I must admit, when I was younger and no where ready to be a mom, I thought breastfeeding was gross – I was very immature. As I got older I realized that not only is it natural, but it’s great for babies. I think a woman should be able to breastfeed her child whenever, wherever. If you are nursing your child then at some point you’ve had to whip your boob out in public to feed your baby.
Nursing In Public
When I see other women nursing in public there’s a part of me that’s a bit jealous at how elegantly they can do it without having their goods on display. I feel like the more discreet I try to be, the more on display my boobs are! I initially tried a nursing cover but the Tiny Dancer didn’t like it – and I can’t blame her. Do you like eating with a curtain around you? Um, no.
I’ve nursed my daughter at the airport, on an airplane, at the mall, in the doctor’s office – pretty much every place we go. It’s gotten easier but the idea of nursing in public freaked me out. I’m very modest and I don’t like having my tatas out for the world to see so I’ve always been very private about it. Usually hiding in a corner, creating obstructions and visiting every family room in department stores and malls. The Tiny Dancer gets very easily distracted so I’ve found that nursing her in public doesn’t work – she’s too concerned with what’s going on around her. Instead, I have a traveling nursery pillow/blankets/burp cloths that I keep in my car and my car has become my mobile nursing station. It’s not the most convenient all the time, but it works for the Tiny Dancer and me so we’re going with it.
Society’s Mixed Messages
One of the beauties of nursing is that you can do it anywhere, anytime – and you need that flexibility when feeding on demand. All you need is you and your baby. It’s unfortunate that society has so sexualized women’s breasts that their intended purpose is obscured – and even deemed obscene! It’s funny when people like Kim Kardashian have no problem having sex on tape and having her breasts on display but finds it repulsive to see a woman feeding her child. And it’s not just her. Earlier this week Facebook deleted The Leaky B@@b’s account because photos of women nursing their babies were deemed obscene. Really?
How can one of the most natural, loving acts – a woman nursing her child – be deemed obscene? After much ado, Facebook reinstated The Leaky B@@b‘s account but it’s an example of how society looks at mothers – and shows the conflicting messages we send to ladies. On the one hand, society wants women to be mothers but calls feeding your child in the most natural way obscene. It’s ridiculous. And if nipples are so offensive and covered on women, why can men go shirtless? Don’t they have nipples too?
Alas, I’m digressing. I just think women should be able to nurse their children as they see fit. It’s funny but some states have restrictions on when/where a woman can nurse in public, and some states merely decriminalize it. Whatever the case may be (and however sound), be sure to know whether you are protected in your state. Mothering Magazine created this handy map as a reference on what states protect nursing in public.