Sheryl Jesin

Nursing Covers – a help or a hinderance?


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 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!

Art by Erika Hastings at

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 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

7 thoughts on “Nursing Covers – a help or a hinderance?

  1. It would have been nice to have to worry about covering up, but with our society, I do wish in the beginning she would allow me to cover up, so then I could feel like I could go out. I stayed home most times until I got the Moby and until I got nursing down pat.

    I tried to cover with no avail. I am glad it worked for you in the beginning when you needed it. I had a screamer, to the point that covering up would make more of a scene then not covering. But looking at my experience I can relate to mothers more. I am so glad I don’t think the way I did before having our daughter. Back then I did not understand why mothers did not use covers, now I know better.

    Isn’t it wonderful your children become teachers in order for you to be more sensitive?

  2. Thanks for this lovely post. I’ve also ditched my hooters hider and I always wear a nursing camisole under my shirts.

    I’m interested in hearing how you (and others) “deal” with a toddler who wants to nurse in public. I have no idea if I’ll be nursing my now 8-month old when she’s a toddler (I kinda hope so), but I can imagine that I may find it a bit challenging.

  3. I love the analogy you use regarding bottle feeding behind a cover. That is a good point and gave me pause. I guess it just goes to show our society is too over sexualized in regards to the breast. More power to you for NIP w/out the cover. I used one the first couple times I NIP and it was just too difficult for me. Haven’t used one since and am thankful for it. I love seeing my girly’s face when she is nursing w/out hindrance.

  4. Thanks for the great post! As a new mom, I’m still generally using my “Udder Cover” when my daughter doesn’t feel like nursing in the ring sling, and I hate it! I am really working on developing the confidence to nurse sans cover, as there is really nothing to hide. Thoughts like yours really do help!

  5. I reviewed a Bebe Au Lait cover a few months ago (same makers of the Hooter Hider) and it was funny because I’m not a mom who uses a cover! It as kind of fun to use a couple times to get the idea and I did really like the design as far as nursing covers go, but I think I will always nurse more au natural. But continue to support the moms who need one. If a cover can help a mom nurse longer or feel more confident doing so then I’m all for them!

  6. I feel the same way – I don’t want to cover up because I want to help other breastfeeding mamas feel confident; but I have absolutely nothing against women who do us a cover – whatever it takes to get that baby to nurse is fine with me!

  7. I have the same sentiments as Dionna–I am personally comfortable enough with my body and the act of nursing to never use a cover, but I know some women simply wouldn’t nurse their babies if they didn’t have the option to use a cover like the Hooter Hider and others. So whatever it takes to make them comfortable and allow their babies to breastfeed, I say go for it.

    But I’m going to be one of the purists trying to normalize plain ol’ NIP for *everyone*…and hopefully someday no one will feel they need a cover. 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s