Breastfeeding in public – such a hot topic lately. Or maybe it just seems that way as my news feed contains several stories each week pertaining to breastfeeding. Some are beautiful photos or cute stories, while others are cases of intolerance and ignorance towards breastfeeding. Let me just say, I strongly believe in and support breastfeeding. However, I know there are many reasons why women do not breastfeed, including being unable to or having great difficulty. If you’re feeding your baby in any capacity, you’re a good momma!
photo by Stephanie Cotta Photography
I’ll be the first to admit: when I was younger (say, high school) I would have been grossed out to see a woman breastfeeding in public. Now, ten years later and having a baby of my own, my thoughts and feelings could not be further from those immature, shameful thoughts. I think there is nothing wrong with breastfeeding in public. I think it should be allowed, tolerated, supported, and embraced. And I’m talking about breastfeeding with no cover up. Let’s think what breastfeeding in public actually means. ITZ A WOMAN FEEDING HER BABY!
Some people feel women should use a cover or go someplace private (like a bathroom – EW!) to nurse. I disagree. Do bottle-fed babies have to eat with a cover over their head? Would you like eating in the dark underneath a cover? Would you want to eat in a bathroom? I know I wouldn’t. So why should breastfed babies? They shouldn’t.
Have I breastfed in public? You betchya! My breastfeeding journey hasn’t always been easy; it definitely took us some time to get the hang of it. The first time I tried to use a cover up I became frustrated. Breastfeeding is very natural, but doesn’t always come so naturally. For me, I needed to see exactly what I was doing and what was going where. Now that I’ve figured out breastfeeding, I still don’t use a cover. Don’t get me wrong here; I do use discretion when choosing to breastfeed.
For example, there are nice lounges at the mall that I will go to nurse. But if there isn’t a clean, designated spot, then I will try and find someplace a little more private. I nursed at the airport when traveling last month. I simply went to a nearly empty gate, turned away from where a few people were sitting, and breastfed with nothing covering us. Also, the more comfortable I’ve gotten with breastfeeding, the less revealing it is because I can simply pull out what I need to and put him on. The time that my actual nipple is exposed is extremely limited.
Strangely enough, I’m almost more comfortable nursing in public compared to nursing in front of people I know. I don’t mind breastfeeding in front of my mom, grandma, sister, and girlfriends, but the men in my family or my guy friends are a different story. I don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding in front of them even though I would feel comfortable nursing in a more public setting with complete strangers. Not quite sure why that is.
One more thing, I’m PROUD to be able to breastfeed! Itz pretty amazing when you think about it. William has grown from just a tiny (adorable) five pound baby to a thirteen pound (adorable) hunk in just three and a half months. Do you know how? From me! I’ve kept this little baby alive and fed him on a daily basis from my breasts, and he’s thriving. Proof:
my beautiful, growing baby boy
Bodies are amazing and breastfeeding is impressive, in my opinion!
This week, August 1-7, 2014 is World Breastfeeding Week which prompted this post. There are so many benefits to breastfeeding, yet it can be such a challenging time during this new phase of a momma’s life, I just hope we can all be a bit more tolerable and supportive regarding breastfeeding. I know I appreciated all the support I received and continue to receive when nursing my baby, whenever, however, wherever I prefer.
So let’s talk: What are your thoughts on breastfeeding in public?