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Knockers

I get a lot of questions about breastfeeding, and while my vast experience of successfully breastfeeding one child does not make me an expert (even if she did frequently spend 20 hours a day clamped to my boobs) I am planning to write a post about it. However, it is likely to be quite lengthy and I am no longer capable of sleeping past 3 AM and just can't muster the energy for all that typing. There is, however, a sub-issue that I wanted to address: public breastfeeding.

I want, really want, to be all hey, breastfeeding is normal and natural and if the idea of a potential momentary glimpse of a breast gets you that terrified you should a) not look and b) go back to junior high since you are clearly 12 years old. But the truth of the matter is that the sum total of my public breastfeeding experience is two highway rest stops and a La Leche League meeting, where you start to feel really awkward if you aren't flinging your nipples around. With Mia, I just made sure I was home when she would need to eat. I know that isn't going to be possible with Offspring 2.0, because Mia has a life and should be allowed to live it, but I'm nervous. I'm seriously considering getting one of those blanket things that ties around your neck and covers the whole process from prying eyes - not because I think I or anyone else should have to do that, just because I think it would make me a heck of a lot more comfortable.

So I was wondering, first, how do/did you handle public breastfeeding? And second, can I aggressively support your right to feed your baby where and however you so choose while hiding myself behind a sheet, or am I a hypocrite if I don't walk the talk?

Comments (103)

I mostly breastfed my daughter in the car, if possible, when we were out and about. I'd just hang a receiving blanket over the window and keep my shirt close around me. Of course, that was in the summer, so it wasn't cold in the car. I understand there is something available called a "hooter hider" that makes kind of a tent over you and the babe so no one has to see what they don't want to see. I'll probably look into that for my next one.

Two words: Hooter Hider. My personal favorite nursing cover.

I nursed Kate for a grand total of 22 months, and in that time had to breastfeed with her in public several times (airplane/airport, a bench at the zoo, friend's houses). The Hooter Hider was a savior. It's a great nursing cover - it comes over the neck and has a little boning at the top so you can still see in and see what you're doing, if necessary. Plus, it comes in tons of fabrics.

I always felt very covered and discreet using it, and it allowed me to even feel I could stay in the room with my dad and nurse her. I don't know about you, but it was weirder for me to nurse in front of him than some strangers on an airplane,so that's saying something.

I have absolutely no breastfeeding experience (yet, get back to me in a few months) but I've already added a Hooter Hider to my registry. I'm like you: fully support other people doing whatever they want, but I'm fairly modest and want to cover myself for me more than for other peoples' feelings.

I agree that it will be more difficult to be at home all the time with a busy older sibling. I did a lot of feeding in the car and nursing before I left home, no matter how long since his last feeding and not caring if he was asleep. Either I am not coordinated enough or something, but I couldn't manage the blanket over the baby and boob. I spent most of my time replacing said blanket after it had been tossed aside -- which ended up being much more revealing in the end. Lots of people I know used those blankets that go around your neck and liked them. After all is said and done, I became a lot less modest about nursing in public, for sure. Also hated trying to be discrete and spraying milk everywhere. That was embarrassing! :) Best of luck to ya.

I think suppoting others' right to choose is the same as choosing how you want to breastfeed. Not hypocritical in the least.

In the early days of MrMan's life, I would get quite stressed about nursing in public and would try to strategically position his stroller and/or a blanket, or go sit in the car. Time passed and he and I both grew more adept in nursing. And I realized that the only way to move toward a society in which breastfeeding is accepted is to do it myself. It totally made my day when I was nursing MrMan in a busy mall and a woman came up and thanked me for nursing in public. If we're all too scared to do it, someone's got to take the first step.
As far as logistics, over time I found that t-shirts of the slightly baggy variety were the best means of not exposing my breast to all. And not drawing attention to the fact that MrMan was nursing.

Hey, if hiding behind a sheet makes you more comfortable? I say do it. As long as you aren't making everyone ELSE hide behind sheets I don't see a problem. (I think I would be a sheet-hider, personally, because, dude, the world does not need to see my boobage.)

I've registered for the Hooter Hider this time around as well. With my first, I usually just tried to cover us as well as possible with a blanket but I'm guessing that trying to nurse and juggle a toddler at the same time will be a little more difficult. I've also heard that slings work well (at least with newborns) for nursing discretely.

If you support the right to feed your baby where and how you want then wouldn't that mean that YOU should feel comfortable feeding your baby that? If feeding your baby under a blanket is what makes you comfortable, then thats what you should do! Not hypocritical at all!

The most public I got with breastfeeding was sitting in an aisle at a DSW shoe store. I really had no choice - crabby hungry baby, and I was with my mom and my older daughter and they needed to find shoes. Oh well. Modest me kind of maneuvered myself so I was half hiding behind the stroller... and yes, I covered with a blanket. I was also a big one for going to the car to breastfeed. I'm not one of those women who would fling my boobs around like it was nothing. That would have been horrifying... FOR EVERYONE.

I think you should nurse your son when he needs to be nursed, regardless of where you are. You don't need anything fancy schmancy (oh my god, i'm turning into my mother for using that phrase), just a simple receiving blanket big enough to cover your shoulder. Who cares if people can see Wally's body while he's nursing? I had a girlfriend who managed to feed her son in a baby bjorn while shopping for groceries. That was talent!

Your babies are lucky that they are healthier thanks to both a) your smart living as a host (for the parasite) and b) your feeding them with custom milk.

I too believe that it's normal and natural and babies need to eat. Obviously, I don't have kids so I don't have experience, but with the way our society treats breasts, I would be extremely shy to whip them out in public.

You do what's right for you.

I think you should do whatever makes you most comfortable!! If its hiding behind a stylish yet useful sheet/curtain then go for it!!

