A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Breastfeeding in Public and Nursing Covers

This might come as a shock, but your body belongs to you. Only you. You are the ultimate authority over your body. Period. Please know this. Please never forget this.

Badass Breastfeeder Wendy using a nursing cover while breastfeeding in public. Badass Wendy breastfeeding her baby.

You are in charge of deciding what happens to your body. You are the one who gets to choose what you do with it. No one else.

Badass Breastfeeder Roxie using a nursing cover while breastfeeding in public. Badass Roxie choosing to cover. 

You decide how you breastfeed. You breastfeed in whatever way makes you most comfortable. You make decisions about your body that make breastfeeding as comfortable for you as possible.

Badass Breastfeeder Jenny using a nursing cover while breastfeeding in public. Badass Jenny covering with a blanket as she NIPs at a restaurant.

You are the one who decides if you use a nursing room or sit in the middle of the floor of the mall. You choose whether you wear a nursing top or pull your shirt down and lift your breast out of the top. You decide if you are going to use a nursing cover or no cover at all.

Badass Breastfeeder Krystin using a nursing cover while breastfeeding in public. Badass Krystin giving all the breastfeeding mamas a thumbs up for doing it their own way. 

THIS IS NOT A COMPETITION.

There are many women who feel more comfortable using a nursing cover or a light blanket to cover themselves and their baby while breastfeeding. They are Badass Breastfeeders. There is no hierarchy in the world of breastfeeding. You are not better than another mother because you choose not to cover.

Badass Breastfeeder Secenas using a nursing cover while breastfeeding in public. Badass Secenas choosing to cover for her own personal reasons that are no one else’s business. 

We do not own each other’s bodies. Men do not own our bodies, corporations do not own our bodies, and other women do not own our bodies.

OUR BODIES BELONG TO US. WE CHOOSE WHAT HAPPENS WITH OUR BODIES.

Badass Breastfeeder Danielle using a nursing cover while breastfeeding in public. Badass Danielle living it up while NIP at a party. 

I have reached a state of utter nausea, like on the verge of puking, I can feel the bile creeping up my esophagus at the amount of disgusting, condescending, righteous, holier than thou attitudes surrounding nursing in public.

Badass Breastfeeder Melissa using a  nursing cover while breastfeeding in public. Badass Melissa covering while NIP at a Dodger game because she wants to. 

News flash. We breastfeed in public because we are allowed to be in public. No one gets to tell me where I go and don’t go. It’s my basic human right to move freely in my world. I also get to breastfeed wherever I want and however I want. That’s another basic human right of mine; doing as I please with my body. I own it, not you.

Badass Breastfeeder Kristen using a nursing cover while breastfeeding in public. Badass Kristen using a cover and not trying to hide it. 

I know what you’re thinking. I know that word you are about to throw out at me. Modesty. Oh good god how I am so sick of this word. Just stop. Stop saying it. You don’t really know what it means. Modesty is subjective. Our personal definition of modesty is different than someone else’s. There. You lose. Stop trying to make a point with this meaningless word.

Badass Breastfeeder Juliana using a nursing cover while breastfeeding in public. Badass Juliana and friends supporting each other and sharing in their similar choices. 

Nice try, but again, we don’t get to tell another woman what to do with her body or how she should breastfeed.

Badass Breastfeeder Monica using a nursing cover while breastfeeding in public. Badass Monica feeling proud. 

We haven’t a single clue what someone else has been through. Some women choose to cover for religious reasons, someone women choose to cover because they have been sexually abused some women choose to cover because they want to. We have no idea what someone else has been through, we have no idea what another woman’s relationship is with her body, we have not walked in her shoes. Period. Full stop. End of story. These women choose to cover, their reason is none of your business and neither is their method of breastfeeding.

AShlieBadass Ashlie playing peek-a-boo with her baby while breastfeeding. 

Women who choose to cover are not ashamed of themselves, they are not treating breastfeeding like a dirty little secret and, no, babies do not suffocate under nursing covers unless you cover with a Hefty bag. It’s a common argument against covering that covering draws more attention. Well, these women don’t seem to me like they are trying to hide anything anyway and isn’t that for them to decide?

