For the past eight months (yes, my baby is exactly 8 months old today! I'm going to sound like everyone else, but where does time go?), I have breastfed my baby whenever she needs it. Whether it be at a park, at a coffee shop, or at Target, she is never denied food just because we're in a public place. While I don't see any reason why breastfeeding in public should cause controversy, it does! Women are given looks, that raised eye brow, and even told to go somewhere else to "do that."
Thankfully, I have been spared anything embarrassing except a look here or there. I always feel very confident in my decision to put my baby's needs first. Even though I don't think breastfeeding is dirty, indecent, or offensive, I still take precautions to make every feeding session with my baby as discreet as possible so that others are comfortable. Not to boast or anything about how amazing my people-sensing skills are (haha), but I can tell when people are uncomfortable, and it then makes me uncomfortable. But if I know I'm doing everything I can to help the situation, then it's simply their turn to deal with it.
For example, when I'm around others and anytime I'm outside my home, I am very careful to cover up as much as possible. I do not think it's necessary to show extra skin and justify it by, "Well, I'm breastfeeding so it's okay!" If breastfeeding mothers want respect, we should behave respectfully. Breastfeeding is not a sexual display or use of our bodies. It is natural and beautiful. But we can only convey that message if we do it in a beautiful, and not an obnoxious, way.
When I first began, I would watch myself in a mirror to see what everyone else could see. I quickly mastered the whole process so that what everyone saw was...close to nothing! I'm not saying we should be ashamed of breastfeeding and try to hide it. But the sacredness of our bodies should be carefully kept. :)
We always hear stories about mothers who are told to "go somewhere else" to breastfeed their baby. Let's make a point to do the opposite! If you see a mom breastfeeding, approach her and say how awesome it is that she's doing it! She might see you coming and prepare a defense in her head, but I'm sure she'd appreciate the support once you give it! :)
*I just want to add that I don't think only mothers who show absolutely no skin should be the ones breastfeeding in public. I do it because that is just the way I feel comfortable.