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 (.)(.)