Thursday, June 20, 2013

Public breastfeeding

As I am once again the mother of a young infant, I get to rediscover public breastfeeding. If you're in Ottawa you may find me nursing my daughter at local coffee shops, restaurants, patios, public parks, community centres, etc.

It's not that I'm embarrassed to breastfeed in public. It's generally an accepted practice around here and I've never received dirty or scandalized looks. And I'm all for breastfeeding - for health and bonding reasons as well as the convenience of having a ready made, nutritionally balanced meal on hand (well, on breast) at a moment's notice. Wish meals were as easy to prepare for my pre-schooler!

That said, I don't have a militant, in-your-face approach to sticking my daughter on my boob. Despite often sporting a nursing shirt that has 'SALOON' written across the chest, I try to be discreet. The only person in the coffee shop who needs to see my nipple is my baby - and at 2 months she's already pretty adept at dive bombing it when given the slightest glance.

But as a mom who breastfeeds on demand and also wants to be out and about, my fashion choices are rather limited. While I don't object to flashing a breast, I would rather not have my post-pregnancy midsection hanging out for all to see. So I wear nursing shirts. These are made with easy, discreet access to what baby wants most. They typically have a very tell-tale flap along the chest and in my case often have bits of baby spit up or slobber on the shoulder. Most are designed for utility more than fashion, although the market is improving and Japanese Weekend has some pretty nice tops and dresses that don't advertise to the world that these boobs are ready for milking.

Despite my best efforts though, there are certainly times when my breast is on display a little more than necessary. Like when I open the front door to the UPS guy while nursing and my baby decides it's a good time to pop off and look around. I'm not sure who was more embarrassed.

Funny how I've gone from being someone who doesn't like to show too much cleavage to one so willing to publicly bare my breast. One of the many ways parenting has changed me.