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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Nursing Under Cover

Breastfeeding is a skill.

Animals make it look so easy. Us mothers, however, well, it's certainly not like the sweet pictures you see on the Le Leche League brochures! There's the whole latching on thing and the trick of getting the baby off in such a way that the baby doesn't take his "pacifier" with him.

There's the whole making the baby place his mouth in just the right way so that he or she gets nourishment and you don't sit there, secretly wishing he or she WOULD permanently remove your special "pacifier", thinking the pain of removal surely couldn't be as bad as what you're experiencing now!

And let's not forget the pains we go through to make sure we don't go out in public looking like we peed our...


Make no bones about it-breastfeeding is a skill!

And I mastered it all...except for one little part.

When my first child was born, I was an adamant breastfeeder. Whether at a restaurant, at the mall, or teaching piano, I was determined to give my baby only breast milk. I was a modest breastfeeder (until I got to the third child, and then I was too tired to care!), which meant I had to master the skill of "The Cover Up."

"The Cover Up" is the subtle act of breastfeeding while trying to look like you're not. You've all seen it. Baby begins to cry and starts wildly shaking his head round in circles, kind of like the Exorcist, with mouth wide open and a look that says, "You better do it fast before you pee your... shirt!" Then, the mother begins her James Bond moves, trying to get the "pacifier" out without exposing herself and freaking out all the men around her. Somehow she is supposed to put a blanket over a screaming baby who is kicking the stupid blanket and causing it to fall on a dirty floor. It's kind of like the underwear trick, only while seated. Cover, pull back up...cover, pull back up.

I just couldn't master that skill.

Instead, I invented "The Tent."

Like I said, I was an adamant, but modest, breastfeeder. So, here I am in a nice restaurant with my mother and step-father, husband and I think my brother, and just when the dinner is served, my firstborn begins to cry. (Have you ever noticed that babies ALWAYS get hungry when you're just about to eat?) I pull out the blanket and begin the "The Cover Up".

The baby is screaming as I try to move my outer and inner clothing out of the way without losing my "boob tampon" on the floor. I am getting quite frustrated at this whole process and the people in the restaurant are getting quite irritated at the screaming baby.

What can I do? I cannot expose myself in the restaurant, my brother and step-father are already as red as the tomatoes on my salad, and I think I can see the manager debating over which would be worse-having an entire restaurant of patrons walk out the door or having to approach...(Insert sound of Beethoven's 5th Symphony) ...The Breastfeeder.

I'm hungry and I do not want to wait for 45 minutes to eat my dinner.

"Forget this!" I say. "I don't care what everyone thinks. Forget the stupid, 'Cover Up!' I am inventing a new skill...'The Tent!'" and I pulled that stupid blanket...

...right over my head!

There I sat in my chair, baby in arms and blanket over my head.

The only problem was...I still couldn't eat my food! Well, that and I looked completely mental.

Poor Travis...he was so incredibly embarrassed, especially whenever the waiter or waitress (sorry, server) came to check on us and wondered if I was clinically insane.

Oh, well. At least I'm covered.

Come back tomorrow and I'll show you a picture of it...


  1. No need for pictures -- this is a family site :) This brother does not remember any of this but it is a good chuckle.

    I say just briefly bare it & let people deal with it. It's NOT sexy and most guys would be more embarassed that they were caught looking than you will be for a brief flash. And just think about what that says about your confidence!

  2. For my perspective on Rachael's tent-building skills, please check out http://lifewithrachael.blogspot.com/2009/08/i-used-to-hate-camping.html

  3. I just read this on your hubby's blog. Good for you, whichever way you did it, you took care of your child's needs!

  4. Thanks, Andrea. :) I figure I checked my vanity in at the door of the hospital, so no need to pretend it was still there! ;-)