How sad is it that I can't imagine this being shown on PBS today?
All joking aside, I have to say that I think this is so sweet and beautiful, with the tinkly Mr. Rogers piano music in the background. And those little wagging goat tails? "Feeding can be an wonderful way of expressing love." You said it, Mr. Rogers.
Speaking of nursing, Violet and I are doing pretty well these days. The discomfort was much more manageable this time around and I was pain-free right around 2 weeks. Violet is doing a really good job with the breastfeeding. Now at 11 weeks, she's not quite to the stage where she latches on practically without assistance but she has mastered nursing in the side-lying position (a real necessity, I think) and her increased head control just makes the whole thing easier. I have diagnosed myself with a bit of overactive letdown which is less than ideal. Some days I blame the situation on the pacifier use but it's not really possible to know; my highly unscientific anecdotal perception is that a lot of moms have more milk and faster letdown with their second baby because boobs say, "HEY! I HAVE DONE THIS BEFORE! I KNOW WHAT TO DO!" Anyway, for whatever reason, she has markedly different nursing habits than Grace-- her nursing sessions are much shorter and not as peaceful and she seldom nurses for comfort or falls asleep nursing. It's not quite the fix-it-all comfort mechanism that it was for Grace, either; Violet seems to prefer walking around in the sling when she's overwhelmed or fussy. Breastfeeding is SO much easier than it was in those first weeks but we still haven't gotten to a really easy stage. I'm hoping that we get there, and have even toyed with the idea of ditching the pacifiers in the hopes that she would nurse more frequently but more slowly and eat less during a single feeding.
It did eventually get super, super easy with Grace and that's when I really got comfortable nursing in public with her; it didn't seem as important to be at home in my specific spot on the couch with my specific pillow and all that. I do nurse Violet in public some now, of course, but I still sort of mentally try to arrange my day so it's minimized because she's not super good at it yet. At church I still go back to the "cry room" when Violet needs to eat; I have joked with Rob about going back there lest the unthinkable happen and someone catch a glimpse of my boob in the seconds between unfastening my bra and her latching on. Seriously, do those rooms seem to anybody else like they subtly reinforce the taboo of breastfeeding? On the other hand, the chairs are more comfortable and you can chat a little with other moms during the sermon... (Bad Julia!)
Another thing that I think is indicative of this taboo are those nursing covers. What is up with those? Yes, the fabrics are cute (always a good thing in my book) but they seem to be just one more thing that communicates the message that nursing is weird and needs to be hidden. I am not a fan. On the other hand, I do think that anything that helps more women breastfeed and breastfeed longer is a good thing, so if those covers do that, then maybe I am a fan at some level? I don't know... I am a very modest person with pretty high standards for how much skin I show, what my clothes communicate about who I am, etc. but I do not at all think it is immodest to feed my baby in front of other people. Everyone's favorite hippie moms over at Mothering magazine have this project where they have collected images of mothers nursing in various public settings in order to help other mothers feel comfortable nursing in public. It's a Powerpoint file, which is kind of annoying, but it's still a really lovely collection of images. Christine at welcome to my brain also has a weekly feature of breastfeeding pictures that she puts out there in the effort to normalize breastfeeding. This post particularly makes the situation clear. Our culture has somehow been trained to be uncomfortable with something that should be normal, and it has negative effects on our babies (who are breastfed at really terrible rates in the U.S.) and on mothers. I have some half-constructed theory rattling around in my head that this taboo is linked to sexual objectification of women and a failure in our society to recognize women as multi-faceted whole people. Whatever the cause, you really feel the taboo when you are in the stage of life of nursing a baby and it's just PLAIN WRONG. So here I go, doing my part to normalize breastfeeding, talking openly about it and you know, bringing Mr. Rogers into the picture.