I’ve had this post written for months. It bounces around a little too much but I feel like I should post it. So here it is …
I can’t pinpoint the thing that made me decide to breastfeed. I can remember that it was a decision, not a want. I had no idea what it would be like and it seemed weird. Fast forward two babies later and it’s a want and need. It hasn’t always been easy, but has changed my life.
Breastfeeding in your home is one thing, breastfeeding in public is another thing. I got over my privacy very quickly when I had Maximus. Breastfeeding wasn’t easy and it didn’t come naturally. We had to work at it. Lots of people helped us, in turn meaning lots of people saw me half-dressed.
My first public nursing experience was a follow-up appointment from my c-section. Granted, there were only two people in the room. But, it helped ease me into my new way of life. It showed me that it was natural and ok. It helped tremendously that my practice is pro-breastfeeding and the nurse told me that no one had any issues if I breastfed during my exam. I wonder if that woman knew exactly what she was telling me. In a way, it wasn’t just that I could feed my crying newborn that very minute, it was the acceptance that when he’s hungry he gets to eat. Regardless of where I am.
I nursed Maximus for 12 months. I was able to nurse him in public until he turned into a wiggly baby who was easily distracted. Then, we had to keep nursing to quiet places. When we were out in public, I used a nursing cover. It’s basically an apron with baby feet sticking out.
With Quinten, I use a swaddling blanket. It’s big enough and doesn’t quite shout, “I’m nursing!” So far, Quinten doesn’t love it. He’s a naturally sweaty baby so getting covered makes him get really hot. That means he can’t focus.
My experiences are pretty much the same, just easier. Easier because there wasn’t the learning curve. When things didn’t seem to be going well, I knew to try new things. The football hold worked on both of my boys when they were little. I think I used it on Maximus until he was too big and was trying to kick off the back of the couch. With Quinten, around a month old he started wiggling and not nursing very well. Instead of stressing about it, I changed him to rest across my body. Crisis averted with no tears from either of us. Lately, Quinten gets carried away cooing at the ceiling fan and basically has baby ADD. He forgets he was nursing and talks to the fan instead. This usually happens when I’m sitting on a certain part of the couch and he has a great line of vision to the fan. If it’s dark, I can turn off the light. If that doesn’t work, I switch him back to the football hold and refocus him. Or, I lay him down and let him have a good chat with the fan. Usually he gets fussy and realizes that he’s hungry. Other times he moves around a lot and can’t focus, if I give him my finger it usually calms him down.
Nursing a newborn can be a lot like wrestling a wiggly … newborn. Sometimes they go at it nicely and other times they act like a newborn. My advice? Treat each experience separately. Just like life with a toddler, some moments are precious. And, others are not.