Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Threw a Blanket Over My Baby's Head to Feed Him

I threw a blanet over my baby's head to feed him. You read that right. A blanket. On Snapdragon's head.
When I first was told by my husband that I needed a nursing cover, I was a little mad at him. Breastfeeding is one of the most natural experiences in human experience. It falls very shortly behind breathing in terms of vital behavior. So why on earth should I have to cover up? Don't get me wrong, I do have some truly lovely fabric that I could finally showcase if I made a nursing cover, and that thought IS somewhat appealing, but I live in a lactation forward kind of state, and I don't want to backslide by covering up. In Illinois, as I am fond of pointing out to Mr. Cover-up, a woman has the right to breastfeed her child in any place she is otherwise authorized to be, public or private. Legislators actually codified it, not just leaving off, as Wisconsin does, after exempting the exposure of the tatas from the category of lewd behavior. So, armed with the knowedge that I have every human right and legal right to feed Snapdragon anywhere but in a moving car, I obstinantly refused to register for or make a nursing cover.
I've nursed him at a wedding, in parking lots after an "I hate going places" tantrum, and at the library. Nursing him in public doesn't bother me at all. So why oh why then do you suppose I threw a blanket over his head to feed him?
It turns out, I hadn't thought the whole thing through.
Yesterday we went to my mother's house and she was doing yardwork. It was a lovely day, so Snapdragon and I settled into a chair near where she was weeding. But as the clouds lazily drifted across thatcrisp blue sky, I felt the intense heat of the sunlight on my shoulders. Then it hit me, his skin is thin. Like pages of a Bible thin. He can't be getting roasted like this! So I grab a receiving blanket from my ill organized diaper bag and drape it over his head.
I suddenly am that mom.
I am that mom, and in retrospect, its a good thing, because my shoulders are completely sunburnt. Yes, I'm red with white spots, but neither Snapdragon or leftie had to suffer the same fate, so I am proud to have been intelligent enough to throw a blanket over my kid's head to feed him.
But that got me thinking. Mightn't there be other times when I'd want a light and pretty cover?
I'd been sooo focused on it being my right to breastfeed in public without draperies, that I'd forgotten I also have the right to be covered when maybe I don't want creeptastic people staring at me. Maybe sometimes I'd rather not have to worry that distractable!baby is distractable and I just might be flashing my nipple for no good reason while he watches the birds intently. Sometimes that pervy uncle just doesn't need to see the girls.
So I am going to make me a glorified bib, just as soon as I can get past the nervous angst that accompanies any forray into cutting any of my stash. :-)

Since first writing this, I have, as you can see in the picture which I added tonight, acquired a nursing cover. It is a Dittany Baby nursing cover, and although it is a tad bit rumpled in said picture, I love it. It wouldn't be rumpled if I didn't love it. When Shannon sent it to me, I positively squeed with delight, and I've found it to be quite useful.
My spouse loves it. Tonight at dinner, when Snapdragon decided he was starving, and rightly so since everyone else was eating, Spouse was clearly a little worried that I was going to flash the entire resturant, which of course, would have been my right as a mother, but it was nice to see all the tension flow out of his neck and shoulders when as I pulled Snapdragon from his baby bucket, I asked Spouse to pull my nursing cover out of the diaper bag.
Its been quite useful. Despite my penchant for being someplace sunny around feeding time, Snapdragon has not yet gotten a single sunburn, nor have the girls, which is nice, because I can't imagine how nursing with sunburt tatas would feel.
My nursing cover has also been wonderful in terms of interacting with the rest of the adult world. So often when I'm nursing in public, people seem to avoid looking at me or talking to me when I'm nursing. Sure, if I'm wearing a bright stripey nursing cover with a baby underneath it kinda screams "Hey, nursing a kid over here!" But that said, it also screams "Yes, I'm nursing, but you don't have to worry about being embarassed for catching a glimpse of my nipple!" And lets face it, a lot of the discomfort of talking to a nursing mom is that it's hard to know if she's going to be embarassed if you do. Well, I wouldn't be, but now no one has to worry about it.
If you asked me what the best part of my nursing cover experience has been, it'd be hard to say. I love the way that, unlike the blanket method, I can still see him when he's nursing. With a blanket it's nearly impossible to get a baby to latch on properly wihtout exposing everything you're trying not to show in the first place. I also love that because of the same features that make it easy to see my nursling, I also know that the air is circulating happily for him, so no worries there. It's also nice that he tends to stay more focused on nursing when I use the cover. All Snapdragon's curiousity is often a very difficult beast to tame, and it's nice to have a simple solution for reducing distractions. As I already said, I also heart that I get treated like I'm still at the grown up table, conversation, eye-contact, and the whole shebang.
So the best part is? No more throwing a blanket over his head to feed him.

Have you ever thrown a blanket over your baby's head to feed him? I'd love to know that I'm not alone.

4 reflections:

Upstatemomof3 said...

I did - once - and really just because I was uncomfortable with the people at the restaurant seeing me. I was at a Friendly's and Big Sister was 10 days old. She was hungry and I was inexperienced. I threw a blanket over her and still listened to the woman sitting behind me say<"Oh she is feeding that baby. I am never coming back here if they allow that>" Little did she know that it would have been illegal for them to ask me to stop. Not too long after that she decided she did not like ANYTHING on her head and so we just deal. :)

Kristen said...

I have before - a while back. But now my nearly 5 month old son can't stand a blanket over his head. So that is pointless now. It comes off anyway.

Jackie said...

I use a nursing cover when I'm out usually... not because I think nursing moms need to cover up, but more because my excessively large boobs are unwieldy and my 11 month old is mr. distraction- the cover helps keep him focused and not looking all around. :)

Hippie Witch said...

I have a nursing cover, but as stated above I use it for personal comfort, not public sensibility. Breastfeeding is beautiful and natural, people are jerks and perverts and the nursing cover blocks that out a little for me