I'm pretty modest, but you'd never know it from the way I breastfeed in public. It's not that I'm super-comfortable with my body. (I'm still a work-in-progress in that department, even when it comes to breastfeeding.) Instead, I believe that one of the best ways to counteract our cultural nipple-phobia is to breastfeed like it's no big deal—without a nursing cover, "over-the-collar" if necessary, whenever and wherever my baby is hungry.
And Westley's classmates have noticed. A few kids in particular are not at all shy about coming right up and cooing over the baby while she's happily sucking away. Yesterday, one of the little girls sidled up to me after the class sang their "Good-bye Song." She studied Ivy, and then looked up at me with question-mark eyes.
"She's eating," I explained.
"Why is she eating your boob?"
"She's drinking milk from my breast. That's where the milk comes out. It's the perfect food for her."
The little girl thought about this for a minute, and then ran off to join the kids who were staying after school to play on the playground.
I scanned the group of parents who were standing around chatting, curious to see if the girl's mother had noticed our little interaction. She hadn't. I wanted to shout, "Hey, how come your almost-five-year-old doesn't know about breastmilk?" I didn't. People—especially mothers—have varied and often emotional relationships to breastfeeding, which makes it a subject I'm unlikely to discuss with adults I don't know well.
But if kids come to me with questions, I'm going to tell them the truth.