Nursing in Public

“But truly, women are amazing. Think about it this way: a woman can grow a baby inside her body. Then a woman can deliver the baby through her body. Then, by some miracle, a woman can feed a baby with her body. When you compare that to the male’s contribution to life, it’s kind of embarrassing, really.” ― Jim GaffiganDad Is Fat

I didn’t set out to be someone who had strong feelings and opinions about nursing. It happened gradually over the past few years.

The wheels started turning during my first few months with Paityn. I remember lamenting to my mom the need to use a cover while nursing my child, wishing that it could be no biggie to nurse freely wherever whenever.

And then I began to learn that it is. Or that it should be.

There are still situations now where I draw the line and need a cover. The list usually includes being with people who aren’t complete strangers, church services (as backwards as that sounds when you think about it) or situations where I can’t relax.

If we’re being completely honest I cover for my comfort. It’s difficult to let milk physically flow while being stressed out trying to maintain eye contact with someone, all the while wondering if the extra skin they’re seeing while I nurse coverless measures up to their standard of beauty.

IMG_0721IMG_0731 Why am I not concerned about the rest of the people in any given room? Because I know they’re going to be ok.

I believe that by nursing in public I share the message that my breast’s primary function, their intended purpose according to my Faith’s doctrine, is to nourish this child of mine.

Yes they are an erogenous zone. But so is the mouth, neck and earlobe. And you’re not going to judge me for showing those three. Yes the world has sexualized the breast.

But that is the world. And I believe in a better reality.

So I nurse.

And sometimes you guys, breastfeeding becomes a beautiful moment and I want to bottle up all of those emotions and take all the photos of their milk drunk faces. And other times it’s a routine moment because my daughter is hungry, and she needs to eat.

I nurse because the World Health Organization repeats over and over again that it is what our babies need. Every single one of them. In every single country.

My Faith recommends nursing for at least 12 months, and the World Health Organization urges to stick with it for 2 years and beyond. I set a goal that I knew I could do this time: of 18 months.

I stopped early last time, convinced that my melon sized chest would surely shrink down the way the rest of my body had. I had beauty ideals for myself that breastfeeding wasn’t meeting.

But nursing isn’t about physical beauty. So I’ve learned to be comfortable in this body. And if this is the cup size that my body knows to grow into to feed our daughters, then so be it.

I will be comfortable in this body.

I will be comfortable nursing my child when she needs to eat. I will learn to continue to accept that it won’t always be at an ideal time, but that I can relax wherever I am, and allow the milk to flow. Because she needs that from me.

IMG_0718So if I’m out to dinner, I won’t hide in a bathroom stall. If I’m attending church services I won’t hide in a side room missing special ordinances and messages. If you choose to step out to nurse — whether for your comfort or your child’s specific needs — I support you, and am so grateful for any building that provides a space for mothers. But I’m staying in the pew, trying to act nonchalant with Hudson under the cover trusting that it’ll get easier.

If I’m attending an event I won’t fearfully pump ahead of time to avoid having to nurse when she gets hungry. But I may ask you or Landon to sit close next to me to help me relax and remind me that it’s ok, and to talk with me.

I’m human, and I need to learn to trust the setting before being vulnerable.

I’ll nourish this child, and you nourish your child. We’re raising the next generation.

And I’d like for this to be a world where the focus on the body is spiritual. That my girls know their bodies are made by the ultimate Creator. And that we’ve had enough sexualization of the female body from past generations. We’re ready for a new reality.



This post is a collaboration with Cover Me Ponchos. Instead of telling you about the cute evening that we had taking these photos I wanted to share thoughts that have been on my heart the past week. I hope you don’t mind. Mint Poncho c/o Cover Me Ponchos.

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13 thoughts on “Nursing in Public

  1. This is so perfectly said, Kyra! I’m due with my second in a few weeks and can’t wait to nurse again. I’m excited to be more “open” with it and not worry so much about what other completely random people are thinking. It’s such a precious time and shouldn’t be clouded by people’s wrong misconceptions. Thank you for sharing!

    Olivia
    http://simplylivblog.blogspot.com

    Like

  2. Love this Kyra! I really struggled with breastfeeding due to the size of my breasts and never finding a comfortable position other than the football hold. I never did it in public and even getting comfortable in the car or a rocking chair in the churches nursery was difficult. I pushed through and Clara weaned herself at 11 months, Henry at 13 months. I cherish the moments when I felt that special connection with them, and knew I was doing what was best for them despite any challenges I faced. I do feel my comfort level would have been so different if breastfeeding was more widely accepted and encouraged.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This post is so much how I feel about breastfeeding. I feel like I shouldn’t have to cover ever, but sometimes I do for my own comfort. I have felt myself getting more and more confident about not using one lately though. One feeding at a time, one day at a time – I’m getting there! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, mama!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Way to go mama. Nursing means WAY too much for me to cover up in all situations. I, like you, nurse to be more comfortable for my own sake. Sometimes I forget the coverup or sometimes were hiking and I’m not going to bring it so I nurse in the open. I’ve gotten a few uncomfortable glances, but I’ve also gotten praise before and that is amazing.

    sidenote. I just got measured at VS bc my boobs have grown bigger than I have ever had to deal with and its quite astonishing lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That cover looks beautiful. I love the colour of it. I have had people suggest for me to use a cover but I find it hard because my milk supply is a little out of hand and I too often have to pull her off to stop the flow so Im not choking her… Ppl say it’s a great problem to have but it makes nursing in public difficult when she pulls off and I spray the guy across the room from me… lol. If it ever settles down I would love that Poncho!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love love love this! In a similar situation I began to feel very passionately about nursing and all that comes with it… one being NIP. I think that its a beautiful thing and it should be normalized because really, your just feeding your child. Way to go mama!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is such a great post. I struggled SO much with breastfeeding in public, and quit at 1 year before ever feeling like I was comfortable and confident enough to do it without fear or judgement. Wish i would have read this sooner!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kyra you are so beautiful, and I loved this post. Thank you for being so open with your thoughts and feelings. It is encouraging to know that all women have moments of self consciousness when you yourself are feeling self conscious. To know someone else understands.
    I definitely agree that covering should only be for YOUR comfort and no one else’s.
    I hope you’re able to reach or exceed your nursing goals.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautifully written! I’ve been having a lot of the same feelings. Before I had Parker I always said I’d never nurse in public. But now I’ve nursed her in a restaurant, on the curb in front of a gas station, and in the car many times!! She needs to eat and I can’t always be at home and I don’t want to be stuck at home! I hope you make it to your 18 month goal :)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautifully said! I am very similar. I would nurse in public, but always with a cover. Like you said, it helped me to relax and was mostly for my own comfort. Hoping too that things can change one day soon :)

    Liked by 1 person

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