With child #1, I went to great and stressful lengths to cover up while breastfeeding. It was hot and sweaty and awkward and I spent a lot of time breastfeeding in the car. With #2 I never once tried to use the nursing cover, rarely used a blanket, and though I did occasionally breastfeed her in the car, I also breastfed her while walking around the store just as often.
This was largely for convenience's sake, but in the back of my mind I also hoped that I might make a new mom more comfortable with breastfeeding whenever her baby needed it (and not when it was convenient for others) as mothers who breastfed more openly eventually helped me gain the confidence I have in breastfeeding in public.
I am slowly weaning my toddler (currently 19 months old). At this point I feel like I could breastfeed her longer if she were the occasional breastfeeder. But without me slowly cutting her off, she was still breastfeeding many times a day and often for long amounts of time. Some women can do that, I'm simply too tired to keep that up any longer.
I breastfed her at Disney World, both in public and in the mother's nursing room and had interesting experiences both times.
In public I had at least one person give me a few strange looks (I usually don't pay attention to people's reactions, but my husband noticed). I also had a woman walk by and lightly tap my knee and say, "High fives to you!" I've heard of people being praised for breastfeeding in public, but never experienced it myself. It felt pretty good. I don't know if I'd be as forward with a stranger, but I'll remember that and might consider giving some encouraging words to breastfeeding moms I see.
In the mother's room, I met another mother who was breastfeeding her 19 month old son who had no interest in weaning (much like my little peanut). And I met a first time mother who told me that she was so worried about how she was going to breastfeed her 10 month old during their day at Disney World. I mentioned that I had breastfed outside as well, but it was certainly nice to have a cool indoor room to go to. But I was a bit shocked (as she may have been by me). How do you decide to spend a day at Disney World with no plan for how to feed your baby?
This woman was Hispanic and was from a different culture (though I'm fairly certain she was American) and I had another opportunity to shock her when I stated that I was not likely to have any more children even though I had so far failed to give my husband a male heir. "No son! Really, no son?!" The black lady who was breastfeeding the 19 month old laughed at my joke about if my husband wanted more kids, he could do it himself. But the Hispanic lady was just appalled that I would have no sons and amazed that my husband could eventually come to terms with this.
I read a great article today about taking modesty out of the breastfeeding argument:
Breastfeeding and Modesty