Breast-Feeding in Public

As a new mother, there are a lot of firsts. First smile, first giggle, first time you get peed on, etc. Today, I was ready to tackle another first: breast-feeding in public.

I was meeting a friend at the downtown Whole Foods for lunch, so I saw this as a perfect opportunity. Whole Foods HQ is an Austin tourist hot spot, so I thought I would blend in as another hippie. When I walked in, I knew I was just what the scene needed. There was the man with the “LOVE AN ATHEIST!” bumper sticker on his laptop, the group of pierced, tattooed teens talking about how they “know what’s best for Egypt right now,” and the suits in the corner talking about their next big silicon idea. There I would be – the breast-feeding mother – representing another piece of Austin. You’re welcome, Whole Foods, I thought.

It is freezing today, so I had on a wool sweater (that’s important later). I chose a seat near the front, put on my nursing cover, and with a determined breath, I pulled Ridley out of his car seat. I swept Ridley under the cover, lifted my sweater, and said a small prayer.

There was, of course, the creep a few tables away who kept looking at me. I did not say “You’re Welcome” to him.

The wool itched Ridley’s face, so he screamed and flailed. The static cling from the wool stuck to the nursing cover, and everywhere Ridley’s arms went, so did the cover. I recovered (literally) nicely and avoided exposing myself. Nice work, Hil, I thought.

And then it went. Thirty minutes of a happy baby eating away while I enjoyed eavesdropping that only a pretentious organic grocer can provide. The ambassador-pierced-tatooed teens let it slip that they weren’t actually from here: “we have got to try Tex Mex before we leave Austin, where is On the Border?,” the suits ended their meeting with handshakes and predictions about AMD, the atheist continued to google famous atheists, and I stared back at the creepster with an intense, intimidating stare until he stopped looking at me.

As I finished feeding Ridley, I peeked his head up from the cover. He burped two perfect burps and didn’t spit up. Perfect. Then he smiled. Even more perfect. I had done it. I breast-fed in public.

There I was feeling so pleased with myself (smug … well, arrogant, really), and feeling superior to those who couldn’t maneuver almost-exposure moments as well as I could. For a moment, I had the whole world figured out. As I stood up, I realized where I was sitting. My table was next to the glass arm rail, directly above the escalator from the underground parking garage.

Anyone who entered Whole Foods between 10:45 and 11:15 a.m. today totally caught some side-boob.

Humility regained.

You’re Welcome, Whole Foods patrons.

  1. #1 by Stephanie on February 1, 2011 - 4:39 pm

    At least it wasn’t nipple!

    • #2 by hilstreet on February 1, 2011 - 4:54 pm

      Steph, I love seeing your reply next to your smiley picture. Makes me smile to imagine your smiley face saying that.

      • #3 by Stephanie on February 12, 2011 - 9:06 pm

        LOL. I was smiling when I wrote it. Oh, and I’ve pumped in my car while Mason was driving and had truckers look over and stare. So I’ve been there, 🙂

    • #4 by Lacy on February 2, 2011 - 1:09 pm

      This was too funny. I’m so proud of you for tackling this important milestone. I never got to this point but one time did answer the door at home while nursing Charlie under the wrap. What a way to greet the FedEx guy!

  2. #5 by emiliekopp on February 1, 2011 - 4:56 pm

    I never thought I’d read a story about your boobs so intently. Thanks, I guess? 😉

  3. #6 by Husbanks on February 1, 2011 - 6:53 pm

    Ha. That’s awesome. I definitely think you lived up to the “Austin Hippie” stereotype.

    Peace, Love and Sideboob.

  4. #7 by Andria on February 1, 2011 - 8:50 pm

    Funny story! I was enthralled the whole time reading it. Now you can totally breast-feed anywhere!

  5. #8 by Lauren on February 1, 2011 - 10:47 pm

    Go Hil – you can check that off the list. It’s a rite of passage…like pumping in a car as you drive down MoPac…complete with side boob at 60 mph. 😉

  6. #9 by Ellie on February 2, 2011 - 10:35 am

    I kept reading this waiting for the “and then I realized”… Because we all have that first time. I loved this. Side boobage is so underated. Congrats on a job well done the first time!

  7. #10 by Tara on February 3, 2011 - 12:47 pm

    Lol, oh my gosh, loved this post! Good for you! And public feeding w/o husbanks or someone to help you! My first time was at a coffee shop, and my mom kept ‘helping’ by moving the cover the wrong direction exposing side boob. Sigh.

  8. #11 by hilstreet on February 3, 2011 - 1:20 pm

    I love that many of my friends have accidentally exposed side-boob while feeding and or pumping. ha!

  9. #12 by Jennifer on February 3, 2011 - 5:01 pm

    HAHAHAHA. I love you so much.

  10. #13 by Sean on February 4, 2011 - 1:25 am

    That was you???

    • #14 by hilstreet on February 4, 2011 - 11:24 am


  11. #15 by Becky on February 5, 2011 - 8:04 am

    Haaaa! Love this post! You are braver than I, my dear! Proud of you for tackling that.

  12. #16 by Misty on February 9, 2011 - 10:23 am

    I just nearly shot my coffee out of my nose – I was laughing so hard! It is a rite of passage, that utter humilation of the new nursing mother when you ineveitably show some stranger (or all of Whole Foods) your boobs. I’d say you did pretty well that it was just a side shot! Abby always thought it was hilarious to wiggle till both of my hands were full trying to readjust her then she’d pull the nursing cover off of us completely, showing anyone near us my entire boob, baby attached. I got good at attaching the cover to my nursing bra under my shirt.

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