I Am More Uncomfortable Than You Are While Breastfeeding In Public
Imagine you have friends over at your house and you feel like eating a snack. You go to your kitchen and grab something to eat. You then sit down to enjoy whatever snack you took and eat it while still visiting with your friends. Does someone tell you that you can’t eat in front of them? Do they make you cover your head so they can’t see you while you eat? No… that sounds ridiculous right! So why do we do this when it comes to breastfeeding. While breastfeeding in public, some moms are made to feel bad about feeding their babies and insecure because it is “gross and unnatural” to some people.
Well, I can tell you that as a breastfeeding mom, it is the most natural thing in the world. “Normalize Breastfeeding” has become a big movement and I believe that it is very important for women to be able to breastfeed in public as they need. It should not be anyone’s business what a mom does to care for her child. We see more skin in a lingerie ad or more nudity in an episode of anything on HBO than you will ever see while a woman is breastfeeding. However, I can also tell you that while you may be uncomfortable seeing me breastfeed my son (completely covered mind you), I am even more uncomfortable than you are! I know that some people really are not modest and they don’t care if they whip out a boob for the world to see; which is their right to do so and kudos to them for the confidence. But I am very modest, and I do not want anyone to see me, even if it is to feed my baby! To anyone who may feel uncomfortable watching a woman breastfeed, let me assure you, I am more uncomfortable to be breastfeeding in public than you are watching.
Whenever I go out with my son, I plan my trip around his feedings; I exclusively breastfeed, so when we go out if he is hungry then we breastfeed. I try to plan simple errands between his feedings so that I don’t even have to worry about it when we are out. For longer outings, I try to plan ahead and stop near or at places that I know I can feel comfortable feeding my son. When it comes down to it, I will feed my son anywhere I have to if he is hungry, period. But, I will try my best to make sure that I can have convenient and private places I feel comfortable nursing in already built into my schedule when I go out. For example, many malls and shopping areas have a nursing room, family area, or baby room. You may actually be surprised to learn how many places have a nursing room for moms, something I never knew until I started looking and asking. And there is always the fall back of nursing in the car (when it is not too hot outside); that is the one portable nursing area I can take with me.
Of course it is not always possible to have a private area to nurse in. There have been a few times when I had to breastfeed in public that made me uncomfortable (even though I am sure no one cared). The first time I found myself in such a situation was while out with a fellow mom and friend for lunch. I was in the middle of a delicious meal and enjoying some grown up company when little man was hungry; he went from zero to sixty really quick, he wanted to eat NOW… So I sat at the table with a blanket covering me and nursed him while I visited. We were in the back of the restaurant and there were only a few tables next to us, but it still was uncomfortable for me.
So the next time you see a mom breastfeeding in public, before you start to feel uncomfortable, remember that she may be even more self-conscious and uncomfortable then you ever will be. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable seeing a woman nurse, and that is okay… Simply turn your head, no one is forcing you to watch! She will probably prefer she not have an audience anyway.