I have always been comfortable breastfeeding in public, but today I think I took it to another level by actually walking the mall while nursing (*pats self on back*).
Let me just say that for me, nursing in public (NIP: best acronym ever?) is not a political act. I don’t think nursing mothers are obligated to “normalize” breastfeeding by NIP; actually I think it is disingenuous to pretend that breastfeeding is JUST feeding a baby. It’s feeding a baby with one of your body parts, so if doing that in public makes a nursing mom uncomfortable, I am not one to judge. It’s something I do because it’s an easy way to feed my baby and it doesn’t make me uncomfortable (and I don’t give a hoot if it makes anyone else uncomfortable). The onus is on our culture as a whole, not individual mothers, to normalize breastfeeding.
So, returning to the scene: over the weekend my mom (visiting from Massachusetts), Miles, Julius, and I braved a trip to the mall and a lunch at Panera Bread. For any outing that requires walking more than 20 feet I’ve been wearing my stretchy wrap out of the house and popping Julius into it so I can sorta-kinda also manage Miles and not have to lug the carrier and/or stroller around. We don’t have a double stroller and I don’t want one, because keeping Miles IN a stroller for more than 5 minutes at a time is a sketchy prospect at best. Baby in a wrap and toddler in a shopping cart, umbrella stroller, or walking on his own is working okay for now, and by okay I mean DEAR GOD I NEVER WANT TO LEAVE THE HOUSE AGAIN.
But the one thing I definitely have NOT mastered is nursing the baby in the wrap. The only way I have been able to do this is to take him out, lay him horizontally across my torso with one rail of the wrap supporting his lower body and the other (optionally) covering his head, and then somehow lift my breast up and out of my shirt. Depending on what I’m wearing, this is potentially REALLY NOT EASY. I know that you are “supposed to” be able to lower the baby magically and nurse him without taking him out of the sling but I do not know how this is possible unless your boobs are situated just under your collarbone. For real. I don’t get it.
So anyway. I somehow managed this maneuver while sitting in a corner booth in Panera Bread, and I think some old man was frowning disapprovingly as I clumsily unearthed a nipple but I didn’t care, and I nursed Julius while attempting to cram a sandwich into my mouth and while Miles mauled my face (“EARS! EYES! TEETH! HAHAHA!”) and ran away from the table and thank God my mom was there.
We finished eating but Julius was not done, so I proceeded to walk around the mall with him nursing in the wrap in this weird-looking fashion strapped horizontally to my body. There wasn’t much showing, but I did learn that dudes WILL attempt to catch a glance of your boob even if there is a baby attached to it, so nice. Stay classy, guys.
What do you think? – Do you nurse in public? Feel weird doing it? Don’t care? Care if others do it? Never noticed? Any tips on how the heck to nurse a newborn in a wrap?