I breastfeed anywhere and everywhere (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lakeline/520123355/), and seriously - the hardest thing is the first few times. Go to a park when it's not very busy, sit on a bench while Mia plays, and just do it. A few times and you'll be way less stressed. But of COURSE you can wear a nursing cover and still be a rocking awesome nursing mom it's just easier if you don't have to bing another piece of equipment. I would also recommend a wrap (the Moby Wrap is great for newborns) because they have extra cloth that you can pull over your exposed bits so no one can even tell what you're doing. The Ergo is awesome, but as you can see from that picture as compared with this one (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lakeline/873492008/), it is not as discreet as my wrap.

I didn't nurse Ally (my first) in public very often. It was much easier to manage schedules, like you said. but with Anya it just got easier to do. I'd had more practice. We were out more often. One thing led to another, and it became much less of an issue. While they are infants, and you already know what you're doing (totally not the case the first time around, but second children come with some benefits) it's less difficult to hide the boobs. When they get older and decide to look around is when it gets harder. At least in my case.

Honestly, I think that just doing it will do a lot to alleviate your (and the rest of the public's) discomfort with the process. But I support the right to bf in public. Which means I think it's a right, not a requirement. Your choice.

I never really breastfed in public. I did it at friends houses in a room separate from all the action, in the church nursery every Sunday, and twice on an airplane. But, generally, I was home in my comfy chair.

Two reasons we mostly went the private route: (1) Jayla nursed for an hour at time and (2) she hated nursing while trying to be somewhat discreet (i.e. she always wanted my breast fully exposed at all times during the feast). Plus, my breasts were F cups at the time and I just didn't want that all hanging out there for folks. So, I never had a chance of nursing "on the run"...nor did I have a chance of being inconspicuous about it.

But, I don't think a cover-up thingy would make you hypocritical at all. I would just think you're modest.. and there's nothing wrong with that...besides, you are still supporting the right to feed where and however, your how is just behind a sheet.

Normal, Normal, Normal - so normal.
When I had Cole,I was TERRIFIED of breastfeeding in public, and like you couldn't figure out why, it was so normal. I will never forget I was in Starbucks with my first "i have a baby too friend so it's all okay" she totally had the recieving blanket up clipped with a hair clip on her collar and was happily nursing her babe, while chatting with me - My Cole however was freaking to eat - ( smart paranoid i am had packed a bottle of pumped milk and was trying to shovel it in- he however was much to worked up to take it, and that's when my boobie angel came over to me and said, If anyone even so much as gives you a look while nursing your babe in public you tell em "it's a hellava lot easier for you to look away than for me to starve my child"
Since then I'm over it - I am discreet of course, but it's all good now. The other day I was nursing in the mall on the comfy couches and down plopped three other moms with their babes to do the same. it was nice.
The hooter hider is awesome to, if you are a crafty gal SUPER easy to make yourself if you are so inclined.
Good luck!

Normal, Normal, Normal - so normal.
When I had Cole,I was TERRIFIED of breastfeeding in public, and like you couldn't figure out why, it was so normal. I will never forget I was in Starbucks with my first "i have a baby too friend so it's all okay" she totally had the recieving blanket up clipped with a hair clip on her collar and was happily nursing her babe, while chatting with me - My Cole however was freaking to eat - ( smart paranoid i am had packed a bottle of pumped milk and was trying to shovel it in- he however was much to worked up to take it, and that's when my boobie angel came over to me and said, If anyone even so much as gives you a look while nursing your babe in public you tell em "it's a hellava lot easier for you to look away than for me to starve my child"
Since then I'm over it - I am discreet of course, but it's all good now. The other day I was nursing in the mall on the comfy couches and down plopped three other moms with their babes to do the same. it was nice.
The hooter hider is awesome to, if you are a crafty gal SUPER easy to make yourself if you are so inclined. Oh and also the maya sling! HELLA awesome for nursing in public while having hands free to chase toddlers around - and it covers everything!
Good luck!

I talked the talk and didn't walk the walk. Go for it - I think whatever works for you is best for you. Me, I was a car nurser. Even with my older one - he was delighted to get unbuckled and sit in the driver's seat and "drive" while I sat in the passenger seat and nursed his little sister. Just a bit miffed when I didn't let him drive home. I did breastfeed in public a few times as necessity required and just tried to be as blase as I possibly could... while inside I wished I was in the car.

I tried a nursing cover wiht #2. Her latch was horrible so in the initial months it didn't work, then as her latch improved, so did her hand eye coordination, so she would just move the blanket and play with it. I just fling it out where ever now. I'm so busy nursing and chasing the toddler that I don't even notice any strangers staring at me. Today I nursed baby Brooke in the passport office with hundreds of other passport applicants all around. She was hungry and we were 4 numbers away from being called so we didn't have enough time to gather our belongings and hide in a washroom stall. I never thought I'd be one of those nursing mama's but my only other choice is to wean and I'm not ready for that.

I feel the same way as you do! Totally supportive, though not super comfortable doing it myself. Actually, I am fairly comfortable now (she's 8 months), though it took me a while to get to this point. The hooter hider is good until they get to that point where they hate being covered up. Now that I have the hang of nursing, and I think the fact that she is bigger (thus covering up more of me), it is a lot easier. I'm still not a "whip it out whenever" girl, though.

The funny thing is that I feel MORE comfortable in front of people I don't know (on a plane, in a park, etc) and would NEVER nurse in front of my inlaws. But that may be a different issue. :-)

I would highly recommend a good baby carrier, for two reasons. One, nursing in public, and two, you will need both hands free for Mia. I would recommend a hotsling or similar for the newborn stage and and ergo (although I don't like their business practices) or a beco for when he is a bit older. I have had both, and both have been absolute sanity savers for me. Please, however, don't get a cheapy walmart carrier, as they are bad for the baby's spine, and hurt yours as well. Carrying you child should not hurt. Good luck!

I forgot to mention my other nursing in public secret weapon:
http://www.motherwear.com/prod.cfm/cid/51/sid/5830

Wear those mofos under a loose shirt, and no one will be able to see a thing. When you unhook the bra part, the fabric underneath is still covering you, so until you pull the baby's head close and move the fabric yourself, you're not exposed at all. Plus, the fabric can be positioned close to the baby's mouth so it's not exposed there either.

