Yes, I do cover-up when breastfeeding in public. I’m probably going to inflict the wrath of some of my fellow milky-mommies by admitting this, but I believe if able, all moms should cover up when in public.
Now, before the anger boils up, let me be clear: I do think that it is my right and prerogative to breastfeed in public. I don’t go hiding in a corner, or feeding my baby in a bathroom. If the location we’re in has no nursing facilities I sit right where I am and “whip it out”… I just also “cover it up”.
I don’t consider it an issue of embarrassment, or being shy about the human body and natural functions. Nor do I live in fear of what the law might say. In fact, I’m proud to live in a state that has a breastfeeding statute on the books. It’s just that sometimes I think in society today we get so focused on our “rights” and not on what is right.
I want my son to grow up to be a man who takes care of himself and those he loves. So how can I be shy about taking care of his very basic need to eat while in public? I want him to see the human body and all of it’s functions as beautiful. So why should I act like breastfeeding is anything but beautiful. In the same breath I want him to be considerate of other humans. While I think it is my right to breastfeed in public, I acknowledge that it might make others feel uncomfortable. It isn’t about if they should feel that way–the fact is that they do. As a caring human being I believe that I should acknowledge that. If there is something that I can do without hurting myself and my baby, why shouldn’t I? I wonder how I can tell him he should be empathic without trying to be the same myself.
Now this does not mean that if it’s hot as beelzebub outside, I’m going to smother my son under a cover. Or if I forgot my cover at home, I’d still feel my son. However I have some breastfeeding friends that take out the ta-tas whenever needed without even attempting to cover up. It’s almost as if they are daring others to say something. It’s definitely their right to do so. However, for me, just being a mom is stressful enough without the unneeded dirty looks and criticism of strangers. If avoidable, while teaching my son something about being caring about others at the same-time, why not go for the two-for-one?
Who knows: I’m a new mom and an experience tomorrow might change my view. But for now, I’ll pack a wrap and do what I have to do, with a hint of modesty and empathy.