Monday, January 2, 2012

Lettin' It All Hang Out

This past Thanksgiving, I travelled with Josh and my dad to Illinois to visit family on our farm, a time honored tradition for the Gibb family. We were very excited to bring Liam and show him off to my relatives who had yet to meet the wee one. We were flying into Chicago, which meant that a day’s worth of baby feeding had to be undertaken while on the move. Great, just great. With my nursing pillow in tow, I had the pleasure of breastfeeding at DIA, on the plane, and at the lovely Midway Airport in Chicago in which the only private place I could find was a booth at a bar. Surprisingly, this worked out quite well because after I fed Liam, I had a beer. Perfecto. The next day I had the pleasure of feeding him in the ladies room at Macy’s on Michigan Avenue, and in the parking lot of a Steak ‘n Shake. Nice.

My personal preference for public nursing is with a cover because I don’t like freaking out my male friends and I didn’t particularly want my dad to feel uncomfortable. However, my incredibly active young lad likes to wave his arm around while he eats which makes keeping the cover on rather difficult. He wants the whole world to see what he can do, I suppose.

It’s silly to think that something as simple as how you feed your baby can be so hotly debated among mothers and non-parents alike. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the appropriateness of public nursing. Some think that breastfeeding is totally gross and should never be socially practiced while others believe that it’s the most natural thing in the world and they “let it all hang out.” I can understand both lines of thought, really, but we must remember, in no other context would it be socially appropriate to show people your boob. Just because there is a baby attached to it, does that make it ok for the world to see what you’re packing under that nursing bra? I’m not so sure.

Granted, this is just my opinion, and you don’t have to agree with it. There are plenty of my friends who could give a rat’s behind what others thought about their breastfeeding habits. And that’s ok too. At the end of the day, you’ve got to do what’s right for you and your baby. I think, however, that you can be considerate of others who might be shocked if you plop out your bare breast at the dinner table. Yes, it’s how babies eat, but remember, not everyone wants to see your boobs. Well, mostly. 

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