I have to admit that I am a little nervous about writing this post. For some reason, it is kind of a touchy subject. So, these are my opinions and feelings about it, sorry if you do not agree...
I breastfeed my baby. I support other mamas that do the same. I have many reasons for doing this. First, I believe it is the healthiest option (both physically and emotionally) for both mama and baby. Second, it is cheap (I like cheap). Third, I believe that, as Americans, many of us have been "Americanized" into thinking and living in such a way that neglects the fundamentals of family. Fundamentals that should be second nature to parents (especially mamas). Ironically, "Americanization" is choking out the American dream. A dream that begins with family, happiness, and love. To me, and others like me, breastfeeding is all of these things and more.
My sister, who is one year younger than me (19), is not married and has no children. She works at a grocery store. A store that, at the checkout stand for all to see, sells health and fitness magazines (as well as others)that show women in bikinis. Bikinis, as we all know, show a good bit of skin (legs, midriff, and breasts). This store has no problem selling these magazines and customers have no problem seeing and even buying these magazines. It is "normal" to see women in bikinis, or even lingerie, in magazines, on TV, and everywhere else we look. It is "normal" for a store to sell magazines that display a woman's body for all to see. However, when a new mama, who is desperately trying to juggle shopping for her young family, pushing her cart, and feeding her baby, nurses her baby while she shops, people are shocked and critical of her and her "nudity". People (including employees) are disgusted with her actions and the fact the that "Most of her boob was showing!". Yet these same people have no problem seeing (or selling) "nudity" in other forms such as magazines and movies. One of my favorite quotes is "Breasts are for babies, not for selling beer and buffalo wings!", but sadly this is not always realized in America today. The truth is that, to people today, boobs equal sex, and sex sells.
The other day, I saw something interesting, A Breastfeeding Baby Doll. Though I think you could make your own breastfeed baby doll simply by not using a bottle, I am glad to see this (Spanish) toy maker supporting breastfeeding and breast feeders. However some of the commentators were not impressed and down right offended by this doll. I have also known mamas (as well as others) who were shocked and even disturbed to see a little girl put a baby doll up to her chest to "nurse".
So I pose a question... Why do people think it is OK or "normal" to see semi nude women in many aspects of day to day life, but a mama, breastfeeding her baby, is thought of as weird and even offensive?
Personally, I do try to be modest while breastfeeding in public. I often use dressing rooms to nurse (bathrooms are too gross in my opinion). I nurse in the car before and/or after going somewhere. I toss a light weight blanket over my shoulder and chest (the shoulder piece of a Moby Wrap also works well). But, every now and then, I run out of options. I just sit down and nurse my baby. I stay out of the highly populated areas. I try to cover as well as I can with what I have with me. Whoever is with me attemps to help. But if someone was tyring really hard, they could probably see. I have squatted down behind a pile of lumber or sat on a stack of shingles in Lowe's. I have plopped myself down in the women's section of Target. I have even walked, while nursing, through the middle of our field (a road runs right by it). Sometimes, you've gotta do what you've gotta do.