Plus, it's a tank top so covers the overhanging belly fat. I would far rather have people see my boobs than my stretch marked, pouchy belly.

More pictures you ask? Sure, why not!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lakeline/488206514/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lakeline/483041450/

Get the wrap. I don't mind public breast-feeding, but it's more comfortable for the observers too if there's a blanket or some cover involved. Notice I didn't use any words like "should" in there. It's a personal choice. If all it does is save you one "Mia! We have to go feed the baby right now!" then it's worth it.

It's all a matter of choice - namely, your choice. If you want to breastfeed in public without a canopy, that's your call. If you're more comfortable with a canopy, that's your call too. When my wife was nursing, she generally didn't use a canopy, but she wore nursing-friendly tops (i.e. ones that let you expose the nipple without much else) often. (If I recall... it's been nearly two years... I think when she was in a "normal" shirt she used a blanket to give herself a little more privacy.)

Ultimately though, like I said: it's your life and your call. You should do whatever you are comfortable with.

I used a hooter-hider/babe au lait for the first few (5?6?) months of breastfeeding outside of my home. Now, though, my almost-10-month old is way too wiggly (and more interested in the pattern on the fabric!) to use it. I will keep if for the next round. I have also found nursing shirts to be helpful - I can nurse in public without my belly being seen. This way especially nice when traveling during Christmas. I get a lot of stuff from www.motherwear.com because they have reasonable prices, a good return policy, and I have been pleased with the quality of their clothes.

I plan to buy one of those cover things. I saw a lady using one in the airport recently and she looked so comfy and cozy feeding her baby there in the middle of bustling airport. Right then I thought that is the ticket to breast feeding in public!! Also, a sling(s).

How I handled them the first go around. Mostly like you. I stayed at home when he needed to eat. When people visited I mostly disappeared upstairs the comfort of my son's room. The one thing that worked well so we could get out more often was we visited lots of fitting rooms like Target and Macy's and any other fitting room that we could find near by where ever we shopping or visiting (Matthew nursed until 20 months so I mean come on, we had to get out at some point in there!)

At first, I used a hooter hider (I think that is what they are called), but I'd find that I'd forget it or I wouldn't have enough room to tie it and whip out the boob (if we were at a restaurant for example).
Eventually, I just got really good at whipping it out and having her latch quickly enough that only, HOPEFULLY, a few people would notice.
I only had one person comment that I shouldn't be breastfeeding in public and that was when I sat next to a woman on a plane.

OK, here's my thought on this. When I was nursing, my boobs were the last part of my anatomy I wanted anyone to see. Yuk. My nipples were the size of dinner plates. So no, I'm not going to whip them out in public. Like you I timed my feedings as best I could around being at home. I also nursed many times in the car, and once in the bathroom of the car dealership as we were buying a new car.

But I stand firmly that anyone should be able to nurse where they are. I have been seated across the dinner table from a nursing mother and not batted an eyelash.

If I could go back, I would do it in public more because we are all so nervous about it, and at this rate, we'll never gain any ground in the battle to stop nursing from being viewed as sexual or dirty.

But I'd also buy a fancy shawl or something stylish. My SIL had a drape that looked like something you would wear at the hair dresser. I know they make cuter ones that that....

I nursed in public plenty of times. Even once in a restaurant (I did it at the table with a recieving blanket over my shoulder and his head until we were all latched on. I refuse to breastfeed in a public WASHROOM...cause that is just gross.
I didn't flaunt my boobies (as grossly huge as they were) but I did discreetly nurse my baby where ever the hell he wanted to, sometimes with the receiving blanket and sometimes without
Do what you feel comfortable with...you can buy those cotton tent things that hide all the boobiness of the process.

sigh.
I miss babies

You wouldn't be a hypocrite if you used a blanket. You'd still be publicly breastfeeding. Some people don't even like those things because they know what's going on. UNDER THE BLANKET.
I am an unabashed public breastfeeder. I'm on my second child now and I just do it. Even when I feed at home it's not like I have to whip out the whole boob--as I"m sure you know--so I do it the same discreet way in public. It helps on the days when I'm wearing a cardigan of some sort--covers up my unclothed side as I don't wear breastfeeding "fashions." I also invested in an Ergo baby carrier and it's easy to breastfeed in that, too. Good luck. You'll do great.

You're not a hypocrite. At least, no more than I am! I feel very similarly.

When I was still able to breastfeed Cole and was out in public, the best thing I owned was the over-the-shoulder-baby-holder sling. I made sure that I had a baby blanket and that thing with me at all times and we were totally covered- in all senses!

i really struggled with this issue too. i believe strongly in the right to breastfeed in public but i'm uncomfortable with it for myself. i resorted to using a "hooter hider" (made one myself, it's very easy...if you can sew, just google "diy hooter hider").

Definitely NOT a hypocrite! I really didn't like bf'ing in public with #1 but I've since relaxed about it with #2. I try and time feedings with outings but sometimes you do have to have those public feedings. I always cover up with a blanket because I personally don't like exposing anything, it has nothing to do with other people's opinions. My issue is not so much the boob area, but my flabby stomach. So I have used "the belly hugger" which is like the bottom half of a t-shirt that you wear under your shirt so it covers the below boob area. Works real slick, is very versatile and a lot cheaper than buying a bunch of nursing clothes.

I think it's all about doing what makes you comfortable... and letting the next person do whatever makes them comfortable.

And they have such cool breastfeeding "cover-up" things now.

I could've written this post. I am a big advocate of public nursing for many reasons, but never felt entirely comfortable with it myself. I covered up with my daughter, not because I think people should have to, but because it made it me more comfortable to avoid the looks and comments. Mostly though, I tried to feed her right before we left to go somewhere. I am pregnant with baby #2 (a boy) and this time, I'm hoping I won't worry about it as much. I want to be more bold. I'd like to be ready with a snappy comeback if someone says something, but knowing me, I'll probably end up ordering a hooter hider.

