How Not to Breastfeed in an International Airport

Since Adelaide’s ophthalmology breastfeeding “moment” received some laughs, I will share a story very few people have ever heard.

Graham was what they call a frequent cluster nurser. Meaning he tried to kill me. For the first 4 months of his life, Graham nursed every 45-90 minutes. From 4 months to 7 months, he was still nursing every 2 hours. Then, after we started some solids at 7 months, he stayed at 2 hours. Just to keep me on my toes. We didn’t move to every 3 hours until closer to his birthday. At 14 months, he self-weaned. Then, I finally lost those last few pregnancy pounds…which led to Adelaide.

I always used a cover with Graham. Because he was my first. And I was so self-conscious I couldn’t even function worried about offending people. Even in the heat of summer, that child was under a cover. A few examples:

nursing cover 6

nursing cover 5

nursing cover 4

nursing cover 3

nursing cover 2

nursing cover 1

Let me be clear: I have absolutely nothing against covers. I used one with Adelaide in certain environments. Like when I forgot to wear a nursing tank and didn’t want in-laws to see my belly.

nursing cover 8

And I will use one again with this baby. But, I have learned that the tiny part of my breast that shows during breastfeeding is far less than what you even see on ABC Family, at a magazine stand, or walking through Wal-Mart. I have also learned that no one is even watching me.

But when Graham was a baby, I was in everyone-is-looking-at-me-all-the-time mode…it is infamous with new moms. We think our child is the loudest of any child around. We think every stranger is watching to see when we will do something wrong. Then, we realize with our second children, that most people are so self-absorbed they don’t even notice us or our kiddos.

We were at the airport when Graham needed to eat. The boy usually refused bottles, so I rarely even bothered with those. So, I grabbed my cover {and screaming child} and made my way to a secluded section of the airport. We couldn’t see or hear anyone. We were away from all people and their eyes. There was no way I would offend anyone. We were all situated and doing well. Then, a man decided to sit in our little deserted section. I readjusted the cover. Wrapped it around Graham’s body, just to be sure this stranger didn’t get a glimpse of anything. Why he chose that seat, I have absolutely no idea.

His phone rang. So, Graham did what any baby would do. He unlatched, flipped up the cover, and looked for the exciting noise. It was like a horror movie. My worst-case scenario. My entire breast was exposed. But, it got worse. I shot milk almost 6 feet. Into a stranger’s eye. Literally in his eyeball. I juggled covering myself and keeping Graham from hitting the floor. I was burning red and ready to cry. The stranger got up and walked away. No words. No expression. He didn’t even wipe his face.

I was immediately relieved. I would never see him again. This was an international airport for goodness sakes! Everything was going to be just fine. I finished nursing Graham. Burped him. And made my way back to my family.

Who was sitting there waiting for the same flight? He wouldn’t even make eye contact with me. I pretended like we had never seen one another. Fortunately, we had only a little bit left to wait for our loved ones to arrive. Until the flight was delayed. And we were there for several hours. I was stuck in one of the most awkward moments in history. With no escape.

When it first happened, I should have said so many things. “Oops! So sorry! He likes your ringtone!” or “I’m sorry. Do you need a baby wipe?” or “Why did you sit here, weirdo? Were you wanting to see something?” Ok. I wouldn’t have said the last one, but I was sure thinking it.

This scenario wouldn’t have happened with Adelaide and will never happen with Baby Tomato. Graham unlatched and flipped up that cover, because he couldn’t just look out the corner of his eye and see it was someone we didn’t know. My babies actually tend to look around and unlatch less often when uncovered…with Adelaide’s ophthalmology appointment being the exception. And if it does happen again? I already have my line ready in case someone else gets it in the eye. “Great news! You are less likely to get an eye infection now! You’re Welcome!” Just doing my part to share the healing properties of breastmilk…

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4 thoughts on “How Not to Breastfeed in an International Airport

  1. Elise says:

    Oh my word Lyndse!! That is hysterical. I feel like I missed out on trying to shoot someone across the room in the eye with my breastmilk. I love this story. I’m glad you can laugh about it now. I’m pretty sure I would have burst out laughing if it had happened to me. Thank you for sharing.


  2. Gail Ross says:

    Lyndse. I love reading your life stories. You are so humorous and I get such a kick out of it all. When my daughter was a baby, friends were visiting and she needed to nurse. I was to self consious to nurse in front of them until he finally said, – please gail, feed that baby. She is hungry and i am not watching. and he didnt. he was very kind. but i know how awkward it can be at times. Keep your sense of humor and keep the stories coming because I love reading them.


    • Lyndse says:

      Gail, I love that we can stay connected across the miles! Love you! And thank you for always reading, liking, commenting, and encouraging. You are a blessing. : )


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