Breastfeeding: Episode Two – Public Nursing

It took me six months to get comfortable nursing Ava in public. I was self-conscious, feared making others feel awkward, didn’t have a comfortable nursing cover and had no idea how easy it can be. Once I started nursing unapologetically anywhere, life got way better.

Breastfeeding is isolating. You are feeding the kid all the time. Whenever we had guests, I was in the bedroom nursing Ava for the majority of time they were over. When we were out, I spent half the time in the car, a public restroom stall (ew!), a fitting room or alone in someone else’s bedroom feeding her.

I’ve had people tell me I should “just pump” and give her a bottle while out. For anyone who has never pumped, I suggest never recommending pumping or using the phrase “just pump” to a nursing mom if you care for your friendship with her. I don’t expect people who have never had a breastfeeding relationship to get it, but anyone who has ever nursed knows it is not that simple.

Here’s a few reasons why:

  • You have to pump for every time you give a bottle to maintain supply. So it’s either mom is isolated pumping somewhere while baby takes a bottle from someone else or she just nurses her baby.
  • Pumping less effective at milk extraction than a baby, so it leads to increased risk for supply issues and plugged ducts – ouch! I speak from experience.
  • Pumping sucks (no pun intended) and can be painful.
  • Every time you pump and give a bottle you have ten items to wash, sanitize and dry when you add up pump and bottle parts.
  • Pumped/thawed breast milk is great but not as good for baby as milk straight from the source.

The maintenance of the nursing relationship and supply takes conscious effort and it is best to nurse your baby as often as possible. As a working mom a.k.a pumping mom, nursing opportunities can be few and far between, making taking them even more important.

This nursing cover was a saving grace with Ava and already is with Sri. The muslin is soft and breathable, so no overheated, sweaty baby trying to eat. It covers well and stays put. You can see baby over the top, which is super helpful, and it is easily machine washable.