Before having my daughter I worried I'd be too nervous to breastfeed her in public. I imagined that I'd pump, prepare bottles and feed them to her when she needed to eat in public. After I actually had the experience of pumping a bottle, then feeding it to her myself later, I got over my fear of nursing her in public. I do usually feel more comfortable covering up while nursing, but I don't mind just latching her on wherever we are.
During my maternity leave we visited with both of our families, and I had to get used to nursing around them. In the beginning it was a little awkward because I wasn't exactly sure if I was doing it right, and if she was getting enough to eat. But I got the hang of it.
The first and one of the only times I felt nervous feeding my daughter in public was when we visited my husband's family for a family reunion. We all went out to dinner at Olive Garden, and it was the first time many of them had seen my daughter. I knew my husband didn't want me feeding her at the table, especially in front of his relatives, so when I could tell she was getting hungry I took her to the restroom to nurse her.
Throughout our two week visit I nursed Lil' J in front of his parents and siblings, but when we were around the rest of his family -- all of his uncles, aunts, aunts and cousins (and there's like 40 of them) I usually found a quiet place to take her and feed her in privacy.
I think part of it was my modesty, and part of it was that I didn't know what they'd think of me. All of them had children too, and my guess is most, if not all of them breastfed, but you just never know someone's opinions about breastfeeding in public. I was also a little worried what my husband's reaction would be.
When I visited my mom during my leave, Lil' J didn't keep us from going out. And my mom was always quick to hand her to me and encourage me to feed her right at the table. That helped me a lot with gaining confidence to nurse in public. Wish I'm so grateful for, especially
I always had a blanket or burp cloth to cover with, but even if I didn't I would have felt comfortable.
When I was my sisters' age I hadn't seen anyone breastfeed in front of me. So it was kind of fun to think, maybe my 20, 13, and 5 year old sisters would remember me feeding my daughter and be encouraged to try it themselves.
I didn't bother using a cover at home, and after a day or two my sisters were used to it.
Now, as the holidays approach, and I have three months of exclusive breastfeeding under my belt, I doubt I'll think twice about nursing my daughter in front of our families.
I'm not as comfortable feeding her in front of my in-laws as I am my own, but I hope to overcome that. Especially if we're covered up. I think it's something my husband will need to help me with. We've come a long way already.
In the beginning my husband didn't want me to feed her in front of anyone it seemed. He was leery of eating out, worried I'd have to feed her at the table. Now, we pick tables in more secluded places at restaurants, so when I need to nurse her I can. I know my confidence has helped him.
Knowing what I know now, I think I'll make an extra effort from now on to smile and tell a nursing mom in my family, or in public that she looks beautiful and applaud her for her dedication. I know that would mean a lot to me.