There are so many difficult aspects of parenting but, I would argue, the most difficult is breastfeeding. Everyone has an opinion and everyone wants you to do what they have already and/or currently did and everyone will tell you (without prompt) when you're doing something "wrong." Choosing to breastfeed in public has become somewhat of a political statement, almost creating (I'm assuming, by complete happenstance) the idea that covering up when you breastfeed makes you a bad mom. I'm here to tell you, though, that you're not a bad mother for using a cover and feeling comfortable and feeding your kid however (and wherever) you want.
Sure, breastfeeding sans cover can be empowering and natural and awesome, but it can also be, well, not, depending on how you feel when it comes to showing particular parts of your breasts and attaching a person to them. And while breastfeeding doesn’t necessarily mean you have to show any amount of your breasts, there's still a completely valid feeling of exposure that can leave a breastfeeding woman reaching for the closet cover.
How a woman feels about sharing her breastfeeding experience (and, again, her breasts) with the world really shouldn’t affect how she feels about herself and her parenting, and here are a few reasons why:
Modesty Really Has No Bearing On Your Parenting Abilities
I mean, if modesty automatically meant you were an awesome mom, I'd totally be in a wizard robe all the time. At least this way I'd have a good reason for it.
If Your Kiddo Doesn't Care, Why Should Anyone Else?
Some moms don't really have the option to hide their breastfeeding, as their babies aren't tolerant of covers. However, for the babies that are cool with it?Well, we should all be cool with it.
Sometimes It’s Cold! Or You’re Not In the Mood To Show Your Breasts! Or Sometimes You Don’t Care, Or You’re In Specific Company. It’s Not An All Over Nothing Scenario.
Sometimes I covered, sometimes I didn't. It all depended on where I was and the company I was in. Seriously, once my baby was in any one specific place and feeding, hardly anything showed anyway, so it never seemed like a huge deal.
You Do Not Need To Make Your Choice To Breastfeed A Statement. You Just Don’t.
Every time a story goes viral about a mom getting shamed for breastfeeding in public, I wish I could haul myself and my kiddo to wherever she was and participate in one of those breastfeeding sit-ins where all the moms do all the feeding. Or, if there is no one to organize in her community, then I would just like to politely go nurse by her side. Seriously though, that's pretty much the only scenario when I would make my own breastfeeding a statement. Otherwise, it's about my kid and to a much, much lesser degree, me and no one else.
The Opposite Idea, That Not Covering Makes You A Good Mom, Is Also Untrue
Let's imagine for a moment that covering up meant you were a bad mom, it would also be implied that showing skin meant you were a good mom. This simply isn't true, either. But imagine if it was! We could all move to tropical climates and be the best parents ever.
Feeding Your Kid Makes You Awesome By Default
Any way that you're able to breastfeed (or, you know, just feed in general) is the right way. Will you inevitably be judged for you choices? Sadly, yes. Which is why, in the end, you should just do what is best for you and your kid, and call it a day.