Wednesday, September 24, 2008

On matters of discreet breastfeeding

As my pregnancy counter continues to tick on, and my due date draws nearer and nearer - it seems both so close and so incredibly far! - I continue to think about matters which will be important to me as a new mother, such as breastfeeding.

Since this is the first time around for us, I have no idea how things will go for me - will my baby latch easily? How often will she need to eat? Will I produce enough milk? Fortunately for me, I'm in a supportive environment of experienced women - my mother, grandmother and mother-in-law - who all breastfed their babies, and see breastfeeding as the optimal, healthy, normal thing to do. Recently, my grandmother gave me a speech on the benefits of breastfeeding that wouldn't shame a La Leche League member - quite interesting, if you consider the fact that her youngest child is now close to 60 years old! That is not to say my family is fanatic about breastfeeding. We can and do realize that sometimes things happen not the way we planned - but breastfeeding, not formula, is seen as the default option.

Yesterday I came across this post by Karen. Karen discusses something I've thought about - newborns need to be fed, on average, every three hours - and new mothers cannot be expected to be locked up in their homes for months without the possibility to go out and do errands. The obvious outcome is that sometimes, babies will be hungry while out and about with Mom. How are we to handle that?

Karen points out an outrageous attitude that exists towards breastfeeding mothers, as well as some of the suggested "solutions", which in fact aren't solutions at all. The idea of nursing in a public bathroom is insulting, yucky and seems extremely uncomfortable. Giving a bottle of formula is even worse - ideally, I wouldn't want the stuff in my house. Certainly not for matters of convenience!

I've thought of milk pumps, but obviously, it can be ineffective and time consuming - and again, ideally, I want my baby to be used to breast, not bottle. Pumping milk can be a wonderful solution for women such as my mother, who had a tiny preemie who couldn't latch. The problem solved itself close to what should have been my due date, and in the meantime, she used a primitive hand pump. However, if a baby had just been, with much effort, gently transitioned from bottle to breast, wouldn't it be disruptive to give a bottle again - even if the bottle contains Mom's milk?

On the other hand, I won't try to convince myself that breasts of a nursing mother aren't tempting to men. Obviously, they are. If my breasts are beautiful and delightful to my husband, why would I think they might be ignored by others? To me, the very thought of exposing my flesh where it might be seen by a man who isn't my husband - even if it's for feeding a baby, even if it's just for a few seconds - is absolutely mortifying.

Of course, this only refers to being seen by men. I would have no problem at all nursing in front of other women, or small children, and honestly don't understand why a woman would feel uncomfortable at the sight of another woman nursing her child, if no men are present.

I must say that from what I hear, the situation in Israel is better than in other countries. Breastfeeding is common and normal, and almost every shopping center I know has a nursing/diaper changing room. But there are still plenty of situations when a nursing room is unavailable. What if you are doing errands around town? What if you are in the bank? What if you are on a long bus trip?

Obviously, since I have zero experience, I can't provide answers to these questions. I'm convinced it will work out somehow. If I have a good nursing relationship with my baby - and I intend to do anything and everything to make it work - I optimistically believe it won't be disrupted by the simple fact of me needing to go out sometimes.

66 comments:

Viv said...

Interesting topic. From experience I can say that as you get comfortable with feeding your baby (and this can take some weeks or months) you can learn to breastfeed without exposing any unwanted flesh :-)

I would suggest googling for a breast feeding cape, which can provide discretion when out and about, a shawl can do the same thing.

I think that it's great that you are in a supportive environment, it not too bad here in New Zealnad, but could be better. A grat book to read that can help you prepare for breastfeeding is "The womanly art of breastfeeding" by Sheila Kitzinger.

Jennifer said...

Anna,
I am still nursing my almost 14-month old baby and have certainly not been locked-up at home in all that time! My baby didn't like a blanket over her (since I never did that at home), so I would find booths or tables in the back of restaurants, nurse in my car, wear nursing tanks and a loose fitting shirt.

I actually found that with the tank and loose shirt, no one could ever see anything - at all. I just waited to pull my shirt up until Charlotte was directly in front of the breast. I can do this in front of my own father, and he doesn't even know I am nursing her!

I speak in past tense though because my daughter is too interested in the world around her now to nurse in public. That's okay though... she is down to about 5 times a day, and 3 of those are overnight.

I can't wait to read your birth story!
Jennifer

Mrs. Anna T said...

Jennifer - I can't wait to "read" my birth story, too! Hehe. :-)

CappuccinoLife said...

Just in case you have babies like mine, you should be aware that three hours between feeds is a *long* time for a newborn, and many eat much more frequently than that.

I have nursed three babies to 16 months (and the last one is apparently going to break that record!) and I was out shopping with them by week 2 after the birth. Even though mine wanted to eat every 1-1 1/2 hours, it never kept me home. Instead of doing marathon days with 6 different activities over the course of 3 hours, I would do short trips every day. If I fed the baby just before leaving, I could usually finish grocery shopping and get home before he needed to eat again. If not, I sat in the van and fed him there.

I haven't found it all that difficult to nurse discreetly. For newborns, using the baby sling was great, and I could nurse them while walking around even. Otherwise, it hasn't been that hard to find a quiet corner and turn myself towards the wall while the baby latches on. Once he's eating, nobody can see anything anyway. Even a small burb cloth is more than enough to arrange over any flesh that might be showing.

Anonymous said...

Hello Anna,

You are soooo wise to be thinking of the breastfeeding hurdles ahead of time. This is your Ohio friend who has commented before...the one with 7 kids one of which is our new baby boy....

I have nursed 5 of our 7 ( couldn't with the older two due to medical issues) and the more children I have had , the easier and more comfortable I feel breast-feeding in public. Family is still uncomfortable with me doing it in front of them...but I finally got the courage to feed our baby in front of my fil....discreetly, mind you! I know he didn't see a thing, even if he did figure out I was feeding his grand-son...:) Hey, I figure the grandparents should be happy their grandchild is getting the best!

My babies too never liked having a blanket or anything else covering them....especially in hot weather...and they seem to like to see Mama while they eat! So, I wear loose fitting shirts that are easily pulled up and baby is fit snug against me...Our babies have eaten in public at libraries, restaurants, parks, the fair,homeschool conventions and meetings, concerts, and baseball games...hmmmm, can't think where else!! Not, not church....that's what the church nursery is for!!don't you know!?!....so every Sunday I miss most of the worship service as I am holed up in the nursery without speakers to hear anything...( I haven't had the guts to try it in the back of church, but I am considering it with our new baby)

As soon as I arrive at whatever destination ( or before) I make a plan for feeding baby if the need arises. Generally, I choose a quiet spot away from others as much as possible. Near a wall or side aisle is good, or away from general traffic...Here's a tip if you are at the mall or clothing store. Use the clothing changing rooms...I've done this without a problem...

Blessings to you and I can't wait to read your birth story either!

Your friend from Ohio

Liz said...

My girls didn't like having a blanket over them. The one thing I noticed (at least here in Florida) the more you seem nervous and fiddling around trying not to expose your self the more attention you draw. Most of the time I wore a loose button up shirt over a tank top for some coverage.

I have never seen another person breast feeding in public and the only attention I received was from older women saying that they were glad that breast feeding was not dead. :)

Kacie said...

It has been so fun to be pregnant right along with you! I feel like we think about the same things.

I just hit the 26-week mark, and I'm trying to locate some lactation services in my area, should I need some help.

