I’m six weeks into being a new mom, yet I’m still working up the nerve to breastfeed in public. Due to my own fears of being publicly scorned and combined with the fact that I was raised by one of the most modest women on the planet, I just hadn’t had the guts to make it happen.
We took a family outing to Kansas City’s Union Station. We popped into the Planetarium for a show and I was excited, thinking about how it would be a great test for breastfeeding. Jack was hungry and I knew the auditorium would be dark. It honestly seemed to be the perfect setting to give it a go.
But then a tour group of about 25 teenagers walked in. I hunkered down to stop from being seen, but they just kept walking — straight over to see a clear view of the front of the auditorium, and me. On cue, Jack started fussing, signaling the need for him to shift breasts and I heard the tour guide say, “The sizzle reel is about to start. Why don’t you all stay and see what our Planetarium is all about?”
There, under a 360 degree view of the sky and with bright lights flashing all around us, I got over my fear of breastfeeding in public. Because you can’t really hide under the lights of a planetarium when a teen tour group is staring straight at your nipples.
We saw those kids later, and none of them looked at me with hatred or disdain. So maybe they didn’t notice. Or maybe I helped normalize it for them in that moment.
Here’s the thing: breastfeeding is a legal right for mothers. My lactation consultant gave me handy cards that I can shove in the face of any horrible person who may be gutsy enough to tell me that what I’m doing is disgusting. I really hate that I have a fear of what someone might say, so at least my first real experience outside of the comfort of my fellow breastfeeding support group moms was somewhat hilarious, and I hope it gives me confidence to keep doing it.
Any advice, ladies? How did you first work through the fear to do what is entirely natural and healthy for both moms and babies?