When Grace was a newborn I hated the idea of nursing in public. It was hard to get her to latch on. Nursing covers got in the way. The whole situation could be quite frustrating. Why would I want to do that in front of the world?!!? Then…
Grace got a little older and we both felt much more comfortable. I started nursing Grace with a cover in front of other people. Sometimes I could tell people were nervous about it, but no one ever complained.
As the temperature outside started to rise, so did my confidence. During the summer I stopped using the nursing cover all together. Instead I made sure that I was wearing clothes that still kept me covered while breastfeeding. Nursing tanks are my best friend, folks! I was able to feed my baby and keep myself covered. Most importantly I felt comfortable.
The more I nursed in public the more I kept an eye out for other nursing moms. I rarely saw one. Why? Here is my guess:
I feel like breast feeding mothers are given mixed messages. On one hand we are constantly told that breast is best and that when breastfeeding is possible, it is a wonderful gift to our children. On the other hand we are encouraged not to do it in front of anyone.
It is human nature for people to be uncomfortable with things that are unfamiliar. I rarely see women nursing their babies in public. If people aren’t exposed to it then it is natural for them to be hesitant.
I have realized that when I nurse my baby in public I am doing something that goes beyond just feeding my baby.
I personally believe that by breastfeeding in public:
- I am helping to end the negative stigma that occasionally surrounds breastfeeding.
- I am encouraging other moms and families to breastfeed when it is time for them to make that decision.
- I am helping the next generation to know that breast is best and it is NORMAL.
- I am helping my girlfriends feel more comfortable the next time they choose to nurse their babies in public.
- I am supporting social acceptance of breastfeeding.
By breastfeeding in public I am bringing about social change!
I would like to briefly touch on the issue of modesty when nursing in public. Modesty is often the issue most widely debated when people are discussing nursing in public. However, I feel like modesty is just the tip of the iceberg. The fact is that cover or no cover, exposed or practically fully clothed; this issue is bigger than modesty.
I hope that someday we will live in a culture where nursing in public isn’t such a controversial topic. However, in today’s culture it is very controversial. Honestly, I’m a little nervous about the comments that could come from this post. If you choose to comment please be respectful with your words.