Since posting about my breastfeeding in church dilemma, I have been thinking a great deal about why I nurse in public, and about why I have always done so without a cover.
I nurse in public because I believe strongly that breastfeeding needs to be normal, and therefore needs to be accepted. I want to nurse in places where people will see me doing so, and will know what I am doing. I strongly believe in normalizing breastfeeding, and also in the good that I can do by being an example to other mothers and future mothers--and their husbands and sons.
On this topic, my dad shared this thought:
"I was always taught that modesty, and manners, are the art of making the next person comfortable. If the crowd is comfortable naked, then I guess naked is modest. But the principle is probably to do what the leaves the best taste in the audience's mouth, unless it contravenes God's commandments, and then to follow God."
There is nothing like a blanket over your shoulder to shout "hey everybody, I'm nursing over here!" So in the interest of modesty (of not attracting undue attention), I felt that uncovered nursing was my best option.
I am now finding that perhaps my 'no cover' standard is in need of review. Bear loved nursing, held on with gusto, and was easy to nurse without much ongoing attention from me. I could get him latched on and then arrange my clothing so that nothing really showed. Eagle, on the other hand, is somewhat of a 'lazy' nurser--which is to say that he often loosens his latch on me, causing him to slip out to the end of the nipple. Sometimes he lets go altogether which generally results in a wild spray of milk in his face and/or down my shirt and/or across the room. Often he is distracted and tries to look around, sometimes he just seems bored with nursing. Regardless, I can't just hook him on and go, I usually need to make frequent re-adjustments, which requires me to use both hands and be able to see what I am doing. Even if I'd started with a blanket, and even if I tried really hard to pull it back into place regularly, it is quite inevitable that I'd still be flashing people. But even when I stick to my old standard--wearing layers and nursing without a blanket--I am finding that I'm not able to be so modest as I'd like to be.
So I am seriously considering purchasing a nursing cover. I am realizing that it fulfills both my goals--being very public about nursing, and keeping my skin to myself. Yes, it is one more thing to carry around, but who are we kidding, I already carry a diaper bag pretty much everywhere anyway. And as one of my always-used-to-nurse-uncovered-but-recently-converted-to-covers friends pointed out "I don't have to worry about pulling the whole breast out while I nurse...I use my cover now because it is convenient for ME. It is cool, covers me like a tent, and lets me nurse while enjoying sacrament and letting my baby get a nice little break. My stress level is lower. I can wear a wider variety of clothing. I don't have to layer as much. And, if I forget it, no big deal. I whip the boob out and no one is surprised."
There are several etsians who make nice covers with a stiff bit of boning around the top so that it stands out, allowing mom to see the baby while still keeping everybody covered. Sure, I could make something like that, but I'd have to buy special materials for it, so I'd just as soon get it from someone else.
<--- I kinda like this one. Nothing like a camo nursing cover to say "you can't see me, but you know I'm nursing over here!"
What do you think?
Dad did conclude with the comment "I guess you need to cover up, or move to Latin America or Eastern Europe, where folks are either more enlightened, or less inhibited."
Who's up for Norway?☺ heeheehee