Friday, January 20, 2012

On a boat, near a goat...

So boobs. Yeah, they have been on my mind a lot lately. It probably started most recently with the Target nursing scandal that had me in a bit of a tizzy reading all the comments on different news sites and Facebook news feeds, but this post isn't about that. Well I do have one thing about that- where on earth are all these commenters seeing nursing women "whip it out" and expose their breasts for the world to see? Some of the comments make it sound like the average breastfeeding mom pulls out a boob, plops it on a plate, and serves it up to the baby in the middle of a restaurant. If this is the norm I am clearly living under a rock!

I may not be that woman but I am a nursing mom. Watch out folks I am a nursing mom that nurses in public, without a cover! Go ahead pick your jaw up off the floor. Oh wait, I am like a million other women out there. I wasn't always this mom though.

5 years ago I knew I was going to breastfeed Maddie. It wasn't really a question, I knew it was best and I wanted to provide this wonderful gift for my daughter. And I did, for 6 weeks. At the time we were living in Washington (state) and all my friends, family and support were all the way on the other side of the country. Being my first baby I was I was in an unknown territory. I was the first of my friends to have children and I hadn't spent any sort of significant amount of time with another breastfeeding woman.

The ferry tank top. Not my first choice of clothes for that day.

I don't recall any specific issues with breastfeeding Maddie but I do know I wasn't happy. The leaking, oh the leaking! I specifically remember going out shopping a few days after Maddie was born and I proceeded to leak through my nursing pads and shirt. I was mortified. I hid in the car while my husband and baby finished the shopping. A few days later we were on the ferry headed for Seattle when once again I leaked. I planned ahead and had a spare tank with me but I was still embarrassed. I lasted 6 weeks before we broke out the first can of formula. I certainly do not regret formula feeding Maddie but if I knew then what I know now things may have been different.

After we moved back to Connecticut I begrudgingly made a new friends, hi Suzanne! I hate meeting new people, but my husband insisted we meet up with his buddy from work and his wife and it actually worked out. We have things in common, we have kids, we have husbands that get and along and worked together. Suzanne was the first person I was around consistently that was currently breastfeeding and she seemed to do it like a pro. Here was this cool chick who nursed her sweet son anywhere and everywhere without a second thought. On a boat, at the beach, playing marbles it didn't matter. If Evan was hungry he would eat.

I am crediting my (almost) 7 months of breastfeeding success to Suzanne. I didn't ask for her support but being around her gave me the (ugh) courage to nurse Z without any hesitation. If you need some boob support (not the bra kind- though if you need that check out this post by Mandy) Suzanne is your girl, she writes about boobs A LOT. 

Things have been surprisingly smooth sailing without a hiccup so far. Granted now that I say that next week I am going to wake up with a wicked case of mastitis, Zoey is going to decide to start biting and my nipple is going to fall off. God I hope not. Zoey is my little boob buddie, we have our routine and it works. Although if you have some sort of miracle lotion to take care of the nasty marks this kid has left on the ladies from all her scratching and pinching please send it my way!

Milk drunk baby smiles for Santa!

And oh my the places I have nursed! On a dolphin cruise boat. At a bazillion benches at Busch Gardens. The playground. Chick-fil-a. Standing next to a concession stand at a baseball game. The zoo (next to a goat!). Standing in line to see Santa (milk drunk babies have great smiles for Santa pictures!). The list goes on and on. A hockey game will be added to the list next week!

Every new breastfeeding mommy needs a Suzanne or their own personal breastfeeding hero (she totally deserves a cape). It may not always be milk drunk smiles and tummy tickles but the more you know the easier it will be for you to figure out what works or doesn't work for you. Does that make sense? I am not going to say breastfeeding IS the way to feed your child but hearing stories of other moms and their struggles and successes may be what you need to make it work for you (if that's what choice YOU make).

Support with Integrity

A few days ago a link to the Support with Integrity pledge popped up on Suzanne's Facebook feed which sort of put me on this tangent in the first place. I pledged. Will you? I will be a mamma that supports your choice to the boob milk no matter when, where, how long, however you choose to do it.


Suzanne said...

I might have cried a little bit reading this. I remember you and B looking at me like I had two heads when I nursed Evan while we played marbles the firs time, but bless your hearts, you never acted uncomfortable. And trust me I was NOT cool about it - it was my first baby, I had no idea what I was doing, I just new he needed to eat and my boobs was the only way it was going to happen.

I think it's amazing you're still going strong and super amazing you nursed a baby on a dolphin cruise! You're a supermom!!!

Georgine said...

I love breast feeding posts! I think a lot women have the same experience you had with Maddie. No support, no guidence, no help, no encouragement. I probably would have given up by day 6, but I found an excellent lactation nurse plus it was really important to me to nurse. But it isn't easy! And people make you feel uncomfortable when you do it. (I never used a cover. I did/do wear nursing tanks during the winter, helps cover up a cold belly and is a bit mOre modest, I suppose.). I nursed the first baby for a month shy of three years and I am at 2 years and still nursing with my little one. Though the older they get the less lilkely I am to nurse in public. I wIsh I could convince everyone to nurse. I don't understand why some of my friends think bottles are easier. My milk is always the right temp and I don't have to clean my nipples in between feedings. Have you lOoked into a necklace to keep your baby's hands busy? Thanks again for the post. Breast feeding is wonderful and I wish everyone could and would do it. I think more and more wOmen will nurse as there are more and more nursing women to lend support. Plus t is one of the few times I get to sit down during the day!

Christy said...

I nurse everywhere and get plenty of strange looks and people always asking if I want to use the bathroom. I wish I was brave enough to ask if they eat in the bathroom! All of my kids have been breastfed for at least a year.

Michelle said...

I nursed both Emily and Juliette, but had two different experiences. Both were good eaters, however with Emily I would only nurse in private, I felt so detached from what was going on around me. With Juliette, I had my mom make me a nursing cover and I nursed anywhere and everywhere and it was the best thing ever. I was able to be apart of the dinner conversation, I didn't have to stay if because she might get hungry, I even managed to nurse while we were driving,and there was no place to pull over. I have helped my sister in law and friend with nursing and I am so glad that I was able to give them the amazing gift!! Love this post and thanks for sharing :)