I stumbled across this article today
Whilst I don't agree with her 100%, it does pretty much sum up how I feel, including being close to tears when asked to cover up, though the one time that happened to me, there wasn't even anything on display! The other bad experience that I had implied that the act of breastfeeding was disgusting and that me covering up wouldn't have made a difference, no tears there, just anger.
I quite like to wear dresses, so the idea of not wearing dresses, particularly in summer, has been a slight frustration for me. Maybe button up dresses were "in" back when this article was written, in 2001, I had a button up maternity dress bought on clearance in 2002, so that would make sense.
However, whilst a button up dress never occured to me as appropriate attire for breastfeeding, I did quickly find that a shirt of blouse was much easier to lift than to unbutton whilst juggling a baby, regardless of your desire for discreetness!
I have a picture of me and Sausage Boy 3 days after his birth, where I am wearing a shirt unbuttoned from the top, he's not even latched on, I'm not sure whether he was pre or post feed, but I'm holding him with one hand and a glass of champagne in the other!
I don't know whether it was my dad or mum who took the picture, but I was definitely in male company beyond my husband! (Events since then have revealed that I have a smaller comfort zone than my dad when it comes to my breasts)! I don't care that that moment got caught on camera, but nor would I breastfeed like that other than in my own home amongst fairly restricted company. These days I wouldn't even do that in my own living room, if my neigbours can wave to me in there, it's not exactly a private place!
I have pulled down a swimsuit when I've felt there is no other option, but any negative feelings are still more about my comfort than anyone elses, there are plenty of bikinis out there that reveal more and you won't find me wearing one of them!
So my breastfeeding manifesto wouldn't be quite as brazen as the author's - I'll breastfeed in whatever I'm wearing, because if I'm with my baby I'll be wearing something convenient to feed in and given I usually have trouble doing up a nursing bra one handed it isn't going to involve undoing buttons.
The second statement is something I aspire to, but inside myself, I'm not there right now.
It's her final statement that really sums up why I feel this way, because though I prefer to breastfeed discreetly, reality doesn't always allow this, early on it can be due to the duo learning what to do and many other reasons.
Until recently, I hadn't given much consideration to the "desexualise the breast" aspect though I think it subconciously influenced my thoughts, I've thought about this quite a lot recently and would now consider it part of my reasoning behind how I choose to breastfeed.
You may notice I use the word breastfeed, not nurse - primarily it's a language issue, we use the word breastfeeding in the UK. Living in the US for 3 years has made me slip into many american linguistic twists, including at times referring to breastfeeding as nursing, I'll probably still slip into that at times, but I'm now making a concious choice to call it breastfeeding, because that is what it is, you can nurse a baby using a bottle because nursing describes the emotional relationship, even if a modern american dictionary would give one of the definitions as breastfeeding.