Breast vs. Bottle, a classic debate, but I’m not going to venture down that road, because frankly I think every mom chooses based on the information she has and I leave it at that. Let’s say you are pro-breasfeeding, are you then pro-public breastfeeding?
Perhaps it is just me, but the cover vs. no cover issue seems to be getting pretty heated, and it has left me baffled. I have recently returned from a 3 year stay in England, so I may be particularly susceptible to noticing things out of my norm, but my boobs have gotten more looks in the past two weeks from women then they ever have gotten from men. I nurse in public, without a cover, all the time. I promise you I’m not trying to make a statement, I just find it easier, I have big hooters and squirmy kids, battling with a cover is just not on the top of my to do list. Furthermore, trying to quiet a hungry baby until I can find a hiding place just seems like more work than I want to do with two older kids, plus if I find a hiding spot that means I have to stop what I’m doing.
While in England people would actually not notice me nursing, we would talk and they would eventually look down at the baby and notice, but it was never a blurp in the conversation, it just seemed viewed as a fact of life. I was breastfeeding my baby with no super-ninja like clothing, so side boob, top boob, and basically any boob not in baby’s mouth was going to be seen, depending on the shirt I was wearing. The point is I never once felt looked down upon, or uncomfortable for feeding my child.
When I landed in Atlanta, GA after nearly 24 hours of being on my feet traveling I had 3 screaming children, 11 checked bags, 4 carry-ons, and a rabbit to attend to. I was lucky I was holding it together, no one (and I mean NO one) had gotten more then 2 hours sleep, my husband and I had only gotten 3 hours sleep in the past 48 hours, and I was one hot mess of a woman. I was expecting some looks due to the screaming and the lack of any care for my appearance, but I didn’t get them, or at least they weren’t as noticeable as the scathing looks I got when, while sitting against a wall surrounded by my luggage, I pulled down the top left side of my shirt and put the youngest screaming child to my breast. As one couple walked by a woman turned to her husband and said “You would think she would have the decency to cover up, she must be foreign” her husband couldn’t figure out who and what his wife was talking about, which means the woman noticed me but not the man. A few other women traveling together pointed at me and had a rather lengthy conversation while retrieving their luggage, one woman stopped and stared at me, I just kind of looked blankly back at her, as she walked away she told her lady friends that I “hadn’t got the hint, and didn’t cover up.”
Since leaving Atlanta and heading to my new home, things haven’t changed. While walking through the commissary one woman said, rather loudly, “What does she think she is doing? I can tell she has her nip in that baby’s mouth” I kind of thought to myself “where else would it be?” but decided to refrain from speaking. In more then one store I have been “offered” a room to nurse in, but it sure hasn’t felt like the nicest offer. I didn’t realize feeding a child without a cover was such a modesty issue, even when someone hasn’t realized I was nursing until a few minutes into a conversation the “modesty” issue has been brought up. One woman said, “You do know they carry these covers for nursing don’t you? It’s more modest and civilized that way.”
When did it become uncivilized to breastfeed? Why are only women noticing me? The men around really don’t seem to care, which speaks volumes to this debate. Women bringing women down, so much unnecessary, negative energy due to opinions. I have no desire to wear a boobie blinder, I often find myself needing to hold my “extra” boob area down and away from my child’s nose, and every one of them has hated having anything up by their face while nursing. I’m sure other women hate covers, just as I am sure other women love them, my thought is whatever makes mom and baby happiest, why cause more stress to a mother with an infant? I’m sure I will soon ignore the looks and heated words while I am nursing publicly, until then I will just wonder why so much debate is needing over nourishing a child.