I’ve read a lot about breastfeeding since becoming a mom, and especially since designing a product for breastfeeding. One of the trends I have noticed online is a big push toward normalizing breastfeeding, which means encouraging mothers to breastfeed in public without a cover, even posting pictures (#normalizebreastfeeding) on social media, with no shame.
I, personally, am wholly in support of women being able to breastfeed wherever they want and with as much or as little boob exposure as they are comfortable with. But I think we need to be careful not to turn this into another mommy war.
If you defend the right to breastfeed coverless by making fun of covering up, you're also taking a jab at women who prefer to use a nursing cover.
Don’t get me wrong, I think using a cover can be cause for some hilarious (usually in hindsight) scenarios. Once babies become more investigative with their hands and easily distractible, there are bound to be comical moments. Babies are funny. What I see sometimes, though, is not people laughing at the funny things that happen while breastfeeding, but at the fact that it’s done with a cover.
This satiric video called “4 Reasons Women Should Never Breastfeed in Public” (which I actually love) by Kristina Kuzmic, is an example. There’s one scene in which the mom is dining at a restaurant with a nursing cover draped over her head. While the video certainly drives home the point that breastfeeding is natural and necessary in public and shows you the baby’s perspective of why covering may not be desirable, it could make a mom feel like she is being deemed ridiculous for wanting to cover up.
You may be saying, “Oh, women need to stop being so sensitive about everything.” And you are right. We should be confident in our choices and in who we are. But…
The reality is that even strong women can feel fragile in motherhood.
When you enter into motherhood, there is not one book to follow that tells you how to raise the delicate, fresh new being you hold in your arms. There are thousands. And then there’s articles on the Internet. And everywhere there is conflicting advice. So it’s pretty much up to you to decide the right way to raise this new person into a healthy, kind, strong, happy and well-rounded individual. No pressure.
This is the reason for the mommy wars: we all so desperately want to raise kids right and we’re all terrified we’ll do it wrong.
It’s natural for moms to look at each other and seek validation for the choices we’re making. Deep down, I think we’re all trying to solve the “nature vs. nurture” question and hoping that we’re nurturing right. When we see others who are making the same choices as us, we breathe a sigh of relief. When we see others who are making different decisions, we weigh the scales again to make sure our choice carries as much weight as we thought it did.
The truth is, some moms feel more comfortable breastfeeding in public with a nursing cover. And it doesn’t mean she’s ashamed of breastfeeding. It doesn’t mean she’s ashamed of her body. It doesn’t mean she’s against another mother NOT using a nursing cover. It just means that’s what feels right for her, that’s how she wants to feed her baby.
I’m not ashamed of my body, but I preferred to use a nursing cover. When my son was hungry in public, I just wanted to feed him, I didn’t want to be part of a movement to normalize breastfeeding or make some kind of a statement. And I know a lot of moms who don’t use nursing covers feel the same. It’s just about feeding the baby.
That’s the fine line with normalizing breastfeeding, isn’t it? When does it go from just feeding the baby to making a statement?
Maybe sometimes it’s both.
Maybe the statement is “I’m just feeding my baby.”
But while defending going coverless, we should be careful that the statement is not “I’m a more evolved human than those Puritan moms using a nursing cover.”
What I love about the ONEder Cover is that it’s a nursing cover that works for the covering and coverless moms. It’s a product that doesn’t participate in the mommy wars.
I started out my breastfeeding journey using a nursing cover, but when my son was around four months old, it no longer worked for us because he didn’t like being covered. So I ended up not using a nursing cover because he didn’t like them. But honestly, I would have preferred to be covered. I wish I’d had a ONEder Cover.
For those moms who start out using a breastfeeding cover and then decide not to use a cover because they are more comfortable without one, the ONEder Cover is great because it’s more than just a nursing cover or a scarf: you can still use it as a bib, a burp cloth, wearable baby blanket, or a smock to keep clothes clean.
Moms who end up not being able to breastfeed at all or as long as they’d like can still use the ONEder Cover as well. It’s not going to be something they have to get rid of or relegate to storage for the next baby.
I’m not going to end the mommy wars with a nursing cover, but my hope is that my product sends a message of support to all moms, no matter what they decide is right for them in regards to breastfeeding.
Covered or coverless, breastfeeding or not: you're doing great, mama.