I walked in on a mother breastfeeding. No, it wasn’t my wife. Yes, it was an accident and I felt horrible about it.
Yesterday I picked my son up from daycare. It was a gloomy day and the hallway to his room was dimly lit. Due to an assembly at school, I was later than normal and just wanted to get my little guy so I could feed him before his doctor’s appointment. Directly in front of the classroom door (which was shut) was a high chair. I focused on the chair, trying to figure out how the heck I would get Wolfe’s car seat over it, and completely missed the sign that said, “Do not enter. Mother breastfeeding.”
I charged in like a bull in a china shop. Everything went into slow motion. The daycare worker lunged to her feet, bellowing, “Don’t come in! She’s nursing.” I tried to apologize but I was still standing there with the door opened. Finally I made a frazzled retreat to the hallway to regroup. The teacher came out and I apologized again (although my offer to go in and bare my own chest–“See, I have breasts too!”–might have been ill-advised).
We negotiated an arrangement whereby the teacher would prepare my son and bring him out to me. I then lumbered out to the car, so beside myself that I crashed into a wall in the 2-year-olds room and woke everyone up.
On reflection, it wasn’t that big of a deal. The mom was under a blanket and I probably had the door open for a second, even though it felt like an eternity. The real issue is that US workplaces need to find better places for women to nurse and/or pump, instead of relegating them to broom closets or bathrooms. I get that it’s just a bodily function, but I wouldn’t want somebody walking in on me in the restroom, and if I were lactating, I wouldn’t want to be bottling that up or dishing it out in a restroom either. Women deserve the extra calories they burn while nursing, and they should also have a nice private place to burn them.
So if you see a woman posting on her “cranky mom’s” website about how some guy slammed right past the sign on the door and walked in on her while she was feeding her kid…well, she has a right to be cranky about it. I’m sorry. The good news is, today I was very careful to read all signs on the door, and I knocked before I went in. The bad news is, I woke up all the infants by knocking. Wolfe slept through it, though, so everything was ok for me. Until next time!