Nursing in public. It’s one of those things that not all breastfeeding moms do, and those who do don’t always agree on how it should be done. Needless to say, nursing in public (or NIP for short) can be both a huge hurdle for mom and baby or just another thing to deal with after baby is born.
I was the mom who broke out in cold sweats at the thought of breastfeeding in public. I’ve been very modest since I was a teenager, and the actual maneuvers seemed much too hard for a novice like myself. The first few times I nursed in front of my husband’s family (or even my own family!) were hard enough as it was. Thankfully, Melissa was there nursing Nehemiah while I nursed Abby, so it wasn’t as nerve-wracking as it could have been. And I found that even though I was stressed out beforehand, the wonderful hormones that come when breastfeeding calmed me down soon enough.
One thing that gave me greater confidence to nurse in public was my nursing cover. I have a Bebe au Lait cover, and the generous coverage helped me to feel at ease when nursing. At first, anyway. Soon enough, Abby was ripping the cover off. Of course, by that point, I was a pro at getting her to latch more discretely. In fact, one of the best comments I ever received while nursing was when a college friend told his wife, “Look how sweet Abby is, cuddled right next to Jen.” We had a good laugh over that one.
As for my first time nursing in public, it was at the first Great Cloth Diaper Change, back in 2011. Abby was 10 weeks old at the time, and I had never been around other “crunchy” moms in person. When we arrived at our destination, I couldn’t help but point out all of the cool carriers to Melissa, who had thankfully ridden with me. And nursing moms were in abundance! I didn’t have my cover at the time, but I did have a blanket. I tried using it a few times, but that didn’t work out well. At all.
After the change, some of the moms hung around for a while. Since we drove over an hour to be there, Melissa and I stayed too. Abby got hungry after a while, and I tried to use the blanket again. But guess what? Several of the moms weren’t using blankets or covers at all. After a few tries of fighting the wind, I decided to try this NIP gig without a cover. I loved it! I could see my baby, she could see me, and no one was fighting a cover!
There are times when I still want to use my cover. It depends on how visible I am, how comfortable I am, and how much my nursling is focused on the task at hand. I nurse in public both ways, and I love every minute of it!
Do you nurse in public? If you don’t, what do you think of people who do?
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