Breastfeeding: To cover up or not?

There’s been many discussions of late concerning women breastfeeding their babies in public and their lack of covering up. Women are being asked to cover up because it’s disasteful and them possibly objecting themselves to pervertion and and and… I’ve never considered myself to be a prude and still don’t but there’s much to say about good old fashioned modesty. I’m a bit on the fence with this one and really don’t want to debate the whole issue but here’s my opinion anyways.

I saw a post on Facebook this morning where a woman covered up while breastfeeding. Instead of covering her breast she covered her head and left her breast exposed while feeding her baby. This woman and I kind of have our wicked sense of humour in common and after laughing a bit, this got me really thinking about the whole issue.

When I was pregnant random people used to come up to me and rub my belly. This frustrated me no end for a number of reasons. 1) I felt weird about people touching me. That privilege is reserved for my husband (oh and close friends or family who felt the incessant need to bond with the baby in that way) 2) I wore plenty of white during that time so my belly area would end up dirty all the time. 3) I really don’t like random people touching me. Period. Something to do with tranference of energy which I’ll explain to you some other time.

It irked me that people would touch to say congratulations. I’m reminded of a joke (sorry this may offend sensitive viewers): When a woman is pregnant people often touch her belly in congratulations so why do they never pat the man’s penis and say ‘Well done bud’? Which makes me wonder how some moms would feel if a random stranger were to touch their breast and say how beautiful it is to see a mom breastfeeding her baby. Stranger things have happened people and it wouldn’t surprise me if it already has or will be happening real soon. God forbid any woman having to endure that type of violation.

Back on the breastfeeding wagon… While you can’t really tell when your baby will be needing their next fix, it all comes down to preparation. When you leave the house you’re normally armed with a nappy bag containing everything your baby might need during the outing. Nappies, a change of clothes or two, burp cloths, a blanky and stuff I really can’t think of right now. I haven’t had to pack one of those bags in ages so I kinda forgot the rest. What I do remember packing was a burp cloth or three. They are big enough to serve as a double threat. Firstly I’d use that to cover my boobies and secondly I’d use it for it’s intended use and that’s to avoid getting baby vomit all over my shoulder.

Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world and much healthier for babies. Not covering up while doing so shouldn’t really be disgusting because after all, you’re feeding your baby right? At least that’s general idea I get from so called modern moms. If their babies need feeding they really just don’t care and have no problem exposing themselves. I’m sure if I pluck out my size ‘A’s’ with no baby hanging on to it for the heck of it those mommies would have plenty to say about it.

Which brings me to my next point. Every year I go to the beach dressed in my bikini with my fat-ish thighs, dimples, mommy tattoos (aka stretch marks), not so perky boobs (damn that gravity!) and I rock it. Ok well maybe the word rocking it is not exactly what my kids would call it. I’m their mom so obviously I’m in the ‘not cool’ category’ but the point is I go to the beach and bear it all in modest swimwear and I swim.

During those trips to the beach I notice many women go for their swims in shorts and t-shirts. Now I get that many women have body issues and are afraid of other people seeing their bodies. I’m not about to judge or condemn them for doing that. Hey not everyone has the guts to wear bathing costumes and that’s really ok.

Funny enough, amongst those women who swim with clothes are those who dare to bare their most intimate body parts for the world to see in public. The beach is the one place where it is acceptable to walk half naked and they choose to cover up while they have no problem plucking out a booby in a mall or any other public place. Pretty ironic don’t you think?

So my final thoughts on this is to breastfeeding moms out there: 1) Invest in some burp cloths (or whatever) and cover up. Breastfeeding may be natural and an integral part of your baby’s survival but IT IS still YOUR body and no one should have any rights to seeing it. 2) You wouldn’t want your son to ogle some woman’s breast albeit in real life or some trashy men’s magazine. I know I wouldn’t want my teenage son witnesssing either of that. 3) When you raise girls you teach them about the importance of their bodies and how it belongs to them. It may seem a trivial thing but in the long run children don’t listen to what we have to say, they go on the examples you set for them. 4) And lastly, your baby may be too young to learn these life lessons but you’re a mom now and there are other kids who witness these acts. Have you ever considered the age old “But everyone is doing” spiel we get from kids when they grow older. Your baby will be spewing those words soon too.

Mom’s we are all in this together and our kids are the future. What may seem like nothing to you right now may have a big impact on the child you will be raising. Let us set examples to other moms and kids who are old enough to understand what you’re doing now too.

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