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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

NIP

If you are exclusively breastfeeding your newborn, you are going to have to feed them in public. Unless you plan on staying home all day, or hiding in the bathroom. I think it's crucial to shift society's perception of a nursing mother. I am lucky to have a circle of friends who are educated and supportive of breastfeeding, so it's never an issue there. But, it's important to remember there is still a large portion of people who think a nursing mother should either cover up or feed their baby somewhere "private". The only way to normalize breastfeeding in public is to do it. Breastfeed wherever you happen to be, and whenever your baby is hungry.

On Sunday Todd and I went out to brunch with both girls. Mila was asleep in the sling and I knew I would for sure nurse her at least once during our meal. I looked around and all the tables near us were full. The one closest to us was a group of men sipping bloody marys and chatting about Twitter. I wondered if they would be weirded out by me boobin' the babe. It's still a delicate art, getting her situated and properly latched. A nipple flash is bound to happen. Adding a nursing cover or blanket into that equation just makes it all more hectic... and sweaty.

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After brunch Olivia and Todd splashed around in the waves on the beach (O jumped into the water fully clothed). I sat on a bench watching them and nursing Mila. I found myself feeling slightly self conscious, and some people did do a double take. One mama gave me a knowing smile. I felt the need to be discreet. I kept us halfway covered with the sling. I hate to admit that I am not all there yet. I am not completely comfortable nursing in public because I know how some people perceive it. Because it is still a private part, my breasts. I am sure that as we get better at nursing without any glitches I will also be more comfortable feeding her anywhere, covered or not. In the meantime, I will continue to nurse in public without hiding in some dark corner because every single time I do so, I am doing my own small part to make breastfeeding as normal as giving a baby a bottle.

How have you dealt with nursing in public?

5 comments:

Radiant said...

Good job mommy! No need to hide!

Amanda said...

Amen! I don't understand how people can grope each other in public but a mother feeding, doing what nature has intended since the dawn of time, is considered "weird" or "gross". What a backwards ass society. I didn't get to breastfeed for very long (6 weeks before my milk dried up for some reason, along with it being intensely painful from the start) but I was happy to do it in the summer when covering myself up would have looked ridiculous around here. People would have been DAMNED had they suggested I cover myself up in 110 degree weather!

Shauna said...

I love my nursing covers and keep one in my purse at all times. Do you have one? I can feed my baby discreetly without making other people feel uncomfortable. I know that some moms get all in a tizzy about their right to feed their baby anywhere and show there breasts but I rather quietly nurse and be modest about it and not bring attention to myself. You are still getting used to nursing Mila so of course you were getting sweaty and flustered. With time you we be a pro and you will both get the hang of it. I don't go on outings usually so early without having my mom to help. Before I had a nursing cover my mom would help hold the blanket for me in public so we could get comfortable and the baby would latch on. With a nursing cover this is much easier now. I breast feed my baby everywhere, restaurants, parties, parks, church, wherever he is hungry.

The Garlick's said...

I had a nursing cover--a raspberry linen one from bebe au lait, the best in my opinion--and used it. When Charlotte got older, she HATED that thing, but as a newborn and younger infant, it worked great. My tips are to relax, ignore people around you, focus on the simplicity of the act--"I'm feeding my baby lunch." Also, I tried not to wait until baby was STARVING. It made latching and positioning so much more difficult. You're such a good mommy! What a lucky baby. Thanks for helping the NIP cause!!!!

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