“Oh, I’m Sorry, I didn’t realize you were breastfeeding…”

How often do you hear that sentence?  In the past month, I have heard it once and experienced it wordlessly one other time.

While flying back from Charlotte NC I was alone with my son.  I don’t even want to count how many times we have flown by ourselves.  The only way I would consider it is if I am babywearing (godsend for flying, let me tell you) and nursing (godsend for inside of the airplane).  Since I am still able to do both it was no biggie.

On the flight from Charlotte to JFK I sat next to a large, but nice and friendly man who was more than happy to make conversation with Fletcher and I.  Once the plane took flight I knew what I needed to do to make everyone’s experience positive.  Nurse.  It was nap nap time for my son, and time for me to watch TV on Jetblue!  I was wearing a nursing tank, the Hotslings Milk Daze (which I am reviewing and hosting a giveaway for soon!!!) and I pulled over one layer and latched him on.  All the while, the man next to me is chatting us up.  I didn’t want to say anything to him, but I assumed he would figure out what I was doing and pay attention to his screen.

Instead, he continued talking to me.  He even tried peering over to see if my baby was asleep.  He seemed completely oblivious.  Since I am not shy at nursing in public, and I knew my nipples were covered by baby and my breast was mostly covered by my tank, I wasn’t offended.  Maybe, if I had a regular tank top on and my breast was pulled out of the top, I would have made more of an effort to tell him what was actually happening.  “No sir, my son isn’t asleep yet, but he is breastfeeding.”

Soon, he did go to sleep, and I put on my headphones for the universal sign of “I would like to relax and discontinue conversation, thank you.”  Our conversation ended until landing and he never was the wiser.

Just a few days ago, a similar situation occurred.  I was at the mall with a friend, and she was chatting with someone she knew.  My son was a little hungry, and very grumpy.  After the usual tactics to calm him and save my sanity, I went to the tried and true: milkies.

We sat on a bench while they chatted and I pulled my sweater up and unhooked my nursing bra.  He laid across my lap and had a light snack.  Then, a woman and her 2 year old daughter came to the bench.  She stood her daughter up on the bench to outfit her in the proper winter attire to leave the mall.  That day, it was a full suit because it was freezing!

Next to me I saw the most adorable shoes I have ever seen.  They were Mary Janes with pandas on the tip.  I was dying!  I struck up a conversation with the woman and commented on her daughter’s shoes.  We chatted while they got dressed (the girl also had a matching hat and mittens!).  When they were close to leaving my son finished so I sat him up and pulled my sweater down.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were breastfeeding.”  I let her know it was no trouble, and nothing to be sorry about.  It was a normal thing we were used to doing.  Then she let me know she nursed her daughter til she was 16 months, and only weaned at her daughter’s cues.  That was a wonderful thing to hear!  Not many mothers make it to toddlerhood.  I think we had a little “bonding” moment as we gushed about how much we loved nursing our babies.  Then we said goodbye.

Encounters like this always make me wonder, what is the big deal about nursing in public?  There is always a way to be discreet (unless you simply don’t want to, which is another matter) and nurse with no breast visibility.  Maybe, if you are very large busted it is harder or impossible.  I have never had one of those so I don’t know!

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