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 NursingFreedom.org. 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.
I knew once my baby was born, I would breastfeed him or her whenever and wherever was necessary. But when I was faced with the task of actually exposing my breast in public for the first time, it was a little scarier than I thought.
The very first time I nursed Daniel anywhere other than inside our home (or in the back seat of our car) was in the dressing room at the bra store, after picking out a bra and nursing tank for my new 38Fs at 5 days postpartum. I feel like this one didn't really count, because I was alone in a room with my husband and my tiny new son.
The next week, twice I nursed him in the waiting room at my chiropractor's office, but only once was there someone else in the room with us, and he was too engrossed in his magazine to even notice we were there. Both of these times I had a nursing tank on underneath a t-shirt, so there was very little skin showing.
The first real challenge came the last night my sister Suzanne was in town visiting us. We all went out to a pub for dinner, and as soon as we got there, Daniel let me know he was ready to eat. I took him out of my (Didymos) woven wrap carrier and nervously unhooked my tank top to feed him. Noticing my hesitation, Jaymz leaned over to me and whispered, "You're doing great." Hearing that little bit of encouragement from my husband was just what I needed to keep going and feed our kid. Our server came over and took our orders and didn't even bat an eye, and the other people eating in the pub didn't seem to notice. I liked having the wrap on, because once I had Daniel latched on, I was able to pull it down a bit to cover the top of my breast. Voilá!
After dinner we went to the airport to drop Suzanne off, and ended up spending an hour or so visiting and saying our goodbyes in one of the large waiting areas right next to the security checkpoint. Again, Daniel was hungry, but this time I was much more nervous because there were a lot of people around, many of them facing me, and we weren't in the comfort of our own private booth. As I was unhooking my shirt, Jaymz put his arm around me and said again, "You're doing great!" When my sister came back from printing her boarding pass, Jaymz left and we started talking. After a few minutes Suzanne stopped in the middle of her sentence, nodded toward Daniel and said, "I just realized that he's eating," totally alleviating any residual anxiety I was having about the situation.
Since that evening, I've nursed in a movie theatre, my husband's (very open) office space with several men other than him in the room, a crowded pizza place at lunchtime, a farmer's market, a church, a Lebanese restaurant, an outdoor wedding, and just the other day, in a sushi restaurant. I've found that being non-anxious helps those around me to feel the same way, and that leaving my (Hotslings AP) pouch sling or wrap sling on, or wearing a tank with a t-shirt on top while I nurse helps me to feel more comfortable and covered. (I haven't quite figured out how to breastfeed while still wearing Daniel, so that's the next skill I'd like to master!)
At the sushi restaurant, we struck up a conversation with our server about her children, the youngest of whom is just 18 months old. Here I am at that restaurant, right after our server came by a second time to talk and asked "Do you breastfeed him?":
...to which I replied, "Yes...I am breastfeeding him right now."
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 NursingFreedom.org 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