I didn't buy a nursing cover before DS was born because I thought it would make it look like I was ashamed of nursing. Now that he's here, I do feel embarrassed sometimes simply because it takes awhile to get a good latch. I am a huge proponent of the idea that nursing should be a normal part of society like it is in so many other cultures, but on the other hand I don't want my nipples hanging out for the world to see! Any thoughts?
Should I get a cover?
if it is going to help you feel comfortable to nurse in public, I say get one. I use a blanket at times, but mostly I don't cover. I had friends who really didn't like to nurse in public and a cover made it so they could go out and still nurse (instead of pumping or switching to formula when out and about). I think as you get the hang of things, you may drop the cover, or just have it for certain situations.... or you may love it, or you may hate it.... Do what will help you feel comfortable!
And congrats on your new baby!
As for my take on it, I simply chose more private places to breast feed at first (like the infant room at the mall or a secluded chair at the library) and as I got more confident, I would nurse in more open or crowded areas. I did have a bit of embarrassment at first, not to mention body image issues (I'm plus size) but with time I simply let it go. To some extent it involved a conscious effort but mostly it just happened. We struggled in the early weeks so once everything worked beautifully, I had the attitude that I've worked way too hard and come way too far to let some vague discomfort stop me from nursing out in the open. Mostly I was simply too tired to care.
Now with my second baby, I nurse anywhere anytime and do not appreciate offers to nurse in a more private place. My baby is hungry here and now, milk is ready to go and people need to stop making a big deal about it. I go out of my way to NIP in an effort to normalize BFing so that when my girls grow up, they won't have to think twice about nursing in public. Yes, nipples can be very sensual and sexy but so can thighs, knees and necks. Nipples fulfill a biological role and unless they are presented in a sensual way, they are simply fleshy little nubs that feed our babies.
Also, when NIP, I like to dress to expose less skin as that makes me more comfortable temperature & exposure-wise. I usually do a nursing bra, with a tank top that can pull down and a shirt that can lift up. That way, only my breast is exposed, not my whole stomach too. And I can use the shirt if loose enough as a make-shift cover, though I usually don't. That might also help. And yeah, finding places that are a little more private (corner of the booth, corner of bench with my diaper bag next to me, etc.) help me feel less exposed too.
If you would feel more comfortable covering do it. You are nursing for *your* baby and don't have to be a lactivist in every situation.
The reasons I choose not to cover are that it seemed that my babies got overheated from it and they really hated it and spent the whole time trying to yank it off themselves which just made everything more obvious than if I just hold my shirt down with one hand to keep baby from lifting it up.
I agree with everyone else that you do what makes you comfortable. As you both get better at BF, it will become easier and you may find the cover unnecessary, or you may not. Just do what works for you both.
After the first couple months with my first child, I have up on trying to manage a cover. It was too much of a hassle. When my second was a newbie, sometimes I'd put a ruffled blanket "wall" across his head/upper body just until he latched, and then moved it after I re-adjusted my shirt. Worked well to prevent nipple shows.
I quickly learned I have no modesty when it comes to nursing and only have a cover for the purpose of making others feel more comfortable if I happen to be in a situation where someone would prefer I cover up (I often ask if anyone minds).
Also, though Baby had a great latch from the get-go, we still need a lot of feedback from each other in the beginning. And by the time we no longer did... she would grab anything I would place over her.
Again, they're good if the nursing uneases present company, but I rarely rarely rarely use mine.