Unfiltered Mommy

An honest view of parenting in today's world

Soaking up that new baby smell

Every day I spend with my 7 month old is filled with joy. I get to see all the “firsts” I missed when I had to go back to work after my oldest was born. I love watching her discover her body and learn new things about the world around her. I love all the sweet, slobbery baby kisses and hearing her screech and squeal with delight.

Since we are not sure whether or not we will add any more children to our family, I am trying to capture every moment and remember that these are the the best days of my life. I already mourn the idea of never being pregnant again. Never again feeling a baby kick inside me and watching my uterus expand each week. It is a truly amazing thing to carry a child in your womb. Pregnancy was not always easy, but I guess I was on the “lucky” end of the spectrum as far as that goes. I didn’t have any major issues and all in all I feel like my body handled it very well.

The other day when I was giving my baby a little squeeze, I couldn’t help but notice how good she smelled. You hear people say it all the time but babies really do smell sweet. Especially breastfed babies. I put my nose in the crook of her neck and as I inhaled I thought about how this experience will soon be over.  I spent the first month of her life cuddling her in my bed and doing skin-to-skin because I knew that this might be the last time I got to cuddle a newborn, my newborn. As I watch her grow from the nourishment she gets from my body, I am humbled and thrilled to have a front row seat to this amazing experience. There is nothing in life that compares to being a mother. But I have to admit, it is bittersweet. As the days pass by, a part of me laments the passing of time. I do not want her to grow up. I do not want to never have another baby and not experience this all over again. I cannot  imagine not loving on an infant like this ever again. Some people bide their time and wait for the baby stage to end. But for me, I wish I could stop time and keep her small forever. Even as I write this and she pulls my hands off the keyboard to discover my wedding ring or to push random keyboard buttons for the first time I’m tearing up.

There are many things that I will miss about the infant stage but one I will surely miss is soaking up that new baby smell as she nuzzles near. She smells like a sweet little slice of heaven.

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It’s a boob! Get over it!

I’ve never understood, nor will I ever understand why some people have a problem with seeing a mother nurse her infant. Can it really be true that breasts have been so over sexualized here in the good ol’ US of A that people forget that humans are mammals? Or maybe they forgot that one of the things that make mammals, mammals, is the ability to lactate. Or perhaps it’s the fact that breasts are the mechanism in which said milk reaches a young nursling that eludes them. What ever the reason, it infuriates me.

Some say that they are trying to protect their kids. Protect them from what? Finding out that our amazing bodies were designed not only to create a life to but to provide all the necessary nourishment it requires to grow? I find this excuse extremely absurd. If a child sees a nursing mother it is an opportunity to teach them this as well as for them to see that we too are members of the Wild Kingdom. I love how people try so hard to convince themselves that we are so “civilized”. Like breastfeeding is so beneath them. I say get over yourself. Would you really rather teach our youth that feeding an infant a chemical concoction that is chock full of fat and sugar and made in a laboratory somewhere is better than mother’s milk?

Now I can see people requesting that nursing mother’s cover-up. While I personally don’t agree with this either, I can comply with this request. And for my own personal modesty, I chose to cover myself while I am nursing. But it is my own personal preference to do so. There are occasions when I either forget my nursing cover, don’t use it because it is inconvenient or too hot for my baby under there, but these instances are few and far between. And more often than not, if I have qualms about nursing in public without my cover or prefer not to use it, I usually make my way to a more private place where I can let it all hang out like a dressing room or my car. But again this is because this is my choice and not because I am ashamed of breastfeeding or because I don’t want to offend anyone. If I need to whip out my boob and feed my baby “RIGHT NOW!” believe me I will. And watch out for the angry mama bear if you chose to say something to me because I will not try to spare your feelings just as you have not held back when you decided to share your opinion with me. And really, it’s a boob. Get over it!

I know that some moms don’t use covers for various reasons and I support them in that. It helps pave the way for all of us when these women are so open and comfortable with their bodies.  It empowers me to be a little bit more bold the next time I am questioning myself, and gives me hope that someday our society will once again support breastfeeding just as it previous generations did.

I remember about three years ago when a friend of mine in Germany had a baby and I sent her a gift. One of the things I got her was a nursing cover. She didn’t even know what it was so my husband explained it to her and she said “Why would you need that?” Silly me. I should have known better. In Germany, breastfeeding is the cultural norm. Nursing mothers are not shamed, escorted out of buildings or told to feed their children in bathrooms. But of course this is what you would expect from a country that gives working mothers the first full year off of work to care for their child and a second year if they so desire, where sidewalks accommodate strollers, and every citizen has health insurance.

This week I read a Facebook post where a woman was nursing her child in the locker room of a gym to calm him down. Apparently another female gym-goer was offended and reported “the incident” to the gym staff. The manager of the gym told the woman that she was not allowed to nurse her child there and explained that she could go to the restroom off of the childcare area. She was then escorted out of the locker room. She felt humiliated. This just happened here, this week. Here in liberal, progressive Southern California. I was deeply saddened and appalled by her story. This was a gym near my house. A gym that my husband and I are also members of. Being a nursing mother myself, I immediately contacted the woman and told her that I will support her in any way I can. After all, it very well could have been me in the locker room that day trying to calm my 4-month old. I can’t believe that things like this happen every day even though the State of California law 43-53 Section 43.3 clearly states:

 Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present.

Sadly, this is not the first instance of a breastfeeding mother that I know of being discriminated against here in the San Diego area. Just a few months ago, the child of another woman I know personally was excluded from group presentations after his mother was seen breastfeeding at a school event.

Hopefully, with the help of social media to help spread the word and ignite a rage in those who feel strongly enough to speak up on this issue, we will see some change in the way our society views this natural exchange between a mother and child.

For more information on California Law 43-53: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/healthyliving/childfamily/Pages/CaliforniaLawsRelatedtoBreastfeeding.aspx#breastfeedingrights

If you feel that your right to breasted in public have been violated or would like more information about your right to nurse in public, contact the San Diego Nursing In Public Task Force  at http://sdbfc.com/yourrights/