Breastfeeding in Public
Nursing Mother's seem to be in the news quite frequently. I am always in shock of how people seem to be offended about a Mother's nursing in public. That is until I read the story and see how the Mom is nursing,open and exposed. I don't have much sympathy after hearing that.
I might be in the minority, but I am a modest mama. After all, that is why I called my business The Modest Mom! I believe that Mom's should dress with a heart that seeks to not draw attention to themselves. With that being said, don't put a sack on for a dress! We can look lovely, but modest. If you prefer the old fashioned look, fine. If you prefer the modern look, fine. Both can be done with a modest look and a pure heart! I feel like if you have a heart to be modest, you will have a heart to breastfeed modestly also.
I have heard the argument that God created us to nurse our babies, therefore we should feel free to nurse wherever we want, however we want. While I wholeheartedly agree that God has blessed us with the ability to nurse, I don't feel like we are supposed to expose our body to the people around us while using that gift. God has also blessed us with the ability to conceive children, but we wouldn't dream of sharing that intimate time with any other person around.
Several months ago I was at a baby store that is a "green" store-cloth diapers, cloth menstrual pads, slings, natural toys-you get the picture. They were having a cloth diaper swap and I was selling some of my diapers. The store was lovely and accommodated mothers very well. They had couches at the front of the store for mothers to sit and nurse. I was amazed though to see one mother plop down on the couch, pull her shirt aside (she had a wrap type shirt on) undo her bra and start nursing away. She was totally exposed. At times she would even pull the baby off to try and get the baby to nurse better, and there was nothing stopping you from seeing everything. I was especially horrified because there were men walking around with their wives in the store. If my husband would have been there I'm not sure what I would have done!
So what are some options we have for nursing our babies in public? I'm currently nursing our fourth baby, and I have since grown a little more confident over nursing in public since our first! With my oldest, I used to camp out in a back room at family gatherings. It just felt so strange to nurse in public, even though I was covered. But that is only feasible so long! You get a tad lonely doing that all the time. :-)
Some different ways I have nursed in public are:
1. The most obvious-use a nursing cover! My sister has blessed me making me several different nursing covers, and I just love using mine! They are so easy to keep in the diaper bag, and I use it all the time for a light weight blanket on spring days also. I can see my baby easily, but feel modest and confident while nursing. I prefer a nursing cover over a blanket, as blankets tend to slip down more.
I have heard some Mom's say that they can't use blankets as the baby pulls the blanket off. I think using a nursing cover would help greatly with that, but I also feel like if used from birth the baby should be trained to use it. I'm sure there are exceptions, but generally I think a baby should be used to it if started with it.
2. Another option is to nurse in a sling. I have hardly ever done this, but I have heard many moms say they do this and really like it. I can see how it could be done very discreetly.
3. Use nursing clothes! There are many different brands out there that allow you to nurse discreetly. The only downside is they are pretty expensive, but if you plan on having a large family you could end up using them a lot! :-) Motherhood, Motherwear, and Expressiva are the most common brands I believe.
4. Sew your own nursing clothes! Blessed Designs, Elizabeth Lee, and Candle On The Hill offer nursing patterns.
5. Use nursing camis! This time around nursing I have several nursing camisoles and that has helped me so much. I feel very modest with my regular shirt with a cami underneath as I know my tummy is covered well.
I have seen some Moms just nurse using a t-shirt. I have done this myself at times. However many times I don't think the Mom realizes that if you walk by on the side her breast is totally exposed. So this is an option I do only out of total necessity now.
While this is something to be aware of, I don't promote stressing or getting paranoid over it, as that won't help your milk supply! It is something to simply be aware of, and to set some standards as to how you will nurse. Talk to your husband-or talk to a good friend who has nursed for a long time and get some ideas! The most important thing is to snuggle with your baby and enjoy feeding your baby that yummy nutritious milk!