Breastfeeding in public is, I believe, one of the last taboos. What can be more natural than a mother feeding her child? I consider myself blessed to be able to breastfeed my bubba. It’s a choice that I feel all mothers should be supported to make (or not), even if its not always easy or possible, for the undeniable nutritional value it provides and the fact that its free and natural.*
Despite my view that mothers should be able to breastfeed whenever and wherever they need to, there are times when I am not comfortable to do so. For example, busy hospital foyers, shopping malls. Happily, in amongst the ever-growing and oft bewildering mountain of products thrust upon new parents are some practical and useful ideas, and I would include a nursing/breast feeding cover in the useful category. But not in the ‘sure! I’ll pay $100 for it’ category.
In fact I find this nursing cover excellent if I’m in a sunny, drafty or cold position, and even just to help bub keep focused and not get so distracted!
I found this fabulous tutorial over at DIY Maternity to make a very easy cover. I love Megan’s website – lots of creative and thrifty ideas for re-purposing clothes; head over and check it out. It was even quick enough for me to make in short bursts during rest breaks, like when I was making Baby Bunting.
If you have a sewing machine, or know someone who does, this takes no time at all. I added a pocket to hold a cloth and a dummy, and ruffles just to make it pretty, but you don’t have to. I used some gorgeous fabric I picked up at Spotlight for $1/metre ages ago, and as my rather lame sewing machine can’t handle sewing through elastic as suggested in the tutorial, I used some press studs I already had for the behind-the-neck strap, which does the job just as nicely even if it isn’t quite as finessed.
I did buy 25cm of corset boning, to use as a little ‘peek-a-boo space’ to look at bubba while feeding, which cost me less than a dollar. (Megan’s tutorial has an even cheaper option!) So all together, this project *might* have cost me $2. And as far as time, well I’d say around an hour, if that. It really is just a hemmed rectangle and a strip of fabric to go around your neck!
What a gorgeous project to make for yourself or as a baby shower gift.
*I know that many mums can’t breastfeed for a range of reasons, just as some mums may choose to bottle feed. I completely respect the choices mothers make for themselves and their families and in no way do I wish to add to any guilt or expectation on all our beautiful mamas. Bonds between mother and baby are still strong and lasting when created through bottle feeding. The best thing to do is the thing that works.
I also didn’t intend for this to relate to the storm in a teacup that is the TIME cover and article on attachment parenting, however it seems somewhat inescapable to talk breastfeeding and not mention it. Personally, I feel the cover image was unnecessarily challenging; it didn’t convey the nurturing, natural, motherly elements that breastfeeding entails, to me at least. Having the little boy stand on a stool to reach his mother introduced far too much ‘milk maid’ than ‘mama’ imagery for mine. The mother’s hands on hips issued a somewhat salacious challenge, aiming to tap into a sexualisation of breastfeeding, which is one of the primary concerns and complaints of women breastfeeding in public. Despite the fact that the World Health Organisation recommends mothers breastfeed until their child is age two and beyond for full nutritional benefit, it is ultimately a personal decision made by mothers and their families. It was photographed to sell magazines and ignite debate – but did it help? I wonder…