I could've written this post. I am a big advocate of public nursing for many reasons, but never felt entirely comfortable with it myself. I covered up with my daughter, not because I think people should have to, but because it made it me more comfortable to avoid the looks and comments. Mostly though, I tried to feed her right before we left to go somewhere. I am pregnant with baby #2 (a boy) and this time, I'm hoping I won't worry about it as much. I want to be more bold. I'd like to be ready with a snappy comeback if someone says something, but knowing me, I'll probably end up ordering a hooter hider.

Rito was a noisy slurpy eater who ripped off every blanket or cover made, so he got a bottle when we went out for extended periods of time, was much easier that way for us.

I avoided breastfeeding in public, because both of my boys took forever to latch properly, and they thrashed around too much while they were eating. Too much boob exposure for me. I ended up in tears once, because my son's crying and thrashing was drawing so much attention. The more nervous and tense I got, the harder it was to get him to latch properly. Never had a fancy nursing blanket, but I might have to try one next time, seeing how popular they are with your readers. Otherwise, my solution was to nurse before/after going out, nurse in the car, or pump and bring it in a bottle.

You aren't a hypocrite. Just because you don't want to draw extra attention to yourself and/or have the world see your boobs doesn't mean you don't support public breastfeeding. Do what's best for you. It's about having the CHOICE to nurse in public, not about putting on a show every time your baby wants to eat, just to prove a point.

Good luck!

I never had any trouble keeping covered as I have the smallest boobs ever (even when breastfeeding) but if the cover makes you more comfortable, go for it. I had a friend who used hers all the time and it was cute and discreet and she could breastfeed and tend to her toddler.

I was much more uncomfortable with Amelia and breastfeeding in public than I am this time. What I love is nursing tank tops. I wear them under most everything. I try and wear looser tops if I'm going to be out somewhere public breastfeeding. That way i can just pull up the Tshirt unhook the tanktop and not flash my whole stomach and business at people. Then once I get baby latched on, I drape my top shirt so I'm not flashing the girls at everyone in site. I hope that makes sense.

I am breastfeeding my son (he's nearly seven months old), and have had to do it quite a number of times in public - airports, restaurants, parks, friends' homes, etc. I've never really felt uncomfortable, but it might also be that I live in a nice liberal hippy town (Boulder). I usually try to wear a tank under whatever shirt/sweater I'm wearing, and then just lift the shirt, pull down the top of the tank - I feel better that my stomach stays covered, and then my shirt rests on the top of my breast. I tried one of those nursing screen thingies, but it didn't really work for me. If it makes you feel more comfortable and allows you to go about the business of living while taking your baby places, then go for it!

I did not breastfeed so I do not have any personal experience, I do not think you are a hypocrit - just open minded.

I couldn't nurse in public, because every time I tried, my over-producing hooters would shoot milk across the room. I also coudn't do the blanket over the baby's head, because here in California it gets HOT in the summer time. I couldn't do that to my boy. I spent a lot of time in the car or with friends who could deal.

I think I just weaned my 15-month old tonight. Wow. I did the same as you - I either made sure I was home when it was time for her to nurse or I did it in the car. I only nursed in public a couple of times but always under cover of a blanket. I am very pro-booby , but one of our library storytime moms just had Baby 2 a month ago. She recently rejoined us for storytime and lunch and to my surprise, she just whips out the boob and feeds the baby at the lunch table, no cover or anything. Now I've seen boobs, I'm not all that impressed by them, but I surprised myself by minding that she was making me look at her tits while I'm eating my lunch. Now who's the hypocrite?

If you are a hypocit then so am I, for the same reason. My first two were close enough together that we still had no place good to go when #2 needed to eat. #3, though was a baby on the move. My most public bf experience was at the park and covered by a blanket (off in the corner where my boobs could maintain their anonymity). Otherwise, I was big on the car. I would let the kids play around, or I had the ipod with us, we were locked in and safe and my back windows are tinted so even if I couldn't get the last spot in the parking lot, I knew I wasn't putting on a free show, either.

Anyway, that was how I handled it. Good Luck to you and Wally.

Dude, get yourself a Hooter Hider. They rock. They slip on over your head. They come in cute colors and patterns. Don't get the big blanket thing that wraps around your whole body. It's a pain to manipulate while holding an infant without the assistance of someone else. And Mia probably isn't your best gal for this trick. Hooter Hider. Google it and order today. It is your friend!

I don't know, but it seemed odd to have an odd number of comments (47) since boobies usually come in pairs, so I'm just trying to even things out.

Ya know, do what feels right for you; I wouldn't worry about what everyone else thinks (hypocrite, goddess, whatever) because in the end you can't please everyone anyway.

There are times I've had my kids eating in public and I wish I could somehow toss something over them, not because they were latched to a boob but because they can really be messy when they eat...

I only attempted public breastfeeding a few times, and each time I had a blanket that I threw over the whole operation. Chris was actually more uptight about it than I was and, if he was around, would hover over me making sure no one saw any boobage.

I totally support a woman's right to pop her boob out in public for the nurishment of her child, but I just feel more comfortable keeping mine somewhat underwraps. I don't think that makes me hypocritcal, so you aren't either. :)

MM hated nursing, so I never got the chance to NIP, but after the experience at the hospital of the whole everybody's face up in my wimmins parts, I've got no shyness about people seeing some skin in a good cause.

I did, in fact, end up PIP (pumping in public) at my workplace. No place to pump privately there.

The bathroom had no outlets in the stalls, the "pumping room" was a doorless room off another bathroom, and all the conference rooms and offices had interior windows. And they reclaimed the storage room I appropriated, made it into an office, and assigned two guys to it.

