Breastfeeding In PublicAisling Jones
Who is more embarrassed when you choose to do this? You, or those around you? More often then not, in my experience, it has been others, rather then me. I do not mind the little stares, of curiosity. Anymore that is, when I was first nursing I was self-conscious. My breasts were not supposed to be on display . They are a tool for my son, not artwork.
I didn't feel comfortable being in the middle of things. However, with more time, I now know that what I am doing is natural. I'm giving my son his supper. Do you actually want to let curious stares and opinions stop you from giving your child what he wants and needs most? Most of the time, other people in stores or restraints would rather you feed your baby, then them having to hear crying. If you are confident and have the right attitude, those around you will pick up on this, and keep there comments, stares, and opinions to themselves, for the most part.
This is my view on nursing in public, and some tips for the new mother.
When you go out, how do you plan on feeding your child? Ducking into a public restroom, is one way, but would you want to eat in a restroom? If you do not nurse your child in public what do you plan on doing? Making him wait or expressing milk beforehand and having a bottle ready when he is hungry? There really aren't many options for nursing mothers. It's plain and simple, either nurse your child off in a corner, or in the car. Or sit down in front of everyone, and do it. Discreetly.
Some malls and other places have facilities, special rooms, especially for nursing in. They are often called family restrooms, so that mom can nurse the baby, and dad can bring his young daughter to the restroom. It is probably going to take you some time before you feel more comfortable nursing in public.
Try nursing in front of a mirror, watch and see how little of your breasts show. Learn how to position your clothing, or how to drape a blanket just right, so that you are not over exposed. Of course wearing a two-piece outfit, a shirt you can pick up is one way of easily nursing discreetly, or you can shop at a specialty-nursing store, that sells clothing with hidden openings for easy access.
Another good way to get practice is to go to an LLL meeting and watch other mothers nurse there babies, and then follow lead. Then there is the sling. When my son was younger, I would put him in the sling when we were at the mall, and he would nurse there contentedly, while I walked around browsing. People would peek in to see baby and what he was doing, thinking he was just sleeping. They never noticed anything different, unless I told them. Slings are a great alternative to backpack carriers. They keep baby close by, and are very safe.
One other thing I like to do, now that my son is older, and not so accepting of a blanket over his head. I put a blanket up just as I latch him on, then I remove it. Problems are still posed when he gets distracted and pulls off to look at something, but I just pull my shirt down quick when this happens.
Also a good thing to do, if you're child is in this stage, is turn slightly away from the group you are with, or more towards your husband or a good friend, so that if your baby exposes you, its not to everyone.
Overall when nursing your baby, it is important to remember why you are doing it. You are providing for your precious one, things only you can give, nourishment and comfort. You have every right to provide these things for your baby. Knowing and understanding this can help you to develop the right attitude about nursing in public.
One of the greatest things about breast milk, over formula, is that it is always available. Always the right temperature, and easy to access. Take advantage of this; keep in mind that you are giving him or her the best possible start in life. Remember why you decided to nurse, and keep those thoughts in your mind.
Aisling Jones is a young, married mother, living in Texas. She is nursing her 7 month old son, born 12-19-1998. She has recently started writing articles, to try and get into freelancing.
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