I started to write this blog regarding nursing in public. It is a topic that is so incredibly close to my heart. I am so passionate about a mother’s rights to do so, the acceptance I wish we can achieve as a nation, and the importance it holds in forcing society to view breasts as more than just sexual play things. This blog I began included all of the laws protecting it and information regarding it and explained how nursing in public isn’t explicit or inappropriate and how the more we see breastfeeding and do so in public, the more widely accepted it will become. So I kept typing on and on and realized that it doesn’t matter. Well, not for the purpose of this post anyway…maybe some day I’ll post the long “informative” know-it-all version. But for right now, I just want to talk to you.
You… the woman who just found out she is pregnant with her first baby.
You…the mom with a one month old, breastfeeding like a champ, but still feeling awkward.
You…the mama who valiantly attempted breastfeeding with her oldest without meeting her personal goals of success, but wants to give it another go with baby number two.
So, listen closely… I admit, I felt awkward and a little embarrassed at first. You see that picture posted at the top here? I know what you’re thinking…”why is there a photo of Chelle feeding her baby a bottle on a nursing in public blog post?!”. For our first family pictures with my husband and new son, we were at a park, the day was gorgeous, we were surrounded by nature, as you can see. My brand new first baby was hungry, so I got out my prepared bottle of pre-pumped breast milk and fed him. There is absolutely nothing wrong with bottle feeding. I am an educated gal and I know not everyone has my life or experiences or options. To each his own! But, for me, those pictures symbolize my fear of someone thinking I looked gross or inappropriate, and when I look at them, I only wish I had left the bottle at home and had some images of me nursing that beautiful baby boy. My boobs are just ginormous in the pics too. I was all engorged and leaky because he needed to nurse and I gave him a bottle. I was so nervous about nursing my baby in public, that I just didn’t do it.
So, you, listen up. Those other people around…they don’t matter. It’s not about them. It’s about you, you and that beautiful baby. Babies need to eat. A lot. The best and easiest way to get food in their bellies is through your breasts. They will need those breasts whether you are at home, in church, visiting a friend, at the park, on a plane, or in a restaurant. NEED. They will need you. And giving that baby what s/he needs is easy. It’s natural, it’s NORMAL. Even if we don’t see it all the time, I promise, it’s normal. It isn’t gross or inappropriate or offensive. It’s a mommy, feeding her baby. That’s it. I know it’s hard when we see more breasts on bikini clad underwear models than we do with a baby attached. It might be awkward at first. You might feel fumbly and goofy at first, undoing your bra, or lifting up part of your shirt in a public space, but it will be alright. And honestly, I doubt anyone will even notice you doing it, since really, your baby covers up anything a bathing suit would. Believe me when I say, once you do it, you’ll feel free, it will feel easy, you will feel like a superhero….”Oh what, little baby? You’re hungry? (*Insert boob in mouth*) there ya go!” No mixing bottles. No huge packing and planning sessions for every excursion out of your home, making sure you have enough pumped milk/ice packs/formula….and no pumping unless you have to be away from baby! If it feels too weird at first, you can use a cover, but if baby hates it (like mine did!) don’t stress yourself out. Sometimes those covers only bring more attention anyway. You can do it.
I was a first time mom once not so long ago, and I was sooooo afraid of that first nurse in public “experience”. But I overcame it. A couple weeks after that photo was taken, I went to lunch with my husband, did not bring a bottle, but I nursed my son in the car (God forbid do it in a restaurant! *sarcasm*). I burped him, got out of the car, put him in the stroller, buckled him in, stood back up, said hi to some nice people passing by. Man, were they rude…couldn’t even say hi back. I turned around to my husband who promptly yelled “Chelle!!! Pull your shirt up!!!” Yup. Boob….in its full uncovered splendor. All of my efforts to be discreet and hide away while nursing backfired. I got too cozy in my private personal space and forgot to tuck my boob back in my shirt! Needless to say, from then on, I stopped caring so much about what everyone else thought. I stopped worrying about who was around while my son had to nurse. I mean, hey, I survived a total topless in public scenario and lived to blog about it. Surely I would do just fine with a baby covering me. And I did. I was fine. And you will be fine. Use a cover, don’t use a cover, just do it. Nurse your baby, no matter where you are, or who gives a s%#*. Because, remember, they don’t matter. The law is on your side, and hey, so am I! You have enough to deal with to have to worry about one more thing. So don’t.
Nurse on, mama!
Sprouted in love,
Have you nursed your baby in public yet? How did you feel about it?