If you breastfeed, you've been there: stuck in traffic with a hungry baby whose wailing to be fed and no exit ramps in sight. It's a classic example of stuck between a rock and a hard place. Traffic is inching along, barely moving, and the tiny human who depends on you for sustenance needs you. It can be a horrible experience for everyone involved.
One mom who was stuck in a traffic snarl from an accident decided to take matters into her own hands and feed her hungry baby—while she was behind the wheel. In a now-deleted video posted to her Instagram account, mom Raquel Reynolds can be seen positioning her infant to latch while she tries to negotiate traffic.
In a version of the video shared by the Daily Mail, Reynolds can be heard talking to herself about her decision to nurse from the driver's seat. "We're sitting in traffic and Baby's hungry...it's so dangerous," she says. "It's a bit crazy but what am I supposed to do," then begins trying to soothe her baby.
Illustration by Sarina Finkelstein; Getty Images (2)
After Reynolds shared the video on Instagram, she was flooded with comments, some supportive and some...not so supportive.
It can be a gut-wrenching choice—to be forced to decide between your helpless child's need and being safe. As parents, we have an instinctive, lizard-brain reaction to our baby's cries. We experience physiological responses, the biological imperative to act, to feed, to soothe. In a situation like the above, feeding the baby, caring for the baby, responding to its cues, is the only thing we think of, the biological imperative weighing heavy on our bodies.
Studies have shown that mothers are hard-wired to pick-up or soothe their crying infant. Mothers from around the world, from wildly different cultural backgrounds, different ethnicities, and different parts of the world showed similar brain activity when exposed to their crying infant. The instinct to pick-up, talk to, and soothe their babies was present in the majority of the women studied.
Fighting against that kind of pressure—the biological need to comfort your baby, your brain telling you to stop whatever you're doing and respond—that's a hard battle to fight.
But if we're in a situation that makes responding to cues a hazard, as when we're driving down the highway, it can be a heartbreaking tug of war between responsible parent and lizard-brain parent. We just have to keep doing our best to meet the needs, both biological and safety, of our littlest charges, and hope we make the right decision. Sometimes that means pulling over to the side of the road when safe and other times it means driving through the screams until you get to a safe place to stop. That's pretty much parenting in a nutshell.