It’s funny how as I sit here trying to recall the first time I nursed in public – that sweet, infantile, trembling cry comes into my mind and I instantaneously place both palms to my breast (it’s happened to me a few times in the years post-breastfeeding, I call it “the phantom let-down.”) It’s actually very comforting to have such a vivid memory of something that was over for me a year or so ago, however cupping my own breasts in public was obviously such a common occurrence it has seeped into my subconscious and even with no milk left, I still check to see if I’m “leaking.”
With that introduction, it’s safe to say I produced TONS of milk! Enter the first reason nursing in public (from here on out, NIP) started out a bumpy road for me and baby Cammie. (And yes, I’m giving her just as much credit for all my nursing success and woes; she was there with me through it all… a partner of sorts who had to learn everything for the first time just as I did!) I very vividly remember sitting in a dressing room at Target, attempting to latch a 4-week-old baby rooting around blindly, pleading with her “Please, Cammie – just figure it out already… oh no… ahhhh it’s in your eye! It’s in your hair! Oh NOOOO!” Within twenty seconds, I had gotten milk EVERYWHERE: the shopping cart, all over my hands and my baby – my SHIRT – one huge sticky mess…. Once she was finally latched, I peered through the milk splatters on the mirror and started bawling my dramatic-hormonal eyes out.
I couldn’t believe how hard it was to nurse when it had been so easy in my recliner at home! Was it that stupid Boppy pillow that I cursed for 4 weeks straight about not serving any purpose what-so-ever (but still used…) – was it the other three couch pillows my husband arranged around my body to prop everything up just right… I mean what on EARTH could possibly be so hard about nursing outside of my house?! I wanted to get good at it really soon… this was my first trip out with the baby in four weeks and I was desperate it wouldn’t be my last!
On that very same trip to Target, I picked up one item that changed NIP for me – a nursing tank! Someone had suggested to wear a nursing tank under my shirt, that way I could lift my shirt up – the tank would keep my post-baby-body from being exposed to the world – and the baby could nurse : all at the same time. After a few tries, I wondered how anyone could possibly do it any differently – I didn’t even have to cover up with a blanket or nursing cover (or hide my big belly in the dressing room!), I would make sure Cammie was latched then let my shirt cover her face a bit… it took a very large load of stress away knowing I could be modest and still leave the house…
I started to get braver, putting Cammie in the sling and shopping while doing some hands-free nursing… and I got better and better at it. Don’t get me wrong, there were PLENTY of days scattered in there when we’d be out at a restaurant (I always sat in a booth so I could nurse her while eating and no one would be distracted by my actions) and she would completely forget all of the progress we had made. She would turn her head to look and see what everyone else was doing, she would latch on juuuust long enough for let-down then smile and leak milk completely down my clothes.
It’s so important to keep everything feeling natural when you’re NIP – if I was trying to force her to nurse in the sling, she’d fight me tooth-and-nail… the more stressed I would get about getting her situated, the more restless she would get. It was 100 degree weather in South Texas for the first 3 months I was nursing– so A LOT of the time I would stop by a boutique near my house that had a nursing lounge area. There is nothing worse than dressing in layers (think: nursing tank, shirt, baby, sling) in the ridiculous heat, getting sweaty and uncomfortable – so I would make a few planned stops into places I knew had special little nursing areas.
All in all, NIP grew to be second nature for us… it was never made an issue by anyone we came across, actually we got a ton of smiles and positive comments! I was very unsure in the beginning – it took a while to figure out what worked for us. If you’re having issues, I suggest you find places to stop in while you get used to nursing outside of the home… as time goes on, you’ll get more comfortable and so will baby… soon you’ll be nursing in the middle of Mardi Gras (and getting handfuls of beads, I’d imagine….)
Owner & Mom Squad Member
This week Michelle and Bye Bye with Baby is hosting while we talk nursing in public. We can give each other: support, advice and secrets of the trade!
While we chat...someone will win a $25 gift certificate to Tiny Prints!
RSVP to win:
and for additional entries just leave a comment(s) below!
Follow Bye Bye with Baby on twitter
Follow Bye Bye with Baby on Facebook