This entry is part of The Carnival of Breastfeeding.  If you want to read more inspiring stories about breastfeeding in public, you can find links to other contributors at the end of this article.  Enjoy reading my adventures in NIPing… and as I write this I am NAKing!  

Imagine my shock when I look at my twitter feed and see a post about nursing in public that sounds exactly like the one I had been planning out in my head for weeks.  Regret, ahhh, why didn’t I write it when I had the chance?  Well, instead of the incredibly cool rip off of Green Eggs and Ham about the places I have nursed in public (here is the entry I am referring to- PHDinParenting) I will just say it flat out, with no whimsical rhymes.

 I am incredibly proud of my skills at NIPing.  I have been told by more than one person how good I am at it.  One woman said I inspired her to NIP after she saw how I did it with such grace.  Aww shucks.  Another friend of mine gladly told me, “I have never once seen your nipple.”  Gosh guys… you are going to make me blush.  So there ya go, I have the skillz to pay the billz, and feed my son.  

I still remember the first time I nursed in public.  I was incredibly awkward at it.  I was using a cover, trying to nurse at the mall on a bench.  I had nursed in the mother’s room at Babies R Us before, but that was a horse of another color.  My husband was even more nervous that I.  He was constantly trying to make sure my breasts weren’t showing.  He positioned the cover over me, looked around as if we were guilty of a crime, and kept asking me when I would be finished.  I was very proud of myself for not going to a bathroom, where there were two hard chairs in a corner set aside for nursing mothers.  This same bathroom has the Excelerator hand dryers that sounds like jet engines.  Would you want to nurse next to a jet engine, or next to someone who is evacuating their bowels?  

My NIPing took a while to get going.  We didn’t exactly leave the house much when my son was very young.  Sometimes, we went to a friend’s house. There, I would go to another room and use a cover, just in case.  My husband;s boss walked in once while we were at his house.  He didn’t even give me a second glance.  I had taken my cover off, but I was wearing layers so nothing was visible.  He talked to me like I was a human being, not a 3 headed monster.  This was on Christmas Eve.  I was feeling much better about NIPing.


Dec. 24 2008 Taken just after I had nursed my son.  See unbuttoned sweater.

The breakthrough came when we all drove to North Carolina to visit family.  We were still nervous about flying with the baby.  Our game plan was to stop every 3-4 hours to change and feed the baby.  Our first stop was at a very nice rest stop.  I sat on a bench in the common area and, using my cover, nursed my son as truckers and families walked by.  Not so bad.  Next, we stopped for lunch at a McDonald’s.  I was too uncomfortable to nurse in the car so I decided to do it inside.  My husband wasn’t thrilled about that.  I sat in a very crummy chair and nursed my son, with a cover, in front of children and families.  It went downhill…. I ended up nursing in the car the rest of the way.  Scrunched up and sore, but persevering.  We made it to Charlotte, 15 hours later.  I went upstairs in my in-law’s home and nursed him.  

Things got better though.  Throughout the trip, I gained more confidence.  I start nursing without a cover at my in-law’s house.  My Mother-in-law nursed her children, why should I be uncomfortable in the home I was staying at for over a week?  Then, friends of ours came over.  We grilled out, and I nursed my son coverless in front of them all.  We carried on a conversation while I nursed!  For the first time I felt like I was not left out in the cold.  I didn’t have to be shut in a room to feed my son while the party went on without me.  I was still too uncomfortable to nurse in front of immediate family, like my father and sister.  But friends and strangers were no longer an issue.  My triumphant moment came at Ikea.  It was the grand opening.  I went with my pal on the second day.  I was carrying my son in his sling, having a grand time.  Once it came time to nurse him we went to the cafeteria.  I opened my nursing top and fed him proudly with no cover.  He was fidgeting though, and popped off many times.  A stranger came to try and help me!  She also wanted to put the sling over him as a cover, which I refused.  I knew he didn’t like covers, and I used to use them anyway.  But no more!  I kept feeding him.  I remember a man walking by and smiling over at me.  I hope it was a good smile; that he was happy to see a new mom nourishing her baby.  I like to think so.

On our drive back I had a terrible time, however.  We stopped at a rest area and my son needed to be fed.  I took him in, not realizing it was just a bathroom.  No common area.  And not even a chair to sit in.  I stood up and nursed my son while a revolving door of women came in and out.  I wasn’t embarrassed, just sad to have to feed my son in the restroom while toilets were flushing and hand dryers blared.  I vowed then to never, ever, nurse in a bathroom again.

