Why do I suddenly feel the urge to burn my bra?

I have a secret longing to be one of those wild and free women who are perfectly comfortable with nursing uncovered in public.

I nurse uncovered at home (yes, even in front of my mother-in-law. Her squirming is usually way more noticeable than she realizes). I nurse uncovered at the homes of friends who are breastfeeding friendly. I nurse uncovered at doctor’s appointments. I’ve even nursed Wyatt uncovered in my car in front row of the parking lot at a London Drugs – and the back seat of my husband’s truck multiple times.

But, I have yet to just ”whip it out” in a public place full of potentially staring gazes like a coffee shop, restaurant or the food court at a shopping mall.

Tonight, we had a large family supper at a Chinese buffet restaurant. Wyatt was perched on a chair beside my husband sleeping in his car seat. When he woke, he simply squirmed and gave me ”the look”.  I just assume that every breastfeeding Momma knows what that look is. My Wyatt gets these soft eyes, opens his mouth and gently moves his tongue to the front of his mouth. Perhaps it’s the same with bottle fed babies?  I insisted that I could feed him there. I had my hooter hider in the diaper bag,  but Mike said he was fine. Mike gave Wyatt his soothie and it tied him over until we left.

I realized this moment felt like a loss to me. Another opportunity to bare it all had passed me by. Honestly, I probably would have still covered as my husband keeps saying he doesn’t want me completely uncovered in front of his family. But, I was potentially one step closer to nursing in public… And one step closer to nursing UNCOVERED in public.

I’ve had large breasts for as long as I can remember (meaning Grade 3-4 when I was the only girl wearing a training bra). I can’t wear a simple V neck tshirt without cleavage. This actually works to my benefit for breastfeeding as the two-shirt approach is a typical staple of my wardrobe.

During my teens and early 20s, I embraced my generous bra size and used them to my advantage (in retrospect, probably disadvantage as I needed more self respect and self love but that’s a whole other topic…). Cleavage was my friend especially if I was headed out for a night at the bar. My gigantic tits got me the attention I wanted at that time. As I grew up and my career progressed,  I covered up more and more. The concept of that cleavage peaking out made me feel slutty. I wanted to be taken seriously, and for a natural blonde with big breasts, that meant keeping the ta-tas hidden. It was a never-ending love/hate relationship.

Even though cleavage has been my friend, I was always insecure about my bare boobs. Just because they looked appealing to the eye when nicely propped up in a halter top didn’t mean that they would have the same effect when naked. In the past 8 weeks, the number of people who have seen my bare breasts has exponentially increased –  even if it is just select friends and family.

When I began breastfeeding, I lost all insecurity around the shape and size of my boobs. It doesn’t matter how big they are or what my nipples look like. What matters is that they are doing a damn good job of feeding my son!  My breasts are no longer merely an overly sexualized part of my body. For the first time in my life,  I feel like my breasts serve their true purpose. I’m proud of the nourishment they provide to my baby. And I couldn’t be happier. I love my breasts. They finally bring me joy.

I want to be comfortable breastfeeding uncovered in public because I want to step out from the girl I was before into the woman – the mother – I am now. Our journey to bring our son into this world is so much deeper than a moment of conception.  It’s a story of acceptance and a big part of that is me accepting myself – big boobs and all!

Mothering is an act of love. As long as the child is thriving, no judgement should be made. I believe woman should be able to feed her child from a breast – covered or uncovered – or from a bottle. The choice is hers, not that of some stuffy old man who has no problem gawking when Momma’s out for a night on the town, but all of a sudden has issues when a tiny human is latched to eat? Come on now…

Besides, my son hates being covered when eating. I want him to know that his Momma loved him enough to do whatever she could to make him as comfortable as he could be…and if that means breastfeeding uncovered in public,  I vow I will do it!

I’m still searching for my tribe. I’ve got a few Mommy friends who breastfeed,  but I want to find my vibe with others who can help me break out of my shell of conformity and into the freedom of motherhood that I’ve worked so hard to get to.

Boobies unite (.)(.)

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27 thoughts on “Why do I suddenly feel the urge to burn my bra?