Whenever I whip 'em out in public, I operate under the same methods as I do with barking dogs and that is that they can smell my fear. In this vein I do my best to latch the kid on without so much as looking down or pausing my conversation. My shirt normally covers any skin and I think that huge blankets only draw attention.

That being said. I did have a "who the hell am I and how did I become this?" moment the other day while breastfeeding the infant and chasing after the toddler in my mechanic's waiting room. It could be that I have totally crossed over into "who gives a fuck" territory.

I am all for public breastfeeding and am still nursing my 25 month old (at nine months pregnant no less.) But forever and a day, I used a large Egyptian cotton scarf when we NIPed. It wasn't because I was ashamed, it was because I wanted to draw the least amount of attention possible. With a toddler, it's completely possible to delay or defer attention but for a newborn that needs to nurse a lot A LOT I think I will probably use it again.

I don't think I'm a hypocrite--heck, I'm an avowed member of LLL! But I will acknowledge the fact that we SHOULDN'T have to worry about something like this when I see bottle feeding bloody well everywhere.

You got the advice...whatever makes it easiest for you, etc..I just thought you were keeping his name a surprise & here you go spilling it all over the place...Offspring 2.0 Cactus-Fish has a beautifully melodic ring to it :)

I was never comfortable breastfeeding in public. The few times I tried it, it was awkward, and she just wouldn't eat as much.

However, since I was a massive milk producer, it was easy to pump and give her a bottle as she got older and we were out more. Plus, gave hubby the chance to feed her while I was socializing at family gatherings. :)

I don't think you're hypocritical at all. You're doing what's comfortable for you, and wishing the same for others. Good for you.

Although I support and even admire public breast-feeders, I could not do it. I tried, but was uncomforatble, especially if I saw discomfort on passerbys faces. I mostly did it in the airports since i travelled a lot...in the last bench if possible. Besides that, I would use changing rooms of malls, and cars. In one BedBathandBeyound where there are no changing rooms, i used the managers room. I tried the blanket, but my lil one would just fling it away (with considerable force) causing some embarrassment. Next time too, I will go with the blanket for public breastfeeds and changing rooms.

This may sound odd, but while Baby 2.0 is small, you can wear a very large sweater and breastfeed inside it (pull your arms inside, and voila! Easy shield, stolen from your husband's closet).

I personally believe that people should have the right to BF in public, but I would like it if we all used a little modesty and at least attempted to be discrete. I guess what I'm trying to say, is do what you can - if baby flings the blanket off you every minute, that's not your fault, but if you're all "here are my breasts! Look at them!!!" I'm not so down with that.

I used a lot of change rooms, and I always knew which malls had a mother's room.

I think you can totally do what makes you comfortable.

I was not comfortable to nurse in the public eye, but that was just me, with twins, I couldn't really get it down to where I wouldn't be putting on a show for the world you know. Thankfully, a lot of the places we went to had lounges or nursing rooms in the ladies restroom. Even if I would have just had one, I think I still would have been uncomfortable--so I think get the blanket cover up thingie and don't worry about it.

I haven't read all the previous comments yet (though I will when I have time) but just wanted to say that the whole point about making breastfeeding "normal" is that you should be free to do what YOU are happy with, not what other people tell you you should do. So if you are more comfortable with a blanket, that's what you should do. If you are lazy and bolshy like me, you should be free to feed where you need to.

I have a hooter hider and plan to use it!

I have clearly never breastfed but I have a friend who I distinctly remember breastfeeding at a wedding reception at the extremely conservative church we attended. She just covered up with a little blanket. If I were to ever breastfeed in public, that'd be my method. I'd also like to add that at my new job, the break room downstairs is also a lactation room and we're allowed to kick out whoever is in there so that nursing mothers can have privacy. It's *awesome*

Also, how does it feel to know that so many people come to you for advice? I was just thinking about how often I've considered emailing you or Chris about various things because I think you're both wise and intelligent. Heh. Is it weird that total strangers are all HELP ME WITH THIS!! to you all the time?

As I'm sure everyone else has already told you, You are not a hypocrite. I think supporting someone else's right to nurse publicly is akin to supporting your right to do it whichever way makes YOU most comfortable.

Also, I felt the same was you do now before I had my second child. I never nursed the first in public and was a little flumoxed at the idea of what to do with the second. Especially since there is a 5 year diff, so he definately had a life of his own. I got pretty comfortable doing it after a while, and I used receiving blankets. I did it at restaurants, peoples homes, church, pretty much anywhere she needed to eat. But I was always discreet.

Good luck, and you wil figure it out!

Well, we spent the first week of my son's life in the hospital in the NICU and by mid week, I lost all my shyness on nursing where others could see me, the male nurse included. Once we got home though, whenever anyone was around when it was time to feed Little Man (other than my mum or DH) I would cover us with a blanket. I did it mostly for my stepkids and visitor's comfort level, and for my husband's. Yes, he liked to hover and make sure no one got offended by a flash. LM liked to pull the blanket down a lot so it wasn't always easy to keep covered though.
I say do whatever makes you comfortable, cause if you aren't, it makes nursing harder. NIP but cover up if that's what works for you. And really, I would rather catch an unintentional flash from someone NIP than seeing the butt flash from the low rise jeans/thong combo.

Oopps, that anonymous was me.

With all 3, i had breasts the size of Montana, and if i didnt want to be arrested for indecent exposure, i needed to cover up. And trust me, without being the Pres. of a la leche league, Im pretty much the biggest advocate for 'flinging your nipples around' and feed your kid where you want.

Delurking!

I was always comfortable with public breastfeeding, but I was also a member of La Leche League, and I felt like I was on a mission. I didn't care who felt uncomfortable, and I always covered up. I was pretty handy about masking what I was doing by putting the baby in my sling and nursing with the sling as a cover for both me and the baby. People probably didn't even know there was a baby in there. Their discomfort probably stemmed from the fact that they thought I was impossibly obese.