Since that trip I have not used my cover.  I have come up with ways to nurse discreetly.  My dress for going out either incorporates a nursing top or, a nursing bra, an undershirt that can be pulled down, and a regular shirt to pull up.  This hides my mommy tummy.  Lately though, it has been hot.  I have only worn one shirt, and decided to heck with not showing my tummy.  My son covers most of it anyway.

Here are some of the more interesting places I have had to nurse my son.  

In a park, while wearing rollerblades:

On a plane. On a later trip, I nursed next a a perfect stranger just so I could sit in first class (woo hoo upgrades!) Totally worth it.

In a cave in TX. I nursed close to the entire tour to keep him happy and quiet. I am out of focus… but you can tell, I am really IN a cave.

In an aviary at Bush Gardens (I even nursed him while we walked through the interactive area, with birds flying all around us)

Other cool places that aren’t pictured:
On the beach.
On the pier.
At an outdoor festival next to a homeless person.
On a train.
In the airport.
In the grocery store while in a sling.
In Marshall’s while in a sling.
In many, many restaurants.
Next to a waterfall.
At the Zoo.
At the aquarium.
In a speeding vehicle. 

States I have nursed in so far: New York, North Carolina, Texas, Florida. (Illinois and D.C if you count layovers 😉 )

***Edited to add this hilarious story! ***

While we were in San Antonio we were using a different carseat than our usual.  This one was a convertible.  My son hated it and cried almost non stop while in it.  On one drive (to the caves in which I am pictured above) he was screaming.  I decided to try and breastfeed him while we were driving because my sanity could no longer take it and my heart was breaking.  I pulled up my shirt, pulled out my boob, and inserted it him his mouth.  Happy baby, uncomfortable mommy.  We got off of the highway and stopped at a red light.  I was still feeding my son, hunched over the car seat.  I look to the right and see a man in a truck smiling directly at me.  Then, it hit me that my boob is in my son’s mouth and he is smiling at me while this is happening.  He can see me.  If I pulled it out it would only be more visible so I turned away and hoped for a green light.  Meanwhile I am telling my husband, who crawls up a little.  His response, “What made you think people couldn’t see you?”  Me: “Our windows are tinted” (we are in a rental.) Him: “Not they aren’t… you are wearing sunglasses.”  Yeah, I am that dumb.  But, at least I put a smile on that guy’s face!

I wouldn’t say I am a lactivist, but I am proud to feed my son, whenever and wherever it needs to be done. I am just sad I didn’t begin Nursing in Public sooner, I could have saved myself a lot of heartache.  I have yet to hear a negative comment, although once in a restaurant the lady I was talking to promptly stopped conversing with me once I began to nurse my son. Other than that, the responses have been non existent or positive.

(Boobs) Out and Proud

Would you, Could you…

Here at the Restaurant

Nursing in a room full of people you know…

Aww, is he sleeping?

Nursing in Public: Chinatown, The Subway, The Vatican, and More…

Breastfeeding in Public

Nursing in Public as an Immigrant 

Breastfeeding in Public- Mommy News Blog

To Cover or Not to Cover

Nursing in Public, or NIP as its known.

Get kicked off a bus for nursing in public?  Here’s how to respond.

Thank You For Nursing in Public

Breastfeeding in the Summertime

Why Worry About NIP

Little Old Men… & Nursing in Public

Wee NIP in the Park

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles… We’ve Breastfed in Them All.

Nursing in Public: A Fresh Perspective on Nurse-In’s

 Breastfeeding Hats? YES! Nursing Covers? Uh… Not So Much

Products that can help you NIP

Easy, discreet way to breastfeed a toddler in public

Nursing in Public – What’s a Breastfeeding Mother to Do!!


20 Responses

  1. I love the covers, but honestly, I think it tends to bring MORE attention to what you are doing, ya know?

    I’m not embarassed at all to NIP, but if I can help it, I try not to do it in front of people that I think will be uncomfortable, like my dad or my FIL. 🙂

    Once Peanut got to be around 6 months old, she was way to nosey to be NIP. She could never concentrate and I was exposing way too much. LOL
    .-= Molly´s last blog ..More Shoe Love! =-.

