“A person who is avoided or rejected by others for moral or social reasons: ‘she was a social leper'” –Google definition–I know I am not a leper, but breastfeeding has caused me to feel like one many times. I enjoy breastfeeding and am glad I am able to provide for my son, but too many times I have had to remove myself to feed him.
I do not think it is okay for women to just whip it out and feed in public without covering up. I am sorry, but no matter what you are doing with it it is still a boob and I do not want to see it! That being said, I will breastfeed, if necessary, in public, but covered up and as far away from people as possible. Many times this has led me to leaving and feeding in the car. Today we were at the park with friends, and with the fear of one of the kids lifting my cover, or the wind catching it just right, I chose to go to the car. No one asked me to, this has always been my choice, but I do it for fear that someone will see something I don’t want them to. . I guess this is how I differ from a leper, I am the one avoiding others, no one is avoiding me.
Not only has this affected me in public, but also when we have guest over. I leave the room and go to the baby’s room all by myself (well, the baby is with me). I hate it! I feel like I am missing so much. The conversations don’t stop when I leave the room. I don’t have much company, so when I do I don’t want to be gone for half of the fun. Feedings take 20-30 mins. every two hours, which means I am normally gone about an hour while they are over. A lot can happen in that time.
Pumping is even worse. When I pump, I really am alone. I feel it is important so that my husband can have a chance to feed him and so that I can have time away from him if needed and he can get fed. But not even my husband wants to talk with me when the pump is on.
Tonight, as I expressed my feelings with my husband he realized that he needed to do more to make me feel comfortable and welcomed. I went to the bedroom to pump and he called me into the office with him and told me to pump there. I don’t think he knew how much that meant to me. I don’t get to spend that much time with other people, him included, so it was nice that instead of spending 20 mins by myself I got to spend them with him (in a way).
I know most of the time I am still going to miss out. But talking with my husband has helped tremendously. If nothing else, it will make him think twice before leaving the room when I am feeding or pumping. He knows that I need his company, even if we aren’t talking.
Advice: If you are feeling left out, like a leper, than talk to someone about it. It can be your husband, mom, friend, or any one that will listen. It will help, even if nothing changes you will know that someone knows how you feel.