Now, let me first say that I think these creations (basically an apron of fabric that drapes over mother and baby while nursing in lieu of a blanket that may slip off or be too heavy) are fabulously useful.... at the right place and at the right time. Many mothers are simply not comfortable nursing in public, or maybe choose to wear a nursing cover when male guests are around. Mine sure comes in handy when my father-in-law or husband's friends are visiting! I am a fan of anything the will encourage a mother to confidently nurse and care for her baby regardless of her whereabouts. When I see a mother sitting in public using her nursing cover, I am reminded that she is one less woman sitting in a dirty bathroom stall trying to feed her baby.
What BOTHERS me is when I see women wearing a nursing cover in the sole company of other women. I have witnessed moms donning their nursing covers at playgroups, baby showers and even in the private nursing room at my church. Has nursing really become that taboo? Are we so unaccustomed to the sight of a child at her mother's breast that even in circles of women, mothers feel a need to cover up? I understand and respect modesty, but I think this takes it too far. if we are going to see breastfeeding become the norm and standard for how we care for our children, breastfeeding needs to be SEEN. We see more breast exposure in a Victoria Secret advertisement than we ever do from a nursing mother. Breasts have been so sexualized that we've forgotten the precious purpose God created them for.
Famed Midwife Ina May Gaskin recently published THE BEST book on breastfeeding I have read (and I've read them all), Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding. Not only is it a great resource for new moms learning the art of nursing, it also includes an entire chapter on "Nipplephobia" - her term for our culture's distaste for public nursing - and her thoughts on how we can turn the tide. She believes that bring breastfeeding back into the norm starts with women seeing other women nursing!
I feel fortunate to have been the oldest child in my family and to have witnessed my own mother's nurturing way or nursing my younger siblings. All of the women in my extended family breastfed their children. My mother's friends nursed their babies on playdates at my house. I nursed my baby dolls. Breastfeeding was the norm. Perhaps that's part of the reason why I have nursed my children with such confidence and conviction (in spite of a lot of difficult roadblocks which I will be sure to share with you some day). When Ruby was a baby, we even participated in a "Nurse-in" to demonstrate a woman's right to nurse her baby anytime, anywhere. Now Ruby nurses her baby dolls while she watches me nurse her brother. She is growing up with breastfeeding being the norm. And even though I am making nursing covers for my friends and even though I may occasionally find a situation that requires me to use my own, I will continue to nurse uncovered (still discreetly) when I am amongst women. Who knows? - I may be the first exposure a young woman may have to nursing, and maybe one day, when she is ready to have her own babies... she'll remember. :)
Apparently, this kind of exposure is "OK"... but a nursing breast isn't?
A Beautiful mama and baby pair... nursing naturally and discreetly without a cover.
Not much to see here - except for a sweet gaze shared between mama and baby!
An intimate moment.
Nursing on the go! Anytime, Anywhere.
In good company.
Maria Lactans - JESUS WAS BREASTFED. And I don't think Mary wore a Hooter Hider.