all those hungry, busy moms feeding their babies. You have to look after yourself too, especially when you are a milk producing facility. I hope you enjoy it!
SHAKE 'N EAT SALAD
-1 (10-ounce) bag frozen organic green peas
-1 (10-ounce) bag frozen organic corn kernels
-1 (15.5 ounce) can cannellini beans (preferably EDEN brand), rinsed and drained
-2 teaspoons organic veganaise (or mayo), it's OK to eyeball it, or to taste
-1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar, or to taste
-Some drops of organic soy sauce (I like tamari)
-Nutritional yeast, to taste, optional
-1 pinch turmeric
- Black pepper, to taste
Empty the contents of the pea and corn bags into a plastic container (BPA free). Add the rest of the ingredients. Cover with the lid and shake to mix. Let peas and corn thaw for a couple of minutes and enjoy!
This is a great picnic or bring-to-playground food for you or a perfect while-baby-naps meal.
If you want to turn it into a full meal, serve it with hard boiled eggs, cooked salmon or canned sardines in olive oil.