Once I get the whole nursing thing mastered at home, I'll probably try to take the show on the road, so to speak.

I'd like to get some nursing tops to help (especially since it'll be winter and I don't want to freeze my belly!).

Also, I have a "belly band" which is essentially a tube top that I can wear around my waist to help hold up my maternity pants and add a bit of extra support to my belly.

I've heard that post-partum, I can just wear the band around my belly to keep that area covered when I nurse, just in case some skin becomes exposed.

Mrs. Amy Brigham said...

Yes, it certainly will work, Anna. :o) Peapod is still nursing at nearly two and I assure you I've left the house more than a few times during the past two years :P

I've never used a special cover or blanket over Peapod's head while nursing but instead wore a nursing tank underneath my clothing, plus used a sling whenever we were out & about. I practiced in the mirror at home, to see just how little could actually be seen and once I was sure I could nurse modestly then had no problem nursing wherever, whenever. I'd just find a quiet corner and nurse, no problem. There was a point when Peapod was around six months that she became a very distracted nursling so at this point in time I nursed in the car, fitting rooms at stores, etc but never had any issue finding a place to nurse her.

On a funny note, I only had one issue with "nursing in public" during these entire two years. One day I was nursing in the lounge area of a department store restroom. I was sitting in a chair with my back turned to the rest of the bathroom. A young woman wearing a very, very low deep v-neck took it upon herself to come into the room, look directly at me, and then mention how "dirty" this was and that I needed to "cover up." I kindly told her I'd cover up when she cover up. It was only fair right?! She wasn't amused. ;o)

may said...

I have a friend who kept a breastpump as a "just in case". Although she never liked using it much and didn't use it very often, it did allow her husband to do an odd feed although I have to say that she didn't like this much either. (She always said that not only was breastfeeding more convenient and better for the baby than formula, but she liked the fact that it was only her who could do it and get that special closeness with her baby).

Having a breast pump did mean however that if she ever did have to go out without the baby for a short time she could leave her baby with her husband, knowing that her baby was properly fed and of course she would be able to avoid the pain of unexpressed milk.

Once when she was weaning her second baby, she and her husband went on an overnight trip for their anniversary and left their children (including the baby who was being weaned), with their grandparents. She had expressed enough so that the baby would not be hungry and thought that it wouldn't be too bad for her because of course by this point, she wasn't producing as much. So when she realised that she had forgotten one of the bits for the pump, she wasn't too bothered until it got so painful that she had to make an emergency dash in to a store to buy another one. She was quite eloquent when she described the relief of having expressed that milk. So I'd say get one, just in case.

I really don't see why people have a problem with breastfeeding. I have to say that I routinely look away or if it's my friend breastfeeding I look her in the eye (frankly, it's amazing how many men don't realise that your eyes are not located at bosom level!), not because I am disgusted, but because I don't want the breast-feeding mother to feel uncomfortable or self-conscious. Although this is of course what your breasts are for, it's not as if you would ever expose that part of yourself in public for any other reason (or at least I would not) so I assume that whilst the mother is doing so for an entirely reasonable and proper purpose, she may nonetheless feel a little self-conscious. Good manners and respect would therefore seem to indicate that you should look away and I would hope that this would not be intepreted as disgust.

I have to say that if it were me, I would prefer to be somewhere private or reasonably quiet when I breastfed, but hey, sometimes you just can't choose these things and once your baby is hungry, it's not as though you have any other option. I should have thought that people would object to a screaming baby more than a quick flash of flesh.

Btw, Mrs Brigham - that's a beautiful picture of you and your family.

Rachele said...

Dear Anna,

It is beautiful your family is so supportive. Initially, while you and baby are learning I would stay in or with family and throw modesty out the window. When breastfeeding is well established there is really only a second or two when the baby is latching on, that you are very slightly exposed. Once baby is latched no one will be able to see anything "important" although a bit more skin will be showing than you are accustomed to. One thing I very much recommend to the mom's I teach are nursing camisoles, they snap down in the front. The nice thing about them is that if you have a shirt you have to lift up to nurse, your abdomen is still covered.

I tend to think most of the products out there designed to make breastfeeding modest just shout "look at me, I'm breastfeeding". If you use a baby wrap though, you can be utterly discreet as many a woman wears her babe in a wrap.

Also, don't count on three hours between feedings. Two to three is more common in the beginning for BF babies, and some babies want to nurse hourly. It doesn't last forever like that though. =)

If you have trouble with your milk supply please e-mail me privately. There are natural supplements and medications that will safely boost your milk supply.

The best indicator of your supply is your baby's wet diapers. There should be one on day of life one, two on day two, three on day three and 6-8 per day after that so long as your baby has no other issues.

Peace,
Rachele

Mimi said...

my daughter (who breast fed 5 babies) had a beautiful scarf (large) that she used to drape herself while nursing...and it was always in the diaper bag when she went anywhere...
the older children would get "the Baby scarf" for her when the baby wanted to eat...
the babies always became attached to the "nursing scarf" and would rub their faces with it when wanting to go to sleep..if they were out anywhere...
don't worry...you will fall into it very naturally...

Zeljka said...

It is really easy to breastfeed discretly! T Shirt or some elastic or loose upper part is great - even better than specially designed nursing clothes. Just put baby in your arms, than lift t-shirt, latch - and voila. Baby covers part of the breast, t-shirt covers the other part. You can hold baby's arm and put it over baby's head - it makes all sight even more discrete.
Good luck!
ps I enjoy your blog, I read it every day!
Zeljka, Croatia

Ways of Zion said...

Hello Anna

Since I have nured the other 2 until they were 18mths and am nursing Bet-el right now I thought I'd share some tips that we use to make it much easier! recieving blankets and too small for soverup I've found and so I make nursing blankets by simply hemming a 1 yard by 1 yard square piece of baby material. It is nice cause you can buy it at the fabric store in this size so you don't have to cut! Then I tuck part of it behind me and up over my shoulder and then over baby and underneath so that way to are MORE then covered!

Another thing I have found to be invaluable is to wear sweater sets. The top with matching cardigan. This way the cardigan is also helping to cover all of what is going on and with a blanket as well it just looks like you are rocking baby to sleep!

I never have bothered with special nursing tops, they are expensive and so obviously nursing tops that I was embarressed to wear them. I just make sure I am COMPLETELY covered and pull of my top on the one side.

Oh and cloth diapers are the absolute best for burp cloths as they obsorb so much.

I hope that this helps. Last night hubby and I were out for dinner and there was a group of young men eating next to us so I excused myself and sat in the car, much less stressful. I find that if I'm not relaxed I have a problem with letdown (the milk coming out).

If you have any questions feel free to post on my blog and I'll try to answer asap.

Blessings!

Ways of Zion said...

Oh and that book "the womanly art of breastfeeding" is SO good! i would recommend reading it while you are still preggy!

Canadian said...

When my mother had to breastfeed in public, she covered up with a light blanket.

I think breast pumps are fine. Obviously the breast would be used the vast majority of the time, but for the occasional time when you can't bring the baby with you, when you have to leave it with a relative or a babysitter, it does the job. I believe my mother used to freeze breast milk for these occasions. I don't think she had any trouble going back and forth between bottle and breast. It wasn't a very frequent occurrence anyway, so the babies were definitely used to breast not bottle.

may said...

