"I don't mind breastfeeding in public at all! As long as you're discreet about it, don't flop your boobs out and wear a cover because it makes me uncomfortable"
To this I say, thank you very much for your rules about my how to feed my baby so that you are ok with it. Really? I have been nursing my babies in public for quite awhile now and I can honestly tell you that I have never, not even a little bit, "flopped my boobs out". I have enormous boobs too. Seriously.They. Are. Huge. I have also never seen anyone else do that. Who are these woman that flop their boobs out? Nursing moms think about this stuff. We dress with the knowledge that we need to feed our babies with our bodies. We don't want to show our breasts to the world (especially you), I promise you that. We want to feed our hungry babies. That's really all. There's just nothing more too it than that. And a blanket? For the sake of argument, I just tried to eat my chili with a blanket on my head. It was depressing and annoying. And hot.The truth is that some babies are totes cool with covers and some mamas are more comfortable too. But the two that were born to me? They believe they are being killed if I try to cover their face with a blanket. I don't want them to feel that way. Because I care about their feelings. So I wear clothes that I can nurse in with minimal (read: virtually no) exposure. I'm honestly way more worried about showing you my belly than you are about seeing my boobs.
"There are children around! What if they see?"
I have a beautiful story about this. I was in a discount grocery store a few months ago and Ms. Plum became ravenous. She can't help it. She is a tiny human being with a much smaller stomach than me so she eats smaller meals more often than your average adult. Anyhoo, this particular store had absolutely nowhere to go. Nowhere. No benches, no places to sit. So I pulled up the cart to a back corner and sat down on my jacket and a baby blanket and started to feed her. A grandpa and his grandson came walking by. The boy was maybe five? Well the little boy wanted to see Ms. Plum. Grandpa took his hand and said, "Not right now, buddy. That baby's having some lunch". The boy looked to the grandpa with a look of total confusion and as they walked away I heard the grandpa explaining to the boy that mommies have milk in their breasts and the milk is the food for their babies. And the little boy was all, "huh, ok. Can I get a candy bar?" So there you have it. That's how you do it. Easy peasy.
"Sure, breastfeeding is natural. So is peeing and having sex but I don't do those things in public. Some things should stay private"
I fear that if someone ever says this to my face, I could become violent. And I am not a violent person. I am a hippie and I love everybody. But damn does this one get me HOT! I promise you that if you look through any commentary on nursing in public, you will find this statement and variations of it. It makes me want to barf. Drawing comparisons of pissing and screwing to feeding a child is just offensive. Period. And I want to pee on anyone who says it. But peeing in public is illegal.
"It's ok if it's a baby but that kid is too old. They are like a year old or something!"
All I have to say about this is please follow this link. And stop being ridiculous.
"Breastfeeding is a bonding experience between a mother and baby. It shouldn't be for all to see"
While I agree that nursing a baby is absolutely a bonding experience between mother and baby, rule number one for any baby, no matter how you feed them is to um...feed them. If I don't feed my baby, people will come and rightfully take them away from me because I am failing at rule number one. Which, to be clear, is to feed the baby. As a mom, when my baby is hungry I have this crazy urge to take away their suffering by feeding them. A nursing mom feeds her baby with her boobs. And when I'm at Target, I am not looking to bond. I'm looking to get trash bags and cruise the clearance racks. So if baby gets hungry, she eats and we get back to the business of getting those tasty organic fruit strips so we can head home and snuggle up and bond there.
"She must like the attention"
Oh sweet baby lawd! Get over yourself. If I wanted attention, I'd wander around the tampon aisle wearing a bikini. I really just can not wrap my brain around anyone even caring about me nursing my baby. I mean, unless I sit inside your cart to do it, it's just not your business and it isn't disrupting your day at all. So as a good faith gesture, I will promise to not climb into your cart and nurse if you promise to just not care. Deal? Because the attention grabbing behaviors are coming from the workers and customers with rude or harassing things to say. Or the two twenty somethings that walked by me and Ms. Plum on a park bench and squealed, "Ewwwwww, Groooooossss!!!". And yes, I almost threw a rock at their butts. But I am a bigger person than that. Most of the time. If everyone could just decide to not make it their business by being awful a-holes, there would be no need for nurse ins.
"She could just go sit in the bathroom"
I do my best to avoid public restrooms because I am terrified of being that close to other peoples pee splash. So the idea that I would feed my kid a meal sitting on a public toilet makes me want to die. And I don't think I'm alone in that. I would put money down that the vast majority of people would be hard pressed to take their lunch break enveloped by the wafts of other people's poo. Am I wrong? I really don't think I'm wrong.
But all of this said, I have had more positive public nursing experiences than negative. But I think I might have an air about me that suggests I am not to be effed with about this. That's not to say I am a hard ass, because I am most definitely not. But for some reason, for this reason I seem to be. So in the hippie spirit of ending on the positive, do you have a nursing in public experience to share? I'll start, I was at the fair in September and I was nursing Ms. Plum at a big picnic table. Right next to an older woman I had never met. After a few minutes, she says to me "I just think it's nuts that you are feeding that baby right here" and she giggled. I said, "When she gets hungry there's no distracting her from her mission" and the lady said, "I never had kids of my own, but I always thought that must be such a nice thing. Breastfeeding your baby. Just a nice thing". "It is", I said. And we went on to talk about the fair and some other random stuff. All the while, Ms. Plum was nom nom noming away.
Any good stories? Feel free to share them in the comments. Like what you've read here? Come find me on Facebook and Twitter!