I love that I am able to breastfeed my baby. I love that I am able to provide her nourishment at any time, anywhere, at the drop of a shirt. I love the health benefits it brings to her and I, and I love the special bonding it allows us. This post isn’t about formula feeding versus breastfeeding, or about me going on about why what I do is best. I truly think that every mother-baby duo needs to decide what works best for them, and, let’s face it, sometimes the decision is not always up to them. So, what am I writing about? I’m writing about breastfeeding…. IN PUBLIC!
I find it appalling that in a society where we have half-naked celebrities on the covers of Cosmopolitan Magazine, and supermodels busting out of their bras in Victoria’s Secret ads. Yet we are so uncomfortable with breasts being seen doing what they are designed for- breastfeeding. I feed my baby in public, often without a cover. After all, would you want to eat with a blanket over your head? That said, there are certain times, mostly at religious events, when I do cover up. For those of you who worry about getting stares- you might. So what? They’ll deal with it. Legally, a woman has a right to breastfeed anywhere that she is allowed to be. Going without a cover and worried you’ll get ogled? As a good guy friend said to me, “breastfeeding is probably the least sexy thing you can do with them.”
If you choose to breastfeed, I encourage you to do so proudly and publicly. With young babies we so often feel so restricted in our movements: constrained by naps, diapers, and feeds. Nursing in public gave me a lot more freedom and made me feel less confined. If you are embarking on this for the first time, I would suggest planning your wardrobe appropriately. There are many nursing tank tops that are on the market, but I found that a basic stretch camisole did the trick. V necks and button down shirts are great. Dresses are not. If you are getting a nursing cover, choose your cover wisely. The one I got folded in itself into a little pouch. Very handy.
In Canada, nursing rooms are commonplace in shopping malls. The U. S., sadly, is lacking in that department. Here are some places I have found that are more nursing friendly:
Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby
Both have dedicated Mother’s rooms which allow you to nurse AND have a changing station readily available.
They have floor model gliders that they have no problem with you using to nurse. This requires a degree of comfort with public nursing. The bathroom also has a changing station.
Lord and Taylor
Women’s restrooms have a lounge that you can nurse in, separate from the bathroom. Bonus- the couches make more good unofficial diaper changing stations. Proper changing station available, as well.
Women’s restrooms with a lounge or Family Restrooms with a cushioned changing station. Family restroom is completely private. Toilet in close vicinity to where you are feeding.
If you choose to nurse in public, I thank you for helping to normalize the behavior. The more women we see nursing in public, the less taboo it will be. If you see a woman nursing in public, give her a smile or a kind word. One time when I was nursing in public, a woman, about 30 years older than me, came up to me and struck up a conversation about when she was a new mom nursing her baby, and the challenges she felt, and wished me good luck. Good luck to you, dear reader!