I dreamed last night that we were snowed in and stranded, so I nursed a friend's baby. Which reminded me of something I hadn't thought of in a long time, which is the time I DID nurse a friend's baby.
We were out shopping with our babies, far from home; she'd forgotten her diaper bag; we were considering whether she wanted to buy a pack of bottles and a can of formula and then try to wash the new items and mix a bottle in the bathroom; and while we were talking over the options we went to the baby section and found the store was out of the kind of formula she needed. My friend remarked how convenient breastfeeding must be for me at times like this: there's no way to forget the bottles, no way to be out of the formula, no need to ask a restaurant employee for some warm water. We discussed if we needed to just abandon the outing and go home, or if we should load the babies back into the car and drive to another store to get the formula.
I think I was the one who raised the idea. I said something like "Too bad I can't just nurse her!" And there was a little pause as I waited for my friend to be grossed out and she waited for me to be grossed out, and neither of us was grossed out so we thought we would just go ahead and try it: maybe the baby wouldn't be willing, and then we'd abandon our plans for the day and drive to another store that had her formula, or stay here and get a different kind of formula, or WHATEVER, but in any case we'd call those Plans B and C and D, and now we had a Plan A.
I'd often mulled the idea of nursing someone else's baby, and of course until very recent times such things used to be commonplace. Whenever I was nursing a baby of my own I'd wish it were possible to offer "Breastfeeding Daycare," where I'd take care of someone else's baby and also nurse the baby during the day. That would work great, if weekends wouldn't then be kind of a problem---and if it were legal, which considering the extremely strict regulations for childcare services I'm guessing it isn't. (And can you imagine calling around to find out?)
With my fifth baby, I'd become pretty immune to The Alleged Magic and Wonder of Breastfeeding. Hum de hum, shirt up, latch the baby on, sit there and read a book while ordinary biology does its ordinary thing, done and done. But nursing someone else's child brought the stun factor back into it: I am FEEDING THIS BABY. We are MAMMALS. MAMMALS!
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...