Breastfeeding in public

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival! This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on The Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about Nursing in Public. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

Breastfeeding in public is such a strange experience. Even when people are fairly accepting, I never really got comfortable. I would tell myself that I was just going to do it and feel okay with it, but despite the good show, I always feel a little odd about it.


I became the master of breastfeeding in the car to avoid being totally out in public. I tried the blanket over the baby and I have nursing cover-ups, but that just never worked. The minute I put the cover over his head, he would unlatch and look around.


Orion was a two-hand breastfeeder. He liked to be held just so to actually latch and stay latched. It took two hands every time and using the cover-up took three and he would unlatch the minute it touched him anyway. It just never worked out.


I would sort of use my shirt to almost cover. I would try to be sly, but I always felt really exposed. I envied the free, hippie folks who seemed so comfortable. I envied those who had babies that would easily latch and stay latched. I envied those who seemed to have a system. Orion is almost a year now and I still don't have a system. I never will.


I remember my aunt made a comment that stuck with me. Not the words so much, but the intent. She was talking about someone else in the family who would freely breastfeed her baby in front of others. My aunt said something along the lines of how she would never say anything to her, but it made her uncomfortable. I am a person who tries really hard not to make others feel uncomfortable and the thought that I might be making someone else uncomfortable makes me uncomfortable.


So, that's the truth for me. I never really got comfortable breastfeeding in public. I do it anyway. In reality, I am never going to be the breastfeeding champion that some people are.


Despite this, my discomfort has one truly helpful effect. I help make others feel comfortable. Because of my discomfort, I can't help recognizing others who are breastfeeding in public. I feel it necessary to say things like, "good for you" or "don't bother juggling the cover-up. I don't, and I'll sit next to you while you feed him." Its strange, but although I can't get my own insecurities under control, I recognize that letting others know that I know exactly what they are doing and that I, for one, am completely okay with it is helpful.

Category: Motherhood
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Loving your baby in a way that you are willing to do something that takes you out of your comfort zone to meet his needs in the moment, makes you a CHAMPION. . . it's not a competition, except for you to outdo YOURSELF in loving your child(ren) the best you can every single day! Thank you for this REAL perspective!

Submitted by Timbra (not verified) on Mon, 07/19/2010 - 11:30.

I think this post is excellent. I happen to be one of those people who doesn't give a hot hoot what people think of me or what I do, so nursing in public has always been easy for me. I congratulate people like you, who don't feel completely comfortable, but continue to nip despite the fact! :)

Submitted by Renee (not verified) on Tue, 07/20/2010 - 13:37.
I've had a hard time with my

I've had a hard time with my mother-in-law talking about one of my husband's cousins who breastfeeds. She always tells me stories about how this four year old is tugging at his mom's shirt and then she just breastfeeds right in front of them. Makes me wonder how she's going to react in a few years when I have the four year old who wants to nurse. :-P

Submitted by Claire (not verified) on Wed, 07/21/2010 - 02:43.

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