There is so much controversy and argument over this particular subject. I’ll just lay out what I, personally, am comfortable with. It isn’t for every mom and some choose to not nurse in public because they are not comfortable with it. That is their choice that they have to make.
When I first started breastfeeding with BigM I wouldn’t nurse in stores. I would only nurse in restaurants if I absolutely had to. I can remember being out at a store and needing to nurse and going into the bathroom, sitting on the floor in the corner and nursing BigM there. It took a while for me to be comfortable nursing, with a cover, out in stores. Once I was comfortable I could could walk around clothes shopping or grocery shopping while nursing with a cover on. I didn’t care about the looks and thankfully never got any comments made that I ever heard. By the end of BigM nursing I would even nurse in public uncovered if I absolutely had to. I was always careful to keep my shirt pulled down as much as possible so the only skin exposed was my stomach. Nothing more than you would see in if I were in my bathing suit.
With LittleM it took a week or two of re-adjusting but I quickly became comfortable nursing in public while covered and would even be more likely to nurse uncovered as well. I would only nurse uncovered if I were sitting down and could keep a close eye on things. Once again I was thankfully never approached nor did I ever hear negative comments. It hasn’t been very long between LittleM weaning and PirateM being born so it hasn’t been very hard to jump back into the swing of things.
I use a variety of ways to cover up when I need to. I have a nursing cover that has a stiff top so it is easy to peek in on baby and allows for some air circulation. There is a strap that wraps around my neck to keep it up and then a large piece of fabric hanging down to cover baby and my tummy. Another cover I have used is a receiving blanket. Those are a little thick for my taste but are something that we generally have in the diaper bag all the time so if I feel the need to cover and have forgotten mine then I reach for the blanket. With LittleM I found lightweight large blankets that are amazing. The most popular brand that I know of is Aden + Anais. We have found a variety of other brands as well but they are all muslin type material. Since the blankets are so lightweight they work wonderfully for covering to nurse because you and baby are less likely to overheat. To nurse without a cover my favorite thing to wear is a shirt to pull up with a nursing tank on underneath. This way there is no skin revealed. At all.
What I do not understand about the debate is how people can complain about a nursing mom and baby are obscene with how sexualized our culture has become. You can walk by numerous stores and see women in their underwear, to include deep plunge push up bras and thongs, but a nursing mom is offensive. While I don’t understand it I do respect that some people are just made uncomfortable at the thought of seeing a split second of breast when I pull a baby off and flip my bra up. As long as they are respectful in their interactions with me I will be more than willing to toss a blanket over while nursing. If you approach me with an attitude or hostility then I will be less inclined to cover up.
Everyone has different comfort levels. Someone’s comfort level will be pushed but that is no excuse for not being respectful to each other. Have you ever had a bad experience nursing in public?