To cover or not to cover, that is the question

I’ve joined a couple of parenting groups on Facebook – some for the funny or sweet pictures, some for the information. They all have one thing in common so far – big fights over the “right” way to breastfeed. The conversation on any given breastfeeding image usually goes like this:

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Normal Nancy: Awww, cute! Whether or not I would ever take a picture of this, it’s a sweet moment between a mom and a baby.
Trolling Taylor: Women only whip them out like this because they’re begging for attention. Does this mean I can whip my private parts out? They’re natural too!
Disapproving Debbie: Ewww…stay at home if you must do something like that. And that kid is too old to nurse anyway!
And the crowd goes WILD…in the bad way.

Most of the time, I just read and laugh. But every now and then someone really gets on their high horse about covering up, and I just have to say something. You all know what PJ and I went through in learning how to nurse. And as I’ve said, our success was 100% about communication – it was a gradual process over many weeks that boils down to PJ trusting me to follow his signals. A big part of this for him is eye contact or at least being able to see my face. Even now that he has the hang of it, he gets upset if he can’t see me. So no covers for us, even though I had originally planned to use one.

My thought is, I worked WAY too hard at being able to nurse my baby to give up any opportunity to do it out of fear over what a stranger may or may not think. And now that I’m back to work, I only get a couple of chances a day as it is. So I’m not going to give any of them up and carry bottles if we happen to be away from home when PJ gets hungry – it’s totally worth the occasional dirty look! If anyone should ever tell me to cover up, I’d be happy to talk their ear off about my little miracle and how lucky I am to be able to nurse him at all.

One great trend in our area that has kept any friction with the Disapproving Debbies of the world to a minimum is that several stores have “family rooms.” These are NOT restrooms, they’re just private rooms with a changing table (and usually some spare supplies for those nightmare days when you’ve run out) and a comfortable chair or couch that are specifically set aside for moms and babies. Of course Babies R Us has one in every store, but one of the more surprising places I have found one is at our local IKEA (one more reason to love the place!). It’s great to know a few places where there’s a comfortable place to feed the baby, and as a marketer I totally dig the fact that it becomes a reason for me to come into a store that would otherwise not be in my plan for the day. I try to always make at least a small purchase in appreciation for making the space available.

Four months ago, I hadn’t given any of this a moment’s thought, I just figured that everyone made the decision that was best for them and life went on – silly childless lady who didn’t know that parenting is an Olympic level blood sport complete with knee-whacking and trash talking! Now, I am seriously disappointed in women who tear other women to shreds for how, what, when, and where they choose to feed their babies. Maybe that’s what we should be more concerned about, don’t you think?

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