The first few times breastfeeding in public can be a nerve wracking experience for many mothers. Of course, you can feed your baby without showing hardly any skin at all, but nursing covers and babies don't always mix. Thats why it's wise to remember that if you are feeling anxious, there are more than a few things that are more important than worrying about what other people think of you when you're breastfeeding.
Personally, this aspect of breastfeeding never really bothered me. I grew up in Europe, where topless sunbathing is common and cultural ideas surrounding nudity are, well, different. I even performed as a burlesque dancer for a time. So the exposure of a nipple is really no big deal as far as I am concerned, especially when it's being used to nourish a baby.
I understand the worries many moms have when it comes to other people's views about breastfeeding, though. The topic is nothing short of "heated," because it touches on a lot of different sensitive subjects, like our children, our parenting, and our bodies. However, I suggest all breastfeeding moms stop, take a breath, and remember there are actually a lot of other things that are more important than worrying about what other people think. Easier said than done, I know, but it's worth remembering regardless.
That Your Baby is Fed
Moms are not nursing their babies because they have nothing better to do. We nurse to feed our hungry babies and their need for nutrients and sustenance will always trump someone else's idea of "modesty." Period.
That You Have Rights
You have every right to feed your baby and you are allowed to feed your baby almost anywhere. It is legal to breastfeed in public in 47 states, according to The Huffington Post. South Dakota and Virginia exempt breastfeeding moms from public indecency or nudity laws, and Idaho is the only state that doesn't offer protection at all to breastfeeding moms.
So, unless you live in Idaho (apparently), your right to breastfeed is more protected than someone else's right to not see you breastfeed. If they don't like what they see, they can look away or leave the area.
That Your Baby Is Happy
A well fed baby is a happy baby. I would bet that most people would rather see a mom breastfeeding than hear a baby crying. Plus, your little one deserves to be content. If that means you have to stop worrying about what other people think, so be it.
That You Are Comfortable
Every nursing mom knows that not feeding your baby can make you physically uncomfortable, whether it's the pain of hearing your baby cry or the pain of your breasts becoming engorged. Don't allow the views of others, especially strangers, to cause you pain. If you need to feed your baby, feed your baby.
The State Of The World
There are so many more important things going on in the world right now than worrying about the judgements of a narrow minded few. We should be discussing the big issues, like human rights, marriage equality, immigration policies, and gun violence. While it's not necessarily the happiest of thoughts, I will say that worrying about what's going on in our current political climate (and taking action to evoke the change you hope to see) will take you further than worrying about what some random stranger thinks about breastfeeding.
Literally Whatever Beyoncé Does Next
My friends and I will text each other with our gender and name predictions of Beyoncé's soon-to-be-born twins. I am also reveling over every little detail of the new nursery. Those babies even have a galaxy over their cribs, you guys.
This is a way more interesting way to pass the time than being paranoid about what other people think.
Sourcing Food And Drink
Breastfeeding is thirsty work that will, of course, make you hungry, too. Finding a drink and a snack is at the absolute top of my worry list anytime I breastfeed (or, really, anytime I'm anywhere). It's certainly way above concerning myself with any opinions of those around me.
That 'Girls' is Almost Over
Back in 2012, I first watched Leah Dunham's HBO show Girls just to see what all the fuss was about. As I was just out of my 20s, so I honestly didn't think I would have that much in common with Hannah and her friends. Instead I was quickly pulled into their world. Over the years I have watched them all mature and have become invested in their storylines. I just cant believe it's all coming to an end. Caring about the finale, and many other musings regarding the show, will occupy my mind far more than worrying about what other people think when I am breastfeeding.
Seriously, feeding your baby doesn't (or at least shouldn't) need to be such a big deal. After all, there are more important things to worry about.