Thursday, March 11, 2010

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I have been initiating some conversations around breastfeeding covers these days, because I read a blog post with a very negative opinion of them. It caused me to wonder why someone would have such a strong opinion about a piece of cloth and how breastfeeding women choose or not choose to use one. I was curious if other women who had used them felt the same way.

In talking to Mothers I learned that the ones who chose to use some sort of cover did so for various reasons, none of which stem from wanting to "cover up" that they are breastfeeding. Simply put it offers them the ability to feed their babies in public with some degree of comfort. Some women with larger breasts have told me that it is easier to use a cover than to try and make sure the baby and the clothing are covering them up. For other women it was due to a distracted baby or the fact that they wanted the baby to be able to nurse in privacy. Good point really, because when I go out to lunch or dinner with someone I love I don't appreciate strangers watching us eat either sometimes. Other women use them in certain circumstances and social settings such as when they are in church or out to dinner. Other women told me they appreciated having coverage in the back and were more concerned about exposing their postpartum backs and bellies than their breasts.

The woman who authored this blog post used a cover herself at one point and apparently it didn't work well for her. It seems that she initially used one to prove to her friends that one could discreetly nurse in public. When one cover didn't work beyond three months because her baby no longer wanted to be covered she tried a different style, that one also failed her so she ended up nursing her child in the bathroom.

Now with her second child she has "learned her lesson" and proudly breastfeeds in public. She states "I breastfed everywhere with pride. I just whipped the boobie out and put it away without anyone being the wiser." I guess all the women who use covers must not be proud to be breastfeeding in public? I appreciate that she has come to this point and feels like she has liberated herself from the nursing cover, but it is after all her second child and she now has some experience with nursing. Many of the Mother's I talked to also used one with their first baby and not as much or not at all with their second and/or subsequent babies. Good for them at least they were not feeding the baby in a bathroom!

With her new found freedom from the "silly nursing cover" she goes on to assure us that she isn't an exhibitionist. "I really do not want strange men staring at my second-baby-30-something-year-old breast. They are not as nice as they were when I was 19 and proud to show them off." I am still not sure what to say to this, but I guess she still attempts to cover her breast albeit without a cover.

There are a number of options for women who want to cover up while feeding the baby including fashionable nursing blouses, t-shirts, even dresses that are specially designed so babies have access to the breast for nursing, but allow for full coverage at the same time. Some women use a receiving blanket, shawl or whatever is handy. Still other women wear their own clothes with no special features and opt for no cover. What I rarely if ever see is a woman nursing her baby in public with her breast(s) actually exposed. So even those Mothers' that don't feel a special cover is necessary are typically nursing their babies with some degree of coverage for whatever reason.

So my point really is that this seems to be another case of "Do as I say, not as I do" which to my mind is unfair and judgemental. If you want nursing women to get out of the house, not have to pump bottles to feed the baby while they are out and not nurse in cars and bathrooms get off her case about using a cover. Remember because it didn't work for you, doesn't mean it is silly and useless. I am going to agree that no special cover is a must have for every expectant Mother, but I will say that if she chooses that then let her have it and be happy for her that she is continuing to breastfeed her baby whenever and wherever she chooses and on her own terms, which is really the point.

For a discussion about covers go

Peace Out,


No comments:

Post a Comment