Monday, June 13, 2011

Nursing in public

As a mom to a 2-3 month old baby, I could easily cover up. No big deal at all. He almost seemed to like being snuggled in and warm. But now he's a bit older and much more curious and he absolutely hates having a nursing cover over his head. I even have one of those fancy bebe au lait covers with the boning so I can see him but still, no go.

I used to wonder why women made such a big deal about being made to cover up in public. I figured it wasn't that big of a deal so why create a stir? Well, here are a few reasons:

1) Curious babies. Once babies get to a certain age, they want to be able to see what's going on around them. Think about yourself and your morning bowl of cereal. Do you focus intently on your bowl of cereal and nothing else? No! You look around, read the cereal box, talk to someone at the table with you, read the paper, etc.

2) Comfort. I get hot just putting it over myself but can you imagine if your head and face were covered? No wonder the kiddos don't want it over their heads. They're too stinkin' hot!

3) Rude? Why in the world do we feel it is rude to see a baby nursing? Frankly, I've been at the table with much worse before. Try sitting next to someone who eats with their mouth open. Disgusting. But, no one goes up to them and asks them to please put a cover over their heads. Tell you what, when no one talks with their mouth open anymore, I'll consider thinking its rude for my child to be seen eating in public.

4) Modesty. Isn't that the main argument? That it's immodest? Please tell me why we tolerate low-cut shirts and Victoria Secret advertisements but we can't tolerate a woman nursing her baby in open. I think a lot of it actually has to do with male misogyny. Wildly attractive woman showing off her breasts versus an average-looking woman using hers for a natural purpose. One doesn't need to think too long about that. Also, I don't know about anyone else, but I almost feel as if I'm showing off more by having my baby pull the cover up than I would if I just nursed him openly.

5) Good example. Nursing in public shows others, hopefully young women and girls, that nursing is natural and a desirable thing to do. In fact, I love the idea of nursing dolls. I think we should eliminate bottle feeding dolls and show young girls that nursing is what mommies do.

But, that being said, I still cover up in public. I wish I had the courage to just nurse anytime, anywhere but to be honest, I get scared. I don't think there is anything wrong with it at all. In fact, I think we should be nursing openly. Anyone want to join me on a crusade to make it okay? How would one go about doing that without being labeled as "subversive?"


  1. I do it all the time, while shopping, eating out and even in church. I am glad my kids see me do it all the time both at home and in public. Hopefully they will remember as they get older that it's a perfectly normal thing for a woman to do and not be embarrassed by it.

  2. You should read

    She asked the same question and decided to nurse in public without a cover for a week. I believe that she never put it back on. I might just do the same thing with our second. :)

  3. If I were bolder I would totally join the ranks of people who nurse coverless. Also, (this may be TMI) but I think women who are smaller chested are better able to do it with some decorum. I am not one of those women. would be pretty um...noticeable if I were to nurse out in the open and I'm not real comfy with that idea.

  4. Amy, I really loved your make an excellent point, one that I think American culture is a little behind on. I, however, love to nurse in public but I always use a cover, it's a personal preference and I like it. I've been in nursing debates before with anti-nursing cover women who say "we are not ashamed of what we are doing!" well I'm not ashamed either I just prefer to use a cover!! I feel like however we choose to's great! I think quite often we judge each other too often too quickly, like say the whole co-sleeping other cultures it's a normal practice but here people are so offended by even the thought of it! But either're right about nursing, come on people it's really not a big deal!!! No more frightened women having to leave the restaurant to nurse in the car!! Sorry, rant over!! X

  5. I respect the idea of covering if you are in a public and open space, I do it myself (it is annoying sometimes, I admit, but it is better). But come on, I don't get it why women are so afraid of showing even if it is just a little part of their shirts INSIDE the nursing rooms at the church. Give me a break, sometimes there is only 2 or 3 woman and the door is closed, but there are still those sisters who think that everyone will be looking right at the size of their boobs or the color of their bra. But again, I respect it, and admit that it is a cultural thing. In Brasil woman don't bother so much about covering it up and that makes me feel embarrassed now that I am used to it.

  6. Sometimes I think it depends on the comfort of the woman, more than the comfort of the on-lookers. Then again, I wouldn't want my husband seeing other women's breasts all the time, and I wouldn't want other women's husbands seeing mine. You make a good point, but in the end, to each her own. :)