I’m embarrassed to be embarrassed about nursing

It’s all been said before: breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and we should be able to do it whenever and wherever baby is hungry (except in a bathroom, if baby gets hungry in a bathroom, baby should wait a minute). Consequently, I am embarrassed to be embarrassed about nursing.

I offer a few anecdotes to illustrate my point:

* * *

When my rookie baby was about one month old, Whitney’s son was a very skilled seven-month old. I mean that kid could laugh and suck on his own feet; the two of them made nursing look easy. Whit and I were on my couch feeding our babies when my Father-in-Law decided to take a picture of us.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to die on the spot or yell at him, “No freaking photography while I breastfeed!” I said nothing, but clearly, eight years later, I’m still bothered.

* * *

When my firstborn was about three months old, we made the epic trip from California to Ohio and then Massachusetts to show off the First Grandchild to all his adoring relatives. I was visiting my stepmom when nature (duty?) called and I sat down to breastfeed on the couch with a blanket draped discreetly over my shoulder. My youngest brother could see my baby’s wiggling feet, and having absolutely no idea what could be going on, asked, “Hey, what’s he doing under there?” as he grabbed my covering away. “NOOOO” I whisper-yelled in slloooowww moootion as my brother backed away in confusion. Yeah, that was cool.

I’d like to say I laid the foundation for my little brother to become a lactivist when his own wife began to breastfeed years later, but the truth is, I was just embarrassed for him to see me nursing. And of course, embarrassed that I was embarrassed.

* * *

My second son was about five months old at my other brother’s wedding and associated events. I told myself that breastfeeding was womanly and maternal rather than fixate on my floppy body and desire to wear Spanx all the time. But each time the my nursling and I sat down for a feeding session, we’d be asked by one of my family members to sit further and further from the main action until I was either in a coat closet or a bathroom alcove.

Here in Berkeley, we’re not allowed to feel embarrassed about nursing. In fact, we’re more likely to be stared at for giving a bottle.

* * *

I don’t remember seeing anyone use a nursing cover or Hooter Hider until my sister-in-law used it on a crowded ferry boat. I was so impressed that she could talk to her father or be in photos while she breastfed, like it was no big deal. I truly believe nursing covers are a great solution for many moms who otherwise might fear leaving the house during a possible feeding window.

If you’re embarrassed to be embarrassed, here are 7 legit-sounding excuses you can use for having a cover:

  1. I find it’s great for when I’m snacking I don’t drop food on his head.
  2. My baby is so messy and this keeps things neat.
  3. I keep it on-hand for when I’m with my Father-in-law / boss / jackasses.
  4. I’d hate for my baby to catch a chill (or sunburn!).
  5. My baby gets so distracted.
  6. My husband gets so distracted.
  7. This cover is like a pretty dress or accessory just for me!

Here are 7 adorable nursing covers if you, too, suffer from being either embarrassed to nurse in public or embarrassed about feeling that way! Like I mentioned, they’re also great for pumping.

My favorite and most highly rated, Bebe au Lait AKA Hooter Hiders, comes in a ton of different patterns. On Amazon, prices range from about $21 to $33. They hold up well wash after wash and make a great hand-me-down gifts. I inherited my SIL’s and passed it along to a friend. Here are a few I like:

Sevilla cover by Bebe au Lait >

Hooter Hider in Darjeeling print >

Bebe au Lait Ascot (so cute as a dress, right?) >

Newer on the scene are these Balboa Nursing covers developed by the famous Dr. Sears. They look pretty great and are priced in the same range ($25 to $35). Like the Hooter Hiders, there is a discreet pocket and some terrycloth on the inside for wiping as well as a wiry mechanism that lets you maintain eye contact or see what baby’s doing under there.

I like this one but there are a bunch of great choices.

Balboa cover in the sundress-inspired Lola print >

Keeping with the theme of booby puns, this one from Udder Covers also claims to be machine washable but I mistrust the model’s lack of eye contact. At $18, this one’s a bargain, but will it last? I don’t know. I’d want to feel it before buying it.

On the plus side, I could wear use this cover someplace other than a garden party and still be appropriate.

Udder Cover, heh >

Rounding out the field for the Less than $20 category are these from Trend Lab. Meh. They look like art smocks or tablecloths to me but maybe you love them.

Trend Lab, Versailles print >

Going in another direction, I love the easy functionality of this clever infinity scarf that doubles as a nursing cover. Nothing to pack and find, it’s just there ON YOU when you want it. I can’t vouch for it’s efficacy, but it’s certainly creative.

InfinityMOM nursing scarf >

Bottom Line
If I had $15 to spend on this category of super-specialized baby gear, I’d check Craig’s List for an old Bebe au Lait (I see them right now even in my overpriced part of the country for $5 to $12).

My very strong opinions about Nursing Bras
My very strong opinions about Nursing Tanks + Tops

Not sponsored. Some links go to Amazon and we do get a few cents for those purchases.

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