Thursday, October 4, 2007

At Kiddy Palace and breastfeeding

Two weeks ago husband and I took Anjali to Kiddy Palace, where she started to get agitated and began crying. I thought that perhaps she was hungry (this girl does not feed properly when she is outside, she's too intent on the sights), so settled on the floor of Kiddy palace to feed.

Almost immediately a staff from Kiddy Palace came along to tell me that I couldnt feed here, but asked me to go to the toilet. I didnt want to make a scene, and therefore left.

The next day, I wrote an email to Kiddy Palace, explaining the situation and how impolite it was for staff to prevent mother's from breastfeeding in their store. I got an immediate reply, an apology and a promise to reinforce the importance of breastfeeding to the staff. They even sent me a VIP card. So all that was fine.

But here is a lesson to learn. breastfeeding in public is fine. Think about it, if you were to decide between you (false) sense of modesty and your child's hunger, what would you choose?

"You are so comfortable with breastfeeding" said a young mother as I was breastfeeding Anjali in the clinic before her vaccination. "Dont you feel uncomfortable?". Perhaps I did. Perhaps I still do. If I had a comfortable private location to breastfeed her, I would do it. There was a very nice breastfeeding room at Takashimaya that husband and I went to when we took Anjali to the toy fair. There was a fairly nice baby care room (basic, but sufficient) at the ica building when we went to get Anjali's passport. Most of the clinics have a breastfeeding room, which is well occupied.

But the thing is that these places are far and few, and climbing four levels of escalators in a huge, crowded mall to find a nursing room, especially when Anjali is crying, is not a very favorable thing. So, for me, the alternative was to breastfeed, as discreetly as possible, there and then. I am not the only one, nor do I suffer from family pressure to stop feeding. More than anything else, people around me are encouraging of breastfeeding, and in that I am lucky.

And ofcourse Anjali loves it.

I read Damomma's article on Leave moms alone and that left me with a thought. what happens if I want to breastfeed Anjali after she is a year old? Would I still be able to feed her in public as casually as I do now, or would I be more prude? I guess that only time will answer these questions, but for now, all I can say is that we have come to an equilibrium and we are both comfortable in it. Of course there will be changes as she grows, but we will always reach a new equilibrium. That is what the relationship is all about.

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