This time around on the baby train, I've definitely expanded my repertoire of semi-public places to nurse in. I don't know if it's because I'm more laid back about the whole thing or because kiddette is hungrier than her big brother was (which I find hard to believe, considering his monster appetite). For instance, I discovered handicapped fitting rooms in department stores work nicely, because the stroller fits in them and there's a seating area. But it does bring up the Miss Manners question: "So, Miss Manners, does a hungry baby get dibs over a disabled person looking to try on a blouse?"
I was using just such a fitting room recently when I heard a knock on a door -- couldn't tell if it was my door -- and a woman poked her head in, saw me (didn't see much else, I'm quite discreet), apologized and backed out. I heard her wheeling something away and muttering something or other about trying the store's other set of fitting rooms. And I thought, Oh dear Lord, I just prevented a woman in a wheelchair from using the fitting room legally designed for her use. And I felt horribly guilty. And also annoyed because if regular fitting rooms were bigger, I could've used one of those; if there were another sort of private-ish room I could use in the vicinity, I'd use that; if people weren't so weird about mothers nursing in public, I could just grab a bench near the food court and no one would blink an eye, and I wouldn't have to worry about, say, getting the cops called on me at Target.
But I finished feeding kiddette and put her gently snoozing body back in the stroller, then opened the door to see the same woman from before. And I was hugely relieved to see she was pushing ... another stroller. I told her we were done and she was welcome to the room. We chatted briefly, exchanged our daughters' vitals (age? weight? serial number?) and then kiddette and I headed out. I have no idea whether the other mom wanted the room to feed in or just to try stuff on in, but it's a bit of a moot point.
Still my etiquette question remains. What if it had been a woman in a wheelchair? Because normally I get all kinds of peeved at non-disabled people who use disabled fitting rooms and restroom stalls and parking spaces. But if there isn't another space available to use, what's a mother (and wailing baby) to do? You'd think, as more women breastfeed and do so for longer periods of time, that this issue would pop up more often.
In case you were wondering what other wacky places I've nursed lately: Church. Precisely one minute into the baptism we were attending. (In the hallway, not the pew.) Hungry little stroller jockey, isn't she?