Nursing in Public Near My Husband

Jennifer Johnson

Posted By: Jennifer Johnson

I didn't grow up around breastfeeding moms. In fact, I grew up making formula bottles for my little sisters.

It's funny how I'm never really afraid to nurse in public, unless I'm with my husband. I've nursed my daughter in public dozens of times, but when we're with her daddy, things change a little.

It's sad in some ways, because I should feel most comfortable when he's around, but the truth of the matter is, when he's around, I feel less confident and more self-conscious.

We talked a little about me nursing our daughter in public before she was born, and several times since. Every time we pretty much come to the same conclusion: I'll feed her when she's hungry, wherever we are, but I'll cover up.

Normally when I'm out and alone with her, covering up can mean with a blanket, my shirt, or a nursing cover, but usually it's something small like a burp cloth. When I'm at home, I don't need to worry about covering up, unless a friend is over. But even then, if I go to nurse her when friend are around, I can see the disapproving look in my husband's eyes. Finally, I just decided to ignore it and feed her where I was anyway. Besides, they were in our house, she needed to eat, and I was covered.

I thought my husband would get more supportive and understanding once our daughter was born and saw me nursing her, but until recently I didn't know how where he stood on the subject of nursing in public.

We recently had our first experience nursing in public around my husband and it was a disaster.

The number one thing I've learned with nursing in public is getting my daughter latched on quickly so we don't cause a scene. I get her going before she starts crying and no one notices a thing. But when we went for a family lunch at Steak and Shake, and our daughter wanted to eat, my husband's hesitation set us up for a catastrophe.

She hadn't eaten for a little while and I knew she'd soon want to eat. She was getting a little aggravated so I knew she wanted to eat and told my husband so. He asked what I was going to do.

"Feed her," I told him matter of factly.
"Here?" He asked me. "Or are you going to go to the car?"
"No, I'm still eating, I'll feed her here."

He then proceeded to try to get me to move further in the booth, put on my nursing cover, arrange the diaper bag, and what felt like a million other tasks before I got our daughter fed. Of course this all, upset her and she passed her breaking point.

She started screaming as I tried to get her latched on, underneath the nursing cover, and I imagine the whole restaurant was starring at us. At least, that's what my husband described when he said "great, now everyone knows what you're doing."

Never, in my experience with nursing in public had my daughter had a meltdown in the process. And even though I was more covered up than I normally would be, I was sure in this instance more people knew what I was doing.

After that experience, my husband and I had a talk about me feeding our daughter. I told him we can't go back and forth talking about where I'm going to feed her, I'm just going to do it and he needs to get used to it.

I'm still digging deeper to find the root of his issue with me feeding our daughter when we're out but I think a big part of the problem is his ultra-conservative point of view. He's the guy who didn't even want me showing my bare belly in my maternity photos, and preferred that I wear a shirt over a camisole. He wasn't happy with me when I printed out my bare belly photos and framed them in the nursery. Even though nothing is showing when I breastfeed in public, he still worries about people knowing what I'm doing. I, on the other hand, could care less.

My husband knows women have the right to nurse in public, and even brought it up to me. But I think he still has some adjusting to do to accept the fact that I can, and will nurse our daughter in public. He knows how crazy I am about my pumped milk so he knows better than to suggest I bring that, unless it's extenuating circumstances.

I know I still have some growing to do in being comfortable nursing in public with my husband around. Sometimes it's those we love most we feel most afraid to offend. I just hope I can learn just how to express to my husband that what will help me most is his support.

11:45am on Tuesday November 30
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16 comments

Comments



Monica C
1:53am on Monday February 28

I completely understand where you're coming from! I'm comfortable nursing in public if I'm out with baby alone. But if I'm out with an older family member, (not just my husband), but includes my mother-in-law or my mom, there tends to be more drama involved! What worked for me is just to go ahead, prep my baby and the nursing cover, and if they suggests otherwise, I'll tell them it's ok.

Desiree
11:07am on Tuesday December 7

My husband would have done the same thing as yours, so knowing this, I would have asked for a box, and went to the car to nurse. In fact, we've done that. I have another one on the way, and this time (We're expecting our 2nd child) I hope to not care so much about what others think. :)

Shellie
12:46am on Sunday December 5

I think it's really sweet that your hubby cares so much about your modesty. :) But breastfeeding is really about that--feeding, not showing skin in public. I would hope that when people see a mother nursing her baby they just think, "what a natural part of life, feeding a baby the way women have for thousands of years." Have faith in yourself and in your bond with your husband. And we always worry most about those we love. Somehow, I think God can help us turn those worries into trust and understanding, even if it takes a lifetime or longer! You are such an amazing person, and I really love reading about your ups, downs, excitements, struggles, and opinions. Keep up the great work, but take care of you and your sweet family first, of course! :)

Kelly
10:35pm on Thursday December 2

You are doing great, Jenn...continue to give it time. God bless!

