You're sitting in the darkest corner of the local supermarket or shop ready to nurse your baby. The baby is screaming, there is no chair so you are sqatting on the floor, trying to balance a blanket over your babies head without it falling to ground whilst you are trying to get the baby latched on without the comfort of a couch and your Boppy. In the meantime your husband is standing guard at the end of the aisle making sure that noone sees any exposed skin.
Sound familiar? This was my first public nursing experience out with my husband. This wasn't my first experience in public. My first experience was at BWI airport right in front of the international arrivals gate waiting for my brother to arrive to meet his nephew for the first time. Actually, when I compare each experience I felt much more confident at the airport. I tried a blanket but it fell off and noone batted an eyelid, they were too busy watching for their relatives and were just glad the baby had stopped crying.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that for me, the hardest part of nursing in public is keeping other adult family members happy when I do it. I think of myself as a very confident person, and after childbirth I really have little to be embarrassed about (after delivering in a room filled with ten strangers, a little bit of boob does not shake me). But, why is it that my family is able to rattle me so much when I am trying to feed my baby in a public place.
By the second child I thought my Mother would have gotten over the embarrassment of her grandchild being fed, especially seeing as she is an infant and not a 50lb three year old (I am tandem nursing), and you'd think that I would have stopped caring about what she thinks. But it is my Mother, her opinion of me is always going to matter. She blames her concern on the older generation, worrying that I might cause someones Grandpa to have a heart attack, but I always have the greatest responses to nursing from the elderly.
Luckily I have a brother. As mentioned above, he came to visit when my son was very little. His first reaction was of course "Hide my eyes, I can't see my sisters boobs!" But that lasted for all of 10 seconds and he then turned into the biggest breastfeeding advocate you could meet. We travelled all over Maryland taking advantage of the shopping outlets. He shopped, I drove him, and he helped me to eat while the baby nursed. He actually spoon fed me on a number of occasions and cut my food into bite sized pieces. I probably would have lost more weight in those two weeks if it were not for him (could be a good or bad thing I suppose).
My advice for newly breastfeeding Mums has always been to find someone close to you to be your breastfeeding advocate. It might be your husband, your best friend, your Grandpa, Mum or your brother, but there will be someone out there who can help you feel more confident about nursing and keep your spirits high when you might be thinking it is never going to be easy. I would never ever have thought that it would be my brother, but I'm glad it was.
I know that many new Mums can be scared to bare their belly in public (I have stretch marks too), so check out these nursing tanks on my website.