To cover or not to cover while breastfeeding. When did the decision of whether to cover yourself to breastfeed become such a controversy? Maybe you have not experienced this, but I have heard it from both sides.
Of course we are all familiar with the comments wondering why a breastfeeding mother would not cover herself while feeding in public. Even from other breastfeeding mothers who wonder why other mothers find it hard to cover up and insist they always did. Please.
Then we have the other point of view, that believes a mother should not be covering herself while breastfeeding. That she is caving to the pressure to please other people and covering her baby up. Women and other advocates that believe we need to normalize breastfeeding, it needs to be seen so don’t cover. I completely understand this point of view and I do believe that breastfeeding needs to be seen so it does become normal to future generations.
I do not believe a breastfeeding mother should ever have to cover up. Anyone who wonders why we don’t or has an issue with it. Well sorry, I do not agree with you. At all.
But, I certainly can understand why a mother might want to cover. I truly believe a breastfeeding mother should do what she wants and what makes her comfortable.
So, why is this on my mind? Well I had a little discussion about it while out running errands today. I recently decided to try a few sewing projects. And one of those projects I would like to try is a nursing infinity scarf. I went to the fabric store this morning, and as the employee was cutting my fabric she asked what it was for. I told her, and we got into a discussion about nursing covers.
She thought a nursing scarf was a great idea, but then mentioned to me how when she breastfed 30 some years ago she did not use a cover..ever. She also mentioned that most people did not nurse in public at all though, and that if you did you would be looked at like you were crazy. We have come a long way haven’t we? Of course there was a time when breastfeeding was absolutely normal but it went away in the post World War II era (and with the rise of formula) and was hardly seen at all in the 70’s.
Well let me just say, I have also come a long way. When I had my daughter I was not comfortable nursing uncovered anywhere. Not even around my family and friends. Now, well I pop my 19 month on whenever and wherever. We don’t nurse in public much because he does not nurse frequently anymore, but when we did I got comfortable nursing uncovered.
And, that’s why I still think it’s fine to use a nursing cover if it makes you comfortable. We need to be able to do what makes us comfortable. A breastfeeding mother should never be asked to cover up, but she also should not feel self conscious if she does choose to use a cover.
When so many of our choices that we make as mothers are politicized, debated and analyzed it feels like you can’t win no matter what you do.
And as I stood having my conversation this morning I still felt the need to clarify. To let the employee know, oh.. I don’t believe breastfeeding mothers should cover up. But I do believe if they want to they should have a stylish and functional option. That’s why I am making nursing scarves. Oh, and because I love scarves. The way I see it if you can wear something stylish that operates as a fashion accessory and has another use then great. I also believe in not needing or carrying extra baby supplies while out and about. Even if you do not use a scarf as a cover it’s nice to have something that can be used to wipe up spit up or cover your baby if cold.
So breastfeed how you want moms. Do what makes you comfortable and don’t worry about what others think. And keep your eyes out for an infinity scarf tutorial. (Maybe. If it goes well.)
Let me know your thoughts. Prefer to breastfeed covered or uncovered?