  2. You go girl! I wish I was as comfortable NIP with my first son. With my second, I didn’t have a choice – I wasn’t going to make my older son sit in the car or not leave the house just because I was nursing. And like you, once I got used to it, no big deal. And I never got a negative comment or even an evil look (at least that I noticed).
    .-= Brooke´s last blog ..Why I don’t deserve a vacation home =-.

  3. What sweet pictures! I miss nursing my youngest, she was definitely my most serene nurser – I could nurse her anywhere, anytime and never a squirm. More times than I can remember, someone would come near us wanting a closer look at the baby and I would have to tell them I was feeding her, they could look later. Usually the reply was, “oh? I couldn’t tell!” Never a dirty look or comment.
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Tuesday Heads or Tails =-.

  4. Peeper and I are flying in a few weeks, and will be sitting next to a stranger.

    Of course, she’ll be nursing at some point (probably multiple times) in the three-hour flight.

    How un-discreet do I have to be to get upgraded to first class? 😉

  5. Great post – so much of what you wrote was very familiar! Your post made me realise that even though I breastfed for a year, I don’t have a single photo of myself doing it. Oh well, there’s always next time 😉

  6. I loved reading this. And what great pictures too! Thanks for sharing them! As I read through the other places you’ve nursed I got the Green Eggs and Ham tune going through my head, so I made up your own short tune for you.
    And I have nursed upon a pier and at the Zoo (it wasn’t queer!) And in Marshall’s in a sling and by a waterfall in the Spring, and in a store and on a train and on the beach and in the rain… 🙂

  7. Wonderful Stories! This is like a “coming of age” story on NIP. Thank you! I loved reading this! curious…where were you driving 15 hrs from to NC?? Seems like you should have a few more states under your belt…..

    1. Thanks! I am so proud of my NIP.
      We were driving from New York. I didn’t count the states we stopped in rest stops at but I guess I should add Virginia and Pennsylvania. I am not sure if I stopped in West Virginia or Maryland. 🙂

  8. It was nice that the lady offered to help you, but it seemed kind of rude that she would try and cover you up with the sling, IMO.

    A couple of weeks ago, I was nursing in public and this sweet old woman came up to us. I guess at first she didn’t realize we were nursing, because when she did, she quickly stepped back. I thought she might have been offended, but then she just smiled and said in a sweet old lady voice, “oh the baby’s getting some titty.” Then she just walked off. Hysterical.

    Thanks for sharing your stories and pictures.

  9. Enjoying hearing your nursing evolution!
    There is such an enormous learning curve with breastfeeding, in so many aspects!
    I wish I could master the whole undershirt thing, but it’s so much easier for me to use my Bravado nursing tanks and pull the whole flap down. I know I flash my whole upper boob, but with as often as my baby nurses, and as much as I like to be out and about, I just can’t deal with all those layers. My husband tells me he wishes I could be more discreet like other moms, but I just don’t have the energy- and trying to find ONE tank is easier than finding a couple shirts in my messy bedroom!
    .-= Fancy Pancakes´s last blog ..New Item I’m Coveting: Svan High Chair =-.

  10. I have nursed a baby in a carseat, too! I thought I was the only one nuts enough to do it. It was a very awkward position, but so much easier than expressing half an ounce at a time while going down the road.
    .-= Jorje´s last blog ..Aspirations =-.

  11. I love this! My first successful NIP experience MINUS a cover was also at IKEA. Got bub latched on and happy while in his sling. In the process, we lost a sock and another dad picked it up and handed it to me. We had a little bit of a conversation and he never knew! My hubby had been outside and came in right after the other dad’s departure and didn’t say anything (he is usually the one that wants me to cover while in public, or park in the back of a lot so that I can nurse in the car without being seen) A few hours after this, when bub was getting restless again, the hubby looked at me and said “He hasn’t eaten since before we left the house, you want to go out and nurse him?” HE hadn’t even realized I was nursing, and Bub nursed for a LONG time!!! Only time I cover up now is when I am around family (even though we are all breast-feeders) just because that is what is expected of us.
    .-= Ashley´s last blog ..Bummis Covers =-.

  12. When my 11.5 mo old was too distracted to nurse whenever we stopped (he wanted to run) I resorted to nursing in his carseat while we drove a 12-hr. trip. His latch was horrible and I was sore for a day or two but there was no other way!

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