Today we attended the Breastfeeding Awareness Caravan Subway Ride. It began 4-5 years ago when word of mouth spread that a woman was ticketed by a transit police officer for exposing herself. She was nursing her infant at the time.
The purpose is to bring awareness to a woman's right to breastfeed in public in addition to the 'Breastfeeding Bill of Rights' which was recently passed by the NY Senate.
What I got from the event wasn't so much about breastfeeding but how fortunate I am to have a small band of moms in my neighborhood who freely share their experiences as a new mom, seasoned mom, working mom and/or stay at home mom.
We all have babies ranging from 8 months to 18 months yet we have the same apprehensions, worries and triumphs to share.
It really helps me put things in perspective.
Today we were a bunch of moms who shared the accomplishment of being extended breastfeeders. We do have mom in our group that formula feed or hybrid feed but due today's festivities we were mainly extended breastfeeders.
We talked about everything during our ride and I realized that we share many commonalities. We are concerned with sleeping. We have had biting issues. We have had our pros and cons regarding co-sleeping. Our spouses who support our decisions but who also occasionally ponder when co-sleeping will end, breastfeeding will end, when their wives will return to pre-baby menality.
We wonder the right time for another child is. We wonder how to have multiple children in a city that seems to be pushing more and more families away.
I'm not sure if all women have this luxury to be able to have women of all walks of life share openly their thoughts and feelings. I'd like to think more women do but sadly from what I gather regarding breastfeeding, many women are still feeling siloed and may not know how to reach out.
I met the group of moms and dads by simply walking out my building. By walking and simply introducing myself to moms and dads with children of the same age, I support a parent network began.
I know that this probably wouldn't happen in a suburbian area but if you live in a city or near a park, go to the park with you baby. Get some sun. Trust us, it will do you wonders, especially if you are spending all day nursing your child indoors. Trust me, nursing outdoors opened a whole new world for me.
I thought I'd be apprehensive but I soon realized by learning to breastfeed outdoors, I could go out and enjoy the day, see nature and break free from the four wall prison I felt closing in on me.
Plus, it helped build up my breastfeeding confidence. In New York, I fairly certain folks are so absorbed with themselves that breastfeeding will only noticed by other breastfeeding moms. That's how the conversation starts. You talk about your experience and the next thing you know you've struck up a conversation with someone who you probably would just pass by.
I suppose the whole point in today was for me to realize and appreciate how truly blessed I am to have met a group of parents who I am comfortable with sharing my fears and embarrassing experiences and/or confessions. I hope it continues as I continue down this journey of motherhood.