A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Become a Badass Public Breastfeeder in 7 Days: Day 1 – To NIP or Not to NIP

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding in public. To NIP or Not to NIP

Nursing in Public (NIP) can seem daunting to a new mother. It can even be difficult and anxiety provoking for a veteran mother! I will spend the next 7 days helping you navigate the world of NIP. I will cover everything from clothing to comebacks to give you the confidence and tools you need to NIP without fear. Practice makes perfect with breastfeeding in public. The first time might be terrifying, the second time nerve wracking, but soon it will become as second nature to you as being outside has ever been.

Before we begin I would like to say that you are a Badass Breastfeeder. Plain and simple. There is no divide, there is no competition. You are not more Badass for nursing in public than you are for nursing at home. You are not less of a Badass for using a breastfeeding cover. At the end of each and every day this is about breastfeeding our children. It is about being informed and making those tough decisions for our children based on that information. That is Badass. This course is for informational purposes, not to try to change you. You are already a Badass Breastfeeder.


Can’t I just stay home?

Sure, you can just stay home, but there are many reasons to nurse in public other than to make a political statement. You have a right to be in public. You are a productive member of society. You are citizen of the world and have the freedom to be a part of it. You are not less because you choose to breastfeed. You are not required to hide or be embarrassed. In fact, you are awesome. You are an amazing and beautiful woman who should grace the streets with your fabulousness. The world is a better place because of you. You should go outside and strut your stuff.

Whenever you breastfeed in public you are normalizing it for society. Seeing breasts as sexual objects is normal and bottles are normal, but you have the opportunity to help breastfeeding be seen as normal, too. I am sure you have heard all of the concerns about breastfeeding in public, “my child might see you,” “I don’t want my husband looking at your breasts,” “that’s unsanitary,” “that should be private between you and your child,” and so on. Society could use a dose of reality. Men, women and children benefit from seeing breasts used as nature designed them to be used. We all share this world and helping each other become accustomed to biologically normal things such as breastfeeding will do everyone a load of good.

In fact, breastfeeding is not only normal and natural—it is awesome and beautiful. We are faced with truly ugly and horrible things throughout our day; seeing more mothers nurturing their children can add a sense of safety and security to society.


Can’t I just bring pumped milk?

Relying on pumped breast milk to get you through an outing can lower your supply. There is no pump that can match the power of your baby’s suckle. Breastfeeding on demand is necessary to maintain a healthy supply of breast milk.

The introduction of bottles can cause your baby nipple confusion. Bottles require a different sucking motion than the nipple. Your baby can become confused when reintroduced to your nipple and have difficulty suckling, causing pain in your breast and affecting your supply. Your baby might reject your breast altogether.

If you are going to feed your baby pumped milk while you are out then you will need to bring your pump with you so that you can pump the milk building pressure in your breasts. This can cause a huge hassle. How are you going to carry all of that? Where are you going to plug it in? Where are you going to find privacy to do this? Allowing that milk to build up and not breastfeed or pump can affect your supply. Breastfeeding is a supply and demand relationship. Milk needs to be removed from the breast in order for your body to know it needs to make more. You can also get breast infections when milk has not been removed from your breasts for an extended period of time.

What if you are out longer than you planned? The milk you brought in the bottles is gone and your baby is hungry. Breastfeeding in public takes the worry, the hassle and the headache out of being away from the house. Your baby has as much right to eat when she is hungry as you and everyone else does. A vitally important part of a successful, enduring breastfeeding relationship is to put your baby to your breast whenever your baby gives you the cues that she needs it.


I’m embarrassed to show my breasts in public

We are inundated with images of the female body as a sexual object through commercials, billboards, magazines, TV and movies. We are rarely exposed to the female body as a natural tool to grow and nourish a baby. It’s no wonder that women become self-conscious about using their breasts to feed their babies. We end up feeling embarrassed about others seeing our breasts and ashamed at the ways in which this baby has changed the physical appearance of our bodies.

The truth is when you breastfeed in public you help to normalize this for women, children and men. The more we breastfeed in public the more normal this becomes for society. Women are beautiful and sexy. I am not one to say that breasts have no other purpose and shouldn’t been seen as sexual. I think it’s OK that women are seen as sexy and that breasts are a part of this. I believe that women’s bodies are multi-functional and dynamic. I think the issue lies with the difficulty of society in seeing women as having more than one purpose. I would go so far as to say that society is intimidated by the power of women. With our own bodies we can grow life, give birth to this life and maintain this life. I think men have “womb envy” or “breast envy.” It’s much easier to control women when we are taught to believe that we are not powerful, that our only purpose is to have sex with men and put our bodies on display for their pleasure. I think that this is truly a feminist issue. Women can grow, nourish and nurture children. Men cannot. We have spent so much time competing with men in the workplace that we have forgotten what our true and unique talents are. These have been devalued. Being a mother has been devalued. I hope this course will help you feel empowered as a breastfeeding mother and give you confidence in your natural self to be this mother even when in public.

Many women have come to me saying that they fear what others will say to them if they breastfeed in public. It is curious to me that women are concerned about this one thing, but I am quite sure these mother’s wouldn’t care if someone said something to them about kissing their babies in public or holding their partner’s hand in public or eating a meal in public. Breastfeeding is whole other ballgame. It’s wrapped up in our body image issues, in our self-esteem and in our uncertainty about our value in society.

My mission as The Badass Breastfeeder is to help you connect with your inner voice. This voice has been buried inside of us. It is buried underneath the oppressive messages that we receive from society. We have been disconnected from our true selves. I believe when you connect with your true and natural self you will fully understand your power as a mother and a woman. When this connection occurs I believe nothing and nobody will ever be able to stand in your way again.


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