Being that I have areolas larger than a baby's head when I am breastfeeding, it was difficult to be discreet. There is a funny story about how I squirted a man with breastmilk at an airport while trying to get my screaming child to BF in public with a cover. With the twins, well, we didn't go anywhere the first 6 months of their lives (the duration of my ability to BF them) because twins and a 2.5 y/o were beyond our ability to handle in public situations. So, um, yes, good luck with that.

You are so NOT a hypocrite. You are supporting a woman's choice to breastfeed where and how she chooses. Each woman should be able to do what she is comfortable with. Doing more or less does not invalidate your support for others. I only lasted a month breastfeeding both Things. However, I still smile and get a warm fuzzy feeling when I notice a woman breastfeeding her child. It is so natural and maternal. It's beautiful. I get the same gushy feeling when I see a pregnant woman rubbing her belly. There's a connection going on there and it's a good thing.

I'm WAY more comfortable nursing in public than I thought I would be. I did not have success BF by daughter so I was very determined to have success with #2! I think the first time I nursed him in public was at a college homecoming parade when he was 3 weeks old. I went into one of the buildings that was empty and got him hooked up. Then I decided that I didn't want to sit in there by myself so I just walked back outside. I kind of had him in a New Native sling but was using it more as a cover than a carrier. All went well and my hubby didn't even know I was nursing him until I told him! The next day I nursed him at O'Charley's and then at a baby shower and we've been NIP tons since then! Several times just walking through the mall and all over Disney World when he was 10 weeks old!

I'm a huge fan of the nursing tanks from Target. Helps to make things discreet. I am rather small chested though so that may have something to do with it??? I've only had a little success nursing in slings. The New Native pouch sling worked well a few times when he was really small. I have nursed him in the Mei Tai a few times but haven't really figured out nursing in the Moby wrap for some reason.

In the beginning I often would go to a restroom to get him hooked up but I don't bother with that much anymore. I just turn towards a corner or have my husband stand in front of me or something. Once he's latched I hold him in a cradle hold and go about my business. No one has ever batted an eye at me. Although I did get applauded by a Disney World employee for nursing Cam as we left the Magic Kingdom one night! That was pretty cool!

my newly mom-ed sister in law uses a hooter hider:
http://www.sweetpz.ca/hhide.html

she loves it!

i couldn't bring myself to publicly breastfeed. ever.

I nursed all 3 of my kids... and my last one until he was almost 2.5...

My best advice would be, screw what "they" think. This is your child and you can do whatever you want with your child, and your breasts in where ever you want.

That said, I always had a receiving blanket in the diaper bag. I wore loose shirts and I think I lived in my nursing bras forever. I got to be a pro at being able to flip a blanket, unhook the bra cup, and latch on a kid with out anyone noticing. It does take some getting used to, but most times, people won't even notice. And I found that 99% of the few that did, were other moms who had nursed their kids.

Practice at home, or at Mia's playgroup. They will be more understanding.

Good luck, and whip them out proudly! :)

hmph. did my comment get through??

my sister in law swears by her hooter hider:
http://www.sweetpz.ca/hhide.html

Definitely get a hooter hider, but also the travel My Brest Friend rocks. I can't recommend it enough. Just toss it in the bottom of the stroller. Makes life so easy and saves your back.

http://mybrestfriend.com/travel

ok, I feel VERY strongly that everyone should be free to do what they feel is right and comfortable - whether that be breastfeed only at home, or wherever with or without a cover. OR indeed bottle feed (expressed or formula) with or with out a cover, WITHOUT coming under pressure from the exposure police, the breastfeeding police or any other faction I havn't thought of!

my bf experience - miserable disaster with the first, he ended up on bottles. Blissfull succes with the rest (four).

I've breastfed anywhere and everywhere, and i maybe it's just that I live in the UK and we're all very polite here, but I've NEVER had any negative comments (nor when I was bottling feeding no 1 either, come to thing of it).

I do believe in being descrite, as it's only common courtisy, but I don't feel right about putting a blanket over my baby. I don't know whether it's because I always way tshirt type tops? Also a cardigan helps to block out any side views. The baby and maybe a hand blocks the rest.

In fact, standing up and feeding them in the slingeezy, people have never twigged that nursing is going on unless I've mentioned it!

Oh, except with this current baby. The only girl, she is NOT a dainty feeder. She slurps and sucks and gulps and sighs and no one with in a 5 mile radius can have any doubt at all what is going on!

The only time I ever felt uncomfortable was last October at a family petting farm. I was feeding current baby, looked round and along from me was a woman feeding her 2.5 (at least) year old. He was sitting up on one of her knees, and she had her jumper etc pulled right up over her boobs - I could see all of both her boobs (no bra), her stomach, the lot. And not just for a second. She was sat there like it.

Now, I'm not saying we should presure women not to have baby fat, strech marks etc etc, and the female form is inately beautiful and nothing to be ashamed of, but I was a little startled.

I bottle fed my older kids, and was still a huge proponent of the right to nurse in public. Every mom makes choices that should be respected. Advocating public nursing for anyone who is comfortable to do so has nothing to do with whether or not you feel comfortable with doing it yourself.

I nursed Lil Joe, and was most comfortable with just having good nursing tops (Motherwear kicks butt in terms of selection of good clothes that don't scream "look, I'm a nursing top!") and practicing a quick latch on, or throwing a blanket around him and myself to cover up. Hubby always insisted on me using a blanket or nursing cover, but I think it was actually more discreet to just have the right clothing- with a blanket, folks would comment on how great it was that I was nursing; when I was nursing without a blanket, I got a lot of "Aren't they adorable when they're sleeping?" from folks who saw me holding him close with his face turned in toward my chest.

I never cared. I'd whip the girls out anywhere. My husband, however, carried with him at all times an awkwardish large steel portable room for me to sit in to nurse.

We comprimised on a large, light baby blanket with some safety pins in the corner.

