The last of the started but not finished until now posts from the draft folder.
I hesitated to put this one out there at first because bre.astfe.eding (BF) is one of those topics that usually end up in battles or tears. I know that I'm incredibly lucky that BF has worked out so well for me and that for some folks it isn't so easy or sadly even an option. I believe that we all make the best choices we can for our babies and ourselves and if someone doesn't agree then they can $!#$!! It truly doesn't matter how we feed our babies - just that we do.
Nur.sing my boy has been an unexpected joy. When I was pregnant the plan was to give BF a try and see how it goes. I liked that it was free and good for the boy but mostly I was digging on the free. I would read about women who love, LOVE, love the BF relationship and are sad when it ends and I admit I just didn't understand what the big deal was. It's just a way to feed your kid and you don't hear anyone gushing over spoonfulls of chee.rios, right? Well, I'm still not gushing but I think I kind of get it now. It's both a physical and an emotional thing. My body responds to his hunger cues and schedule and if I don't nurse him the full feeling is a tingly kind of uncomfortable. I love being all snuggled up together while he's eating. I can look down at that tiny face and nuzzle his fuzzy little head. These days he's so busy moving around and trying to get in to things that the only time he'll sit still for a cuddle is when he's eating.
I was a BF baby but growing up all of my cousins were formula fed and being the oldest of all those cousins I helped feed a lot of babies their bottles. I didn't take any classes or read any books but a few days before Mr. O was scheduled to make his appearance I did take a look around the internet to see if there were any tips or how to videos on BF. Not really all that helpful. I guess my plan was to wing it and keep my fingers crossed that it would work. It felt a little pinchy at first and I wasn't sure if the boy was latched on correctly. The nurses tried to help but mostly they would just grab a handful of boob and stuff it in the baby's mouth. I was lucky that we really didn't have any problems. It just worked. I did feel a little sore at first but those little sample tubes of La.ns.inoh really helped. It would take a month or so before I no longer needed to use the Lan.sin.oh after every nur.sing session.
The toughest thing about BF for me was doing it in front of other people. Especially in the beginning when I was still figuring it out. In those first few weeks I had a constant parade of family and friends visiting and staying with me. It was pretty isolating to be trapped in my bedroom for hours at a time because I wasn't comfortable feeding the baby in front of everyone. I have a 13 year old nephew and I absolutely did not want to be the owner of the first pair of boobs he sees! Nur.sing in public - ugh! I really struggled with my need for privacy and my baby's need to be fed NOW! RIGHT NOW! I remember taking Mr. O to get his photos taken at the mall when he was a few weeks old. It took longer than it should have and he needed to be fed. I put on my big girl panties and found a bench off to the side in a quieter part of the mall. I have a nur.sing cover but I still felt so exposed. It was torture. After that I planned any outings around the baby stores because they have mother's rooms for feeding (why don't more places?!). If he got fussy while we were at a restaurant or some non baby store I would go out to the car. I used to spend a lot of time in the car.
It has gotten easier to BF in public and while I'm not entirely comfortable it's no longer the torture it once was. I realized that most of the time people don't even notice that I'm nur.sing. When we're out I'm constantly scoping out quiet spots off to the side just in case I need to feed the boy. If we're in a restaurant I ask for a booth because it's easier and more discreet than a chair at a table. I will even ask to be seated away from the crowd in an emptier section if possible. I have now nur.sed Mr. O at the top of the Empire State Building, FAO Schwarz, the Lincoln Memorial, Fenway Park, Disney World, Busch Gardens and some places a little less public than those! I'm so grateful that Mr. O doesn't pull off the nurs.ing cover because if he did I would probably go back to hiding out in the car.