Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blog Carnival: Nursing in Public with Ease

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.


Nursing in Public with Ease.

I nurse in public all the time. That is to say, when I manage to leave the house, I almost always nurse in public. My youngest son is two months old. Without fail, he wants to nurse whenever we're out. And I'm okay with that. I can't remember ever being self-conscious about feeding my children in public. It's a totally natural thing, so why would I?

I've nursed in parks, parking lots, the patio furniture section of Target, waiting rooms, restaurants, walking through the grocery store, at the library, in book stores, on benches outside. No one has every come outright and said anything to me about it. I've had my share of nasty looks and snide remarks spoken just loud enough to ensure that I hear them. But I've also had women smile at me as they walk by - some even stop to say hello.

It has helped to have an incredibly supportive family. My husband has always been 100% behind my decision to breastfeed. Both he and my oldest son are always willing to lend a hand while I'm nursing. My extended family is mixed on the subject, but in all honesty I don't see them outside of their homes so it doesn't come up much.

I do not use any sort of cover when I'm nursing. I've seen some nicer nursing covers, and they work for some women and their children. But they aren't for me. That's not to say that I hop up on table and make a big production out of breastfeeding. I endeavor to take other people into consideration. When around children (as in the kids' play room at the public library) I ask the parents present (in general) if they mind me nursing there as I have no problem walking five feet away to another part of the library (for the record, no one has ever said that they mind). At restaurants I sit on the inside of the booth if I'm going to nurse - not everyone wants to see my breasts while they eat and I can respect that. I wear clothes that allow me to nurse easily and somewhat discretely. I'd rather not have the entirety of my breast flapping in the wind. However, if my child is hungry, I will feed him regardless of clothing, company, or location. And I will do it with pride.


Art by Erika Hastings at

Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public

Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.

Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.

This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts - new articles will be posted on the following days:

July 5 - Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World

July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child

July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.

July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives

July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It


  1. I definitely try to be respectful of others around me. I figure if I want people to respect breastfeeding mothers, they deserve my respect too. Of course I don't equate respect with removing myself from a room to nurse, but I am conscious of others. :) It's a fine line!
    ~Dionna @ Code Name: Mama

  2. I like your explanation. I feel the same way (now that I got over my insecurities). I still have doubts when nursing in restaurants (not to say I don't do it), but the people I'm with have always been okay with it. For other patrons, I figure if you're not okay watching an infant eat while you're eating, you can just look away. Though I did have to leave one restaurant to feed, but that was because someone was a bit taken by all the sights and sounds and continued to leave me dripping as he looked around.

  3. Dionna: I see the fine line, but I don't. Does that make sense? To me, I'm not being flagrant unless I'm literally shoving my breastfeeding in their faces. I've had my moments of discomfort though I've never been able to figure them out once I sit down and actually think about it. Why do I feel ashamed? Why do I want to hide or cover up? It seems to always come back to issues of self-worth and wanting to please everyone. The truth is, my issues aren't as important as the well-being of my children.

    And this is me rambling. (:

    Tina: My kids have always been remarkably single-minded when it comes to nursing. When they're hungry, there's nothing else in the world. I've always chalked it up to them being male. (:

  4. I try to be discreet, but mostly for my own comfort. I don't like a lot of skin showing, and I don't want to cause any confrontations that might distress me or my child.

    That said, I've stopped broadcasting that I'm going to start nursing or asking permission. When Mikko was 1 month old, I asked someone at a festival if there was somewhere I could nurse, trying to hint that they might lend me one of the few chairs that were occupied — but they kind of freaked out about it and thought I needed somewhere absolutely private, so went to great lengths to get an out-of-the-way place for me. It was sweet, but I felt really flustered by it, because if I'd just said outright what I truly wanted: "Would you mind if I used one of these chairs to sit for a bit?" and then just fed him as if it was no big deal — well, it would have been no big deal! I think sometimes it makes people more comfortable to just go ahead and act like you're comfortable, you know? Most of the time, they won't even notice what you're doing.

    Sorry, that was just me rambling. :) I'm glad you've had good experiences!

  5. Lauren: Exactly! It should be about you and your child. As decent human beings we tend to take others into consideration, but it should be about what's best for your child - and yourself by extension. I think a lot of the discomfort people feel about seeing someone breastfeeding is our own insecurity being projected outward.

    In general, throughout my life, I've let people walk all over me. But when it comes to my kids, I won't be a doormat, if you know what I mean. (:

  6. I have no problem with how much skin other women show, but I try not to show much. I wish it wasn't a big issue. I wish I could just do what was easiest, but it's not too big a deal to do it somewhat discreetly, so I do. It's a much bigger deal (to me) to have to carry around a cover or go to a private spot (if I don't want to).

  7. Lisa: I agree. It wouldn't bother me in the slightest if a woman wanted to take off her shirt compeletly to nurse. And at home, I may well do the same. But I've always had body image issues with myself. So I wear my normal clothes and a Bella Band to ease my mind when I'm out. Juggling three kids, I can't be bothered to pack extra bits like nursing covers - isn't life complicated enough without all the unnecessary extras?

  8. Hi, I've been feeding non-stop my 2 for over 3 years and feed wherever I need to. I support you whole-heartedly! However I tandem feed in private. I can't imagine the looks I would get.
    PS Will you post pics of your house when you are finished?

  9. twolittleseeds: Yay for you! Tandem nursing has been a roller coaster for us, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

    And yes, I will most definitely post pictures of the completed toadstool house. The first I made is here ( if you're interested. (: