In a twist on the typical stories we hear about nursing in public, one mother got a sweet surprise from her server after breastfeeding her baby in a restaurant. The act of public breastfeeding can be a fraught one for parents. They may get stares, glares, comments, or harassment for trying to feed their child.
The uncomfortable reactions are Arizona mom Isabelle Ames was so touched when her waitress, Erica, handed her a free pancake and a note while she nursed her 10-month-old daughter, Charlotte. Ames posted shared the note, along with her reaction, on Instagram.
Ames explains that she was breastfeeding Charlotte, who has been harder to nurse now that she has six teeth. When Charlotte was finished eating, Ames writes that "my server came over and said, 'this pancake is from me, to you. Here is a little note to explain why.'" The note thanked Ames for breastfeeding her daughter at the restaurant, Snooze, An A.M. Eatery. Ames said she was "teary eyed" and "gave this incredibly sweet stranger a hug."
She goes on to explain why she was so overcome with emotion at this small gesture from her server. "For those of you who don't understand why this is meaningful, I will put it into perspective," she wrote. "Breastfeeding is one of the hardest things I have done, next to labor. No one prepares you for it, but everyone expects you to be excellent at it. You feel like a complete failure when it doesn't happen right away."
Ames goes on to detail the struggles she had trying to establish a nursing relationship with Charlotte when she was small. She explains that Charlotte had difficulty latching when she was first born. It wasn't until she was six weeks old that Ames was able to latch her and breastfeed for the first time. She spent the first six weeks of Charlotte's life pumping and struggling with a nipple shield.
As a fellow breastfeeding mom, I relate to Ames' post. My first child didn't latch right away, either, and it took two weeks of pumping and crying and putting her to my breast before she finally did. There were so many times I wanted to give up, and no one would have blamed me if I had. I was either pumping or feeding around the clock, never sleeping more than an hour at a time. When my daughter finally latched, I cried with relief. For something that's supposed to be natural, the lack of education and support nursing parents receive can feel isolating and devastating.
Ames says that lately, being a mom has been hard. "But for a complete stranger to see me, and say 'thank you'. I felt like she was there on my journey the whole time, and she knew how many times I wanted to give up but I didn't."
Finally, Ames addresses how frightening it can be for parents who nurse in public. "So often, before I feed Charlotte in public I get a twinge of fear... But not today. Today I got love, respect and a free pancake."
The world needs more servers like Erica.
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