I am a huge advocate of breastfeeding and love to share my experience and knowledge any chance that I get. I want to share with you all my thoughts on subject of Nursing In Public. In my opinion, this is a very important contributor to a successful breastfeeding relationship with your child.
Initially, as a stay-at-home-mom I did not want to spend all of my days cooped up in the house. I knew I needed to be comfortable nursing Liam anytime we were out and about. It is so important to establish your supply in those first 6 weeks, so I wanted to make sure Liam was on the breast as frequently as he wanted. Plus, I have always been supportive of a “feed on demand” eating schedule with him; so again, being able to nurse in public was an absolute must.
Attending La Leche League meetings, where I had the opportunity to see other nursing moms, instilled a level of comfort and confidence in me. Seeing how easily and discreetly other moms were breastfeeding their little ones was quite beneficial. From the beginning, I never covered up while nursing Liam at home even when family or friends would visit. It was good practice for me to learn how to nurse with others around while in the comfort of my own home and surrounded by people I knew without showing too much.
However, during the first couple of months, I would use a cover when in public. I would still have to help Liam to latch on and it wasn’t always easy, so I liked not having to worry about if my nipple was hanging out for all to see. I didn’t buy a special nursing cover; I simply used an Aden & Anais blanket with two corners tied together around my neck. I loved the light weight, breathable material which made nursing during the hot summer months so easy.Once Liam & I were breastfeeding pros, I quickly stopped using a cover completely.
I believe that breastfeeding is a beautiful, natural thing and not something that should be hidden or ashamed of. It is so unfortunate that many pregnant women have never seen a nursing mother and therefore are not sure about breastfeeding. I would hope that any woman who wants to nurse her baby would always feel comfortable doing so wherever she may be. My husband and family have been extremely supportive of breastfeeding and have always encouraged me. In Liam’s 1st year of life I have nursed him everywhere and anywhere and not once I have received a negative comment or unsupportive look! I’m sure part of this is due to the fact that I lived in Seattle and now Utah where breastfeeding is perhaps much more accepted than in some other part o f the country. Whenever I see a breastfeeding mom, I always give her a big smile as if to say, “Good job Mama!” Hopefully none of these women have found my smiles & looks creepy…! 🙂
My advice to any new mom who is trying to sort out what their experience will be with nursing in public?
Start by attending your local La Leche League meeting to surround yourself with other breastfeeding moms. Seeing and experiencing women who are comfortable breastfeeding in the company of their mommy peers was for me an important first step. I am sure that their individual experience and support will be influential as you begin your breastfeeding journey.
If you are nervous about what other people will see when you are feeding your baby, nurse in front of a mirror a couple of times! This will help you see what others see when you nurse and in turn help you to feed in your own graceful way.
Lastly, just get out there and do it! Once you get over any initial nervousness, you will see that it is not only natural and necessary but not nearly as uncomfortable as it may seem for others around you . In fact, I have found that in most instances, nobody even notices or minds that you are nursing! Having said that, whenever you see a fellow nursing mommy show your support and encourage those women, so that we all can happily continue to give our babies the best stuff there is!