OK, this is off-topic but I wondered what people thought about this? Is this like the "belly band" that kacie was talking about? It looks like an instrument of torture to me but then the webpage claims therapeutic uses ...

http://www.lisakline.com/Kids/details/sBB1000-AC

Beth M. said...

I found nursing discretely without some sort of cover to be much more difficult than some of the other commenters here. Because I had trouble with nipple pain and cracks, due in part to a poor latch, I often needed to take my daughter off and help her to latch on again, especially for the first few months. She would also come off on her own and need help getting back on. No matter how well your clothes cover you, if baby suddenly pops off, at least a small portion of your breast will suddenly be hanging out.

I didn't find a plain blanket to work very well as a cover because I needed to be able to see what I was doing and have both hands free to help my daughter latch on. If you only have to do this once, it's not a big deal, but since our early nursing sessions often involved many on and offs (see above), this was not practical.

My solution: a nursing cover. At first I bought one from http://bebeaulait.com/ But I found these to be a bit expensive for what they are, so I have since figured out how to make my own. Basically these covers consist of a rectangle of fabric, with ties to hold it around your neck, and a stiff plastic collar. The stiff collar is the key - it makes the collar stick out a bit so you can see your baby nursing (and baby can see you) while still covering you. The ties around the neck mean the cover stays in place but leaves your hands free. If you are interested in making one of these for yourself, I would be happy to give you more detailed instructions.

I would also like to add that you may find your personal feeling towards modesty will change somewhat after giving birth and breastfeeding. (I am in no way promoting immodest behavior or indiscrete nursing, just noting that feelings change.) Once you've given birth, with doctors and nurses (male or female), some of whom are complete strangers, watching you, it's just not such a big deal. While I was still in the hospital, I was nursing my daughter very indescretely in the privacy of my room when a male nurse came in to collect the dirty laundry. It didn't even phase me. Given the opportunity I certainly would have covered up, but having this happen accidently didn't leave me mortified as it would have before.

I would also like to suggest that you look around for a La Leche group or a breastfeeding support group in your area. Even if you are already getting support and advice from family (which is fantastic!) it's nice to have a breastfeeding group because it provides a chance to get out of the house and have some social interaction, while being able to take your baby with you and nurse freely. I have no idea whether there is such a group in your area, but if there is it's worth checking out.

justme27 said...

My mom nursed all six of us kids. She got to the point that she could grocery shop on quiet days at the store wile nursing. She'd nurse while pushing the cart!

Everyone assumed the baby was sleeping. People even said "oh, the baby is sleeping." She'd say, "no the baby is eating."

She was asked to leave a Catholic gift store one day because she was nursing on a bench. I don't think we ever went back to that store!

I think practice will make perfect. When they're small, a sling can make the whole process unnoticable.

Beth M. said...

I'd like to echo what a few others have said about frequency - 3 hours is a lot. My daughter often nursed every hour during the day. She went much longer a night, so it was worth it.

Nursing frequently is particularly important if you are concerned about your milk supply. If you don't seem to have enough milk the answer is to nurse as much and as frequently as possible - this will tell your body to make more. There are herbs and medicines that help boost milk supply, but some mothers are allergic to these and others find that it is only a temporary fix - if they stop taking the medications their milk supply drops again. In the long run it is much better to work with the natural supply & demand process.

Also, someone commented that nursing tops are too obviously for that purpose. I have not found that to be the case - it might be obvious to me, but everyone else is clueless. Although, that may depend on the tops you get or where you get them from. That said, nursing clothes are a luxury, not a necessity. A tank top with a looser shirt over top will work just as well.

Andrea said...

It's so funny, I just had this conversation with my housemate. We started off discussing how tricky breastfeeding might be for women of different shapes, since women with larger busts would likely have a trickier time extending their arms to fit the baby's head between breast and arm. She demonstrated the hold she had found most useful when her daughter was still an infant, and then we got to discussing nursing pillows, which are great when you're home, but apparently less convenient when you're out and about. I asked if she had ever used a poncho or shawl to cover up (in the autumn here they're a common sight, so if I were to have a baby at the end of the summer it's probably one option I'd consider) and while she said she hadn't, she told me about a friend of hers who wore her baby in a wrap and was able to walk about grocery shopping while her little one fed, with nobody looking twice at her. It sounded like an ideal little arrangement-- efficient AND discreet! I'll be looking forward to hearing what you figure out works best for you once your little girl is here :)

Lady M said...

I nursed both of mine until they were 18 mos. and plan to do the same with the baby scheduled to come out next week. I never had anyone say anything negative to me about it, but I was usually well covered. I did have a positive comment from an older lady once and that boosted my confidence more than anything.

Interestingly, my husband was more of a red flag as to what was going on than anything else, lol! It used to freak him out if we were at the mall and baby was hungry. I could get the baby latched on and covered very easily, but he would hover and try to block the view with a blanket, etc. I finally pointed out to him that he was more of a banner calling attention to the situation than anything I did, lol! However, by 6 mos., both of my children considered any kind of blanket on them a flag to wave while they nursed, lol!

I loved the response that Mrs. Brigham gave to the negative comment she got. That would be precisely my response as well! I have already considered the clothing factor into my response these days - I figure if they can let people into stores/restaurants/etc. who are exposing their pieces and parts, etc. then they should have no problem with modestly covered me nursing my baby. I am also older now (40 and 7 years since the last time I nursed) and less tolerant to what I consider shenanigans from the clueless.

I am well endowed and so some of the many suggestions you have received for clothing coverups, etc. do not work for me, but even so, I have always been able to nurse discretely.

I have to add, as well, that I have pumped in the past. I did not work FT with either of my children, but did work PT at nights and needed to pump to make sure my husband had at least one bottle to cover the 4 hours I was gone. I used the Avent ISIS pump - it is a manual pump, but it worked beautifully and quickly! I plan to use it if needed with this little one....speaking of, I need to sterilize it between here and next Tuesday, lol! There is an easy nesting thing I can do today - woohoo!

Rosemary said...

Hi Anna,
I breastfed my 4 children until they were well over a year old. When they were newborn, they usually nursed every 2 hours during the day (on average). There weren't any nursing capes back then (that I knew of) but I used a receiving blanket to cover. I also wore tops that were lose and pulled up from the bottome. I wore ponchos a lot over my shirts, and they really did a great job of covering. La Leche League helped me grow confident with nursing in public. As babies grow older, they do become more interested in what is going on around them, and it was a bit more difficult to keep covered. By then, though, the length of time between feedings was longer, and I could plan around them. I nursed in planes, church, stores, restaurants, etc.--all very discreetly, of course.
I think I mentioned in an earlier post that our first grandchild is due a few weeks before your little one. I am so looking forward to both births!

Mrs. Anna T said...

About the way women dress today: yes, it's outrageously immodest. Yes, it's probably much more provocative than an innocent nursing mother. But still, that's not what would guide or change my modesty standards. Our religious beliefs are pretty clear on what might be exposed in public, nursing or otherwise, and no area of breasts or stomach files under what is allowed to be seen.

Again, this refers to *men*. I have no idea why a *woman* would ever allow herself to make a rude comment in a situation like Amy described. When a woman is only around other women, what can be more natural than to nurse freely? Honestly, I wouldn't even bother to cover up (though I wouldn't expose anything unnecessarily), if I knew I'm not making other women uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you'll do fine, Anna. And you've received so many good comments & suggestions here. If I had an infant now, I think I would try one of the slings. It seems that it keeps the baby nice & close to mama, & allows a certain freedom for both. As it was, nursing my three presented some trouble upfront (latching problems, cracked nipples, mastitis), but as far as modesty goes, I really had no problem. If anyone had a problem with me, I never heard about it. I used a lightweight blanket for cover; I'm sure people could figure out what was taking place under that blanket, but other than going into hiding, I really couldn't see any better way to handle feeding my babies.

