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The Art of Nursing in Public

Breastfeeding is definitely an art.  Don't let anyone tell you that there's only one way to do it...that's simply not true.  And, the same goes with nursing in public.  I am blessed to live in an area of the country where breastfeeding is a proud symbol of being a mother.  Retailers, restaurants, and even public parks are all areas where I can safely go to nurse my baby without concern that someone will come tell me I can't be there.  Granted, I'm not one to flaunt my nursing.  I purchased my Hooter Hider and I try my best to conceal myself...although I must admit that my modesty went out the window after the problems I had breastfeeding during those first few weeks (if you haven't seen that post, please be sure to read it).

Nursing in public isn't easy.  It takes coordination (which I don't have), skills (which I'm still developing), and patience (which I lose more of every year).  It also takes a lot of putting your own fears and embarrassment aside for the knowledge that you're nurturing your child...in other words, you need to realize that, at some point, you will probably flash somebody, but at the same time, you shouldn't care because you're doing what needs to be done.

I am one of those lucky moms whose child flat out refused a bottle for the first four months of her life.  We tried different nipples, bottles, syringes, cup-feeding, and other techniques, but nothing worked.  Baby just simply preferred nursing to anything else.  Thus, I was faced with two options: 1. I could either spend the majority of my days at home just waiting for Baby to eat and then rushing around to do my errands, or 2. I could actually enjoy my days out and about knowing that I just needed to find a quiet place to sit for about 15-30 minutes every 2-1/2 to 3 hours.  I chose option number 2.

The art of nursing in public takes time to master.  At first, my child didn't like the nursing cover.  She hated having anything over her head and would refuse to latch on.  Thus, I spent the majority of my nursing time in the backseat of the car where I felt I was in a more private location.  However, as time progressed, Baby slowly began to get used to the cover and even began to realize that, when the cover comes out, it's time to eat! 

The second big aspect to mastering the art of nursing in public is that you have to make a conscious decision about what you're going to wear each and every day.  Dresses may be a thing of the past for a while unless you can easily slip an arm out the sleeve or it has a deep V neckline that can easily slip open.  You may not be able to wear those tighter camisoles under other tops or sweaters unless you find some that are nursing camisoles (if you find cute ones, let me know!).  And, you have to be sure that you wear a nursing bra (which, if you're nursing, you won't forget this one!).  Finding a wardrobe that works with nursing in public is easy, but may take a little more thought than before.

If you're nervous about nursing in public, then maybe start with nursing in your home around your girlfriends - most of them won't care!  You may then progress to a location in which you're already comfortable (mine was the local coffee shop where you can find me many a morning).  From there, you may decide to nurse in restaurants when you're sitting at a booth.  As you and Baby begin to master this art, you'll find that your options are endless and you both will appreciate the freedom that comes in being able to travel virtually anywhere without fear of nursing in public.

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