By Go-To Mom Christina Liu, Heathrow, FL
I admit it. Before I had a baby, I was totally and utterly clueless about breastfeeding. Specifically, I had no idea whether it would be possible for women to breastfeed discreetly without exposing themselves. I had few opportunities to observe breastfeeding in action, but one instance really made an impression on me.
One afternoon (long before I had a baby) I was dining at a restaurant, and a woman in the next booth, who was very well-endowed, decided it was time to nurse her baby. She literally pulled her entire breast out and began to nurse her child. She remained exposed while breastfeeding. For me it was quite a sight. The woman was in mid-conversation and didn’t even miss a beat or a bite of her meal. At the time, I was shocked at what appeared, then, to be brazenness. Today, I admire her for being so comfortable with herself and with nursing. Admiration aside, when I became pregnant and was taking breastfeeding classes, I realized that I personally would not be able to adopt her particular style of breastfeeding in public.
After having my baby, I tried to find ways I could nurse in public without being quite as conspicuous as the woman in the restaurant. I began to watch how other women nursed, and I have included options here:
1. Go ahead and let it all hang out, just like the woman I saw in the restaurant. If you are comfortable with your body and not embarrassed about what others may see, then more power to you! However, be forewarned — not everyone is as comfortable with your body as you might be. There are numerous stories of people getting the “evil eye” or worse when breastfeeding in public. To reduce the risk of being accused of indecent exposure, consider local laws and the sensitivity and possible reserved nature of the community.
2. Seek a nursing or lactation room. There are stores that provide such a location, but these are few and far between. If your child is hungry and demanding to be fed, there is often little time to find a location to latch before the little darling reaches nuclear meltdown. Some women have retreated to women’s restrooms to nurse their children, but restrooms are rarely conducive to comfortable nursing!