Brenda

Morag said...

Dear Anna,
I applaud your commitment to nursing your baby. In the early 80's I nursed my two children and had to hazard some discouragement from women of the previous generation who had been talked out of breastfeeding by the medical establishment. One them was the nurse (!) in the hospital when I had my first baby. But so many of that generation had general anesthesia with childbirth that left the newborn too groggy to nurse well for the first days when the mother needed the vigorous suckling to stimulate her milk. Let no one discourage you with suggestions you are not producing enough milk. What most new mothers need to know is that actual milk, per say, generally doesn't come come in for the first couple days. What the new mother produces is colostrum, a thick serum like fluid full of the mother's natural and acquired immunities that helps protect her baby from infection. It also conditions the baby's still immature digestive system and primes it for the true milk that follows. Your baby will indeed probably need to nurse hourly for the first 2 or 3 days until your milk comes in. Rachele is right. Go by the presence of wet diapers. If you are well nourished, hydrated and healthy you will have enough milk. That's how God intended it. These are the days you need to rest and devote yourself completely to bonding with your baby. A newborn baby's stomach basically has the same capacity as a small egg. That why they need to nurse so often. I actually didn't go out for a month after my babies were born. By then they were going longer between feeding and their immune system was much stronger. I figured that was the part reason behind the Bible's period of "uncleaness" for a new mother. So there wouldn't be any social expectations on her. I considered it a mercy not to have to be out in public for a while when I was still getting used to it all. It's the biggest change that will happen to your body since you yourself were born and you really need to give yourself time to adjust as well as heal.
A blanket doesn't have to completely cover the baby's head, it can be folded up into a fence or wall around baby and breast without blocking baby's view of your face. A pillow is great support for nursing at home. A sling will provide support elsewhere.
Thirst--Milk letdown brings on a powerful thirst. Always keep something to drink with you. It will help keep your milk flow up too. I agree with the reader who said not to get into the whole herbal thing. Just lots of water. I don't have you pegged for a drinker, but while you are nursing no alcohol. I know some women swear by Guinness, but the alcohol does go into the milk. Also be aware that some foods are rumored to cause colic in baby through the breast milk. The same foods notorious for causing big people gas. :0
Get some cocoa butter, one jar for home, one for baby bag. Always wash the milk and saliva off your nipples, pat dry and cocoa butter them to help prevent cracks. Start now to 'toughen' your nipples by rolling and gently pulling on them.
Be aware that breast pumps have to be very carefully cleaned, they need special brushes, and sterilized or you and baby could wind up very sick. I never thought they were worth the trouble. I learned to hand express my milk for the very few times I needed to be absent while I was nursing. A La Leche League leader can show you how.
Prayers for you and precious baby. I can't wait to see her.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Morag: I'm aware of the fact that in the first few days, I'll only have colostrum, and that's fine because that's the only thing my baby needs.

I don't drink any alcohol during pregnancy except for a sip of wine on Shabbat, and intend to go on the same way while breastfeeding.

Gombojav Tribe said...

Anna,

I've breastfed five children so far. Number six is due in January. Here's a couple tips:

1. Layered clothing. Also my grandmother has made me several cute dresses that have discreet openings for breastfeeding. You can probably find some patterns online.

I never really liked those nursing capes and blankets. It's HOT here in Southern Califonia (the day my first son was born it was 112!) so covering up with yards of extra material was not appealing. But, wearing a t-shirt or tanktop and then a button up shirt over it has worked well.

2. When nursing in public keep in mind that where you look is where people will look. If you stare down at your baby and breasts everyone that passes you will do the same. But, if you keep your eyes up and make eye contact with people and look away from the baby, people passing by will too. Often people won't even know that you're nursing!

3. Teach your baby from the beginning to latch on his/her own--(without you having to always insert your breast into his/her mouth)--thereby making it a one-handed job.

4. Make sure you have a nursing bra you can work with one hand.

Hope these little tips help!

Blessings,
Daja

Gombojav Tribe said...

Anna,

I forgot one more great tip! Learn to nurse in a sling! I have a Maya Wrap. The baby sleeps in it and I carry the baby around. So, when the baby is nursing it looks exactly the same! No one knows! Plus the sling generally covers up any skin. And the Maya Wrap sling (I have used about six different slings, but Maya is my favorite.) has a long extra piece of material that can be brought up for extra coverage if needed.

I LOVE that thing for nursing in public!

Jennifer said...

Hello Anna~

I, too, have successfully nursed our children in public, while still keeping modest. I think societies reaction to nursing in public is changing, albeit slowly.

I have found a wonderful cover that works great anywhere and at any age of your child. Go to e-bay and type in "nursing cover". There are many different types to choose from. My favorite is called "hooter hiders" (no, I didn't make that up! That is what they are called! Not the greatest marketing idea....). It has a strap that goes around your neck, so your little one can not rip the cover off and expose stuff (as older ones tend to do). Plus, there is boning at the top that bows out, so you can keep eye contact with your little one the whole time. And it is made with cotton material, so it is not heavy and hot over your little one (or you). The air can go through it quite easily.

I must confess, though, that I couldn't pay the price for one. I studied many different pictures and made my own (I couldn't find any boning, so I used what I had around: electrical wiring in the plastic casing. :0) ) I really do enjoy this one. And it is by far the best and easiest I have ever used.

One other thing I was going to mention is that out of all the diaper bags I have used (and there have been many!!) LLBean has the best. Since I have toted a diaper bag continuously for the past 7 1/2 years, I have gone through my share of sizes and types of bags (not to mention that my children are not the most gentle with things). I received this one as a gift and it is fantastic! I can't say enough about it! It is roomy enough for two in diapers, color books and crayons for the older ones, wipes, medicines .... It really is a good bag. Plus it's not made of cheap material, so it stands up to abuse and the inside/outside wipes off easily. $39 is a bit much for a diaper bag, but if you could put it on your "wish list" or if you're able to buy it yourself, it is worth the investment. Trust me.

Jennifer D

Marianne said...

Hi Anna,

I'm so glad you're in a supportive breastfeeding environment. My mom - in fact, her whole family - is extremely grossed out by breastfeeding, making these first 8 months very difficult. But, I've been blessed with my mother-in-law being VERY supportive.

I had a great deal of trouble breastfeeding for the first month. My son (nearly 8 months) still fusses when he latches and sometimes I have to change sides as many as four times per feeding. But, it's been amazing and wonderful.

I live in Chicago and almost every mom I know breastfeeds, but none of them does so in public. I wish we had a better attitude about breastfeeding, and that it didn't seem abnormal.

Oh --- and as a work-outside-the-home mom, pumping is the bane of my existence! Haha. It really is hard and so frustrating. Stealing a half hour away from work only to end up with 3-4 ounces sometimes brings me to tears.

Anonymous said...

