Tuesday, October 25, 2011

BREASTfeeding pt. 3

The third and final installment of my thoughts on breastfeeding, at least for now.  You can read part one here and part two here.  Maybe I will need to revisit the topic in 6 months or so :)  And I am so sorry if I offend you, I just like to organize and write my thoughts so that I am forced to think through my own opinions.  I'd rather have you argue with me than be offended, I know breastfeeding is such a very personal thing.  I love that I have the ability to do what I think is best for us, you definitely should be able to do what you think is best for you!

Like I said, way back when this rambling thought first started, breastfeeding isn't for everyone. And that's fine, it's your decision.  But it is for us, as long as there is any possible way that we can make it work.  And when it's time to quit, I will be sad.  Because I LIKE nursing my baby.  I like how cheap it is, I like the health benefits for her, I like the feeling of being able to provide for her, I like the closeness of being together, I like how natural, comfortable and easy it feels now.  It didn't feel that way at first, but I'm glad we stuck it out.  So I like nursing, we got that covered right?  As much as I like nursing (did you count the number of "likes" in this paragraph) and know that it is exactly right for us, I hate using a nursing cover.  Hate it with a passion. 

I hate the logistics of it.  I can't get my hands in the right places to hold Scout and adjust my clothes.  I end up having my clothes in all of the wrong places because I'm not coordinated enough to handle the nursing cover and stay covered.  I can't get nursing pads in and out good or grab a burp cloth if I need one.  I end up making a mess on me and on her and flashing everyone in the process.

I hate feeling like I am trying to hide something.  I know that you'll say I'm trying to hide my breasts, which I have nothing against (I'm not an exhibitionist!), but I also feel like I'm trying to disguise what I'm doing.  Everyone knows whats going on, I feel like the nursing cover makes it an elephant in the room that we don't acknowledge.  I think nursing can and should be acknowledged and talked about, how else are women supposed to learn about it?  How else are men supposed to know what women are going through so that they can be supportive?  That's a whole other conversation, ask me if you want to get another earful.  But just know that I hate, hate, hate that feeling of having to hide something that I am not embarrassed of.  Something that I am in fact proud of and enjoy doing.

I hate the fact that I can't see Scout and that she can't see me.  Eating time is bonding time with babies, whether they are bottlefed or breastfed.  I want Scout bonding with me not with a nursing cover.

Most importantly, SHE hates the nursing cover.  And can you blame her?  She can't see me.  It's really hot and suffocating under there.  We both always end up sweating.  I can't help her adjust as well as I normally do.  And I end up manhandling her in my awkwardness.  Would you prefer that?

The only reason I ever used a cover was because I was worried about embarrassing those around me.  Especially male friends and family members.  But you know what?  Anyone who is embarrassed about breastfeeding probably needs some exposure so that they can be supportive to their wives, sisters, or friends that are working so hard to make breastfeeding work. 

You will probably tell me that using a nursing cover will get better the more I practice.  Well I'm not going to find out.  I have so little time to actually enjoy nursing, that I'm not going to spend a good portion of it "practicing" something I hate.

And no, I will not bottle feed my baby in public.  That stupid pump comes between us so frequently that there is no way I am giving up a chance to nurse her.  Besides, if she needs to eat then I need to pump.  And you will see way more if I try to pump in public.

And no, I will not go somewhere private to feed her.  I can't schedule when she is hungry, no matter how hard I try.  So sometimes, I will be in public and she will need to eat.  And I refuse to feel like a social outcast who has to be quarantined where no one can see me because my baby is hungry.  You go hide in a room by yourself while you eat.

I will however, be as subtle as I can, cover up as quickly as I can, and expose as little of myself as possible.  Because like I said earlier, I'm not an exhibitionist and I have no desire to show you all my private parts.  But honestly?  I think you might actually see less when I nurse uncovered, because I can be pretty slick without that blasted sheet in the way.  I can't, however, promise that you won't hear anything ;)  Those nursing babies are loud, with or without the cover!

So essentially, what I'm saying, is if you see me with a nursing cover I am so worried about what you will think that I can't be myself around you.  So if you are really my friend, tell me you're ok with it and that I can bag the cover.


Love, Chelsea said...

Cheers to that!

Winn said...

F the cover!

Hanna said...

down with nursing covers! I'll never use one, breastfeeding is something to be proud of. Feeding babies any which way is something to be proud of. So sick of hearing about breastfeeding mothers covering up and formula feeding mothers hiding the tin at the store. Feeding babies rules!

Elena @ The Art of Making a Baby said...

YAY to no nursing covers! I grew up in Russia where people are much more comfortable with nudity and generally just have a very different attitude towards it compared to US and I just rile at the thought that such a natural and beneficial act as breastfeeding would be construed as embarrassing or something to cover up. If other people have a problem with the real function of breasts, then they need to either not look or leave (or go confront their parents about why they were brought up with the idea that it's shameful). I'm currently pregnant with my first and WILL be breastfeeding and like hell am I going to use that moo-moo of a cover and miss out on the comfort and bonding with my newborn, simply because other people have the wrong attitude towards breasts.
{I'll have to make sure I look up all the appropriate laws in case some really nasty person decides to confront me}

Robin said...

Your baby, your body, your decision. I agree with you that the nursing cover makes something that's very natural and beautiful seem awkward and shameful. Who needs that kind of stress surrounding such an important activity?