As I scroll through my newsfeed on Facebook, I seem to see MANY posts about breastfeeding. It seems there has been a recent rush of celebrities sharing breastfeeding photos and even that of a real life mom nursing in her cap and gown. These photos seem to lead to the question...it is inappropriate to nurse in public? Many say yes. They think breastfeeding is disgusting and to be hidden, no matter what...even if that means baby eating in a dirty bathroom. Others think no. They see breastfeeding as something completely natural to be celebrated and normalized.
So, IS it appropriate?
Anyone who knows me knows two things about me. The first is that I am super conservative. I prefer to dress modestly- no super low-cut shirts or mini skirts. Honestly, I'm personally not even a big fan of spaghetti straps. The second is that I am a HUGE supporter of breastfeeding. I have breastfed both of my children-currently nursing my daughter- and believe it to be one of the greatest things I've done as a mom. For me personally, I am much more comfortable using a cover. I won't leave the room or make my daughter eat in a restroom, but I will cover so that I can nurse discreetly. As I said, I'm very modest. On top of that, my daughter is a distracted eater...she'll often nurse a few minutes, sit up and look around, and then go right back to eating. Using a cover works for us.
HOWEVER, just because it works for us doesn't mean it works for everyone. Some babies do not like being covered while nursing. They simply will not do it. What then? Is the baby just not supposed to eat? Are they to be forced to eat in a bathroom? Is that sanitary? Would YOU eat in a bathroom? Honestly, when I see a woman nursing, I see just that...a woman nursing. I don't see anything obscene or inappropriate...it's just a baby eating!
And let's be honest, once baby is actively nursing, there are many ways to nurse without any skin showing at all. You see more skin walking by a Victoria's Secret at the mall than you do watching a mother breastfeed. To me, that's the real issue...the double standard. Why are we okay with seeing scantily clad women on the covers of magazines but not okay with a woman discreetly nursing? Why is one okay but not the other? Personally, I would much rather see a mother feeding her child...and would much prefer my son to see that as well. He knows that breasts are made for feeding babies. He doesn't see them as anything more than that. He just sees a baby eating, just as his sister does.
So, you won't see me posting photos where my daughter is obviously/visibly nursing...that's just not for ME. But I cannot fault another mother for choosing to do so. It is unlikely that you will see me nursing without a cover in public, but if my daughter is hungry and I am without one, she WILL eat...regardless! And you will not see me looking down upon those mothers who choose to nurse in public each and every day. I commend them. They are doing what all of us as mothers are doing- the best thing they can for their child, in a way that they see fit for their family and their children. At the end of the day, shouldn't that be what it's all about? Less judgement and more supporting mothers making the best choices for THEIR kids!
Do you nurse in public? Does it bother you to see mothers doing so? I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts. (Please keep it supportive...differing opinions are okay. Judgement is NOT!)