Thursday, March 11, 2010


I went to lunch yesterday with a new friend. She and I have connected via Facebook and have a lot to talk about, as we are both passionate about breastfeeding and other aspects of attachment parenting. I feel that we will have a lot to learn from one another.

Our lunch ran a little long and both our babies began to get hungry. Personally, I can still be a little nervous when it comes to nursing in public. Don't get me wrong: I am ALL for it (with every ounce of my being) but when it comes down to doing it I still get a little squeamish. I'm always afraid someone will confront me and the right words won't come until it's too late. My friend, however, was completely comfortable (or so it seemed at least!) and right in the middle of the restaurant grabbed her son up and just started nursing.

Let me tell you something: the way she did this was probably the coolest thing I have seen in a long time. For me, when I feed Kairi in front of people, I feel like I should warn them first. I know that I shouldn't have to, that people SHOULDN'T be uncomfortable with a nursing child but the sad fact is that people just aren't used to it. But for her, it was a no questions asked, just do it kind of thing, like it was the most normal thing to possibly do. (AS IT SHOULD BE!!!)

Until this point, I had been running circles in my head over whether I should go to the car to get a blanket or try to end our visit earlier than I wanted so I could feed Kairi, neither option I really wanted to go with. But the way she seemed so fearless really paved the way for me, so I just did it too. And you know what? Not one person looked our way (that I noticed at least) and no one had anything to say about it. In that one little action I felt so empowered. I still feel a little Superwoman-y over it, to be quite honest.

It does make me a little sad though that I feel like I have to build my courage up for something so everyday as feeding my child. But hopefully in doing so, and making it as normal for me in public as it is in my home, I will be taking the baby steps needed in making it normal for everyone.


Arwyn said...

My first experience with public feeding was in a hospital room when my baby was two weeks old, and had just had his blood drawn for the second time (he has congenital hypothyroidism). He was upset from the blood draw, and needed to nurse to calm down. But I was a wreck, and made a big production of it, and announced "I need to nurse him", and thus scared all the techs out of the room, and felt horribly self-conscious... it was pretty awful.

But what I quickly discovered is that the less I did all that -- the warning, the fussing, the announcing -- and just did it, the EASIER it was. The more I faked having confidence, the more confidence I had.

And pretty quickly, I was one of those whip-'em-out-wherever women, and I like to think that seeing me do it so nonchalantly helped some other women feel more confident too.

Remember, blankets are only good for YOUR comfort (yours and your child's). If you're using them because you think you're "supposed" to, toss 'em.

Lovely post. :)

kia said...

Great post! I am glad you feel a little like Superwoman from your experience. I am not a mom yet and hope that I feel comfy like your friend in feeding my babe in public. I am trying to avoid covering my baby up with nursing tanks and tops that will help me retain some modesty while giving my little one access to milk.

Anonymous said...

It takes time, at least for me it did. I use to be the same way. I did not want to insult people. Then one day in the BATHROOM I thought, the people who I am afraid of insulting are the same people who don't care if they insult me.

I try to be as discrete in public as I can, but K does not like anything over her head. When doing so it causes more of a scene. So I don't use anything but my hand.

Now, because we've been nursing for almost 3 years it's not even a thought. I don't even notice. Well until someone asks "Are you still nursing her?"

MommyLovesStilettos said...

I love this post :)

Kristi {at} Live and Love...Out Loud said...

That's awesome Erin! I still haven't built up the courage to nurse in public without a cover. I will say that when Alana nurses, she's very easily distracted so the cover works great for us while out in public. Other than that I nurse sort of openly at home. She likes to pull my shirt down to cover her face so I'm usually not exposed anyway. Anyhow, I'm really proud of you & excited for you. That's great!

Kristi, Live and Love...Out Loud

Hobo Mama said...

Congratulations! I feel the same way. The less big a deal I make of it, the less big a deal everyone else makes of it. I'm so glad you had a role model right in front of you so you could feel comfortable. I hope I can be that model for someone else!

Anonymous said...

I have really found that spending time around other nursing moms has helped me immensely. When you see other moms nursing their babies with confidence, it helps to build your own confidence. I think this is another example of how we don't really have a breastfeeding culture. Even many nursing moms haven't really seen other moms breastfeed.

I'm glad you felt like Superwoman, and I hope you have many more positive nursing in public experiences. :)

Anonymous said...

I guess I was lucky, as a young mum twenty years ago (where did the time go??)I didn't give feeding in public a second thought - my baby was hungry and she had to be fed where ever we happened to be at the time. Blankets were too much hassle, and I found it too difficult to manage a blanket and latching a starving baby so I just wore tshirts and jeans and found it to be discreet. We fed on public transport, in shopping centres, friends homes, the library, university lectures (kept her quiet!!)and restaurants.
I am now a midwife, and recently was honoured to help my sister bring her baby into the world. A few weeks later, we were in a coffee shop, her beautiful little girl was fussing and I commented - she might need a feed. While we drank our coffee Deb latched bub on and she quietly settled to the task. It was only later that she admitted how nervous she was as that was the first time she had breast fed in public! I was astounded - this was her second baby and she had fed her son for 3 months?? At the time she lived over 1000km away, and apparently none of her friends had children so she stayed home unless her son had just fed and she only needed to go out for a few things. I felt so sorry for her - what an isolated existence. Her princess is now 7 months old and is exploring other foods, but still loves her breastmilk! And she gets it where ever and whenever she wants it (as she should!!)

Wild Mama said...

Baby steps are brilliant, and thanks so much for sharing. I remember feeling a bit nervous with my first baby, wondering if anyone would look or look away, or would even notice. Then, after I was confident, I kept waiting for someone to say something negative so I could tell them off. But that never happened! And isn't that great? Love your blog and found it through Hobo Mama.

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