Blush with me as I take you back to my first outing where I was required to breastfeed in public …
I wasn’t nursing a natural attacher – my daughter was subsequently operated on to loosen a severe tongue-tie – so I had to peel back my top to my armpits exposing the bursting boob in its entirety. An outdoor café table on the street seemed an ideal place to do this….the breeze cooling down my hot and bothered, L-plater self.
Juggling Caroline into position and then slamming her again and again into the nipple for no result took enormous effort, and I really didn’t care who was watching. To a point. Just as I squeezed one of my slippery nipples into a perfect shape, a large group of 15 year old boys from the nearby secondary school sauntered past us. Of all the luck!
Years later I would do my supermarket shopping with a baby swinging off a boob no problem – but this was my first time out and I was mortified.
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Strangely I don’t remember the boys’ reaction (only mine!), however I do remember the reaction of a woman in a restaurant, who made a huge play of being put off her soup by me breastfeeding quietly at a table nearby. Unlike the first time, I even had my baby covered with a cloth…a boob-free vision of mother cradling child ….but no, we were clearly highly offensive from the way the woman snorted her disapproval and pushed away her soup before storming out.
Today there are a number of breastfeeding cover-up options, from inexpensive muslins to engineered, fashion prints covers. I became very adept at feeding discreetly anywhere and everywhere, and frankly couldn’t be bothered with covering up most of the time, but I did always carry something to avoid embarrassment from another party (ie. when feeding in front of my father-in-law).
Now my babies are all weaned (try telling that to one of my boobs that still produces milk four years later), I love seeing women feeding in public. And it would take a lot more than that to put me off a bowl of soup!