I had planned on breastfeeding from the minute I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I don’t know why I was so excited to do it, but I was. I read up on it and when she was born at the hospital, I talked to the lactation consultant every day. I wanted to be good. I also wanted to be able to nurse in public (NIP). I told my husband that I would do it and “forget anyone that would side eye me!”
Then, one blissful Saturday afternoon, we were at Target walking around buying baby gear, and my little newborn baby started crying. She was hungry. I panicked. I started to breathe heavily and broke out in a sweat. What was I supposed to do?
I remember I gave my husband a terrified look and said “I think she’s hungry.”
He looked back at me perplexed and said, “Then feed her.”
“Well I can’t here, we need to go to the car,” I said.
“But our cart is full, just feed her here.”
“I can’t. We need to go to the car.” And annoyed, he followed me out to the car. Once there, I asked him to move the car to the furthest spot in the parking lot that faced away from everyone. I then pulled out my cover, used about 4 receiving blankets to cover the windows, and I set her up to nurse. To this day, my husband still teases me about how I pretty much put up one way glass around our car terrified that someone just might think I was nursing my baby.
It’s true. I was terrified.
It didn’t take me much longer after that to get more comfortable nursing in public, and eventually, I stopped running to the car every time my daughter was hungry.
I finally got to a point where she and I got the hang of it, and she learned to not flail about (much), and I learned to read her cues so if she did flail, I could catch it before the world saw my goods.
Now I know that it’s no big deal. I get that it’s just a boob and it’s not a big thing if you are nursing your baby and they pull off and your boob is showing. However, it bothers me if my boob is hanging out for everyone. It’s my own personal modesty issues. And that is fine. I am also perfectly fine with people nursing and not covering, but being uncovered, is just not for me.
So I would like to take a minute and help you learn how to build up your own confidence for nursing in public, which ever way you decide is the best for you.
I am Randi, and this is me taking pictures of myself in a mirror on the floor.
I awkwardly have a comforter hanging on chairs behind me so you can’t see that I didn’t clean my house today.
Ignore all that.
Maybe you should admire my cool camera strap for a minute.
Or I could explain the glasses tattoo on my arm. They are the glasses from Dexter’s Laboratory. My son’s name is Dexter. There you go.
Let me introduce you to Alberta. She looks amazing for her age since she is 29 years old. Though, the poor thing is losing her arm. I guess that will happen when you are 29 years old and have been played with by a lot of kids.
Also, she is naked.
I was going to try to get her a cloth diaper to put on, but realized too late that I had packed up all my newborn cloth diapers.
Since I weaned my son back in February, I didn’t have a live victim to use for this photo shoot, but don’t worry, Alberta was very happy to help.
This is a picture of me “nursing” Alberta. Like I said, I am a cover user, so I am going to show you what to do when you use a cover.
I would suggest you do the same thing I am doing now. Well not the same thing. Obviously, you will want to nurse your actual baby and not your old Cabbage Patch doll. You will also want to use both hands since babies are squirmy.
You probably don’t need to take pictures of yourself doing it either. Unless you want to.
Above are some more pictures that show different ways to position yourself in front of the mirror to see what other people see. On the right, you will see that I am sort of cupping the cover. I learned that move when I would nurse my son because he was a squirmer. He also hated being covered. I ended up nursing him in the car a lot just because it was always such a struggle to keep him focused.
I want to encourage you as a nursing mom, or if you are planning on nursing, to just practice. If it’s practicing at home while your significant other circles you to check out every angle, go for it. If you are all for nursing in public uncovered but want to make sure you don’t have a nip slip, again, just practice. Use a mirror, use a camera. Embrace your decision.
So ladies, whip out those boobies. Figure out what works best for you and go with it.
I have said it once, but I’ll say it again, I know breastfeeding doesn’t work out for everyone. There is nothing wrong with that. There is also nothing wrong with flat out not wanting to. I fully believe a happy momma makes a happy baby and if breastfeeding is making your life miserable, there is nothing wrong with formula. I don’t care how you feed your baby, as long as you are feeding her.
I would like to give a huge shout out and thank you to my dear Internet friends of J12 who provided me with all the absolutely beautiful pictures that you see here in this post.
Randi blogs in a blue recliner from the wet city of Seattle where she and her family live. She blogs about her crafting adventures and parenting trials, because if you can’t find humor in your own life, then who will? Randi has also authored Tales of the Booby Monster: The Unglamorous Truth About Breastfeeding as part of our series on breastfeeding.