How to Navigate the Modern World of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has gone hand in hand with motherhood for thousands of years.
Some women breastfeed well into the preschool years and some women choose to forego it altogether which is essentially a personal and individual decision for every mother.
Ultimately, when there is such an intimate relationship between mother and child it is often turned into a taboo act when it’s merely the act of nourishing your child.
I am a young mom, my stature doesn’t help me in age relation either, so I normally get looks from men and women alike. Simply because I look “too young” to be a mom. Apart from that, I breastfed both of my girls until they self-weaned and had no qualms about doing it in public.
Which only meant, more stares.
Though, I’ve always preferred discretion and used a nursing cover, in those moments where I forgot it, I nursed anyway.
So, how do you navigate the modern world as a breastfeeding mama?
6 Breastfeeding Tips to Conquer the World:
Make sure that a BPA-free, reusable bottle becomes a staple in your diaper bag and for the duration of your breastfeeding relationship. Hydration is so important while nursing to keep your milk production going. Not only is water beneficial to milk production, it is good for your skin, bloating and an infinitude of things. It is a good habit to form.
Breastfeeding will make you parched and what better way to quench that thirst than H20?
While breastfeeding support is essential, I meant invest in a few nursing bras that will aid in making nursing quick, easy and comfortable. Not to mention that your breasts get heavy and sometimes engorged and you will definitely need a good bra. Make sure that you get fitted properly and that it is super comfortable. I had a few that I could literally sleep in and were super amazing when I needed to nurse and didn’t wear nursing tops. V-necks are your BFF’s when you are nursing too!
To avoid two fair-sized spots on your shirt when you’ve produced a lot of milk and are in-between feedings, pack extra reusable breast pads and make sure you use them. I learned this when I decided to hit up my local Wal-Mart in a light beige shirt and forgot my nurse pads, thank-goodness I had a cardi on hand until I could make it home.
Cover up, baby! Or don’t.
If you choose to breastfeed and are looking for discretion, make sure you find yourself a nursing cover that works for YOU. I chose the BabyBond nursing cover, simply because of the fact that I could maintain that oh-so-special eye contact with baby. It was soft, portable and blended with most of my wardrobe and could be used with or without nursing tops. I could throw it in my diaper bag and go.
It worked perfectly for me.
There are so many on the market and they all fit differently, come in trendy colors and patterns, fair-trade, organic or do different things. There are also slings that are double functional for covering and nursing on the go!
If you think it’s something you’d like to invest in, buy some nursing tops that will keep you modest and covered up. Most importantly, use what is comfortable and what works best for you.
If you don’t think you need to cover up, and don’t feel the need, don’t.
It’s your right.
Get a good breast pump:
Now, there are plenty of makes and brands of pumps out there, it’s almost like picking out a new car. There’s single pumps, double pumps, electric, manual with all types of different power and suction and even bras that simultaneously double pump while you are hands-free. But, not every pump works for everyone. I used a double pump with a strong suction and it worked well.
Once you have a pump picked out and if you are returning to work while nursing, you need to bring it with you and ask your boss if there are designated areas for you to pump. All workplaces should have them, if not – you may just have to find a quiet room or somewhere private to pump. Make sure you store that liquid gold in the fridge too. If you happen to forget your pump one day, make sure you self-express and massage your breasts in order to avoid engorgement and duct blockages that can lead to mastitis, a breast infection.
Be in the KNOW.
Once you’ve established a breastfeeding relationship and are ready to head out, know which places have washrooms or “nursing rooms” where you’ll be able to change your baby and feed them in a nice, private and quiet area. Most malls have these and a few retailers have followed suit and have them. The nursing rooms or family rooms come equipped with gliders and changing tables. They often, not always, have the essentials on hand such as diapers and wipes in the case you forgot them.
Get accustomed to different positions to nurse your baby, you know that they have their favorites but, sometimes space and confinement of those spaces don’t allow for them. The cradle hold, the cross-cradle and my favorite, the football hold are best for when travelling outside of the home.
Most importantly, I don’t know if I was one of those people who are considered crazies but, I carried a small nursing pillow for extra support. I would throw it in my stroller, on top of my diaper bag and go. I had a small one that came in a small bag so it was always clean. It came in very handy and comfortable for both baby and I.
Get Out THERE!
Sometimes women feel the need to confine themselves to their homes while they are nursing because of the stares or even the comments they may receive. That was never an option for me because that would be a VERY long time cooped up. I breastfed at the mall, in restaurants, at the park, at the movies and in any place you can imagine. I even went on weekenders and breastfed everywhere we went.
If discretion is an issue, there’s the aforementioned covers and some women find it easier to pump before leaving the house and giving their child breast milk via bottles. I’ve never tried this but, I can see how it may work for some ladies. I rather give my baby their milk at perfect temperature and when they need it. But, if you do choose to do this, usually nipple confusion isn’t a problem once they are a bit older and can be the perfect option if you do not want to nurse publicly.
I say get out there and live your lives as you normally would and when your babies wants to eat, let them eat! The more of us moms who feed in public, the better and the more accepted it will be. If you do receive stares, stand your ground and return the gaze. You aren’t doing anything wrong and most likely, they will walk away knowing that you are confident and aren’t going to be swayed otherwise.
Day trips, weekenders or even week-long trips can be done without a hitch if you plan ahead, have your pump, cover, breast pads etc. Just be prepared to take a little longer for everything because you will be changing and nursing your little one throughout your outings.
So, go out for a day of shopping, hit up your local zoo or museum and have fun. Even have that glass of wine, studies show that it is perfectly safe. Though I’ve never tried it–I know many moms who have and they and baby are perfectly fine.
It’s a journey that we travel on a day to day basis and just because you are a breastfeeding mama, doesn’t mean anything has to change.