I had my fourth baby in January. I’ve breastfed all of them, but up until a few days ago, I’ve never nursed in public. We were at a bowling alley with my older children and a group of families from their school. The bowling alley was dark. The baby was hungry. And I had a blanket.
Although I had covering, I felt awkward. I noticed some glances in my direction. I tried not to let it bother me. The fact is that sometimes it’s hard to avoid the need to nurse in public. Nursing in public has gotten a lot of attention lately with news of Beyonce nursing her baby at a New York City restaurant. Breastfeeding advocates are thrilled at the high-level attention, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to see more celebrities doing it.
But, still, for most of us, breastfeeding in public isn’t so easy. I was able to avoid it with the other babies but, at this point, my self-consciousness has to give way to my desire to participate in my older children’s activies. And, frankly, I’m tired of being embarrassed about it. Actually, I’m just plain tired.
The stigma about nursing in public is probably one of the reasons many women don’t breastfeed longer. If it was easier to nurse-on-the-go, I do believe more women would do it. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusivie breastfeeding for six months, but studies show only a small percentage of moms can achieve that goal.
If you do choose to breastfeed, know that there are plenty of resources to help you make the process easier and enjoyable. I consider it a gift that only I can give. I’m willing to put up with a few stares to do it.