Table for 11, two highchairs, please.
Grandma offers, oh so nicely, to take the crew out to dinner tonight. We love grandma!
Buying dinner for ten is not cheap. She's got a hankering for coconut shrimp. Red Lobster, Fabulous! Our stance is, if she's paying, we'll pretty much go anywhere... and for that matter if anyone else is paying, we're good to go.
We go early, so the kids are generally decently behaved. It also helps that we starve them before we go... ;) Because we are a large group, mostly comprised of kids, we generally get the preferred seating in a back room with other families. No complaints. Works out better for all involved. Tonight was no exception.
There were two tables of four adults just finishing as we entered. They left shortly after our arrival. A little while into our meal a small family joined us. Mom and dad had a three year old and an infant, I'd say, eight weeks old. Two other tables had employees sitting at them completing work related duties. And of course that wait staff came and went- very attentive, I might add.
The baby was fussy. Mom wrestled the baby out of her sling, unbuttoned her blouse, lowered her tank top, unfastened the nursing bra, and latched that baby on. One breast still in the bra, but not a shirt, and the other, well, the nipple and areola were well hidden in the baby's mouth. The rest, of the rather large, breast was out for the world to see. After the baby was done, mom let it all hang out for a few minutes, got up, gave the baby to dad and then sat back down. She pulled the nursing panel of her bra up, leaving it unhooked, and ever so slightly lifted the top part of her tank up. She proceeded to yell at the waiter for daring to bring french fries to her table and then when her soda was empty, marched halfway across the restaurant, to the bar for a refill. All with her shirt unbuttoned and breasts hanging out.
I would defend her right to nurse in public. I even formed the thought in my head that if a restaurant employee had intervened, I would have stood by her right to feed her baby.
I nursed in public, frequently. And have witnessed many other public nursing's. I was never comfortable with a blanket over the baby and I know there was at least one occasion that I was on the receiving end of a dirty look and the woman marching the other way, youngsters in tow. I feel confident that my breasts were not out for display.
I am far from modest and have no issue with my children watching this all take place. Nudity is not an issue in our house. The baby was darling, the family quiet... I have no complaints.
But, the thought that kept going through my head was- 'this is what ruins it for the rest of the nursing mothers'. The display of breasts, not the actual nursing.
We weren't in her home, or my home, or anybody else's home. We were in a very public restaurant that she marched through to get her soda... boobs all a flutter.
P.S. She didn't look like she forgot to button up, it was painfully obvious her blouse was not buttoned, and her partner never said a word. Her demeanor shouted 'don't even try and f*ck with me'.