Thursday, May 11, 2006

Why I Love People With Gray Hair

Caitlin just posted this story as a comment and it's such a lovely one that I wanted to put it up here so others would be sure to read it.
When my daughter was three weeks old and I waited for my husband to pick me up from the dentist, she decided she needed to nurse. This was a small conservative Louisiana town (before Louisiana passed its pro-nursing law), and there was a little old lady (LOL) staring at me from a few chairs away. I threw a blanket over my whimpering daughter and tried to get her latched on. As a new mom, I found a good latch hard to manage even when I could see, and manipulating a full breast and a starving newborn under a blanket was not a skill I could manage. Baby began to scream. LOL stared. I frantically tried to manipulate my nipple into baby's mouth. Baby shrieked and flailed under the heat and restrictiveness of the blanket. I was about to burst into tears myself when LOL leaned over and said, "I breastfed all 14 of my children." I discarded the blanket, baby nursed contentedly, and LOL and I had a lovely chat. May all you nursing moms be blessed with LOLs, and may everyone let you (or your kids' dad when he shops with the little ones) cut in the checkoutline whenever need be.

Some people have commented here that older people are the ones who complain about mothers nursing in public, but in my experience, older people are more understanding, helpful, and patient than others when I'm out with my kids and are the most likely to say something positive about me breastfeeding. My daughter has always been the kind of kid who makes an effort to get people around her smile, and even as a baby, she seemed to know that anyone with gray hair was an easy mark. She would get the attention of some grandma or grandpa while we waited in check out lines and without fail, they would respond and strike up a conversation with her and me. Recently, while nursing my son at Tryon Creek Park's nature center during the Trillium Festival, an older gentleman who was sitting next to us struck up a conversation with me about how the Hebrew name for God has been incorrectly translated into English. "It should be literally translated as 'god with the nurturing breasts'." He went on to tell me that he sees lots of mothers nursing at his church these days and that he thinks it's a wonderful thing. I think that older people supporting nursing mothers is a wonderful thing. (Oh, and if anyone can point me to more info about this "god with the nururing breasts" thing, I'd be much obliged.)


Anonymous said...

I think one reason older people are often more supportive of breastfeeding (which has been my experience, too), is because they were around in the days before formula was invented or pushed. Breastfeeding probably seems completely ordinary to them!

purple_kangaroo said...

I love your title, because I'm actually a young mom with gray hair. LOL. I know what you mean though.

michelle said...

Ooops, I accidently left this message in the Baba Wawa section but oh well. El Shaddai is the name for God or "one with the nurturing breats" =-)

Waya said...

I didn't realize there was such thing as a "pro-nursing law"? And how do you think those politicians were fed when they were babies? Breast-fed, probably!

I grew up in Viet-Nam and that was the only way that we were fed, breast-fed (and most of the other Asian countries). So, when I had my children...that was the natural thing to do, in private or public. It's only boobs, people!!

I received a lot of weird faces when I nursed in public from the younger generation. They have this disgusted look on them. Wait until they are mothers themselves.