Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nursing in Public: From trepidation to comfort

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.


As my due date approached, I became more and more certain I wanted to breastfeed. Along with my determination also came some trepidation. I was terrified I wouldn’t produce enough to feed my sweet little boy. I couldn’t even think about where and when I’d be comfortable feeding. My mom breastfed me and gave me pointers of what kind of bed pillows to buy and how to entertain myself when I was stuck in the bedroom feeding with company over. I told her I appreciated her advice, but I wasn’t interested in hiding away just because people would be around. But then I didn’t really know what I would do...

Then that beautiful day arrived and I saw the most precious child I’d ever laid eyes on. I’d had a c-section, so after I got to see my boy, my husband took him to the nursery as they finished my surgery. When they came to me in recovery, an LC came with them. She explained that they hadn’t bathed him in order to help us bond and get breastfeeding off to a good start. She said some other things about latch and who knows what else. I was trying to listen, I swear...but I had the most beautiful eyes staring up at me. She helped me position him so he’d latch when he was ready...and he was ready. I’d always been a modest girl, but here I sat with my husband, my baby boy, and a stranger with my boobs hanging out...and I’ve never been happier than in that moment.

From there my modesty began to swirl downhill. I don’t think there was a nurse, doctor, LC, or anyone else who entered our mother/baby suite who didn’t see my chest, check his latch, or otherwise inspect my “assets.” Though I did ask family to leave the room while I fed. I didn’t exactly know what I was doing and I wasn’t prepared to show everyone just that.

Once home, I used an Udder Cover when people were around. I felt so uncomfortable using the Udder Cover. I felt like I was screaming, “Hey look at me! I”m breastfeeding and I’m not confident!” Though that was the truth.

It took a trip to Target to change my confidence. We had our 11 year old niece with us and Squirmy wasn’t about to sleep...just scream. Of course I’d left my trusty Udder Cover at home. All I had in the diaper bag was a blanket...then there was the trouble of where?!? A screaming infant distracted all my thoughts. I grabbed the blanket in the middle of the soda aisle and took care of business. Our niece didn’t skip a beat (she’d seen her mom feed her younger siblings for a couple of weeks each), but my husband looked surprised. “Now what?” he asked. “Just go!” I said hurriedly. I was so nervous walking around the store with an infant attached to my breast under a blanket thrown over my shoulder. No one in the store even seemed to notice.

My confidence was boosted to say the least. My best friend was staying with us for an extended period and I was OVER covering up! She’s a forward thinker and I took it upon it myself to just stop with the cover-ups. I always wear a nursing tank under my shirts, so it’s not like I was flashing nip.

A day at Disney proved to be the breaking point for me covering up in public. There’s nothing like the FL heat, a sweaty body, and a sweaty infant to make you shun a cover-up.

The final straw for NIP came recently when I was nursing in the food court of a local mall when a family saw me, gave me the thumbs up, cheered, and clapped at me nursing.

I’m DONE with cover ups in public. I’ll still be discreet, using tanks and over shirts to remain covered, but I can no longer hide behind an obnoxious and hot cloth. Besides, I owe it to the younger generation to show them breastfeeding is normal and okay and wonderful!

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


Kimberly@ said...

I'm with you! I did the cover up thing and now it's just too ungodly hot. I do position myself in discreet locations and very little is showing, but yeah...I'm done with the receiving blanket routine....

Dionna said...

Hurray! As long as you're comfortable without the cover, go for it!! I agree - it's a wonderful thing to show the next generation of mothers :)

~Dionna @ Code Name: Mama

Cara @ Health Home and Happiness said...

I love it that they didn't bathe him! And I feel the same way about covers :)

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

Good for you! So fun to hear your story, and how you progressed from cover to blanket to nothing. Sometimes I wonder why women choose to cover (since I find it easier without), and it's so good to hear someone's story about it. How hilarious, though, that a family cheered you on in the food court! :) Were you embarrassed?

Tina said...

Thanks for the love ladies!!

Cara--it seemed like a pretty baby friendly hospital...not quite WHO baby friendly, but pretty good.

Lauren--I'm ashamed to admit this only applies to out in public. In my own home, around family and in-laws I'm all about the cover. :(

Stephanie B. Cornais said...

That is so cool that a family cheered you on! I always smile politely, when I see a mama nursing in public, but maybe I will do a thumbs up next time!