Okay, I haven't read the comments, but here's my thoughts. I, too, wanted to be all loud and proud with my boobs, and before the Kiddo came, I was like, "I will breastfeed whenever and wherever, and people will just have deal with it." O, sweet reality! In my own home, I do whatever I want, depending on company, and in the haze of a newborn I did whip out the boob in front of people I never thought would EVER see my anatomy. And I didn't care. But the thing is, if it makes someone ELSE uncomfortable (say, a father in law, in my case) it's not fair or kind. And I did get one of those hooter hider things, which is very nice, but maybe only works when the babe is tiny and less squirmy. I haven't used mine in awhile!

Ok, first, not a hypocrite. The point of supporting good choices for everyone is to have your own choices also respected. I just wish our society didn't make us feel like we had to hide our kid's eating... it's not you, in other words.
Second, the right clothing can REALLY REALLY help. I know you don't want to spend a lot of money on stuff right now, but "nursing clothes" have gotten a lot better and a lot more stylish. but not that much cheaper, sorry. Even so, I highly highly recommend that you invest in some good pieces that will make you feel happy and confident... and they are not all the same... different people like different styles, so you could experiment to see what works best for you. This is true regardless of whether you use a cover-up also. You could start here:
www.expressiva.com and www.motherwear.com

Finally, I totally think those specially made cover up things are a total rip off... all you need is a baby blanket, which everyone gets too many of anyway! I'd rather spend the money on a great nursing top.
Finally (again, sorry) I also totally nursed in the sling, standing in line at a store, and no on knew... awesome.
all done now.

Naturally, all of my speculation on this point is academic, but I think you go with what makes you comfortable, and that's that. If you prefer using a blanket, then that's what you prefer. Just because you're comfortable handling it one way doesn't make you a hypocrite.

When I've been away from home while nursing, I would go to the furthest room away from everyone, close the door and relax... but there'd always be "that guy" that would wander into the room that NO ONE ever goes into and be like "Aw is he sleepi.....oooooooh my!". Damn I wish that Hooter Hider was around when I was nursing.

I breast fed both of my daughters and I never did it in public. If I ever felt like I was going to have to, I had a blanket that I could use to cover everything up.
One time my pediatrician asked to watch me fed my 2nd child. She was always hungry and not getting enough milk. I thought I was going to die when I had to breast feed her in front of him.
To each her own, I just never felt comfortable enough to whip it out in public.

Hypocritical would be if you were to fling your boobs around in public, but then were horrified by seeing someone else do it.

I did not really BF Little Dude in public. We would go to the car (the back seat worked really well for this), ask a manager, store clerk or whatever - depending on where I was - if there was a quiet and private place I could go, or I would pump and bottle feed in public. This last one works extremely well, too, as I got an adapter for the car, so my pump could run off of the power in there, and because breast milk is virtually indestructible for several hours, at room temperature.

I support women being able to nurse as needed, but my comfort level is that it should be done discreetly when in public. I'm not saying the have to cover the baby, but there is a difference between being in the middle of a store vs. moving off to the side to a bench that is a bit out of the way. That is just me and my comfort zone.

But again, you are not hypocritical. You have to do what is comfortable for you, just as I did what was comfortable for me.

I was VERY unsure about the whole public breastfeeding thing with Mila (cut to me: In the womens fitting room in Macy's during holiday season frantically trying to calculate how many ounces she has ingested so the 25 people waiting outside can use this very fitting room). For me, at least, things are soooo much more laid back the second go-round. I can remmember taking Mila to the park with infant Summer in tow. Before I knew it I had whipped my jug out and was nursing her in the PUBLIC park! I really had evolved!

I way way way recommend the hooter hider (or bebe au lait as they now call it) and I'm a super supportive breastfeeder. I used it selectively, to be honest, and I breastfed EVERYWHERE. At places where it was mostly women, I didn't use it. Where there were men, or in restaurants, I did use it. Or on airplanes where my companion next door could have practically touched my boob with his nose because we were so wedged in like sardines, I used it. I love my hooter hider.

I also just kind of choose to believe that people don't see my boobs and I just went with that belief, even if it wasn't the truth. I tried not to think about it and made it not be a big deal, and then I felt better and much more comfortable about breastfeeding in public. You'll be great, though, no matter what!

It appears that you've already gotten a comment or two about this. Still, FWIW:

Breastfeeding is all about what's best for you and your baby, so you should do whatever makes you comfortable. Although it sometimes seem like it, it really shouldn't be a whole political crusade.

I breastfed all my kids in public, but not frequently -- I preferred to be home, too. (And I never did figure out how to tandem-nurse the twins in public. Hee.) I covered up at the mall, but not at playgroup. I was self-conscious at first, but people almost always either ignored us or gave us positive comments. I'm lucky that way, I suppose.

Oh......wish I had more time at the moment....

but I got this: http://www.bebeaulait.com/
loved it!! have since passed it along to many friends!!

I'm still trying to get enough milk to feed her AT HOME - the public thing hasn't even entered my world yet. *sigh* I say if the "hooter hider" makes you more comfortable - go with it.

My kids wouldn't deal with the shoulder blanket- they yanked that off in no time- they have no discretion!! :)

I did my best to be away from the general public, if possible, and use my bulky clothing or burp rag to 'shield' the area...if breastage is seen by another- they were looking too closely and for too long! ~All the Best, Beth!

I support the right of women to breastfeed in public if they're comfortable with it.

I support your right to be a little uncomfortable.

Hooter Hider will make it so much easier. I also very rarely nursed my first born in public. It was a comfort thing. I was trying to get the hang of it and I had a baby that was constantly on and off. With my second, who was born 2 1/2 years after my first, I knew I'd have to figure out a way. The Hooter Hider that was mentioned by another reader was a life saver. I didn't even think it could be seen as hiding the fact that I was breastfeeding, it was more of a comfort thing for me. I was so used to being private with Kyra, my first, that I knew I would need to find a way to feel comfortable feeding Zoe in front of others. The second time is much easier, you will have less doubts in general about breastfeeding since you've done it before. You'll feel more confident. Even though it's a little on the expensive side, I feel it's worth it because there is no way a baby or the wind could take it off and expose your breast mid-feeding. Even though some of the patterned covers are attractive, I'd go with a plain one-less distracting for the baby.

