Another difficult part of having a small baby in Beirut is feeding. Nursing in public is not really done, but there are absolutely no places to hide out and feed the baby. Most bathrooms are just a stall, definitely no lounge areas like in the States. Even in the mall, there isn’t a single place where you can find enough privacy to feed a baby. Which means that when I leave the house, I have to plan to be home within three hours. (Although, I have been known to stop by the church and use an empty Sunday School classroom more than once! :)) I also have fed Isla in the Starbucks basement. It’s generally full of googly-eyed college couples, who aren’t paying attention to anyone else…. and even if they were, I figure it would serve as a good warning: Be careful, or you might end up with one of these!
The few times we’ve rented a car has been heaven! We can run errands, go to the mall, do whatever, and I can just pop into the car to feed Isla… it’s great! But without the car, I’m pretty tied to being either at home, a friends house, or the church when it’s feeding time. I think most Beirutis bottle feed their babies, so it isn’t as big of a deal to them, but for me, the lack of private space makes it difficult to have a small baby in the city.
BUT…. she will grow up speaking two languages, thinking 2,000 year old Phoenician ruins are a playground, and all sorts of other things that make being a third-culture kid so exciting…. So, I’m not complaining, just reflecting on how life is a bit different here! :)
(for part 1, click here!)
*June 2012 edit* An updated perspective on Beirut with a baby here.