Hello Anna,

Just thought I'd comment; two things that I've found really help.
1. I've seen nursing tanks mentioned here, I can't recommend them enough. The are comfortable under all kinds of clothing and keep your tummy covered when you lift your shirt. Plus, as an added bonus, they tend to pull your tummy in a bit right after delivery, so you'll have a bit of support for that area in those early post-partum days. I bought mine from www.bravadodesigns.com but I think you can find them on ebay as well.
2. I knit myself a nursing cover. It's light and stretchy and doubles as a baby blanket when needed. The pattern is very simple and can be adjusted by three stitches either up or down as needed:

With size 6 needles (Canadian conversion), cast on 90 stitches.
1st row - K3 P3 to end of row.
Repeat until desired length. It's best to knit until it's shawl length.

I find usually about six balls of yarn work for this pattern, 100g/3.50z each. It might seem at first that the pattern will be too narrow - don't worry, as it's knitted out, it's easy to see how stretchy it is. Pick something soft and easy to work with in a color that works for your entire wardrobe, that way you'll only need one!

Take care,
Emmy

Betsy said...

I've found that nursing in public really isn't that hard. When the baby is brand new and just learning to nurse the first few weeks you shouldn't be running around very much anyway. You'll need to rest and recover and try to catch sleep when you can. Keeping all activity to an absolute minimum during at least the first three weeks is very important and helps your body and emotions recover and lessens the impact of post-partum depression. Don't be ashamed to get lots and lots of help during that time! Let your husband do the dishes and your mom do the laundry and your neighbor cook and eat simple meals. Accept it gratefully and then you can in turn help someone else when she's had her baby. It really does make mom and baby healthier sooner.

After my babies were a little more stable I used large receiving blankets to cover up. I found that that standard 36 inches wasn't big enough for larger babies who squirm, so I made my own that were 42-44 inches out of cheap thin flannel. I just bought it, cut it, and did a simple hem or zig zag stitch around the edge. Fast and easy. The larger blankets make swaddling easier as well. With a blanket that large you can tuck it behind you and lean on it for more stability. I often sit in the car, the fitting rooms of clothing stores, or a bench facing away from the crowd and never had too much problem. After awhile you know all the nooks in your regular errand places. Also you can plan a little your order of events and that helps. Make the stops where nursing is harder first right after you've fed your baby and save the places with great accommodations for around the time of the next feeding. Even if your baby eats frequently this usually works. I found that layered shirts worked very well with a nursing bra. Even better are the nursing camisoles because they unsnap up top and your middle is still covered.

If you get your baby used to nursing in a certain position at home with a blanket that will make them more comfortable with nursing calmly in public in the same situation.

If you like to wear dresses, start looking now for dresses with buttons or other ways to nurse in a larger size than you wore before you were pregnant. I get very tired of skirts and tops all the time and it's nice to wear a full dress for a change.

Anonymous said...

The trouble with "transition" from breast to bottle is overblown; pump some of your own milk, and you'll have a handy way of keeping the child fed without worrying about what you're feeding her. Hold her as nearly as possible to the way you would hold her while nursing. If she's a good nurser to begin with, you'll be set.

For the record, while of course I would never object to a woman nursing, I find it distasteful in public. I also was not nursed myself, as my mother was extremely ill after my birth--and we are as bonded, and I am as healthy, as could be. A lot of the breastfeeding mythology, let's face it, has to do with women's desire to "authenticate" themselves through childbirth and its attendant rituals (which I personally think is nonsense), and less to do with what the real result will be for the child.

Bethany Hudson said...

Anna,
My best advice to you would be to buy or make a baby sling. This is great not only for breastfeeding in public but for hands-free breastfeeding at home. In the beginning, it can take a newborn up to an hour to nurse. Then you've only got a short while before she'll need to feed again! So you could be spending 12 hours a day just nursing!

If you put the baby in the sling, you can lift your shirt for her to nurse. This alone is pretty good coverage, but I would suggest tossing a blanket over your shoulder, as well, to make certain that everything is well covered. I didn't want to purchase special nursing clothes, so this is what I did and it worked like a charm.

Unfortunately, anywhere you go, people are still likely to stare. But, when a baby's gotta eat...! I used this technique at the library, the park, the mall, the middle of church, you name it! Most people never noticed. It also works very well for situations like being at the bank, which you mentioned, because it keeps your hands free for signing checks, etc.

~Bethany

Anonymous said...

3 hours? I wish! Sometimes my daughter wants to eat every hour!! I have to tell you, breastfeeding is not as wonderful as I thought. It tends to be physically draining on me. However, as to feeding in public, I found something called a "hooter hider" which seems to work rather well. But really when it comes down to the needs of your child, she is more important than your modesty.

Seeking Imperfection said...

Hi Anna,

I don't have children yet, so I have little to contribute to this discussion. But, I did want to pass along a link that I've seen and heard referenced quite often. It is
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/index.html

Hope all is well!

-Jacqueline

Anonymous said...

My sister just returned from the States (to Israel), and she was just appalled at the attitude there toward nursing mothers.

Luckily, here in Israel, I have never heard of any cafe or restaurant or library or any establishment telling a woman she can't nurse in public. Walk through IKEA and you can sometimes catch a mother feeding her baby on one of the couches for sale.
Of course, I'm sure this doesn't happen in the ultra-Orthodox neighbourhoods, but even there, breastfeeding is done freely and openly when only women are in the room.

The whole opposition to breastfeeding in public is very puritan. I think a big attempt should be made at discretion by the mother, but understand how difficult it can be with a squirmy baby. I can't believe there are women who claim it makes them uncomfortable to see a breast! As for men, luckily it's still legal to breastfeed in public, so as Karen stated so well....just be a gentleman and look away.

I breastfed my last till she was over 2 (still trying to wean her now...) Personally, I tried to avoid feeding her in public, because I'm insanely self-conscious. My Israeli husband and in-laws always thought it was very puritan of me.
(I never did resort to bathroom feedings!! That is disgusting. I would just retire to back rooms, or park the car somewhere quiet and nurse there. And I found pumping to be pure torture....not everyone can handle it, and I tried every pump on the market. Just as not everyone can feed hands-free....it really depends on your build).
Anyway, I staunchly support the right of less self-conscious women to breastfeed (hopefully slightly discreetely) in public. It's healthy and natural and it wouldn't bother me in the least if my husband or preteen boys caught a glimse of young mom and babe.
Tammy

Anonymous said...

Anna,
I recommend having a simple breast pump on hand, not just for emergency bottles, but in case you produce more milk than needed. I woke up in extreme pain one morning around 4 am, knew the baby wouldn't wake up until 6:30 or so, and was so thankful to be able to quickly relieve the engorgement. Plus it will be nice for your husband and mother to get to feed the baby sometimes, and it is nice to have the option. My son did fine with both breast and bottle until about five months, when he went off the bottle altogether and preferred to wait for the real thing.
I recommend lots of non-wired nursing bras - they get yucky quickly in the early days, and you have to wear them day and night, so it's good to launder them frequently. As for discretion, that was something I was never able to master - I couldn't seem to get him going without pulling everything out and waving it in the air, so to speak, so we'd just run quick errands if necessary between feedings.
I cannot understand why someone would find the sight of a mother nursing a baby anything other than dear - how is it distasteful? I don't get that reaction at all.
I know you'll do fine, it's just a matter of figuring out what works for you and your baby, and having offered advice, I would also like to add the following disclaimer: Don't take too much advice. Every baby is different, and you know yours better than anyone. You will know better than anyone else what is right for her - trust your instincts, because they are correct, and God wired you this way on purpose.
Karis

Thuis en onderweg said...

