I got self-conscious. I started covering. It was horrid.
My overactive letdown was always spraying everywhere because I couldn't see what I was doing. Breastfeeding was increasingly painful because I was fumbling around under the blanket to get a proper latch. The blankets were always falling off while I walked around, so I had to sit to feed her. My baby was drenched in sweat. Heck, who am I kidding? Most of the time, even I was sweating like a sumo wrestler taking a nap in a sauna! It sucked. I breastfed less in public because of it, and when I was out and about, I became more likely to hide in a bathroom or find a quiet place. It was getting inconvenient to feed my baby.
By the time I was nursing again, I was more educated. I had become a bit of an activist for breastfeeding and was passionate about being free to feed my baby. I shared pictures of my baby breastfeeding online, and I popped out a boob to feed him wherever I wanted. Other people's discomfort be damned! My baby is hungry, and I'm going to feed him wherever the heck I want. If someone didn't like it, they could look away.
When I had my last child, I still had my badass breastfeeder attitude but my new partner was embarrassed and protective. Again, breastfeeding sucked. My poor baby was soaking wet with sweat trying to eat her meals under a blanket and eventually (with all due respect and tons of humor) I had to tell her father to grow up and get over it. If it made him uncomfortable, he could hide under a blanket. Perhaps he'd like his next meal served in the bathroom? And by the way, he doesn't even flinch now when my friends are over nursing their babies indiscreetly.
In a town where it felt like everyone but me was bottle feeding; I proudly lifted my shirt. We exclusively breastfed for eight months and continued nursing into her second year. It was liberating and convenient! It felt good to put my baby first and be contributing to a more positive breastfeeding culture.
I think it's ridiculous that there are so many women feeling terribly guilty about not breastfeeding but as a society we are still uncomfortable seeing babies fed the way they were meant to be. It seems we are shamed if we do and shamed if we don't.
So before you give up or buy shares in antiperspirant, go ahead and bare your breasts! Feed your baby. She's hungry! The more we nurse our babies freely, the more desensitised people will get. The more women feel comfortable breastfeeding openly in public, the easier breastfeeding will be, and the longer moms are going to do it! Forge a path for future mothers! Be a badass breastfeeder!
If you are bottle feeding, be a badass bottle feeder! Do not feel like less of a mother because of how you feed your baby. Do not feel judged and uncomfortable. (I've been a bottle feeder, too.) You are doing your best. You are feeding your baby when she is hungry, and that's what matters! Let's get those little tummies full of goodness, wherever we are!