The Key to Nursing in Public
June 15th, 2013
During our time in Pittsburgh last week, Little Bird and I spent a lot of time out and about. We went out to meals in restaurants five times, had coffee with friends, and wandered through a Greek food festival. Not to mention the hours spent in the Cleveland airport.
All that gallivanting raises the natural question for a breastfeeding momma: how do you handle nursing in public? (Or NIP as the mommy forums and blogs refer to it).
NIP is a hot topic of discussion online and occasionally makes the news when some ill-mannered caveman makes the fatal mistake of suggesting to a feisty momma that she kindly not feed her child in his presence.
I NIIP all the time. The key to doing it successfully is attitude.
When I say “attitude,” I don’t mean getting preemptively sassy. I don’t recommend marching up to store management or airline pilots, thrusting out your chin (or your boobs, for that matter) and announcing – “I’m going to nurse now. Got a problem with that, punk?”
Instead I mean this. If you’re going to nurse in public: own it. Don’t be nervous. Don’t be embarrassed. Just go for it.
When I nurse around a group of people, I don’t apologize. No – “Sorry, I need to feed the baby.” Nor do I ask for permission. Most of the time, I don’t say much of anything beyond, “Oh, looks like she’s hungry!”
And I don’t cover.
I know there’s a booming market of Must Have Baby Gear dedicated to keeping the ladies – and your baby – out of sight while you nurse, but honestly, they’re a hassle. I am way more conspicuous when I’m thrashing around under a giant apron, trying desperately to align a flailing baby correctly without being able to see her, than if I discreetly list my shirt.
I do recommend investing in some good nursing tanks, but that’s more about vanity than modesty. I don’t need anyone seeing my squishy mom belly, thank-you-very-much.
And you know what? I’ve never had any problems. Confidence works wonders in many spheres and this is one of them. If you are comfortable nursing, those around you will take it in stride. Heck, they might not even notice you’re doing it.