Sunday, July 05, 2009

Without a Blanket

A couple of weeks ago in the comments, I was asked if I use a cover while breastfeeding in sacrament.

I don't. I've never used a cover up- and the only time I've left a room to nurse was when Margaret was around 4 months old and had a stage when she would only nurse lying down. I would leave to find a couch or bed- and a few times floor space.

Well because of that question, I thought I'd do a little post on what I do and wear for the ease of nursing. I'd like to first make it clear that I do NOT think that you should have to "do" anything about your clothes, position, etc. One of my biggest peeves is when I read or hear, "I think nursing in public is fine, but I always used a blanket/cover/etc," implying that anything else isn't modest/discreet/appropriate enough. I do not want to give that impression here at all. If you and your child are comfortable, then that is the "right" way. Period.

Most of the time I wear a belly band that I got at a maternity store. They are marketed for keeping your pants up, unbuttoned as your belly grows, which is why I bought it. Now it is a great breastfeeding accessory.

I wear it pulled up to the bottom of my bra.
Then I just pull up on my shirt and latch Margaret on.

You can see on the side: you see the belly band where you would otherwise see skin.
Of course at church, this limits you to skirts and shirts. What about those dresses? I happen to own a couple of dresses with a stretchy neckline. When I want to wear those, I'll pull down- because pulling up a dress to breastfeed is too involved and would have too much fabric at Margaret's face. Last summer, I cut a little tank top right under the breast and I wear it under my dresses. I just pull the dress down and pull the tiny top up and voila- coverage!

While not breastfeeding, it looks like I'm just wearing a shirt under the dress.
When McKay was taking this next picture, he commented, "Margaret's covering everything!" From my view, however, I saw around 4 square inches of breast. I point this out to show that as a mom, you're probably seeing a lot more breast than the people around you.

I don't own any nursing tops or dresses- though I probably should invest in one. I only just recently got a nursing bra, but the clips are too annoying and I just pull the bra down anyway.

I wanted to share these because I thought they would give some of you ideas and options. Have I gone to church without my belly band? Yes. Have I gone to church without the tiny top and just pulled down? Yes. The only "right" way to breastfeed is the way where you and your child are most comfortable.


  1. I have some Target nursing tanks that I love. I also have some tanks that I just cut circle holes in to use underneath another shirt. Loved this post! I agree that what matters is that mum and babe are comfy!

  2. I like the belly band--I'm not keen about showing the pospartum flabby side skin! It's not really a big deal to me, but if I were to try to cover something, it would be my side/stomach, not the breast.

  3. I found your blog through PhD in Parenting. I've never been asked to cover up, but in RS I have gotten an odd looks or two. Like you, I usually wear a tank top under a shirt so I can be covered on top and bottom, so I've never felt the need to use a coverup. I'd never thought about cutting it short tho, so it'd be easier to lift! That's a great idea. I also love belly bands, but haven't used one for the last few months. I'm looking forward to following your blog!

  4. It's good to read that you don't use a blanket. Choosing to cover a nursing baby is obviously a decision for an individual mother, but I tend to think that the more people who nurse proudly, uncovered, in public, the more acceptable and unremarkable it becomes. So, good on you.

  5. very nice post. You make a good model!

  6. I remembered this morning something I forgot: Button-down shirts! I usually unbutton them from the top while wearing the tiny top. I have also unbuttoned them from the bottom with the belly band. I have also just unbuttoned a couple in the middle and moved the shirt over the the side I want to nurse on. And I've also just unbuttoned from the top without anything.

    Postpartum when I was finding clothes to wear, I took out a button-down shirt and thought, "This will be great for breastfeeding! It's just one big access opening!" Then I put it on and discovered that I'm more busty and I can't fit most of them. I don't have many button-down shirts that I can wear with my new body.

  7. I really wish that I could just breastfeed how I feel most comfortable and wherever I wanted. My husband prefers me to use a cover. And at my in-law's house I have to unless I want some very disgruntled people around. I keep trying to tell my husband that it is discouraging to have to cover and struggle with "modesty" while nursing. But I do it because I don't want to offend other people (especially other people that I love, and will have to be around for a long, long time!)

    By the way, how is your no-'poo experiment going?

  8. Some of us who are a little on the boobier side can't get away with a non-nursing bra... (I was a DD before nursing, and a F/G in those early months). I also used a belly band, but I had a couple of other tricks too...
    Cheap tanktops with shelf bras--I still needed a regular bra under them, but someone less busty could wear just the tank...regular shirt up, tank neckline down, voila, full coverage.
    Another thing I did was get some of those thin men's undershirts (aka "wifebeaters") in assorted colors (they come in black, grey, and blue as well as white). I slit down the armholes about 4 inches, and then I had 1--a nice high neckline in front (many shirts come too low in front for me), 2--a covered middle, and 3--easy nursing access via those extra-large armholes.

