Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Top Three Challenges When Nursing in Public (and how to overcome them)

Source: RoSK Picture Library
Let's face it, sometimes you’re out and about when it’s time for a feeding. After a year of nursing the Bean all over the place, I thought I'd share my three top challenges when nursing in public and how I overcome them:

Newbie Latch: During the first weeks and months of nursing, there can be some extra finesse needed to get/keep baby latched on there. This goes away as you both get the hang of it, but can be super-frustrating in the moment.
Solution: Make yourself comfortable and/or find a private/semi-private place. Yes, getting comfortable is a given. But seriously, if you are like me, at this point you are stressing yourself out and worried if it’s going alright and what that means for you as a mother (hopefully you’re not like me!). It turns out that nobody is judging you and your awesomeness as a mom if there is crying or it’s not going 100% perfectly. If you feel awkward, find a more out of the way place where you can relax. 

Driven to Distraction: There comes a time when everything your baby hears or sees in peripheral vision will be WAY too interesting and nursing will grind to a halt. 
Solution: Take cover and find quiet. A nursing cover is critical at this stage, so that baby can be in his/her little cone of silence. Quiet, although not always available, is also preferred so that baby can focus. I am usually chatty (that might be an understatement!) and it helped to be alone while I nursed the Bean during this stage so that my voice and those of friends/family did not distract further.

The Prairie Dog: Yep, no other way to describe this one. You other nursing moms know what I mean. Here, your baby stops nursing and SITS UP to look around, completely abandoning the task at hand. The challenge is that you would like your girls to stay private, but baby is going to just flip a nursing cover right up. 
Solution: Alternative Coverage. What you need at this point is a top that provides good coverage and can be quickly pulled down over your boob when your prairie dog sits up. I like a the one-two combo of:
1) a nursing tank top (to cover my bare torso, but still providing easy access) . I have nursing tanks from both Glamourmom and Target- LOVE THEM. 
2) a flowy top or sweater. Fashion is on our side right now, with tons of fantastic options out there. I have seen a ton of ponchos for Fall that are going to be awesome for this! One of my favorite resources for practical and fab recommendations for moms is Ain’t No Mom Jeans. They have great info about clothes for nursing and hiding the much-hated pooch. 

Other General Tips:
· Get yourself a nursing cover: The Hooter Hider/Bebe au Lait versions have a brilliant bit of something (plastic?) that create a peep tunnel down to baby for easy viewing. There are other brands too. Or, use a blanket (Woobee or Sun Cover perhaps?) that you have on hand.
· Location, location, location: Chose the quietest, most comfortable location that you can. You will feel more at ease, the baby will be less distracted. The car, park benches, sit against a tree, etc.
· Be prepared: Have your nursing “kit” accessible and ready to roll. For me, this included a nursing cover and burp rag in a designated pocket in our diaper bag. It is always there so I don't have to desperately dig. 
· Don’t try to multi-task: Yes, it is tempting to try to email/text/talk on your phone while you nurse, and maybe you do this at home. There are extra variables while you’re out and about that may foil your plans (plans such as modesty and sanity!). I have found it better to keep it simple and focus on the task at hand .

Do you have any tips to pass along about nursing while out of the house? I'd love to hear them!


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