I was pretty shy before I had kids, especially when it came to my body. So the thought of breastfeeding in public, for me, was downright terrifying. I was committed to getting over my fear, though. I wasn't going to hide in my house all day, and I knew, deep down, that breastfeeding was nothing to be ashamed of. So, I bought nursing covers, nursing bras, and special tanks, determined to avoid the whole "flashing a stranger while breastfeeding" thing.
Of course, my attempts were futile. In fact, I flashed a relative stranger the very first time I breastfed in public. I was out with friends at a restaurant and my baby got hungry, as babies are known to do. I fumbled with my cover, nursing top, and bra, but somehow managed to latch my now-angry newborn. I felt so proud of myself, you guys. I was nursing in public, like a rock star! Then a woman at a nearby table said, "Honey, you might want to put that one away," at which point I looked down to realize I had a boob hanging out.
I was so embarrassed. Worse, I’m pale AF and blush easily, so it was impossible to nonchalantly hide my shame, or tell the woman at the nearby table what I really thought of her rude comment. Instead, I managed to mumble a "thanks" through my hot tears, then went out the car to finish feeding my baby. In short, I was humiliated.
Fortunately, nursing in public got easier, and I got more comfortable with the idea that, while nursing, someone might see one or both of my breasts. And honestly, in retrospect, me flashing a restaurant while feeding my child is nothing when compared to the other embarrassing, mortifying, and unbearably awkward moments I've survived in the 10 years I've been a mom. So if you're worried about any awkward moments you might face while nursing in public, have no fear. I can promise you, those moment will be nothing when compared to the following:
When Your Kid Has A Tantrum In Public
I think that carrying your screaming kid out of a store surfboard style is a mom rite of passage. I've endured tantrums pretty much everywhere — at the check out lane, the park, the daycare parking lot, and during a professional photo shoot. And although I have done it multiple times, I still find that walk of shame far more embarrassing than flashing a boob while feeding a baby.
When Your Toddler Opens The Door To The Family Restroom
Yesterday at Target I had to do the unthinkable: poop in a public restroom. But you know what made it worse? My toddler, who decided to open the door and run outside while I was sitting on the toilet. I mean, I am way more comfortable with my body than I used to be, but I'm not "pooping in front of strangers" comfortable.
When You Pee Yourself
Birthing three babies has done a number on my pelvic floor. I've done thousands of kegels and even went to physical therapy for my incontinence, but I still have to deal with unexpected pee at inopportune moments — like, for example, when I'm laughing too hard at a movie, sneezing in the checkout lane, or trying to enjoy a yoga class. I have lost count of the number of times I've peed myself in public, but it's been humiliating every single time.
When Your Baby Has A Poop Blowout
Poop blow outs aren't fun in any way, shape, or form, but they are the absolute worst if you are in public at the time, don't have a spare diaper or change of clothes, or, worst of all, are wearing them in a baby carrier when it happens. Ewww.
When Someone Walks In On You In The Lactation Room
Pumping at work sucks, both literally and figuratively. Worse, people don't always respect the sign on the lactation room door that lets everyone know the room is in use. I got walked in on so many times, so I can tell you that having a stranger see a flash of my boob is nothing compared to having a male co-worker see me topless and hooked up to pump like a dairy cow. Awkward.
When Your Toddler Breaks Something In A Store
The other day my toddler somehow reached the grocery store shelf and knocked five jars of spaghetti sauce on the ground. I not only had to find a staff person to help with clean up, and endure other shoppers' stares, but I had to hear the "clean up in aisle 12" announcement repeat over and over again on the loud speaker.
When You Are Late Picking Your Kids Up From School
I absolutely hate being late, especially when I'm picking my kids up from school. I don't know about your school, but if you're late picking up your kid you will absolutely feel red hot stares of shame from school faculty members and parents.
When You Answer The Door Topless
I had so many moments, especially during the first few weeks postpartum, when I was barely conscious or aware of my surroundings. I answered the door topless, went out to get the mail with my boob hanging out, and eventually had to start hanging pants by the door so I could get dressed quickly if I had to sign for a delivery.
When You Get Your Postpartum Period
I still remember the time in middle school when I leaked through my pad while wearing white shorts. I got called to the principal's office and had to wear gym clothes for the rest of the day. I got to re-live that oh-so-painful moment several times over as a mom, and before my postpartum cycle became predictable. Way more embarrassing than flashing a little boob, I can tell you that.
When Your Child Swears
I totally don't mind when my kids swear at home. I mean, as long as it's in context — like saying "sh*t" when they stub their toe — and not directed at someone. However, when my daughter got sent home from her friend's house and I got a call from their parents saying she couldn't play there anymore,because she taught their 6-year-old child the "f word," I was absolutely mortified.