  1. Boobies unite!! My wife has a hard time in public too cause the size of hers breast require more than just whipping them out. I on the other hand can do it without two hands which is nice. I recently had to walk around Costco feeding one of them without any coverage, it was both liberating and scary all at the same time. I use my car often as it’s the most convenient and comfortable. I hope your wild woman dreams come true and you can feel free in breastfeeding unhinged and uncovered.

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  2. Have you got any cafés or anything there that are known to be breastfeeding friendly? I found those places to be great for breaking me in. There are always other moms feeding their young (of babies & toddlers) and they are usually seasoned. With my second baby, I find myself whipping them out without any hangups – even in my first day home, right in front of my father in law & stepmother in law (I didn’t even bother to be discreet – they were in my house, so I figured they can leave the room if they were not comfortable). I think once you have done it a few times you’ll find yourself feeling much more at ease. When I started out, I had one of those covers specifically for breastfeeding under, but I found them to make it way more obvious to others what I was doing. I instead will just have a muslin cloth or burp cloth with me to not cover my baby’s head, but to cover large patches of skin when in public in busier places. I choose to do so because I don’t like to have people stare, regardless of how they feel about it. If I’m in a restaurant, I will also try to choose a seat that exposes me less to the entire place. Most of the time, I find I’m able to feed my baby without some really even realizing that I had done so.

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  3. If you don’t feel comfortable nursing uncovered, that’s 100% fine.

    It took me a few months to get comfortable with it and a few more for my husband to be comfortable with it as well. I don’t even bring a cover anymore but it’s up to you and Mike (out of loving respect). You’ll find what works for you.

    I would be ticked though of anyone told me my hungry baby was “fine”. My boobs know…nobody else gets a say. But I’m ok being a bit rude for my baby’s sake.

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  4. I have jumbo boobs and I feed uncovered everywhere. I honestly don’t think I show more than small breasted people. To be fair I’m super into it and get a kick out of making people unconfortable. The other day I was at azuma this awesome sushi place in Victoria and someone was eyeing me down while I fed a squiggly squirmy ten month old who unlatches every few seconds to look around. I locked eyes and stared him down until he looked away. It’s unfortunate your husband doesn’t want you uncovered in front of his family because I really found that starting with family was easiest. Grocery shopping is another good place to start. People are so busy no one is really looking

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  5. Love this post! Am also in a very ambiguous zone about my breasts. From the moment they appear, big breasts engender a ton of feedback. Aka It feels like other people think they’re great, until they don’t. So as young women, no wonder we’re confused! And like you, I’m hoping that if can bf, I might finally be able to make peace with my tatas.

    I’m really looking forward to following your progress. I know what you mean about one hand versus two and I actually even considered getting a booby booster (it’s a sling so you can use one hand or get the benefit of 3!)

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  6. I lost the last scrap of my modesty when flying alone with Ansel at bedtime, which basically necessitated having him latched the while flight. But at 9 months, he’s on and off, so. . . The lady next to me got an eyeful for sure! I’m sending you ask the badass breastfeeding bravado so you can feed your beautiful baby with your amazing body however, whenever you want!

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  7. There’s a whole culture to “normalize” breastfeeding, which includes breastfeeding in public. I can say I have nursed my little one in church without a cover, but I did have a nursing top on that keeps most of me covered. My little guy hates those covers. I can discreetly nurse in the Moby wrap as well. You’ll know when it’s right. Babies need to eat too, probably more than us adults do and they sometimes can’t wait until all of the adults are comfortable. It’s “feed me now” time. Ha Ha. Great post!

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  8. You are doing great, Autumn! I have…not small boobs (they aren’t as big as some, but definitely not small) and I’ve not liked them for ages. Breastfeeding hasn’t really changed how I feel about my boobs in their visual appearance, but I am quite proud with the fact that they have fed my son and now daughter. I haven’t had much issue with breastfeeding in public, but I am discreet and do look for a place to go feed, if it is easy and convenient (I know where most of the baby/family friendly cafes are in town). However, with this now being my second, I feed her anywhere…parked car, park bench, bus (maybe not the best place), restaurants…I personally think that most times when a woman uses a breastfeeding cover, it draws more attention to them than if they were just to be discrete.
    Anyway, you’ll get the hand of this and figure it all out. This is a great post! 🙂

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