Hi Anna,

I agree with you in not wanting to show anything when in public. In my experience, both as a mother and as a lactation consult, I can assure you that you and your little girl will quickly learn to feed in a manner that no one will notify (except for the sound of swallowing now and again :-)). They'll just think she is asleep.

During the first couple of weeks you and your baby will learn the technique and after this learning period it will go so smoothly, that you do hardly notices it your self. For me, those first weeks were the weeks I didn't feel like going on errands :-), so it wasn't a problem at all.

The wonderful thing of breastfeeding is that you can (or have to, if you want :-))bring your baby almost anywhere and you do not have to heat bottles, etc.

You can bring a large, beautiful shawl (or a slendang if you'll use one) to cover your upperbody and if necessary help your baby latch on while no one sees anything. Depending on where you go and how you go there, you might even be able to nurse in your car, go on your errand (with your baby) and nurse when you return to your car. There are hardly things that do not let themselves be squeezed in such a program :-). Besides you're both gaining experience, you might even be more flexible with the three hour idea and notices that your child might nurse less in the mornings and more in the evenings, e.g.

In short, I think it's not so much of a problem, time'll solve it :-).

And always remember: breastfeeding is a gift of our Creator and what He made will work. If not the fast, fast, fast majority of all women were able to breastfeed, the human race would have gone extinct long ago :-).

It might cost you something (and in some cases, as your mother's (Wow!) it might cost even a lot), but it is always worth the effort, time and energy and it will pay itself of in the later months (and years).

Blessings,

Erna

Lady M said...

I should clarify from my original comment (regarding my husband and the blanket/flag thing, lol).

I was ALWAYS well covered and very discrete about breastfeeding - Nothing ever showed (I would have been horrified). I could never figure out my husband nervous Nellie behavior, but he did finally realize that he was attracting more attention than I ever would have just sitting there quietly nursing and watching the world go by.

Anonymous said...

Wow you have a lot of input here, and I don't have time to read it all so I hope this isn't a repeat but I wanted to share the things about breastfeeding that surprised me.

Before I had my first baby, I read so much about the possibility of low milk supply. I was very surprised to find that once my milk came in (about three days after birth) that I had a huge overabundance of milk. OK, I had read about the possiblity of some initial engorgement, but this way beyond my expectations. My breasts were so swollen that they were rock hard and constantly leaking. If I had a "let down", it would literally choke my baby it was so forceful. When baby came off the breast to cough, milk would spray right across the room! (BTW, I am naturally small chested, so this was a big change!) Because of all this extra milk, things got off to a very rocky start and I was very sore. All of the advice I got was the same message: "Nurse, nurse, nurse!" I now believe this was the wrong advice. My baby seemed to suffer from tummy aches and my instincts told me that she needed some time between feedings to help settle her tummy. (She swallowed a lot of air at each feeding due to the super fast flow and all the latching on/off). I was told that this over abundance of milk would even out after a couple of weeks if I would just nurse nurse nurse. So I did, and three months later it was still the same thing. I was so stressed out over it and was so low on sleep from a fussy baby that at that point I started to transition to formula.

Fast forward a couple of years to my pregnancy with baby #2. Somewhere I came across an article about what to do if you have an overabundant milk supply. The advice was to feed just as often as you are comfortable with BUT USE THE SAME BREAST for about three hours or so. So even if you just fed baby an hour ago, use the same breast as last time. This advice not only helps to slow down milk production, but the baby will get more of the "hind milk", which is the good stuff. It's where the fat and nutrients are. The "fore milk" is more watery and comes out first. It is the foremilk that is responsible for a lot of gas or colic. It hit me that my first baby had been living mostly on fore milk all those months. She was so uncomfortable nursing that I would do maybe five minutes on each side and then she would be full of gas.

Armed with this new knowledge, I was so excited to try nursing again. My baby boy was born and I had a complete repeat of engorgement. But now I knew how to handle it! I used the advice I had learned and it worked wonderfully. My milk supply got under control (and I never ran low) and my baby was happy and grew plump. I delayed introducing solid food until about 8 months, and he nursed until his second birthday. My third child is a similar success story.

I just wanted to put it out there that not everyone is in danger of "losing their milk". You may have heard of wet nurses, or women around the world who for one reason or anther need to nurse a baby who is not their own. Many women (who have had at least one baby at some point) are able to bring their milk back in with some effort. Personally, since having my first baby I can hand express a few drops of milk even when it has been two years since my last baby nursed. I am curious as to if this may be the "norm" for more people than is realized. There just seems to be a message out there that a woman's milk supply is extremely fragile (and I know that some are), but that doesn't sound like the kind of design the Lord would equipt women with. I have to think that He has provided most of us with more than enough, if we are in good health and all. But I do think that the stresses of our modern society and the pressures on women today can affect things like milk supply.

I know this was a little off topic as far as the "in public" thread, I just wanted to put this in because it is a topic that so rarely gets mentioned.

Thanks,
Beth

Anonymous said...

Hear hear! I think the way breastfeeding mothers are treated sometimes is outrageous!

I do think this issues illustrates the limitations of modesty as a value. Men have no right to expect to be shielded from all temptation if it means that I can't go swimming, can't do yardwork, must stay in my house while I am breastfeeding, etc. etc. I value modesty (for both sexes) and I like to wear modest clothing, but women's right to exist in the world is always more important than protecting men from ever seeing a bit of exposed female flesh. I respect men enough to think they can handle it. (Also, I would note that a baby's big head usually covers most of the breast anyway. I really don't think anyone can see that much, and if they can, well, it's their problem because they shouldn't be looking).

-- Pendragon

Julia said...

I had great success with the Maya Wrap. With this sling I could breastfeed my daughter in public and nobody had any idea she was nursing. I still had two free hands to help with my toddler son and whatever else I needed to do. This wrap is totally adjustable. I continued to occassionally carry her in the wrap until she was four years old when we had to walk longish distances. The Maya Wrap is a lifesaver!

Jill said...

Anna, it is so lovely to read about and follow your pregnancy. You will, I am sure, be able to breastfeed your little girl discreetly, you have received so much wonderful advice. I fed my first daughter (now 24!!), till she was 6 months, then she just didn't want me anymore! My second, now 22 !!, was a very difficult feeder, i think i was a little stressed having a 2 year old to run around after as well, so she ended up with forumula. One thing I wanted to mention, when your milk 'comes in", you may find you are quite uncomfortable and sore, well, the best remedy for this is to put icey cold cabbage leaves inside your bra, i can tell you, INSTANT relief! The nurses at the hospital did this for me, and after all these years I have never forgotten the wonderful, cool feeling of those cabbage leaves !!!

rose said...

I second the Maya Wrap sling suggestion. I used many slings but the best, by far, for nursing in public was a Maya Wrap--you can walk around hands-free and nurse your little one without anyone knowing because this particular sling has a 'tail', a large piece of cloth at the end of the shoulder that can drape over the baby for nursing or napping. When not needed it can simply be left to hang at the side. A sling also allows baby to spend lots of precious time on mama rather than in a stroller or bouncy chair etc.

Rebecca Grider said...

While I respect your reluctance to nurse in an environment where men would be witness, if the situation arises where you should have to choose between feeding the baby and possible exposure or neglecting a feeding, from every man I've ever known in my 35 years, they look upon a woman's breast during breastfeeding as a purely natural, maternal and private situation. Most men will be honorable enough to avert their eyes once they realize what is going on. And I can't imagine that any man would look upon your breast as they would should it be exposed in a non-maternal fashion - a nursing mother is not a sexual being to a man - she is first, foremost and seen only as a mother.

