Friday, May 8, 2009

Discretion and the Boob

I am a horrible public breastfeeder. If you have been around me while I am nursing, you have no doubt been flashed, either significantly or subtly. I am sorry about this. It is something I am working on. Those of you who have not nursed babies before may assume that it is no big deal. You have seen women out and about nursing holding a baby, covering themselves discreetly, and carrying on a conversation or sipping a coffee. It looks easy. Well, I will have you know that these women are miracle workers.

Zosia was not a great breastfeeder-- she had a hard time latching on and staying on, which meant that I had to "work at it" to keep her nursing properly (aka: repeatedly remove and re-insert the breast). And she was constantly kicking, writhing about even while nursing. If I tried to cover her up, I would have to look under the blanket repeatedly, and if that didn't make covering up difficult, Zosia kicked off the blanket half of the time anyway. So with her, I more or less avoided breastfeeding in palces that would be really awkward or just resigned myself to the fact that the world was going to see my breasts.

Now, as a mother of a toddler and newborn, I have realized that I am going to be breastfeeding in public a lot more. I'm around people, out and about with Zosia, and don't have the luxury of sneaking away to a private place. So, I am giving this whole "discreet nursing" thing another try. And I think I've been making some headway. Of course, I have a different baby I'm working with, which, this time, makes it easier. But there are a few tricks I've picked up:

1) If you're covering up with a blanket, tuck the blanket in on the shoulder opposite the breast that you are nursing from (as opposed to the same shoulder which is what I always used to do). I came upon this by chance, but it makes looking at your baby much easier and makes it harder for the blanket to fall down.

2) I have seen, but not tried, "nursing covers," which are sort of like aprons made for nursing. I'm totally going to try to make one/ buy one on the cheap, so I'll let you know how it goes (the picture above is one such cover).

3) Prop the baby up using the arm on the same side as the breast you are nursing from. At least when the baby is little enough, you can more or less support their entire weight with your arm, and it's more comfortable and easier on your back than slouching down to the baby.

I would absolutely love to hear any more tips out there on nursing in public... I have quite a ways to go. And I'll keep you posted on progress!

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