Nothing feels as stirringly rewarding and agonizingly frustrating as motherhood. I would be lying if I said I haven’t experienced feelings of elation and irritation in equal measures too. Really, nothing prepares you for a baby or for that matter, the ordeals that come with breastfeeding them.

I had my feelings of delight when I first began breastfeeding too and went on to post a couple of pictures on social media of me breastfeeding with a cover. Almost instantly, I got a lot of negative comments about how this goes against the grain of “normalizing breastfeeding”. Even one of my closest friends, Debra, who is herself a mother, called me out and told me all about how I should #dropthecover. “How can your baby possibly breathe under a cover?”, “You try bringing a blanket with you to dinner and placing it over your head!”, “The cover only draws more attention to the fact that you are feeding your baby”, she wailed.

Although I understand what she means when she says these things, I couldn’t understand why she was being downright discouraging of my choice. I was surprised at the flak I was getting. Debra knew motherhood was one of the happiest days of my life, but she ridiculed the way I chose to breastfeed my baby. I felt #dropthecover had taken a whole new meaning – one that did not respect my choice. As for making breastfeeding a natural phenomenon in public is concerned, I’m all for it. It is the most beautiful thing in the world. Every woman should have the choice to do it uninhibitedly and without any shame attached to the idea of something that is good not only for the health of the baby but for the mother too.
Still, just as women shouldn’t be judged if they don’t have a problem nursing their babies in public, they shouldn’t be ridiculed for choosing not to do so too. Mothers want to breastfeed but sometimes, the amount of skin exposed when they have to do it can be an issue. I do feel a bit conscious when it comes to breastfeeding in public, especially if I am at a restaurant surrounded by friends and family. I, just like so many other moms out there, prefer to cover myself in public when I breastfeed my child because that’s what I am most comfortable. I want to be able to go grocery shopping without getting paranoid and awkward that I may have to breastfeed her in public.

The cover gives me the peace of mind to do this and bond with my baby without becoming self-conscious about it. I can parent in a way that makes me happy and ultimately that is what counts.

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