    And nope, I never cover either. I have thrown the tail of the sling over a newborn sometimes to keep the sun out of his face or whatever...but I don't carry anything as a cover.

  9. Mallory, I'm sorry you don't get the support you need. I'm very lucky to have married a man who saw his mom breastfeed and who supports it. My in-laws are actually the more supportive side. My parents aren't fans of my nursing in public at all, but I don't see them very often and when I do go see them, they live in Illinois which has some of the best NIP laws in the country. If they don't like it at the house, I can just go across the street to the library where my rights are protected and enforced. Of course that means they get less Margaret time, so it's more advantageous for them to just deal with it. :)

  10. Mommy Bee- that undershirt idea sounds great! I've also used a sling tail for sun coverage when Margaret was small.

    Big Mama Morgan- Thanks for checking out the blog! I love Annie @ PhD.

  11. I also don't like using a cover, so it's frustrating when I feel like I have to---so I really appreciate these alternatives. The covers get too hot, and Stephen grabs onto it and pulls it up anyway...

  12. When Iris was a much littler baby, a well meaning friend bought me one of those Bebe au Lait covers. I really think she was trying to help, but it just made me feel awkward. Did she want me to cover up? Was I making things weird at knitting group? I did try to use it, but the baby couldn't tolerate it and neither could I! I just don't like the message they send generally... "Hey, look at me, over here... nursing!!! Yoooohoooo!" lol

  13. I love your breastfeeding friendly wardrobe.

  14. I love your "How To" visual posts. They're just so much fun as well as being so informative. What a great idea for the belly band!!!!

  15. When I was first nursing Connor, we had that stupid nipple shield and I had no idea what I was doing, so not only did I nurse with a blanket, I had it over BOTH OF US. Ah, those were the days!

    Now I don't even have an undershirt when I nurse. Screw it, my daughter's hungry!

  16. I have been frustrated with how to manipulate all the "extras" around my breast, like nursing pads and garments, while still being discreet and supporting my newborn little one. Not to mention it takes some effort in getting my breast out of the bra enough so as to not restrict my lower milk ducts since my size really needs a bra with underwire. Any suggestions there??

  17. Brittney,
    Well, let's see. First, I don't use nursing garments. I've heard they're a pain. I don't know if you use them or not- I just thought that having another thing to pull and maneuver was too much so I just pull down the top. I use a kind that is stretchy- nylon mesh is NOT stretchy enough for me to do that, but cotton, cotton/poly are fine.

    As for nursing pads- after a few months of being the Niagara falls of breastfeeding, I decided that I would probably be still leaking a decade after menopause and gave up on them. Yes I get wet, but I just decided that's just how it's going to be since there was pretty much nothing that could stop it. A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine told me, "You know, I haven't seen you leak in a while." "You know what, you're right!" It was over! Well, the next day I woke up in a puddle and leaked through a couple of shirts during the day. Jinxed it, I guess. It was really odd- especially since it was right before my period and I usually have a small dip in supply at that point. Not this month, I guess!

    Now, I was very engorged a lot of the time when Margaret was small. I was large. I was always afraid of getting a wired bra because my size fluctuated hour to hour so I wasn't sure what size I was, and I was deathly afraid of getting mastitis due to a bra that was too tight in places. So I used only sleeping bras for the first year. Then I bought a nursing bra. I didn't have support and my breasts looked funny under my clothes, but I figured no one really cared.

    So what I guess I'm saying is that I don't have a lot of experience with lots of stuff there, so I don't have many suggestions. Maybe if you're using nursing garments switch to regular ones. That's really my only suggestion.

    Also, it'll take practice. When your daughter starts holding herself up more, you'll be able to finagle with more clothing issues. I'm still not the greatest at balancing everything, but there are times when a single hand motion gets everything into place (I'm shocked and amazed), but it's taken practice. Margaret also helps, too. When there's something in her way, she moves it for me. Of course, that sometimes means there's an extra 3 inches of breast showing, but it's really effective. :)

  18. I want to throw in that the nursing garments are both helpful and annoying. They pull down way easier than regular garments, but they have a higher neckline and you can't pull down the neckline, which means finding a suitable wardrobe becomes even more difficult. But if you are accustomed to wearing shirts with a high neckline they are really great.

    I like to wear stretchy camisoles under my shirts that I can just pull down.

  19. Oh, no! I was just looking for that post you had written about nursing in public, and it seems to have disappeared! I'm so sad, because it really inspired me and I was hoping to link to it.

  20. Yup, tank up, garment down, flap open: that's how we rock Relief Society.


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