Breastfeeding in Public

breastfeeding. a topic that can ignite an argument among the most reserved mothers.

first of all, let me say i was a proud breastfeeding mama.  i breastfed two babies, one until a year old and one until 9 months (teeth became an issue).  they were breast milk junkies.  i was, and still am, the biggest flag waver of breastfeeding.  i was never in any way ashamed of breastfeeding my babies.  i made it through the ridiculous pain, cracked nipples and leaking-all-through-the-bed weeks.  i was officially a card carrying member of the breastfeeding club.  high five y'all.  God created me, as their mother, to breastfeed them.  i think it was given to us by God for a gives our babies a little jump-start, it's so convenient, it's free and absolutely the healthiest for them. breastfeeding is a natural part of life, and i believe we need to honor that.

a little side story that i can laugh about now...when my daughter was born, my son was two.  so he obviously could see that mama was nursing the baby.  we were sitting in church and my daughter started crying.  my son looking at me and, certainly not in his quiet voice, said "mama, baby is hungry for boobie".  and yes, i nearly died.  seriously, did my son just say boobie in church?  

this new movement is sweeping across the globe.  it's basically called the "Breastfeeding Mamas Don’t Want to Cover Up” movement.  you can read an article about it here.

here is my issue...

i might be in the minority, but i am a modest mama. i believe, as mothers and wives, we should dress with a heart that seeks to not draw attention to ourselves. we can absolutely dress beautifully without being out of fashion or immodest. the search might be a little harder but it's not impossible.  if you have a strong hearts desire to be modest, you'll also have a desire to breastfeed modestly.

there are two strong (big emphasis on strong) sides to this issue. i've even saw a picture that said "go ahead and tell the mother of God to breastfeed discretely in the bathroom". first i'm going to say, i think that goes a little far. there isn't a doubt in my mind that Mary breastfeed modestly. i've also heard the argument that God created us to nurse our babies. and because of that, we should feel free to nurse wherever and however we want. while i absolutely agree that God has blessed us with the ability to nurse, i don’t feel that gives us a license to expose our body to those around us.

i understand that animals breastfeed their babies in public.  but animals also don't wear clothes.  aannnnnd they lick their babies behinds to get them to poop.  and chew through their umbilical cord., not so sure i want to be compared with that.

there seems to be this growing trend that if something is natural, then we need to be okay with it happening in public.  but, i will tell you there are an awful lot of things that are naturally created by God that i certainly don't want the world looking at, intercourse and conception being two major ones.  i'm also not comfortable with, let's say, my father or my brothers-in-law seeing my breasts.  and i'm quite sure it would make them feel equally awkward.  so why would i intentionally put them in that situation?  

we need to find a balance between modesty and practicality. after all, we don't breastfeed to be exhibitionists! your body (and breastfeeding) is a gift from God, honor it as such. we are doing what mothers have done for years and hopefully doing it with modesty and grace. here are a few suggestions for breastfeeding in public that have worked for me, and hopefully they will be a blessing to you and your little!

1.  cover a former breastfeeding mama, i know that this takes about 2 seconds to do.  and boy, are there some cute cover-ups out there!  makes me almost wish i had a nursing baby so i could buy one.  notice i said almost.  and if you don't have a cover-up, just throw a blanket over you.  seriously y'all, it's not a big deal.

2.  clothing...when breastfeeding in public, be smart about the clothing choices you make.  they also make these super cute nursing tanks now that you could wear under your shirts.  they would make it so easy to modestly nurse in public!  they will avoid those awkward "belly sticking out" moments all us breastfeeding mama's have had at one time or another.  i have to say, breastfeeding shirts are much much cuter now than they were when i was nursing.  insert another jealous rant.

3., i'm not going to tell you to go sit in a bathroom stall to nurse your hungry baby.  i wouldn't want to eat in a bathroom and i don't think babies do either.  i don't want you to hide out of embarrassment.  or to spare others awkwardness.  but what i do think you should do is pick a quiet, out of the way location.  breastfeeding is about having that quiet, bonding time with your baby.  not about pulling your boob out in public to make a statement.

do any of you have any breastfeeding in public wisdom to share?

out for now

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