Badass Breastfeeder Roxann using a nursing cover while breastfeeding in public. Badass Roxann says, “Me thinks some people need to mind their own business.”

Is it really all that surprising that someone might choose to cover in this violent culture that we live in? I want all women to feel comfortable in all situations, but that’s not realistic. Women are over-sexualized, people are aggressive, hate swirls around us every day, including within this very conversation and community. People are trying to get through their day. It’s a not a political statement for everyone. Isn’t the point that we are breastfeeding?

CourtneyBadass Courtney breastfeeding on her terms. 

Some people would call us spoiled. We did not grow up in a time when people lost their lives fighting for our basic human rights to be in charge of our own selves. Our feminist ancestors fought ‘til the death for us to truly own our bodies. And we sit around like immature little brats nit picking about what others should be doing with their bodies while they nurture their young.

Badass Breastfeeder Johana using a nursing cover while breastfeeding in public. Badass Johana uses a light blanket to cover while breastfeeding. 

We have spent years of passionate energy empowering ourselves to stand up to those that tell us we should cover. If you have ever suggested that a women is lesser than because she chooses to cover of her own free will then you are no different than those critics. Women choose to breastfeed however they want just as we all choose what to wear in the morning. Some of us choose jeans, some choose yoga pants, some choose shorts and some choose Daisy Dukes. Those women that choose to cover are not hurting the women that choose not to cover anymore than a woman who chooses to wear Daisy Dukes hurts a woman who chooses to wear jeans. It’s about personal choice. It’s about owning our bodies.

Badass Breastfeeder Iman using a nursing cover while breastfeeding in public. Badass Iman chooses to cover while breastfeeding. 

Your body belongs to you, it does not belong to anyone else. We all need to get over what other people are doing and do what is right for us. I myself choose not to cover, I have my reasons for this, but everyone is not me. We all have high hopes for the state of breastfeeding in this culture. I understand we are all passionate. We must accept that we all harbor different ideas of progress and the one I hope we can swallow sooner than later is that no one gets to tell us what to do with our bodies. We will move forward united not divided.

Badass Breastfeeder Breanna using a nursing cover while breastfeeding in public. Badass Breanna; go ahead and tell her she’s not Badass, I’ll stand over here. 

Women have the right to choose to cover while breastfeeding, however, no one has the the right to make a woman cover if she does not want to. It is up to each woman to choose how she wants to breastfeed. 

Click here to read Become a Badass Public Breastfeeder in 7 Days.

Abby Theuring, MSW

Comments

  1. Thank you for this.

  2. I choose not to use a cover when I feed in public, but I do fully support any woman’s choice to. Also to find a private spot to feed in if that’s what makes them comfortable. I do *not* support any person/organsiation telling a woman what they can, cannot or must do. Plus, these pics are gorgeous, particularly Badass Roxann’s!

  3. I covered with my first, didn’t much with my second, I was just more comfortable with my own body the second time around and made my own choice. I covered out of respect when I was in a church, I even *gasp* left a funeral to breastfeed in the lobby because I was being respectful of the wishes of the deceased’s family (and at 5 days old, the little guy was NOT going to wait!!) and I made that choice. I was, however, devastated when my dear Sister In Law apologized to ME when she broke out a cover at a gathering IN HER OWN HOME because she knows I’m an advocate for breastfeeding everywhere and she thought I’d think she was silly for covering. I couldn’t bear the thought that she’d think I was “against” covering, and made sure to let her know that I thought she was a badass for working through her problems and still breastfeeding however she wanted to do it. Last week we picked her out a baby carrier that would work for breastfeeding, with a hood she could use to make her more comfortable, and she sent me a picture of herself using it at my other nephew’s first soccer game.

  4. How about we stop shaming women who choose to pump instead, cannot breastfeed, or cannot cope with the stress of breastfeeding due to postpartum depression, too. I think it’s great that our society is supporting women who breastfeed their children, but this shouldn’t come at the cost of guilt-tripping women who can’t.

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