I only made it a week into breastfeeding but I was dreading breastfeeding in public. Its not that I think its wrong, I just felt very uncomfortable even in the idea of getting my boobs out in public. I'd just get something to cover you so you can do it discreetly.

I was just thinking about how much different nursing is the second time around! I was loathe to nurse in public with my first baby, and tried to be home at feeding times, or as a last resort, nursed him in the car in the parking lot.

I don't really have a choice this time - nursing in public it is. What I've been doing works really well this time of year. I have the little one in a Snugli (it's adjusted so her face is level with the boob) and when she wants to eat, I turn her to face me, pull a blanket up & over, undo the shirt, and tuck the blanket in around the Snugli so it stays in position. Voila! I'm a pretty private person, but surprisingly this go-round I worry more about people getting a glimpse of my flabby, stretch-marked belly than of my boob.

And if I do flash someone, I'm too busy to really care. It's funny how low of a priority privacy becomes when you're trying to keep your 2-year-old in sight and out or trouble, while simultaneously trying to latch on the hungry baby.

I was just thinking about how much different nursing is the second time around! I was loathe to nurse in public with my first baby, and tried to be home at feeding times, or as a last resort, nursed him in the car in the parking lot.

I don't really have a choice this time - nursing in public it is. What I've been doing works really well this time of year. I have the little one in a Snugli (it's adjusted so her face is level with the boob) and when she wants to eat, I turn her to face me, pull a blanket up & over, undo the shirt, and tuck the blanket in around the Snugli so it stays in position. Voila! I'm a pretty private person, but surprisingly this go-round I worry more about people getting a glimpse of my flabby, stretch-marked belly than of my boob.

And if I do flash someone, I'm too busy to really care. It's funny how low of a priority privacy becomes when you're trying to keep your 2-year-old in sight and out or trouble, while simultaneously trying to latch on the hungry baby.

Ah, crap. Sorry for the double comment.

I nursed in lots of restaurants, malls, grocery stores, etc. just out of circumstance. I would never flinch seeing someone completely exposed nursing. Go, sister! But I at least tried to be a little discreet. I used blankets, faced walls, used diaper bags to shield me, etc. The few times I was sort of semi-exposed, I just motored on and ignored any looks. As Griffin got older 8-9 months he refused to be covered and would kick at, or fling off anything I used to hide his view of the world, but by that time he was old enough to wait a little bit until I could get to a better area. My husband was the one that was funny about it. Even when I was covered, he was ready to punch anybody that even accidentally glanced my direction. I kept telling him to mellow-out, but it made me laugh how protective he felt of my boobs. Haha. I'm SOOOO excited for you. I can't wait to see the new baby, and your belly is beautiful.

I haven't breastfed for 13 years, but I did breastfeed 4 kids.

I had a sister-in-law who was a "breast thrower" but I could never be that public about it. I used a blanket to cover up the chestal area even before I unbuttoned the shirt to get to feeding. It worked just fine.

aagghhh. I can't believe breastfeeding in public is still an issue in this day and age when I see half naked women hawking everything from toaster ovens to playdough (exaggeration, sorry).

I fed in public, you some how learn to master covering your self and child up with the baby blanket (or coat or whatever) popping out the boob and feeding the child all while walking/sitting some where public. I don't think it's that big of a deal personally.

And yeah you sooooo totally can support public feedings even if you haven't.

Late to the party, I see. I just wrote a post about this, seeing as I had to feed my wee one in the airport and all on the way home for Christmas. I use a receiving blanket to cover up, but she's 6 months old and practically doesn't eat at home unless I cover her from stimulation - because WOW LOOK KITTY! and omigod Daddy cleared his throat - so she wouldn't eat at all if I had her out in the open in the airport. I think one can support breastfeeding and not be all National Geographic about it in public.

Duuuuude - sorry I'm late on this one, I just hope you still read it.

I'll tell you what saved my 'breastfeeding in public life' - it was the moby wrap. http://www.mobywrap.com/

No seriously - that thing was awesome - and is STILL awesome with my six month old. Make it loose and use it to cover up while feeding. Tighten it up a bit and voila you've got a baby strapped to you and it actually feels GOOD instead of cumbersome. The fabric is soft but strong and it looks like you could even use it for Mia - just strap her to your back or hip!

Oh - and I felt awkward at first in public, but after that I kinda just got over it. I forced myself to go about my regular day and test myself to see where I could manage it. I also found it extremely helpful to go with a friend who was also breastfeeding, then we could all be like... HEY ... it's COOOL... to breastfeed in public YO!

Absolutely not a hypocrite. Nursing is normal and natural but that doesn't mean you have to be comfortable exposing your boobs to strangers. Everyone has a different threshold for that kind of thing.

You have to do what meets your comfort level. Otherwise, nursing is going to be an even bigger challenge. I only tried nursing in public a handful of times, and they were not positive experiences. One time was at Applebees when only 2 other tables of people were there. The manager made a point of pointing me out to two of her employees. I was using a blanket, but I will be buying one of those special nursing specific items for the next time after watching how much easier is seems to make it for my friends who have them.

I'm totally with you on this: I think anyone should be able to feed a baby in public with as much or as little cover as they personally prefer. I prefer a cover-up, not because I'm protecting the sensitive eyes of others, but because I don't want my side flab exposed to public viewing.

Please do write that post about breastfeeding. I am planing on feeding this one by boob, and since my older two were formula babies from day 1, I have no idea what to expect. I'm asking every last one of my friends with experience in the boobs-as-food department for all of the advice they can give. Even if it's just an ""expect to hate it for a week and then you'll love it because you will hit a groove" kind of piece of advice.

Get a HOOTER HIDER! I have one and I LOVE IT! I can breastfeed anywhere now!!!

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