Today, Birdie and I went to campus with DH so I could do some pitching for Livinity. Birdie's Uncle Hat came along to haul her around while I was in meetings. It was a beautiful day and right after lunch I sat down on a bench in the quad to feed Ms. Birdie. Some shirts I own are "out and under" shirts, meaning, when I nurse her, I sneak the boob out of the bra and under the shirt. When I nurse like this I don't cover up, there's no need to. You can't generally tell I'm nursing unless you're looking close. Other shirts I own are "over the top" shirts. In these shirts, the only way to nurse is to pull down the neckline and go over the top. I generally cover up my chest but not the Birdie when I nurse in these shirts, otherwise I've got one big ol' breast hanging out there.
Today, I wore an "over the top" shirt. It was a sexy yet professional number. Kind of a plunge neckline that accentuated the bust but didn't show too much cleavage. It has an empire waist that I can't get out of from underneath. No biggie, I've nursed in this shirt before. Birdie and I were enjoying ourselves out in the sunshine. I don't normally cover her head because she gets upset, so I just had the blanket over me. Birdie finished nursing and in one fell swoop, she grabbed the blanket, tore it off of me, popped off the nipple, smiled, and gave a big "Ah-goo!" It was adorable. Only problem? I had one DD breast fully exposed, outside and in a public place . . . AND . . . two freshmen boys were walking by.
Now, I'm not normally a modest person, but I also don't go flinging around boobs at perfect strangers. Today, I had no embarrassment on my part, but those two poor freshmen (I assumed they were freshman, they looked really young for college guys) nearly fell over one another. I could tell they weren't trying to be disrespectful, but it definitely caught them off guard. They couldn't hide their reaction to seeing a naked breast, on a mother, in broad daylight. There was alot of stuttering and muttering. I quickly popped myself back into my bra and shirt and said cheerfully, "Don't worry! Its only a boob!" They kind of giggled and said "ok . . . " and then went on. I went back to putting myself and Birdie back together (she had of course managed to spit up by that time, its her favorite hobby) but I noticed the two kept glancing over their shoulders as they walked.
Later, I went to Kaffeestunde (college German club) with DH and retold my story (auf Deutsch). We had a really good conversation about nursing in public. I was impressed that no one had any thing to say against NIP and not once did I hear "Its ok so long as they cover up." I think today was proof that no matter how discreet you try to be, at some point, you're going to have a nursing accident. I feel so good about what I'm doing for my baby by nursing that it gives me the confidence not to run and hide when things like this happen.
I do have to admit though, at one point, I did nurse her in a bathroom today. She started screaming in the hallway while classes were in session and I knew that because of her mood, there was no way she would put up with a blanket anywhere near her. I could either struggle with a screaming baby on a narrow bench in the hall and hope that no administrator, professor, or perhaps whole class, would pop out to see me half naked and spraying milk all over my child, or, I could go in the bathroom, sit on the couch they have there and calm her down before I nursed. I chose the latter.
I know when I read stories from other nursing mothers about how they nursed in front of a stadium full of people with no shame because their babies were hungry, I think they're superheroes. I have yet to reach that superhero status. There are times when I'm not comfortable nursing in front of others. There are times when I needlessly cover up. I have yet to nurse in church. I always sneak out and go down to the nursery even though no one would have an issue with me nursing in the pew. But today, even though I could have been really embarrassed, I wasn't! I'm kind of proud of me for that :D
Oh, and Birdie cut two teeth over the weekend! They're tiny, yet oh so sharp.