When you're boobin' a baby, at some point you're going to have to breastfeed in public. Everyone feels differently about how much skin is okay to show, the baby may oppose certain methods, and some are just a pain in the butt.
I started out with nursing covers this time around (fought with blankets with my son) because I'm personally not comfortable with my own body so I cringe at the idea of strangers seeing anything, and secretly, I think it's great that a cover makes what I'm doing even more obvious. My daughter thinks covers are a way to play Peek-A-Boo, though, or she just gets upset and confused, so I had to figure out some other ways, which I want to share.
So without further ado, here are some different ways to nurse in public:
Look for a Private Spot
If you really feel more comfortable, or want to escape your in-laws for a few minutes, you can head off to a secluded location. If you're lucky, the place you're in will have a nursing area -- skip the bathroom no matter what, especially for your baby's sake with all those nasty airborne fecal particles. If you're super-lucky, you're in my local Macy's with their separate nursing area behind a curtain with plush armchairs, a table with Le Leche League pamphlets and a water cooler. If you're not so lucky, even the bench in the Customer Service area of Wal-Mart can suffice. In those early days when baby needs to nurse frequently, I actually tried to nurse in my car before heading into a store or restaurant.
Everyone has seen these, or at least heard of them, I'm sure. Better than struggling with a blanket because these are blankets with a loop to go around your neck! If you buy one, make absolutely sure it has a stiff collar. This holds the cover away from your body at the top just a tiny bit so you can actually see what you're doing. They vary in price immensely or you could even make your own. I really like the Porter Nursing Cover ($32) from UdderCovers.com (though let me let you in on a little secret: sign up for their email and you will get codes frequently to get these for the cost of shipping only!). These are great for new moms who are still getting comfortable with nursing and have a munchkin who pops on and off, or who need to really see what they're doing.
Go With a Double Shirt
This method involves, well, wearing two shirts. Really lightweight layering tank tops are seriously handy for this one, and so are nursing tank tops. It's pretty self-explanatory: Wear two shirts. When baby needs to eat, pull up the top shirt, pull down the top of the shirt underneath, and feed! The top shirt usually falls down almost onto the nursling's little face and covers most everything anyway. This method is actually, in my opinion, the most discreet. A lot of my friends are good enough at it that it really looks like they're just holding their baby. I'm getting there! If you happen to see something for a second, blink or turn your head -- it'll be hidden again quickly.
The "I Don't Give a Damn What You Think" Method
Well, need I really elaborate? To do this, unbutton or lift your shirt, and feed that baby! Especially a good method for women with babies who think any other method is just a game. Be prepared to have people call you names or shoot daggers from their eyes in your direction. But no worries -- just stick a laminated copy or two of your state's nursing in public laws in your diaper bag or purse.
Let's face it -- the more people make someone defensive, the more they will consider taking the offensive. This Boobie Beanie ($15) from Etsy is a great way to make a statement. Whether you like it or not, boobs and babies are made for each other! Imagine how this would look with twins.
Which is your method?