I want all of the awesome things that go along with nursing my baby. I want the convenience. I want the health benefits. I want the bonding. I want the no mess and the no planning and the eye contact. I want the right here and the right now.
AND I want to not flash people.
I want it all.
It seems like every few months the great public breastfeeding debate flares up again. This time it seems to have been sparked by the fact that the girlfriend of a contestant on an Australian singing show was broadcast on live television breastfeeding her toddler uncovered in the green room while her guy was auditioning on the show.
The jerks said, “Gross. I did NOT tune in to see that.”
The enlightened people said, “Those jerks are jerks.”
This post is the best response I’ve seen to the jerks:
And yet . . . when *I,* a card-carrying not-jerk, see these photos, I think to myself two things, 1. That’s lovely that she’s feeding her son. And 2. Um, yikes, I would not be comfortable doing that like that in public, and I’m not particularly comfortable seeing her do that like that in public.
So I ask myself, “Why?” Why, when I really do agree with most of the points of that post, do I also kinda agree with the jerks?
I thought about it a lot.
Since I have a blog, you get to read about those thoughts.
1. I have exclusively breastfed all of my children. Not one has ever had a bottle. Unless my circumstances were to change significantly, none ever will.
2. I consider “uncovered” breastfeeding to be breastfeeding in public without a drape or blanket or scarf or shirt covering the top of the breast.
I cover the top of my breast when I am nursing my baby in public, and usually at home too.
Because the standard line about people flashing more skin than that at the beach and at the Academy Awards might be true for some women, but it isn’t true for me. I don’t wear low cut swimsuits and I don’t wear low cut dresses.
When people say, “If you wish nursing mothers would cover up, I hope you also wish Victoria’s Secret models would cover up,” I do. I really, really DO wish that.
And when people shout, “Breasts aren’t sexual!” I get kind of embarrassed, because, um, are you sure you’re doing it right? And if women really thought breasts weren’t sexual, or at least private, then they wouldn’t wear shirts at all. But I do. I always wear a shirt in public. Every time.
If I won an Academy Award, I would be dressed like this:
So, I don’t find it at all unreasonable to nurse my baby, in public, on demand, without showing any more skin than I would while doing either of the above activities.
I used a blanket with my first babies, and a nursing drape with my middle ones, and never found it to be problematic for the baby. But with the baby I’m nursing now, I’ve discovered scarves. And seriously, they are like a dream come true.
If I’m wearing a blousy shirt, I wear a camisole underneath and just pull the shirt up and the camisole down to nurse. Insta-covered. If I’m wearing clothing that I would pull down rather than up to nurse, I just wear a scarf and a camisole and I can nurse anywhere with convenience and eye contact and without making myself or the people around me uncomfortable. Also, 4 out of 5 dentists agree, I look hip and accessorized. (See here for more on the scarf/cami method.)
So, in conclusion: What’s so hard about covering up to breastfeeding in public? Nothing. Seriously, nothing. It’s really, really easy for me. Maybe I do have superpowers after all.
P.S. I wrote about this last summer too, before I knew about scarves . . .