Steve and Paula said...

My sister in laws had a perfect solution for nursing out in public.
They each had a pull over shawl that they would slip on.
The shawls were light weight and sort of see through, so the babies had plenty of air.
Most pelope would never have guessed that the baby was nursing, since it looked like it was just taking a little nap.
Paula

Melinda B said...

I nursed both of my daugters, my first until she was 3 and my second recently weaned at 4 years old. I nursed them both in public from the very beginning and I never encountered any problems. If anything, I got a lot of wonderful comments from people! I know I was lucky, I have heard some horror stories, but I never felt the need to hide what I believed to be a very natural act between my and my baby. I never used a cape or blanket to cover up. I feel that these only bring more attention to what you are doing. I would hold the baby against me, casually lift my shirt, and pop her on, leaving my shirt to bunch up over her on top. Most of the time I don't think anyone ever knew what I was doing. I have to admit it took practice, my first few attempts with dd#1 were very stressful! But I even got so good I could quickly reach up under my shirt and unhook my nursing bra like it was nothing. I never hid, but I was discreet, and I figured that if anyone ever saw any flesh or was offended then maybe they were looking too hard or needed to look the other way.
I nursed in public, and I was very proud to do it, and happy that I could be just one more mother who was not afraid to be "out there". People need to get used to seeing a woman nurse her baby, maybe if it wasn't such a big deal more women would do it, and not resort to formula because they can't be stuck in the house for a year nursing.

hotelindialima said...

So many comments! I hope one more won't be too many! I wanted to add that I didn't like the breast pump, but I was able to express with my hand enough milk to fill a bottle if I was planning to be away from the baby for an afternoon.

I had nursing bras with silly clips, and they were more annoying than helpful, so I went back to my regular bras and just lifted up the underwire to nurse.

I usually covered the baby with a blanket, because she would sometimes get distracted while nursing, and be like,"Hey! What's that going on over there?" and break the latch. The cover helped to settle her in, but I see other Moms have had different experiences with that.

Each baby has their own personality, but have faith...I was suprised by how much came easily when I trusted my instinct.

Michelle Potter said...

There have been so many encouraging comments already, I am sure you are feeling confident by now. I'd just like to add my voice to the crowd saying that I'm sure you will learn to easily and discreetly nurse your baby. I've found that simply wearing the right shirt is usually enough, though with a blanket I can nurse while wearing *anything*. Slings are wonderful, too -- many times I have been walking around nursing a baby in a sling and not only could people not tell I was nursing, but sometimes they didn't even realize I was holding a baby!

However, I did have a slip-up recently. I guess nursing nearly constantly for the last 6 years, it's become a second nature to me and I no longer even think about it. After a grocery store trip a few weeks ago, where I was walking around with my baby nursing in the sling, I leaned into our car and pulled him off the breast to put him in the carseat. And completely shocked the young man who I had forgotten was helping put groceries into the trunk. Ooops. I am usually MUCH more discreet than that!!

Mrs. Anna T said...

Ladies, thank you for all your wonderful suggestions. I do feel the need to clarify that my concern about covering up has nothing to do with being a prude. It's a very obvious religious requirement for us, and therefore I will need to find a way NOT to be exposed more than I normally am.

Anonymous said...

While I think it's true that most men would never deliberately look lustfully at a nursing woman's exposed breast, and most men would look away once they realized you were nursing, if you do not nurse pretty discreetly it is possible to show a flash of breast or nipple that can inadvertantly cause a sexual reaction in a man (or a woman who wrestles with same-gender feelings, I suppose). True, he can then avert his eyes, but from my perspective the damage has been done.

If you can nurse in public without showing any breast, I am all for it. But either make sure you're not going to expose others to your flesh, or give fair warning so those who don't want to see don't have to. Maybe it would help to turn away from those in your company, facing a wall, to get the latch started? True, that calls attention to the fact that you're nursing, but the shame is not in nursing...it is in exposing yourself to a man who is not your husband, right? You should be proud of nursing, but still modest with your body. I know that is a tough line to walk but I'm sure that's what the Lord would have us do.

Shabbat shalom!

Nea said...

We don't have a baby (praying to be blessed with one), but I've seen something that looked pretty handy to me.

The mother had a loose longsleeved modest shirt on the top, and underneath a top with wide neckline (I guess, I didn't see that of course). When she brestfed her baby she simply pulled the upper shirt up and the neckline of the top down so the baby could eat.

That was perfectly modest, she was nursing right there in the back of the church without anything inapropriate showing.

Ace said...

Hi Anna,
This was so hard for me with my first one, I had NO IDEA what to do.

I DID nurse in bathrooms and it was horrible. However, I found using my nojo sling was a lifesaver. I also made things easy and modest for myself by wearing a tank top underneath any shirt I was wearing. This way one of the shirts can cover baby's head and the other covers me. I also always carried a cloth diaper with me and covered up with that if I needed to. They are great too for when you are nursing and the baby's face sticks to your arms. Just tuck them in the crook of your arm and then rest the baby's head on it. I nurse on demand. The baby needs to nurse alot. Think of it as training for a marathon. Newborns need to nurse all the time. They simply can't get all they need every few hours. They have to build up stamina. If it is hot or they are sick or in pain they want it more. This is a GOOD thing. Then things will start leveling off in about six weeks. Then they will hit growth spurts and teeth and they will nurse more. Nursing on demand has always worked for me and it didn't spoil my children, it made them trust me. So when they were a bit older and I taught them "No, wait until later" and gave them a snack, they believed me.

Many Blessings :)
Ace

H and S said...

Hi Anna,

I'm a little late for this conversation, but just wanted to add my own small bit. I am having my fifth baby in march and breastfed them all. Here's what I have learnt.

1. For me, breastfeeding is very painful over the first 2 weeks - tender nipples, where I dreaded each feed. The pain made my toes curl. Perseverance and encouragement from DH got me through. Childless midwives telling me "If you're doing it right, it shouldn't hurt" were SO unhelpful.

2. It's easy to breastfeed discreetly in public - what you need is confidence and layered clothing, as others have already noted.

3. I became much less embarrassed about my breasts - it is as if, when breastfeeding, they are not really "mine" - I say that in a positive way. Like my own normal breasts had gone on holiday and these special giant milky things were temporarily in their place.

4. Every child is different and it is very helpful to go into breastfeeding with no expectations of 'normal' except that it will be a challenge but well worth it.

5. Electric breastpumps are great if you need to be away from baby - otherwise don't bother. Best if you don't have to use one at all. Manual pumps are difficult, in my experience, especially if you have trouble with let-down when baby is absent (as I always have).

6. I always grieve when breastfeeding is over for each baby. The last feed is the hardest, as many mothers have said. It's bittersweet.

Good luck! I'm excited for you!!!

Selena.

H and S said...

I should add that with a first baby, as in your case, and in the first few weeks, I would not venture out in public to breastfeed until confident in latching baby onto the breast. It's really important to get the latching right, which takes time and attention to baby's mouth and the nipple, and that is NOT a discreet process. And as midwives remind us constantly, in those early days even one incorrect latch-on, if it is continued for a whole feed, can give you very painful or blistered nipples. Establishing good latching can be difficult sometimes, but it is very important for effective and discreet feeding in public.

