Guest blogger, Jwa Star writes about her experiences with breastfeeding in public and gives some super helpful tips for moms feeding on the go.
The newness of being an exclusive breastfeeding mom took some time to adjust to. Secretly I've never adjusted. When we had a new addition to add to the clan, my mother's intuition seeped in. Breastfeeding has & continues to be a prime goal for my child & I.
Being on the move and adjusting to the many moments when my baby was hungry while we were out has been tough. I'll never forget the first time I had to feed him in public. It was a winter day. I had made numerous appointments for the baby & I. I figured if I was out I might as well get everything done. That New York State of Mind had me in a zone. Strapping him in my Ergobaby carrier, I was thinking from a point of view where I could still do things quickly and alone (not true). First appointment was at WIC to receive support with breastfeeding. They had a designated group of women that loved hearing my birth story. When I was leaving, one of them gave me the last breastfeeding cover she had in blue. She mentioned how she only gives out the cloths to moms she connects with (wanting to make sure it'll go to good use). I took a bus ride to my favorite health food store after that. The place was baby friendly so I knew feeding him there would be no problem plus it was quiet. Now off to my acupuncture appointment. This was the part that I was a bit afraid of. How was my baby going to hold up on the bus to the appointment? How would I manage inside the appointment? I figured that since I had gotten a chance to feed him in breastfeeding friendly places he'd be fine. He was only 6 weeks old but was a trooper & I loved it. We got on our 3rd bus for the day. Before I could even get comfortable, he began wailing like a maniac!
I looked down at him & realized he was hungry again. We'd been out longer than ever before. This was hour 6 out of the 9 hour trip, two diaper changes & about 3 feedings. I had on a sweater that was stopping me from being discreet. I was sitting in the front of the bus. Not to mention there was a slew of men I felt that were waiting to see what I was going to do. I felt embarrassed & alone. Luckily I remembered I had just received the cover from WIC. I strapped the cover over & proceeded to try to loosen my baby in the carrier a bit. This proved to be super difficult since I still needed to pull up my sweater. The struggle was REAL! I took him out of the carrier & continued to work on latching him to my nipple. I was only using nipple shields at the time because he never wanted to latch when he was born. All of this is happening underneath my breastfeeding cover. I felt like a child playing under the sheets but there was nothing happy about this.
Latched, feeding & covered. I did it!!! But the struggle was painfully scary. Once I got to my acupuncturist they were super friendly & helpful. I Ubered home after all of that. I was apprehensive to go out without a bottle in bag. I never had a real opinion about breastfeeding in public but when you have a baby & that crying ensues. You better have a plan & quick!
Nowadays I've figured out faster ways to get the little one fed. I've also realized that the clothes you wear are a big part of it.
Here are the best steps for breastfeeding in public:
1. Plan your day out according to what your baby can handle. (If it's a snowstorm, rainstorm, too cold, too hot or your little one is just having a fussy day, listen to their cues. No need to stress yourself out for a trip that's inevitably going to effect your milk supply.)
2. Have an action course for the trip i.e. knowing where you are able to breastfeed freely & comfortably. (This is a jewel for you and baby. You will both be happy with the end result. A couple of great apps that can help with that is www.pumpspotting.com& www.MomsPumpHere.com)
3. Baby carriers, nursing bras & breastfeeding covers are your friend along with the clothes you wear for it. I've learned how to breastfeed my baby without flinching. The secret is having easy access clothes & bras. ( My Ergobaby carrier has a cover that I utilize more than ever now.) If you're baby is tummy to tummy in the carrier u can feed him without taking him out.
4. If your baby is having a fit about eating & you feel a meltdown coming on, breeeeeeeathe. Steps 1,2,3 should help you significantly. (If you can birth a baby, this is a walk in the park.)
Congratulations to you all on being amazing!!!
You can follow Jwa's adventures & thoughts on her blog called The Struggle to Pulchritude at www.jwastar.wordpress.com. Also follow her social accounts on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, & Tumblr with @JwaStar or Google+ with Jwa Star.