Nothing strengthens the bond between mother and child more than breastfeeding. A mother holds his child close to her body, gently nuzzling him into place. Their eyes clasped in filial, acknowledged love. The warmth shared between both their bodies telling the cold to come to some other place and shy away from them. The child’s remembrance of the familiar heartbeat, which is near, and which has been his assuring, constant companion in the womb, brings calm and guarantee that safety is at hand. And ultimately, the passing of life giving sustenance to a child, signaling a mother’s covenant that he will be nurtured, loved and cared for from this moment on.
I was at the restaurant last week, eating lunch with only my bag as companion, when I saw a mother tending to her baby. Oblivious to whatever or whomever was around, she unbuttoned her blouse and commenced to feed her crying son. As if by some form magic, the baby immediately stopped bawling. He’s hungry, she said to her companions at the table, seemingly half apologetic for the ruckus that the baby caused, and half announcing to everyone to mind their own business as the stares and disbelief among some of the patrons at the other tables began to brew. Breastfeeding in public is not yet truly accepted by everyone and it showed by the icy stares. My wife and I have been through that as well and I know how hard it is to defend what she is doing. I feel for her and her baby.
I was at the table next to them and I cannot help but hear their discussion. They were talking about what foods to avoid while breastfeeding. With all their hairs down, their comfortable clothes and large bags, they were all mothers! Surprisingly I assumed. One lady said that alcohol is to be avoided because it tends to make the baby weak, cause hiccups, and gain weight abnormally. Another said that the caffeine in coffee is also a no-no as it makes the baby irritable and cranky. While another contributed that spicy foods and garlic also must be removed in the diet as its taste is also passed to the baby. They were teaching the new mother, which was now re-buttoning her dress, as her baby was now in deep slumber, pointers to think about. They were all in agreement that it was important to watch what you eat when you are breastfeeding. I was so engrossed over their conversation, guiltily listening to their stories while pretending to read the newspaper that I almost forgot to eat the food that I ordered.
Looking at my watch, I saw that it was time to go. An appointment needs to be done. Begrudgingly, I stand up and leave these fine ladies to their conversation. I was hoping to listen more about their daily lives and adventures but alas, time is not on my side.
The experience I had in the restaurant taught me a lot of things. Foremost of which is a mother’s sacrifice for her child. From the pain of childbirth and onwards, she is the sole keeper of the well-being of the child, the one in charge. Those made me appreciate my wife even more. I never did know of all the hardship she went through raising our two kids. She never complains. I love her even more now.