I Remember the first time I went out shopping with my new little baby and nursed in public. Xavier was about 2 weeks old and we had headed to the mall and to Toys R Us for something or other. As we shopped, Xavier grew hungry, started fussing, and then went into a full blown cry. I thought everyone was looking at us and I knew that I had to nurse him but I was so nervous.
I had nursed in front of friends and family but this was different. We headed to the exit promptly and as Simon waited in line to pay, I sat down on a bench, unbuttoned the bottom part of my blouse and with a blanket drawn over my shoulder I tried to latch my tiny son who was wailing because he was hungry and hot and had a mom that was not responding to his needs fast enough.
I finally got him latched, but he was still fussing as he was fighting the blanket that was draped over us both. Just then a woman sat down next to me. I don’t remember what she looked like, how old she was, or any small detail about her, but I do remember what she said.
She praised me for nursing, she told me that normal T-shirts were easiest for nursing since there were no buttons to fidget with and that I didn’t need the blanket because the baby hid enough…and then she left.
The conversation most likely didn’t last more than a minute or two but what she said changed my view of nursing in public from there on in…
I took the blanket off my shoulder and freed my sweaty and hot newborn baby and never looked back. I would ever nurse under cover again.
(Xavier at about 2 weeks old)
Over the years there have been so many times that nursing in public has been in the news and the same themes came back every time.
There are those that say go ahead and do it but be “discreet”, use a blanket, go to your car, plan outings around the baby’s usual times to eat. That nursing is a private act between mother and child
I hate that word… Discreet….what is discreet anyway? To whom do we owe the honor of choosing what discreet is? There are so many levels of what amount of skin is allowed to be seen and there is such a double standard between being sexy and being nurturing. Go to the car? What about when it is hot outside? or cold? what if you don’t have a car? Only go out around baby’s schedule? Hunger does not have a schedule.
And yes, nursing can be a special moment between mom and baby, you can gaze into each others eyes and cuddle, but breastfeeding is not only about that… most of the time, breastfeeding is just about getting needs met.
There are those that use the “fear card” and turn the tables and try to sound “concerned” by saying that there are perverts out there that are just waiting to watch women that breastfeed…
So what? I shouldn’t wear sandals because someone might have a foot fetish? I shouldn’t eat a banana because somebody might have a perverse thought? Come on! We are not responsible for the way other people may think.
There are those that say that women that breastfeed are just “whipping out their breasts” and enjoy exposing themselves and that nursing in public is not about feeding a baby it is about just making a point.
Yeah, so the fussy, hungry baby that is attached to my breast has nothing to do with it.. and you ever tried to nurse a baby that didn’t want to nurse? Not happening! Maybe all those moms out there are all pinching their kids just to make them cry so that they will nurse… (enter eye roll here)
There are those that say that it shouldn’t be done in front of kids…
ummm… I want my kids to see how normal nursing is…
tandem nursing Colin and Khéna
There are those that say that breastfeeding is equated to sexual acts in public or peeing in public and “EWWWW” I don’t want to see your tits while I am eating!”
So if breastfeeding is sexual, then isn’t bottle feeding equal to using a dildo in public?
And then of course there is always that one person that comes in saying that they once saw a woman taking of her whole shirt and bra to breastfeed…. because you must have shock value!
Really? I mean Really? Come on!!
(click to see this larger and scroll over the different parts to get translation)
Last week, after reading yet another article with the same comments, I realized that I have come so far away from that new mom struggling with buttons and a blanket and wondering what others were thinking as I was trying to meet my child’s most basic need.
As I read the same comments that have been making me angry for years, I looked down at my fourth child nursing on my lap and realized that she had unlatched and there I was with one of my breasts was fully exposed. Of course I was at home in my living room, but I hadn’t even noticed… nursing is now so much just part of my daily life that I am now one of “those” moms that you may catch a glimpse of when I am about to nurse my child. I am that mom that “whips it out” and am proud of it.
It is not because I am trying to expose my self, It is not because I am trying to make a point it is just because it is such a part of my daily routine that I am really not even conscious of it while I am doing it.
After nearly nine years of nonstop breastfeeding, nursing has become as natural and as second nature as breathing to me. I have went from being nervous and wondering if people were watching and wearing uncomfortable and ugly nursing tops (you know, the ones that have a piece of cloth overhanging that if you are a bit more endowed in the boob area they would play peek-a-boo when you lift your arms up) to nursing wherever and whenever, without second thought and just wearing tops that have a bit of stretch in the neck area so that I can nurse quickly an easily over my shirt while wearing my baby and not skip a beat.
Seriously, if you know me you would know that I am actually quite a prude when it comes to exposing parts of my body, yet breastfeeding has made its own niche in my brain. It is not sexual, it is not private, it is not about making a point, it is about nurturing, comforting and feeding my child.
Besides for nourishment and comfort, there is nothing premeditative in feeding and nurturing my child…
I just do it…