Nursing in public is a hot topic. There are many social media posts about flash mobs of breastfeeding women, or women who have been patronized for nursing uncovered in public. There’s also criticism out there for women who choose to nurse discreetly or feed their babe a bottle.
I find this extremely frustrating. There are so many different ways to mother and just as many different ways to feed your baby both at home and in public. Being an IBCLC lactation consultant and RN I am an advocate for breastfeeding your baby. But this does not mean I judge any woman who chooses differently. The same goes for breastfeeding in public. Do I think women should have to sit on a toilet to nurse their baby? No. But I also understand that some women choose to cover themselves or feed their baby discreetly.
What I am saying is that motherhood is challenging and we are not helping each other by passing judgement. Choosing to feed your baby with your breast exposed or to give your baby a bottle of formula is a personal choice and not an expression of how good of a mother you are. I see pictures of both examples on all forms of social media and it upsets me to read the comments of mom’s judging each other underneath. Loving and nourishing your baby is what matters. How you do this is up to you.
I personally never felt super comfortable about nursing completely exposed in public. I never stayed home or purposely missed a social function because I was nervous to feed them around others, but I always made sure I felt good about what I was wearing and the cover I packed so I could both enjoy myself and feed my baby comfortably. Does that make me less of a breastfeeding advocate? I don’t think so.
It’s not easy to nurse a baby covered in public. As they grow, they become squirmy and restless and interested in what is going around them. This is developmentally appropriate and I found my wardrobe had to be functional to allow for this while having me comfortable.
I loved wearing nursing tanks under regular shirts so that no matter how squirmy my baby was my post partum tummy was covered! (I know I shouldn’t have cared, but the reality is I did and that a lot of women do too). But I am not writing this to judge those women who are comfortable exposing everything. Every mom needs to mother and feed their baby however works for them!
I also loved wearing shirts and dresses that were versatile and nursing friendly. Looks that didn’t scream “nursing top” but were easy and comfortable to nurse in. It was so great to find clothes that were fashionable and functional. A mom that can feel great about what she is wearing and feed her baby is a win-win! Finding a dress I could feed my baby in without stretching the neck out of shape was fantastic!
The cool part about these clothes was I continued wearing them after I was done nursing my boys. I didn’t purchase only “nursing shirts” so they didn’t have to collect dust in my closet when I was finished. Melody Lane provides the solution for fashionable, versatile women’s clothing. From pregnancy to post-breastfeeding, their clothes will adapt and work with women for whichever stage of life they’re at!
Do what works for you and your babe in every realm of motherhood. Nurse exposed, cover-up. Breastfeed or bottle feed. Work or stay at home. Co-sleep or sleep train. It really should be that simple. It’s not up to your mom, your friend or social media. Just you. You are the mom and do what feels right. Just love your little one and feel great about your choice. Guilt never did any mom any good, yet it’s a common theme of motherhood. Let it go and enjoy your baby. It feels so good!
Melody Lane has graciously given The Mama Coach followers 10% off any purchase through their site, www.melodylane.com. Use the code MAMACOACH at checkout! Happy shopping!
As always, The Mama Coach is here to help with any questions you may have about your pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding or infant and child sleep. Send me a message here and I will get back to you! If you enjoyed this post, please share it!
Carrie Bruno RN, IBCLC, Infant and Child Sleep Specialist.