When you breastfeed for any amount of time, you wind up going about it in some weird-ass places. I asked moms to share the worst place they've ever had to breastfeed because I know, from my own experience, there are some doozies. A smelly bathroom. A broom closet. A tiny booth in a pizzeria squeezed next to two other people. Yes, those are just some of the places I've had to feed my babies, but I'm going to go ahead and declare the worst place: the beach.
I know what you're probably thinking: "The beach is so nice and relaxing! I don't see why that would be so bad." Wrong. Breastfeeding on the beach (more specifically, breastfeeding my very wiggly 11-month-old son on the beach) was a sandy nightmare. First of all, he was so excited to be there that he kept popping on and off like my boobs were a damn cruise-ship buffet. Secondly, his being on the breast didn't prevent him from also wanting to play in the sand, which resulted in sand everywhere (including my nipple) which resulted in him gagging, which resulted in spit getting all over me, which resulted in even more sand sticking to me. In short, beaches and breastfeeding are a terrible combination.
Based on discussions with friends, however, there are some contenders out there. Here are just a few:
"On a packed New York City train. People stared and he popped off constantly because of the noise."
[Writer's note: Don't worry, Marissa. The good people of New York have surely seen far more nudity on the subway. I know I have.]
"Next to my father-in-law at dinner in a restaurant. He was obviously uncomfortable, but he was so sweet and kept talking about how great it was that I was breastfeeding and how natural it was and how I should feel free to do it anywhere and any time I wanted... but that just made it so much more awkward."
[Writer's note: OK, Ella, you must have misunderstood the question, because I said worst place. This sounds awesome.]
"Great Adventure, with the roller coaster roaring by every few minutes... in the heat... after having been on the log flume."
[Writer's note: for those of you who grew up in New Jersey, you know exactly what Great Adventure is. For those of you who didn't, it's a Six Flags franchise that we native New Jerseyans will allow you to refer to as "Six Flags" over our dead bodies.]
"On a toilet. In a cathedral. During my son's baptism. The mean church lady didn't like kids being fussy before being dumped in a vat of holy water (it was a full immersion baptism) and made me leave. Luckily my amazing sister-in-law came to fetch me before it was my guy's turn. Don't worry; I'm not still bitter about it or anything."
[Writer's Note: Wow, what an amazing sister-in-law, Rachel! She must be so kind and thoughtful and talented and probably also writing this article!]
[Writer's note: I always knew Goofy wanted to #normalizebreastfeeding.]
"Porta-potty at the Renaissance Fair."
[Writer's note: When I suggested to Helen that, surely, there was more boob exposed in all the corseted costumes, she replied "It was more people dressed up as furries that weekend" and I will tell you, Helen, as I told Ella, I said the worst place.]
"At a picnic at my boss' house. I went to a quiet spot in her yard to be alone but she insisted on coming over and wherever she went a whole bunch of people followed, so I wound up flashing areola to several co-workers."
"In Williamsport, Pennsylvania, we had one of the largest cemeteries in the Eastern U.S. right in our backyard (here's a pic of the view from my son's nursery). It was created in 1863 and there's supposedly a good side and a bad side. I Googled it, learned we were on the good side and fed my son many times when I was walking the dog. So I would say 'Haunted Civil War cemetery in my backyard' was probably the worst, but also Denny's."
[Writer's note: I'm saying this without irony — that was a sick Denny's burn.]
"Extremely long line at a downtown post office while getting my then 2-month-old's passport. We had to wait for nearly an hour and by the time my number was called, there was no way I could make him wait until we were done. The kiddo was hanging off my left boob like an earring while the clerk witnessed my signature. Fortunately the people around me in line were mostly women, including one Jamaican lady who said, 'Mamas gotta do what mamas gotta do. Feed that boy!'"
[Writer's note: This is seriously the quintessential "Breastfeeding in New York" story from my experience.]
[Writer's note: But you have a pope who's down with breastfeeding now, Hillary!]
"On a boat, motherf--ker, on a motherf--king boat."
[Writer's note: Well-played, Sarah.]
"In a closet at my sister's house. It wasn't that I felt I had to, but I wanted to escape my family at Thanksgiving. Well, when you have a newborn you don't get alone time, so I had to bring him with me and I wound up breastfeeding next to my sister's shoe rack."
"In front of my aunt-in-law. No matter how well the babe was feeding, she'd think it wasn't good enough and tried to come over and man-handle my boobs until it was acceptable to her standards on several different occasions."
[Writer's note: not actual footage of either Allison or her aunt-in-law. This is a lactation consultant who has been asked for assistance, which is the only instance interfering with a nursing mom is OK.]
"Literally anywhere I breastfed because I hated it."