Anonymous said...

We should be careful of blaming God for things that are really not nearly as specific and sentimental as we like to think. Human women breastfeed because female mammals were designed by Him to feed their offspring that way--that's all. Some women can do it, some can't; some have insufficient supply, and some have overabundance. I've never seen it as a "blessing", and certainly not as "dear". I'm also one of these women who prefers not to see it in public, whatever the circumstances. The point is, whatever way your child gets nourished is a good enough way. The particular method really will not make any difference years on, trust me. Love the child and take responsible care of it, and that will be pleasing to the Lord.

Oh--and I think you'll find that many men find a nursing breast appearing in public to be anything but erotic. They usually just find it awkward and unattractive. The context is not in the least sensual.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to share a great breastfeeding support site- it has SO many helpful articles! www.kellymom.com Good luck and congratulations!

Coffee Catholic said...

My problem is that my nipples have always been extremely sore, ever since they started to "bud" back when I was little. Everyone says, "oh but nipples are sore during pregnancy" but that's not the point ~ mine have ALWAYS been sore. I can't tolerate even the slightest touch to them and, like usual, doctors have never bothered to investigate why this is. It seems that "women's complaints" are always dismissed as nothing. It'd be nice to know what's going on!! Maybe then I could have had this problem fixed??

I was just going to bottle feed our baby and skip over the trauma that I know is waiting for me but everyone acts like if you don't breastfeed your baby, you're a horrible mother and your baby is going to grow up stupid and sickly and somehow dreadfully disadvantaged... arrrg!! I get so sick of hearing this!! And folk don't LISTEN. They don't hear what I'm saying. THEY did not have extremely sore breasts since childhood... they have no idea what it's like to be in pain every single day simply from wearing a bra!

I'm fighting so much with the national health service that I just haven't had the energy to fight with more folk about stupid breastfeeding. So I'm going to give it a try ~ maybe the baby will at least get the colostrum in the first day or two? And maybe, juuuust maybe, if I'm in absolute agony and everyone SEES this with their own eyes, they'll back off and let me bottle feed without the guilt tripping???? That reminds me: I need to find some good, organic powdered baby milk. If only we had a goat...

I keep trying to "toughen up" my breasts as everyone keeps telling me. It hurts so bad it makes me gag with nausea. Yeah... gee, I'm such a bad woman for not wanting to breastfeed! It's so much fun to stimulate your nipples with your fingers while gagging over the toilet from the pain. I'm in enough pain as it is with this "pubis symphasis"!! When does a woman get a break????

Though... I *do* want to breastfeed and I keep begging God to PLEASE heal my breasts... but it doesn't seem to be happening. I'd rather be a happily bottle-feeding mom then a miserable breastfeeding mom.

Coffee Catholic said...

Discreet cover:

In the event that I actually can breastfeed, I've ordered three wrap-and-snap abayas from www.almujalbaba.com - a muslim clothing shop. They fit great and they are sort of like a nursing kimono of sorts that I can wear over my regular clothes and they conceal the breast really well. I might add another snap.

http://www.al-mujalbaba.com/wrapnsnapabaya.html

Maybe those that cannot order from this place can at least get an idea and do something similar? A shorter snapping smock perhaps? It's just an idea!

If I can't breastfeed I'll still use these during the yucky winter weather so that I don't have to zip my baby under a heavy coat when I go outside. I'll add some more snaps and carry the baby in his/her sling under the abaya.

God bless!!

Jennifer said...

I've found that just some clever maneuvering with my thumb and my shirt keeps my breast from being exposed while nursing. I'm pretty much opposed to using covers for myself because nursing in "public" is so maligned in the States. I have to say as a mother of two who has been breastfeeding basically nonstop for the past 4 years, I've never been exposed in public and that's with two very twisty nursers.

If it makes you feel any better, most of the time people can't even tell you're nursing a young baby. You draw more attention to yourself when you drape a blanket over the baby. Nothing says "Hi! I'm breastfeeding!" than a Hooter-hider (that's a real brand of cover).

Megan said...

Anna - Wow, what a lot of comments on this one! I am nursing my first little one, Aurelia (10 months old). And living out in a rural area, simply making short trips and then driving home to nurse was never an option for me. A blanket didn't work for us, but there are some wonderful "nursing covers" out there that worked beautifully for the first 8 months (then Aurelia got too wiggly). "Bebe au lait" is the brand I used, and it has a nice little wire loop through the top that holds the cover out just enough so that you can watch the baby's latch and keeps good airflow going. I would say it was one of the few "necessities" as a new mom. Now I have to be a bit more creative, and often use dressing rooms if I'm caught out when she gets hungry. Of course, she also drinks expressed milk from bottles on a regular basis since she's in "Grandma-care" when I'm at work, but I never take bottles with me. We haven't had any trouble switching back and forth from breast to bottle, and we started mixing it up when she was 6 weeks old.

Judy said...

I will add my vote to the Maya Wrap. The "tail" of it is not sewn together, so it can be flung like a shawl over baby's head, and is lightweight enough that it doesn't seem to bother them. The "seat" part of the sling will also help cover your midriff. I find the best way to be completely covered while nursing is to wear a nursing camisole bra under my tops. The body of the bra stays tucked into my skirt when I lift my upper top to nurse and keeps my belly covered, and the top keeps my breast covered until baby latches on. I can be covered, although not necessarily "discreet" (as in no one can tell). None of my babies have ever been able to latch on w/o me supporting the breast with the hand not holding the baby... I'm too well-endowed. I wish the nursing camis came in my actual size - they're actually a bit small (they go up to DD cups, and I'm a G), but they do for going out. I will also sometimes wear a poncho (I have several), and that serves as a cover as well.

I've never had much trouble with milk supply.... I can even nurse through a pregnancy - although with this one I'll have to wait and see - this is the earliest I've been pregnant after giving birth (baby is only 8 months, and I'm due in May)... so far so good, though. :-)

I can't wait to "meet" your little one!!!

Brenda said...

I have nursed so many places....

After a while you just get good at it and don't care that much!

I agree about the modesty. My favorite baby gift was a very large, but thin blanket. It could be tossed over the both of us and we wouldn't sweat to death either (Texas here!). I don't believe I ever nursed in a bathroom.

Beth in Texas said...

I nursed each of my three children for about a year each, and I never did it in public (ie, around men)! I just could never manage to be completely covered (even the smallest glimpse of skin was not an option for me) and effectively feed the baby. There's a lot of burping, dripping, and general messiness while nursing. Plus, all of my kids were easily distracted, so I needed to nurse them in calm surroundings. So how did I do it? First of all, I hardly went out at all for the first two months. Recovering from childbirth is a process that must be respected, in my opinion. Then, I would go out for short trips between feedings. Eventually, if I had to be out for longer, I would nurse in dressing rooms or lounges (these are rooms next to public restrooms--I don't know if they are common in other areas) or my car. The car was used most with my youngest, and it has windows you can't see through from the outside.

I am happy for other moms to nurse discreetly in public, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Also, when my first baby was born (Abigail, now 7), I encountered just about every breastfeeding struggle you can, but eventually the Lord solved them all and the experience was such a blessing. So, even if you face challenges, know that it is worth it in the end!

Karen said...

Aww Anna thank you I feel so flattered when you link to my posts lol. I'm sorry I didn't notice til now!! I would've visited your blog sooner but the kids have been sick and I've been sick and ah. You know how it goes!!