It is still National (US) Breastfeeding Months.
I have breastfeed all my children past their first birthday with little issue. well technically only the boys past their first birthday since K is just 3 months old now. I am VERY THANKFUL for this. I know it is not easy for some women and babies. I also choose to BF in public without much of a cover. and I will tell you why now.
The main issue seems to be breastfeeding around family, friends and in public, “I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of breast feeding in public.” “I’m just embarrassed.” If a woman hasn’t been used to seeing a baby breastfed then it’s not seen as ‘normal’ or ‘natural’. “We just “don’t” breastfeed in this family so it’s not “normal” to get your boobs out!” one mother told me Another woman told me,.
To a lot of people, feeding babies with bottles is "normal" baby dolls come with bottles, most infants you see in movies and tv are feed from bottles, IF you see them fed. (This of course is logical because the actress playing the mother is very rarely actually the mother of the infant)
Formula is marketed rather fiercely, (have you ever read the ingredient list?) and free samples are given out. (yes I still have that box, waiting for fall food drives in local grocery store so I don't have to go out of my way. I also am trying to find a address to write a letter to Motherhood Maternity, for their unsuportive ness of breastfeeding, and to think they sell NURSING BRAS! wouldn't it be in their sales interest to promote BF?)
When out and about, I do scan to see how babies are fed. I will say that a mother, all covered up in a blanket stands out more than one who is wearing a nursing top and not covered. You want to draw attention to the fact you are breastfeeding, cover with the biggest blanket you can find on a hot day, preferably synthetic of course. I know nice nursing tops can be expencive, but my fave is the camisoles I bought from Target. OHH they have more colors now that white, black and grey. I like the side sling better than the full sling. It looks more like you have a REALLY LOW neckline, than a nursing top.
Yes nursing is "Noysome to ones clothes" as it was said in the seventeenth century! (my favorite quote in my recent 18th century nursing research.) As a costumer I have had to dig into period sources to find acceptable clothing, but I do find it. and it is important that my clothing work for my situation.
I find the idea that some people think a nursing mother should pump and fill a bottle before hand so that she is not socially inconvenient, is appalling. They obviously do not know what they are talking about. I have NEVER pumped. I am a stay at home mom, so there is no need (even though such devices date back centuries, as do bottles) Also there is the fact that not only do the baby's needs (hunger) need to be met, but the mothers need as well. (avoiding engorgement and the medical issues that can come with that, keeping milk supply up.)
MOST mothers who end up formula feeding, do so for good reasons, but in some cases they were ill informed. I have personally known a woman who ended up formula feeding because "they tried for 3 days to get her milk to come in" It can take a WEEK for milk to come in with the first baby. This was medically known in the 18th century! but because those around her were not educated or supportive, she stopped trying after 3 days. I don't think she even tried with her subsequent children.
As you already know, I have spent some time digging into the history of breastfeeding, mainly for my historical costuming hobby. While Maternal nursing (versus Wet nursing) has had varying levels of popularity throughout the centuries, the idea that it is not socially acceptable to be seen nursing in public is a MODERN one. In fact scorn for breastfeeding in public raised along side the growing tread to use formula in the 20th century. I have seen images of breastfeeding happening in churches during sermons as late as the 19th century. (don't ask for the reference, I would have to dig deep)
Check out Breastfeeding in Rewind for 20th century images (some 19th cent too)
Sometimes it is appropriate to cover or remove yourself to nurse your baby. Yes I do occasionally, but *I* make the choice. NO ONE should tell a mother to do so.
I NIP to promote breastfeeding.
also I don't need to carry around someting for the sole purpose of covering. in the cases when I do feel the need to cover, the tail of my sling, or the burp cloth will have to make do.
but really, I just like looking at my baby, which is important in the early weeks when baby (and first time mom) are still learning to breastfeed. I love looking into my baby's eyes. I also enjoy making faces and trying to get them to smile/laugh and let go. it is a fun game that we play.