It's funny how I'm never really afraid to nurse in public, unless I'm with my husband. I've nursed my daughter in public dozens of times, but when we're with her daddy, things change a little.
It's sad in some ways, because I should feel most comfortable when he's around, but the truth of the matter is, when he's around, I feel less confident and more self-conscious.
We talked a little about me nursing our daughter in public before she was born, and several times since. Every time we pretty much come to the same conclusion: I'll feed her when she's hungry, wherever we are, but I'll cover up.
Normally when I'm out and alone with her, covering up can mean with a blanket, my shirt, or a nursing cover, but usually it's something small like a burp cloth. When I'm at home, I don't need to worry about covering up, unless a friend is over. But even then, if I go to nurse her when friend are around, I can see the disapproving look in my husband's eyes. Finally, I just decided to ignore it and feed her where I was anyway. Besides, they were in our house, she needed to eat, and I was covered.
I thought my husband would get more supportive and understanding once our daughter was born and saw me nursing her, but until recently I didn't know how where he stood on the subject of nursing in public.
We recently had our first experience nursing in public around my husband and it was a disaster.
The number one thing I've learned with nursing in public is getting my daughter latched on quickly so we don't cause a scene. I get her going before she starts crying and no one notices a thing. But when we went for a family lunch at Steak and Shake, and our daughter wanted to eat, my husband's hesitation set us up for a catastrophe.
She hadn't eaten for a little while and I knew she'd soon want to eat. She was getting a little aggravated so I knew she wanted to eat and told my husband so. He asked what I was going to do.
"Feed her," I told him matter of factly.
"Here?" He asked me. "Or are you going to go to the car?"
"No, I'm still eating, I'll feed her here."
He then proceeded to try to get me to move further in the booth, put on my nursing cover, arrange the diaper bag, and what felt like a million other tasks before I got our daughter fed. Of course this all, upset her and she passed her breaking point.
She started screaming as I tried to get her latched on, underneath the nursing cover, and I imagine the whole restaurant was starring at us. At least, that's what my husband described when he said "great, now everyone knows what you're doing."
Never, in my experience with nursing in public had my daughter had a meltdown in the process. And even though I was more covered up than I normally would be, I was sure in this instance more people knew what I was doing.
After that experience, my husband and I had a talk about me feeding our daughter. I told him we can't go back and forth talking about where I'm going to feed her, I'm just going to do it and he needs to get used to it.
I'm still digging deeper to find the root of his issue with me feeding our daughter when we're out but I think a big part of the problem is his ultra-conservative point of view. He's the guy who didn't even want me showing my bare belly in my maternity photos, and preferred that I wear a shirt over a camisole. He wasn't happy with me when I printed out my bare belly photos and framed them in the nursery. Even though nothing is showing when I breastfeed in public, he still worries about people knowing what I'm doing. I, on the other hand, could care less.
My husband knows women have the right to nurse in public, and even brought it up to me. But I think he still has some adjusting to do to accept the fact that I can, and will nurse our daughter in public. He knows how crazy I am about my pumped milk so he knows better than to suggest I bring that, unless it's extenuating circumstances.
I know I still have some growing to do in being comfortable nursing in public with my husband around. Sometimes it's those we love most we feel most afraid to offend. I just hope I can learn just how to express to my husband that what will help me most is his support.