Rosa
9:20pm on Thursday December 2

My husband is my greatest support,and tell me don't worry about what others think,because i'm doing a great job giving our baby the nourisment he needs!
Do what you must do to keep your baby healthy,and explain what it is doing for your baby,and maybe he'll understand it better that way! Best of luck...

Meg
8:05pm on Thursday December 2

Your body is YOUR BODY. No one has the right to tell you how to dress, what to cover up etc.Not even your husband! Would you tell him to wear longer shorts in summer so no one could see his knees? Would you tell him to wear a shirt at the beach? No! What's good for the goose is good for the gander, and a baby's needs over ride those of a man who wants to cloak you.

Good on you!

Shannon
2:03pm on Thursday December 2

Good for you for standing your ground!!
I am insanely lucky in the sense that my hubby LOVES that I nurse, if we're walking around the grocery store and she starts to get fussy he asks me to feed her so I walk around the store holding her and feeding her. I have no problem feeding in front of anyone..except hubbys father who I am scared will pass out, he is VERY squeamish lol Luckily when he's over he usually excuses himself for a walk when she starts to get fussy lol

Nikki Goodson
12:32am on Wednesday December 1

When I was first starting out breastfeeding, my mom told me stories about how my dad would help when she needed to nurse in public. He would scoot his chair over close to her so that he could help block the view to give her a bit more privacy. My husband was able to do the same for me. Maybe giving him an assignment like this will help. :) Besides that, I imagine that he'll get more comfortable with it through time! Good luck!

Meghan
11:50pm on Tuesday November 30

Our society has a really hard time viewing a woman's breasts as anything other than a sexual object. But when you're nursing, they are for nurturing. That's just a fact, but it's a fact that's hard to accept when you've had a differing view impressed on you for many years. You need to be able to continue living life..you can't be 'quarantined' to home for however long you choose to nurse. It may be difficult for your husband, but learning to accept that this is part of being a mother would definitely be the most supportive thing for him to do..and support is key when it comes to nursing! Keep it up, woman!

Kristen
11:48pm on Tuesday November 30

My husband was the same way and the onlookers did not make it any easier. I am stubborn though and for me feeding my child on demand is what worked. Eventually my husband became supportive of breastfeeding in public and that made things easier. Hang in there.

Kat @ For the Love of Chaos
11:47pm on Tuesday November 30

I never was really comfortable nursing in public to be honest. I breastfed five children (actually just weaned my two year old about 4 months ago!) and although it doesn't bother me at all for other people to do it in public or at home, covered or not, I just never have personally been comfortable. I hope that your husband gets to where he's more supportive about your methods because I can tell it means a lot to you, and honestly it's not a big deal. If you're comfortable, that's all that should matter :)

Geigerin
8:53pm on Tuesday November 30

My husband was similarly concerned about my modesty. He loves me (and my body- lol) very much, and the idea of other men seeing me as an object of sexual desire really bugged him. I just had to nurse in front of him a lot and have my nursing mama friends over. The more he saw it as normal, the less concerned he was. I started wearing camisoles or dedicated nursing tops, and now he's cool with it.

There are some beautiful paintings of Mary nursing the baby Jesus (from very conservative times). Maybe a few of those would help, too?

Best wishes for a beautiful nursing journey!

Ro
4:47pm on Tuesday November 30

Wow. I never even thought of this before.. I think my hubby would be the same.. but I'm with you- he would just have to get used it.

Thats a toughie though and I wish you the best!

Ro

Michelle
2:15pm on Tuesday November 30

How frustrating for you! Wouldn't it be great if he could just see how you BF without him around and see how small a deal it is... Good luck with that, support is do important and the.main thing us that you are doing a wonderful thing for your daughter!
@michelletant on Twitter

Lizzy B.
2:04pm on Tuesday November 30

My husband was a little skittish at first, as well, but he quickly overcame it. It takes a lot of work for men to separate boobs from the sexual sphere and, when you combine that with attitudes towards their wives, it can get WAY awkward.

Good on you for taking a stand!

Jen J.
12:24pm on Tuesday November 30

Good for you for having open discussions about this with your husband. I think a lot of times someone is ok with something in general, like NIP, but they feel different when it's someone close to them doing it.

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