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Breastfeeding

This is a story about Superheroes in Mormon-filled Utah, and about my breastfeeding in public, in front of men, uncovered.

I breastfed uncovered in public in front of men for the first time yesterday. I am an endowed, active member of the church. I want to explain why I did this yesterday so that you may understand.

Two weeks ago, I spent 48 hours in Primary Children’s Medical Center with my “failure to thrive” underweight baby. It was awful. It was rough. He even had to feed with a tube down his nose for one whole, long sleepless night.

Because breastmilk is so important to me, I learned to pump and that is what I do now, most of the time. Baby needs to use fewer calories to get his milk, and my milk supply goes up. He formula feeds, on top of whqt I give him. Yesterday’s outing with my family of 8 was all planned out. I brought the bottles, the formula, the electric pump and the manual pump. I brought my cover-up, too.

We went to ride the tram at Snowbird. When we arrived, I forgot I needed to pump milk right then, or lose my milk supply and not have as much the next day. I also might get a breast infection, which means fever, pain and throwing up. But I had forgoten, so we got our tickets, which took much time, and rode up on the tram.

Upon arrival at the top, we heard the announcement that in 20 minutes, we’d be going back down. My brain calculator figured things out. I was supposed to have pumped 45 minutes before. A 20 minute wait to go back down would follow a 10 minute ride down.

Our underweight baby also had to eat. We had the formula and bottles in the van. A walk back to the van and set up time to start pumping would follow one breast waiting for its turn with the manual pump. My breasts felt full and they needed emptying. My husband would have to hike 15 minutes back to a place to get warm water to make a bottle of formula (add 5 minutes). Then it would take him 15 minutes to get back. The manual pump, the cover-up and the electric pump were way down the mountainside in the van. All of this calculating, I did rather fast. I did not even figure a total. I just knew that there was only one good solution.

So feeling like a brave superhero mom fighting for her baby in extenuating circumstances, I asked my husband to hand me the baby. I turned away from the crowd. I pulled up my modest shirt, exposing my breast and my garments to the beautiful cliff and mountains, and put my baby’s mouth over my nipple. He started eagerly sucking. My family and I enjoyed the beautiful scenery, and then it was time to go back and get on the tram.

I turned and started hiking while breastfeeding in public, uncovered, in front of about 13ish men, and many women and children. The men were all heroes to me, all acting like it was not noticed, averting eyes, then speaking as if they had not noticed me, about other things, to their wives, girlfriends, children and grandchildren. The women who felt uncomfortable were also heroes, by holding their tongues and not giving judging looks. What heroes. They probably felt uncomfortable, but it did not show, if they did.

Thank you, all of you on that Snowbird tram, for not saying anything rude to me. Thank you for not judging me. Thank you so much for making it no big deal! You are all superheroes to me, and you make me want to cry from gratitude!

None of these people knew my backstory. None of you know any woman’s backstory, when seeing her feeding in public, exposed. I encourage you to be superheroes, like those in my story. I encourage you to find out a woman’s backstory, and, even then, let the true Judge, be her judge. That is not you. That is Jesus Christ.

I share this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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