This week, three negative stories about women nursing in public have been in my news feed. A mom nursing at a Target in Houston, TX was humiliated by employees while nursing, a breastfeeding flashmob was told they couldn’t nurse in a Michigan mall, and a mother was accused of indecent exposure while nursing her 4 month old in a Washington DC government building. I got really riled up reading the comments posted on major news sites.
I’ve been nursing E in public since he was 4 weeks old. I don’t count the doctor’s visits when he was a few days old because I typically nursed inside the exam room. My first NIP experience was in a PF Chang’s restaurant. We had gone there for a late lunch to celebrate E’s weight gain and it was our first restaurant meal as a family. E blissfully slept through the appetizer, but as soon as our main course arrived he was up (of course). I took him to the bathroom to change him and quickly realized he was hungry. I thought about nursing in him there, but I realized that I didn’t want to be in there any longer than I had to be. I went back to the table, pulled out my nursing cover (some cheap deal from Target which was HORRIBLE) and proceeded to feed him while I ate.
It wasn’t easy. The wrap was in my way, I couldn’t look down and see what I was doing, I needed both hands to hold back the meat of my breast from the nipple and was he latching properly? Thankfully, the restaurant wasn’t very busy at all since we had come at an off time. I was getting some stares from an older lady seated across from us, but they weren’t dirty looks. I ignored them or smiled at her when I caught her looking – that put an end to it quick! I was able to nurse E until he was full and finish my lunch. He went back to sleep and we were able to linger and enjoy ourselves.
It has gotten significantly easier since then. A friend turned me on to a incredible Bebe Au Lait nursing covers (I can see the baby!!!!!) and my confidence with latching soared once I could see what the heck I was doing. Once E got to a certain point (maybe 4-5 months), the nursing cover became more of a hindrance than a benefit. It would turn into a giant game of peekaboo and he would get mad at being covered up. I got brave and started nursing him without a coverup. I learned how to nurse without showing anything and how to cover quickly if he popped off.
When I hear other people (especially nursing moms) criticizing mothers who nurse uncovered, I really don’t understand it. When I say uncovered, I don’t mean I disrobe from the waist up. My entire breast isn’t exposed for the world to see. In fact, it doesn’t look like I’m doing anything at all. this photo is from a nursing flash mob I helped organize back in August. You don’t see a damn thing.
That brings me to another topic. Nursing flashmobs. While reading through comments on the MI flashmob story, I saw a lot that read, “what’s the point of a nursing flash mob? why are you going to go and flaunt it and rub it in people’s faces?” Those really pissed me off. The point of the nursing flash mobs I’ve participated in is to try and normalize nursing in public. It makes more of an impact if a person sees 10 moms nursing versus just 1. It’s not flaunting it or rubbing it in people’s faces (to me, that would be forcing them to watch me nurse and then squirting them in the face with milk). It doesn’t give breastfeeding moms a bad name. I’m sitting quietly nursing my child with a group of women. If we were a play group meeting somewhere and all happened to nurse our babies, then what? Are we still flaunting it? If a person doesn’t like nursing flashmobs, I have one simple solution: don’t participate in one.
Wow, that was really ranty. I’ve had some pretty strong thoughts since reading these stories. If the Target story made you as upset as it made me, you can do something about it. There’s a nurse-in that is being held on December 28 at 10am at Target stores nationwide.
 Here is a link to a Facebook document listing all the current Target nurse-in locations. The list is ever changing, so check back again if you don’t see a location near you. Or request to join the group and add one yourself!
For those who were curious, I made my Christmas gift donations over the weekend. I donated to the pug rescue that gave me my sweet puggy and the TX Equal Access Fund.