I was particularly moved by Summer’s post for the Carnival of Nursing in Public The Problem with “Discreet”. In it she talks about the arbitrariness of defining discreet and those people that seek to enforce their personal definition of discreet on to breastfeeding mothers. It made me think of an experience I had when my daughter was only a few weeks old.
My friend came to visit with her daughter and we both nursed during the visit. She lifted her shirt, popped open her nursing bra, and viola! Her baby latched. I felt so clumsy and inexperienced next to her and at the time thought it was merely the fact that she had been nursing so much longer than I.
My daughter is 17 months now and, even though I’m much better at nursing, I still find I have a different experience with nursing than some other mothers. You see, when I lift my top and pop my (F cup) nursing bra open I have a plethora of boob-flesh to wrangle! Even at a year and a half I still have to support my breast with my hand for Aellyn to nurse (remember the “C” or “U” hold when your baby was an infant?). Consequently, I have to “expose” more breast to get a proper latch.
I wish I could say this post is going to give amazing advice for nursing in public for us busty gals. It isn’t. The fact is all any of us can do is our best to live within our own personal comfort level. Whenever I’m struggling with a wiggly toddler and a jiggly boob I remind myself it isn’t about me (and it certainly isn’t about onlookers) it is about my child. And I will provide for her regardless of my (or anyone else’s) discomfort.
For onlookers – don’t assume a woman “doesn’t care” about exposing herself and don’t tell her she should cover up or worse yet leave the public sphere. It isn’t about you. It isn’t about her. It is about the child. If she is struggling – perhaps a modicum of compassion would be better than jumping right to self-righteous disgust.
What are your thoughts? Busty gals – how has your experience been nursing in public? What are some other factors, besides breast size, that can make conforming to someone else’s definition of discreet impossible?