Breastfeeding Openly

Last week before Mass I was nursing Leo whilst praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy with the kids. I have never used a cover when nursing him, nor does he like it if I pull up a shirt (with a cami under) like I did with Charlotte. So I wear something easy to pull down. I promise that little is revealed. Certainly not more, or even as much, as many images of Our Lady of La Leche (and there’s a larger image of Her in the narthex thanks to our Bishop promoting a devotion to Her).

With that background, I can now relate the story. An usher approached me – again, this is before Mass – and asked if I had a shawl. I quickly and politely replied “no” before continuing with our prayers. A minute later she’d returned with a baby blanket, “in case I needed it.” I thanked her, though I did say Leo doesn’t like being covered.

Honestly, the experience makes me laugh. I’m going to assume that she just couldn’t imagine I was actually comfortable breastfeeding openly. After all, there was a time when I wasn’t comfortable with that and couldn’t imagine others being comfortable with it. In fact, the first time I actually met one of my friends, I offered her my nursing cover because I figured she’d just forgotten one! (Sorry, A-M!) Kieran was a new baby at that time, just a few months old and hadn’t yet protested against the cover as he did when older. Her baby was a few months older, and her second child, so she’d had more experience and more confidence. Now that I’m on my third child and have breastfed for roughly 6 years, I have no problem nursing openly, whenever and wherever my nursling needs it. I figure the commoner it becomes, the more accepted it will be.

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