Having a baby means soldiering through one new experience after another; from your first time giving birth to your first latch to your first trip with baby away from home. Whether you wait a few days, or a few weeks, eventually you and your babe will leave the house for more than a trip to the mailbox. And, eventually, your baby will get hungry. If you're breastfeeding your baby, there are things that will definitely happen the first time you breastfeed in public.
The first time I nursed in public I was a paranoid wreck. I had heard of and read a plethora of horror stories online, about women who were shamed by strangers for breastfeeding in public. In on particular story I couldn't seem to shake, a breastfeeding mother had the police called on her by a disgruntled restuarant manager. I was terrified of any confrontation that might arise from me nursing, so for the longest time I hid. I went to the car or the fitting room or even the restroom, which is arguably the damn worst.
One day, I'd finally had enough of hiding, I faced my fears and trepidations, and fed my baby in public. It was kind of a cluster, but we got it dow without flashing too much boob and without anyone saying a word. In fact, after nursing one baby after another for almost five years, I'm happy to say that I've never had a negative experience nursing in public (knock on wood). So, if you're getting mentally prepped for your first time breastfeeding in public, here are a few things you can expect to happen:
You're at the grocery store or having lunch with a girlfriend, enjoying being out of the house, and your baby starts to root around and suck their thumb. Clearly, you know what this means: your baby wants to nurse.
However, you just nursed in the car before you came in, because you're definitely not ready to breastfeed in public. Not yet. Maybe you're misinterpreting? I mean, this can't happen now. You've got time. Right?
You'll Cave, Because Fussy Baby Is Fussy
Now your baby is fussing and starting to complain, so denying your current situation is just no longer an option. There's no getting out of it, and if you wait any longer a complete meltdown is sure to follow.
You'll Scope Out The Best Spot
You begin to look around, analyzing each potential location for privacy and ease of access. Where are you least likely to be seen? Where is most convenient to sit and drop all your stuff? Where is the most comfortable place, since you'll likely be there for a while? All of the aforementioned questions must be answered before you to commit.
You'll Struggle With Your Cover
Some people love them, some people hate them, but regardless of how you feel about them there is definitely a learning curve involved to the whole "breastfeeding cover" thing.
Whether you get the fancy ones that clip around your neck, or you just throw a stained receiving blanket over your front, it's a struggle to get a new baby latched and positioned while under a cover. The cover will fall off or fall in front of your boob or get tangled or piss off your baby. Ugh.
Your Baby Will Struggle With Your Cover
And your baby will inevitably hate the cover. If baby is old enough hands will grab and pull at whatever it is that's obstructing his or her view. The covered will be pull, tugged, and grabbed, and the resulting struggle will probably leave you more exposed than if you had just left the cover off to begin with.
That Perfect Latch Just Won't Happen
Inevitably, the first time you nurse in public you and your baby will fumble with a latch that you may have perfected under less stressful conditions. It never fails. Baby will search for the breast and you'll try to guide while struggling to hold the cover, you may even put your own head under the cover so you can actually see what's going on.
You'll Look Over Your Shoulder
Once your baby is finally latched on and nursing, you'll start wondering if anyone saw your boob while you were getting settled. You'll look around, glancing over your shoulder, fully expecting to see someone giving you some side-eye, or even worse, someone approaching you; lips pursed, looking disapproving, clearly preparing themselves for a confrontation of some kind. Every time anyone gets close, you'll get a pit in your stomach as you studiously look down at your phone in an attempt to appear nonchalant.
Your Baby Will Pop Off During Letdown And Milk Will Squirt Everywhere
Cover or not, your baby will pop off at the most inopportune time (read: letdown) and milk will go everywhere.
You will spray your babe in the face or you will soak your cover or your shirt or the person sitting beside you, or all of the above. Sure, it depends on the force of your letdown, the angle of your boob, and your range, but if you're lucky you can get the trifecta. #BreastfeedingGoals
You'll Hit Your Stride And Decide It's Not As Scary As You Expected
Everything eventually settles down and you get comfortable. Baby is contentedly nursing away, you're feeling discreet (or just not caring if you're not in the least bit discreet), and all is going according to plan. Trust me when I say that any potential problems you had with breastfeeding in public before, won't last forever. You got this.
You'll Do It All Over Again, When Baby Wants To Switch Sides
Then again, the baby will switch sides and you'll repeat the entire process. Ugh.
Take heart though, mama; it gets easier every time you do it. Soon nursing in public will be second nature and you won't think twice about it.