Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public
This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at NursingFreedom.org. All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public (“NIP”). See the bottom of this post for more information.
Before Dylan was born, I made lots of lists of things that I would need for a new baby. I had heard about the Hooter Hider nursing cover from a friend and thought it was ingenious! I had to have one! It was on the top of my baby must-haves. It did come in handy as I wasn’t a confident nurser during the first few weeks. I felt like I had to take off most of my clothes just to get Dylan latched. I couldn’t figure out how to nurse “discretely” so the nursing cover helped a lot. The rigid wire across the top allowed me to see in but kept me completely covered. I made sure it was always in the diaper bag when we went out. I used it when we were at restaurants or the mall, or when I was in front of male family members or friends. Dylan nursed A LOT in the early months and unless I wanted to stay home all the time (which I didn’t) I had no choice but to nurse in public!
As Dylan got older, I became less reliant on the cover. I discovered that I could wear a nursing tank with a t-shirt on top and when I nursed Dylan’s head covered anything that needed covering. Also, as Dylan got older, he disliked being under that cover! He’d play with it and kick at it and grab it and basically the cover became a nuisance. As time passed, I became more confident about nursing and our nursing relationship. I joined La Leche League and was exposed to lots of other moms nursing their young babies, older babies and toddlers in public. I began to nurse Dylan anywhere and everywhere without the cover – in the park, walking down the street in my Ergo, waiting at the pediatrician’s office, on the beach, at the pool, on the plane…in fact now I can’t think of a place where I didn’t nurse Dylan!
As I gained nursing experience, my views on my nursing cover changed. No one would ever bottle feed covering their baby! No one would ever feel the need to hug or kiss their baby behind a cover. Nursing is basically feeding and nurturing together in one – and neither of those actions needs to be done behind a cover. So why should nursing be done behind a cover?
With baby #2 on the way, I have given my nursing cover a lot of thought. I now see myself as a breastfeeding advocate, and I want to help normalize breastfeeding in society. I believe that one way of doing so is to feed my baby anytime anywhere without a cover.
Now that I have more confidence and more knowledge I want to nurse my next baby in public without my trusty Hooter Hider right from the start. Will it be a bit awkward to feed my new baby in front of my father in law without a cover? Will it feel weird to sit on a bench in the mall and nurse without a cover? I’m sure it will, but if I can give one mom an extra bit confidence so that she feeds her baby in public instead of in a bathroom, and if I can show one more person that breastfeeding is normal, then it will be worth it!
I should add that I have nothing against nursing covers or moms that use them. In fact, they give some moms the confidence they need to nurse in public – and I completely respect and understand that! I should also add that I still nurse my 2.5 year old son Dylan but not in public anymore. I feel somewhat hypocritical about that, especially as a La Leche League leader! While I feel ready to nurse a baby in public without a cover, I don’t feel ready to nurse my older toddler in public. I’m not completely sure about my reasons behind that…I must give them more thought and explore them in a future post!
Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public
Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit NursingFreedom.org any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.
Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.
This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts – new articles will be posted on the following days:
July 5 – Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World
July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child
July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.
July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives
July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It